Falkland Islands Stamps

The earliest mail from the Falkland Islands usually does not show any postal markings and can only be identified by the enclosed letter or other manuscript notations, the earliest known cover is from 1800 and only 9 covers are known dated between 1800 and 1840.

The first official indication that payment for postage had been made is a small framed handstamp reading “Falkland / Paid / Islands.” and is known applied to covers in black ink from January 1869. It was superseded in 1876 by a larger circular handstamp applied in red ink. Both of these are the first items listed by Stanley Gibbons as numbers FR1/2 and are referred to by specialists as “The Black Frank” and “The Red Frank”.

Falkland Islands first stamps were issued on the 19 June 1878 and were printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. in sheets of 60 which were imperforate around the edges rather than the more normal unprinted selvage, so it is normal to find stamps from this issue with a straight unperforated edge. As one of the British Empire's favourite philatelic colonies, the Falkland Islands includes what is commonly accepted as one of the great classics of stamp design, the 1933 Centenary of British Administration issues which show beautifully engraved bi-colour images of icebergs, penguins, whales and other local landmarks, crowned by a magnificent £1 portrait of King George V.

The most famous rarity of the Falkland Islands is the 1964 6d “HMS Glasgow” ship stamp error, of which around 25 copies are known from the original sheet of 60. The Falkland Islands have long been the subject of specialization and there are many varieties, printings, essays, proofs, errors, postmarks and interesting postal history for stamp collectors to enjoy. We would recommend the excellent “Specialised Stamp Catalogue of The Falkland Islands” by Stefen Heijtz, and of course the mainstay Stanley Gibbons listings.