the postage stamps of Herm in the Channel Islands


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Articles on Herm stamps by Dr Bob Forrester

Make do and mend by Dr Bob Forrester

When the right stamps were not to hand, other measures were taken  

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One of the features of the Herm local postal service was its reliance on the periodic use of bisected or other provisional stamps to make up for shortages of commonly-used values.  There were six instances of this emergency action, all of them at the end of busy summer seasons when the flood of tourists had taken its toll on the stock of stamps.  In the first four instances stamps were bisected; that is 1d stamps were cut in half diagonally to be used as d stamps, by far the value in greatest demand as at that time it paid the local postal rate for tourists' postcards.  Bisected stamps were used during four periods: September 1953, August-October 1954, August 1955 and September-October 1957.  That of 1955 is the rarest. 

1953 bisect 1d Map definitive used as 1/2d.  (This example has an imperforate right margin)


1954 bisect Crest issue 8 doubles halved to serve as 4 doubles

1957 bisect 1d Map definitive used as 1/2d

In 1953 and 1957 these shortages were caused by a combination of low print runs and poor monitoring of stock levels whereas the instances of 1954 and 1955 were caused by an inadequate supply of d value stamps being delivered to Herm by the philatelic agent responsible for the contemporary special issues.

Another shortage of the postcard rate stamp was experienced in August 1964.  By that time the charge for postcards had risen to 1d (expressed on the stamps in the idiom then used on the current Guernsey coinage as '8 doubles') and the shortage was met by overprinting 130,000 of the 4 doubles (d) stamps 'Plus 4 Doubles'.  On 31 August 1967 a shortage of the sealed letter rate stamp (1d) was met by overprinting 27,750 of the slow-selling 11d value from the 1962 Anti-Malaria issue. 

Illustrations from the collections of Dr Bob Forrester and David Ackroyd

Scanning and editing by Peter Hewitt


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