When the Isle of Man (IOM) was granted postal authority in 1973, they celebrated by issuing a classic set of Definitive Stamps depicting local landmarks. Prior to this, the closest they had come to having their own stamps was the regional definitives issued between 1958 and 1971. These were in the traditional GB Wilding and later Machin style as pictured below.
So it was a pleasant surprise both to collectors as well as the local population when the initial set of 16 values was issued on 5th July 1973. The actual set stretches to 22 values as four supplementary ones were issued in 1975 to take account of changes in the postal rates. All are in the same style although the specialist can find things of interest including differing gum types and perforation variations. Anyway, the full set is as follows…
All of the above values were issued on the 5th July 1973 and depict local tourist attractions. All are perf 11.5 and the engraving was undertaken by Swiss firm Courvoisier SA. The images are by local artist J H Nicholson and the 1/2p is particularly interesting as it depicts the harbour in Castletown. This was the capital of the Isle of Man until 1869 and was captured 3 times by Robert The Bruce!
The other values depict…
1p Port Erin – once a popular seaside resort
1 1/2p Snaefell – The the highest mountain on the Island
2p Laxey – A former mining village
2 1/2p Tynwald Hill An an artificial mound dating back to Viking Days
3p Douglas Promenade Which is Victorian
3 1/2p Port St Mary – once an important fishing and trading port.
4p Fairy Bridge – which spans the Santon Burn and supposedly is home to you guessed it fairies.
Middle Values 4 1/2p – 9p
Half of these values were issued later with the 4 1/2p & 8p being issued on 8th January 1975. Then the set was further supplemented with 5 1/2p & 7p Values on the 28th of May. There was no change to the printers or the perforation. Some of the places depicted in the new values copied the earlier ones but the frame colours were changed. Same view different price!
4 1/2p – Tynwald Hill Issued 8th January view as 2 1/2p
5p – Peel Issued 5th July depicting the Harbour
5 1/2p – Douglas Promenade Issued 28th May view as per 3p
6p – Cregneash which is now pretty much a living museum
7p – Laxey Issued 28th May view as per 2p
7 1/2 – Ramsey Bay which is now a Marine Nature Reserve
8p – Ramsey Bay issued 8th January 1975
9p – Douglas Bay the mouth of the River Douglas, and home to the Islands Capital.
Four of these values were part of the original issue, with the 11p & 13p ones being added on 29th October 1975. The original four differed from the rest of the set in that they depicted aspects relating to the island rather than tourist views. Still, variety is the spice of life right?
10p – Manx Cat the breed native to the island known for having no tail.
11p – Monks Bridge is one of few surviving packhorse bridges in the British Isles
13p – Derbyhaven Once an important port but now best known for its beach
20p – Manx Loaghtan, a rare breed of sheep native to the island.
50p – Manx Shearwater, a medium-sized member of the Petrels family. They nest on the island along with much of the coastal UK.
£1 – Viking Longship remembers that the Vikings ruled the island for a few hundred years before the Scots took it in 1265.
So a nice set with plenty of local historical interest and a bit of wildlife too!
First Day Covers
There were plenty issued however you will need a bit of album space to accommodate them. Plus there are three supplemental issues as noted above. Some examples are below…
Original 16 issue set.
Mid Values Part 1
Mid Values pt 2
Additional Values 8th January 1975
IOM 28th May FDC
Isle Of Man Definitive Issue 29th October 1975
Thinking of buying a set?
The good news here is that UM sets are readily available and can usually be acquired for around face value. Used stamps are similar prices and the lower values often crop up in packets or as kiloware. Blocks either mint or used seem a bit less common and a full set in blocks of four would make an impressive display. Overall it’s a nice set to add to any general collection and won’t break the bank!
Looking for more
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