ASCENSION ISLAND STAMPS

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Ascension Island is a British Overseas Territory located in the South Atlantic and covers an area of 34 square miles. The island is volcanic and enjoys warm weather all year round.

There are five settlements on the island, with Georgetown being the administrative capital and port. The island is home to around 1,100 inhabitants, mostly Saint Helenians but also 200 British and 150 US Citizens.

 

 Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Due For Release 14th April 2022

On 6th February 2022 Her Majesty The Queen became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.

 

 
When she acceded to the throne she was just 25 years of age and enjoying a short break from royal duties with her husband of five years, Prince Philip. They were standing in for George VI, who was too ill to travel, on a long-planned international tour. Relaxing at the now famous Treetops Hotel, a game viewing lodge in Kenya, The Princess had spent the day filming elephants before retiring to her cabin high up in the trees.
 
As a fellow guest at Treetops later wrote in the visitors' log book. "For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and …… climbed down from the tree next day a Queen."
 
At the time, however, Elizabeth had no knowledge of the event that was to change her life. It fell to her husband, Prince Philip, to break the dreadful news of the death of her beloved father later in the day. The Queen immediately returned to the UK.
 
In 1952 The Queen assumed the role of Head of the Commonwealth from her late father, the first to hold the title. The Commonwealth was then an association of just 8 members. Today there are 53. Her Majesty has always attached considerable importance to this role and at the time of her accession said: “The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace. To that new conception of an equal partnership of nations and races I shall give myself heart and soul every day of my life.” Indeed, her reign commenced with her longest ever Commonwealth tour, lasting from November 1953 to May 1954.
 
Since ascending to the throne, Her Majesty has gone on to reign longer than any other British Monarch in history, a title she has held since 2015. The previous record-holder, Queen Victoria – who died at age 81, had been monarch for nearly 64 years.
 
The Platinum Jubilee will be Elizabeth II's first Jubilee without her husband, Prince Philip, by her side. The Royal couple were married in November 1947 and had been inseparable for 73 years. The Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9, 2021.
 
The seven decades of her reign have seen extraordinary social and technological progress and The Queen has become a much respected and beloved figure around the world.
 
In her Platinum Jubilee message Her Majesty marked the anniversary by renewing the pledge that she gave in 1947, “that my life will always be devoted to your service”.
 
This unprecedented anniversary is celebrated on a special stamp series released by the Bahamas and the Overseas Territories of Ascension Island, the British Antarctic Territory, Falkland Islands, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands and Tristan da Cunha.

 

£1.60 The Queen drove from Buckingham Palace to Westminster in the Irish State Coach to perform the first State Opening of Parliament since her accession to the throne. TopFoto / PA Images

 

£2 Queen Elizabeth II arriving by carriage during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse, June 2019. Doug Peters / Alamy
S/S A Royal Command portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, taken by Baron, on the small staircase in the Grand entrance at Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty is in a yellow tulle evening gown decorated with sprays of mimosa and gold palette embroidery. She is wearing the blue Ribbon and Star of the Garter. The tiara was a wedding gift from Queen Mary. PA Images / Alamy

 

Technical details:

Design Bee Design

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 per 2cms

Stamp size 38 x 30.6mm

Sheet layout 10

Souvenir Sheet size 55 x 90mm

Souvenir Sheet stamp 29 x 48mm

Souvenir Sheet Perforation 13 x 13 ¼ per 2cms

Release date 14 April, 2022

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

ST012358    Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II     Mint SetST012359    Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II     Mint S/SST012360    Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II     CTO SetST012361    Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II     CTO S/SST012362    Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II     FDCST012363    Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II     FDC S/S

 

 

Ascension Island - Galapagos Sharks - Issue Date 31st January 2022

This new issue from Ascension Islands features Galapagos sharks, based on the stunning photographs of Ellen Cuylaerts.

 

 

Ellen is an underwater and wildlife photographer who only took up scuba diving in June 2011. Her main drive is shooting images that contribute to achieving goals in conservation of marine life and education about the importance of our oceans.

 

A major concern for Ellen is the decay of the oceans by pollution, overfishing, the brutal act of shark finning and dolphin and whale slaughtering. When she arrived in Ascension on a trip to St. Helena, she booked some days, snorkelling in the water to check marine life. She was so stunned by the wildness around the island that within weeks she returned to Ascension and then brought an old fishing boat from St. Helena to the island to offer Ascension Islands Adventures: trips on the water to change the way that visitors fished. The goal was to stop trophy hunting, only catch what you eat, to show people the beauty of sharks and educate them how to use the same oceans in a safe way and to bring people to the water to observe mating turtles from a respectful distance and overall share the love for the oceans.

 

 

In her own words: "Boatswain Bird Island is one of the most enchanting places I ever visited. The rock houses many nesting seabirds (masked boobies, brown boobies, Ascension frigate birds, black and brown noddies and others). Beneath the surface the presence of Galapagos sharks cruising the bottom tells the story of chicks falling in the water on their flying attempts and being preyed on by the scavenging blackfish and sharks. Although Ascension Island is hardly inhabited, the necessity of the isolation of the birds on Boatswain Bird Island was caused by the introduction of rats and cats by men. The only safe place for nesting became this rock exposed to the elements. A cats eradication program initiated by the RSPB was successful and birds started nesting on the main island again, but other problems arise. The seas are being scooped out by longliners in the South Atlantic and sharks are showing strange feeding frenzy behaviour close to shore. Ascension Island is ready to look at its offshore and inshore fishing laws and we can only hope man made problems for the balance of the oceans will be caught and remediated in time."

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The Galapagos shark images chosen for these Ascension Islands stamps were all taken in the shallow waters around Boatswain bird island and they are depicted with mouths closed, as that is their natural behaviour. All are taken with a 16mm fisheye lens so Ellen was really close to them. Their sizes varied from 1-1.5 metres so they still love the shelter of the volcanic rock close to shore. Other Galapagos sharks around the island are much bigger and bolder. Once people are aware of the presence of these much-needed predators in the oceans, it would be beneficial to know how to share the same realm and what to do and what to prevent. These sharks prey on weak fish, so the future fish life remains strong and capable of executing its task in the big circle of life. Sharks are the main contributors to the reefs staying healthy.

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Ellen is a Fellow of the New York Explorers Club and was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She loves the silence and darkness of cave diving and exploration but will never forget her time in the water with the Galapagos sharks in Ascension and hopes to return one day.

 
Technical Details:

 

Bee Design
Photography Ellen Cuylaerts
Printer Cartor
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Souvenir Sheet size 96.5 x 87mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 31 January, 2022
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

 

ST012349    Galapagos Sharks     Mint SetST012350    Galapagos Sharks     Mint S/SST012351    Galapagos Sharks     CTO SetST012352    Galapagos Sharks     CTO S/SST012353    Galapagos Sharks      FDCST012354    Galapagos Sharks      FDC S/S
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Blue Belt  Programme - November 2021

The UK Overseas Territories (OTs) are home to globally significant biodiversity. The UK Blue Belt Programme recognises this, and since 2016 has worked with the Governments of these Territories to enhance the protection and management of these precious marine environments.

The Blue Belt enhances marine protection by supporting work in five key areas:

● understanding and protecting biodiversity

● strengthening governance

● managing human impacts

● supporting sustainable fisheries management

● supporting compliance and enforcement.
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The Blue Belt Programme helps UK OTs and the UK work together to improve understanding of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and how to improve them. This work is supported by two world leading organisations – the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

Covering an area nearly the size of France, Ascension Island’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) is home to some of the largest fish species found anywhere on earth. Giant tuna, marlin, swordfish and sailfish are among the vast abundance of marine wildlife in this UK Overseas Territory, as well as 11 species of coastal fish found nowhere else on earth.

Now it is completely closed to large-scale commercial fishing, including destructive longline fishing. It provides 445,000 square kilometres of the Atlantic Ocean with some of the highest marine protection seen anywhere on the planet. Mining activities will also be prohibited, ensuring the unexplored deep seabed and the hydrothermal vents that run along the Mid Atlantic Ridge will not be disturbed. Cutting edge satellite technology and remote surveillance will enable a small team to enforce compliance.

These stamps highlight and celebrate some of the elements of the Ascension MPA.

£1 – Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) are found in pelagic waters of tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. It is one of the most common tuna species within Ascension’s Marine Protected Area (MPA), and one of the main pelagic species caught by fishermen around the island. YFT are among the largest tuna species, reaching weights of over 400 lb. YFT begin their life as almost microscopic zooplankton. At this stage, they suffer very high levels of predation by fish, jellyfish, larger zooplankton and seabirds. To combat this, YFTs reach sexual maturity at the age of two (when they are around 1m in length) and reproduce via broadcast spawning. This is when males and females release millions of eggs and sperm in the water column at the same time. This method increases the likelihood that the eggs will be fertilised while decreasing the chances of predation.

 

£1 – Masked Booby

The Masked Booby is a large, pelagic, ground-nesting seabird with predominantly white plumage and a distinctive orange bill and feet. Adult males and females are morphologically similar but can be distinguished by their calls. Juveniles are greyish brown above with a pale belly. Most prey (mainly flying fish) is obtained by plunge diving from a height of 10-30m.

Masked booby nesting at Ascension Island is currently concentrated on the summit plateau of Boatswain Bird Island and around the Letterbox Peninsula in the east of the Island. Small numbers of nests can also be found in the vicinity of Coconut Bay and Hummock Point

£1 – Green Turtle

Ascension is one of the remotest oceanic islands in the world. Each year on Ascension Island between approximately 6,000 and 25,000 nests are laid by the Green Turtle making this the second largest nesting colony of this species in the Atlantic Ocean, the largest being Costa Rica. The green turtles that nest on Ascension Island are the largest of this species in the world, being approximately 1.5 metres in length and 150 - 300 kg in weight. Males and females migrate from Brazil, where they feed, to Ascension Island in order to breed and in the case of females lay their eggs. They then return to Brazil and repeat their migration every 3 - 4 years. Just how they find this small and remote island is not fully understood, and is considered one of the most amazing navigational feats of the animal kingdom.

£1 – White Striped Cleaner Shrimp

The White striped cleaner shrimp has two broad red stripes on either side of a central white stripe. It lives in groups of two usually found in crevices or under boulders where it has a cleaning station for fish, removing parasites on which it feeds. The shrimp is both male and female and can grow up to 6cm.

 

Technical Details:
Design Andrew Robinson
Printer Cartor
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Souvenir Sheet size 110 x 80mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 9 November, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

ST012298    Blue Belt Programme     Mint Set
ST012299    Blue Belt Programme     Mint S/S
ST012300    Blue Belt Programme     CTO Set
ST012301    Blue Belt Programme     CTO S/S
ST012302    Blue Belt Programme     FDC
ST012303    Blue Belt Programme     FDC S/S
 
 

95th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - April 2021

The Ascension Island Post Office takes great pleasure in releasing a set of six stamps in celebration of The Queen’s 95th birthday.

The stamps will be released on Her Majesty’s actual birthday, 21 April. Each of the stamps depict key aspects of Her Majesty’s life, from a young Princess, to her Coronation and Marriage as well as managing to enjoy some Leisure time and Pageantry, out and about fulfilling her Royal Duties. 

 

 

On her twenty-first birthday, 21 April 1947, Princess Elizabeth was with her parents and younger sister, Princess Margaret, on a tour of South Africa. In a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, the Princess dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth. The theme of the stamp issue, “Devoted to your service”, is taken from that speech: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

This special issue is a collaboration between 11 postal administrations which sees the three Crown Dependencies, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, join The Bahamas and seven UK Overseas Territories, Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, and Tristan da Cunha to mark the birthday of the world’s longest reigning monarch.

Stamps

  • 15p Princess. HRH Princess Elizabeth of York, later Queen Elizabeth II, circa 1932. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images).
  • 20p Coronation. Queen Elizabeth II leaving Buckingham Palace for her coronation at Westminster Abbey, London 2nd June 1953. (Photo by Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images).
  • 35p Marriage. The Queen and Prince Phillip enjoy the scenery at Balmoral in Scotland. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images).
  • 65p Leisure. Queen Elizabeth II in the gardens of Balmoral Castle with her pet dogs in 1952. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images).
  • £1 Pageantry. The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel down The Mall in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach after attending the State Opening of Parliament on May 27, 2015 in London. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images). 
  • £1.60 Royal Duty. The Queen visits Watergate House to mark the centenary of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), the UK's Intelligence, Security and Cyber Agency on February 14, 2019 in London. GCHQ was formed in 1919, under the original name of the GC&CS (Government Code and Cypher School). Watergate House was the Agency's first home and a former top-secret location. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images). 
  • The FDC features two images of Her Majesty; a contemporary picture of the Queen who is fondly known throughout the world and a beautiful portrait, circa 1929, of the young Princess Elizabeth before it was realised that she would be acceding to the throne. (Photos via Getty Images).

 

Technical details:

Designer Bee Design

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ¼ per 2cms

Stamp size 36 x 36mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 21 April, 2021

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

ST012238  ASC  Queen's 95th Birthday Mint
ST012239  ASC  Queen's 95th Birthday CTO
ST012240  ASC  Queen's 95th Birthday FDC

 

Island Treasures - December 2020

2020 has been a remarkable year and with so many restrictions on travel it has been an opportunity for everyone to reflect on their local environment and to discover and celebrate their local gems and treasures. On Ascension we have chosen just twelve of our treasures to share with the world. Some of them will be familiar, but they are our treasures that we never tire of seeing.

 

 

15p Bonetta Cemetery: In the lava flows behind Comfortless Cove lies the Bonetta Cemetery, named for the Ship that landed in 1838, its crew ravaged by fever. More than a dozen men were buried here from this and other plague ships.

20p Land Crab: The land crab is Ascension Island’s largest native land animal and only lives on four small, South Atlantic islands, of which Ascension is by far the largest. Despite being true crabs and thus originating from the ocean, land crabs are adapted to live in very dry climates and considerable distances from the sea. Though all land crabs on Ascension are from the same species they can vary from yellow-orange through to a deep purple.

Despite adaptations for living on land, the land crabs of Ascension are still required to return to the ocean in order to breed. Despite resilience and adaptations to living on land, Ascension Island land crabs populations are still under threat.

Today, land crabs on Ascension Island are protected by law, any harvesting, injury or intentional killing being entirely illegal. However, a number of crabs are still unintentionally killed each year, particularly around breeding periods, as crabs cross roads and are accidentally hit by vehicles. The Ascension Island Government Conservation Department continues to raise awareness and monitor populations so that these marvels of nature and adaptation remain part of Ascension Island, as they have for thousands of years.

25p The Red Lion, Green Mountain: Green Mountain is the oldest and highest part of Ascension Island. A steep, winding road, with some very sharp hairpin bends, goes as far as the Red Lion. Records suggest that the Red Lion was completed in 1863 and was used as a mountain barracks for non-commissioned officers stationed there in support of the mountain farm. It continued to house farm workers until the 1990s, at which point the mountain farm was permanently closed. It has since been renovated and the ground floor of the building serves as a display area, with the first-floor housing a lecture theatre and classroom facility.

30p Deadman’s Beach: Situated in Georgetown, Deadman’s Beach is one of the picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful beaches on Ascension. Its stunning beauty is clearly seen during the sunlight hours and more especially at Sundown. Popular with the Islanders, Deadman’s is very good for fishing and is a great place to catch some of the Island’s Lobster Crayfish, Grouper and Moray eel.

40p St Mary’s Church, Georgetown: The building was completed in 1861 and consecrated on 9th May, Ascension Day of that year. Since then it has undergone many careful renovations. Prior to being built services were held outside the old barracks in Georgetown and usually conducted by the senior officer of the garrison. Inside are plaques commemorating many who died on the island both at sea and from illness. The church holds historical records of island births, marriages and deaths. It retains contemporary social significance for the local community and those abroad being used for weekly worship, weddings, baptisms and funerals. The chaplain of the island was originally provided by the Royal Navy, then Royal Air Force and nowadays from the Anglican Church, Diocese of St Helena, Province of South Africa.

50p Green Sea Turtle: Due to its remoteness, Ascension Island makes for an undisturbed breeding ground for green sea turtles and is the second largest nesting site in the Atlantic Ocean. Generally migrating from Brazil, the green turtles are protected on Ascension under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 2013. While we have to keep a respectful distance, stay quiet, and refrain from using flash photography it is possible to see the turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. It is a truly amazing experience. 

60p Resplendent Angelfish: One of Ascension’s most beautiful endemics is the resplendent angelfish. This diminutive fish (only a few centimetres long) is coloured a vivid purple-blue with a golden stripe running along its back and has historically been highly valued in the aquarium trade, until it was protected by the 2013 Ascension Island Wildlife Protection Ordinance. The Ascension Island Government Conservation Department continues to investigate and study the marine environment in order to protect not only the endemic fish species, but all aspects of this unique ecosystem. 

65p Ascension Donkeys: Donkeys were brought to Ascension in 1815 primarily to move water from Green Mountain into Georgetown. Shortly after they became feral. To this day the numbers are not large but they can be found wandering beneath Two Boats all the way into Georgetown. Tourists love to stop along the roads to photograph and feed them apples and such.

£1 Ascension Lily: This beautiful lily originates from South America although it could equally have been imported from West Africa. It blooms twice a year on Ascension and its bulbous rootstock ensures its survival even in the absence of rain. It has become the national flower of the island. 

£1.30 Ascension Island Frigatebird: The Ascension Frigatebird is Ascension’s only endemic bird species. In the past, vast numbers of nesting pairs could be found on Ascension. However, with human colonisation and the subsequent introduction of rats and feral cats, the population declined significantly and was confined to breeding on the large offshore stack, Boatswain Bird Island, the only suitable alternative nesting site.

In 2001, a feral cat eradication programme was initiated on the Island, led by the RSPB, and the last known feral cat was removed in 2004. Seabird re-colonisation of the mainland was first recorded in May 2002 and numbers have increased steadily since. In December 2012 two pairs of Frigatebirds were discovered nesting on the mainland – a momentous occasion in the history of conservation work on the island.

£2.50 Boatswainbird Island: Boatswain Bird Island (BBI) Sanctuary is a barren, steep island rising to 104m, with a relatively flat top of nearly 3ha, located 300m north of Letterbox peninsula. Birds have nested on the cliffs and plateau for so long that the rock is permanently white from the layers of guano coating the island.

This island is an important nesting site for most of the seabird species on Ascension. The name boatswain bird is the alternate common name given to the red-billed tropicbird, one of the birds to nest on the island. Other nesting species include storm petrels, white-tailed tropicbirds, red-footed boobies, brown boobies, masked boobies, black noddies, common white terns and Ascension Frigatebirds.

BBI is also home to several invertebrates including endemic pseudoscorpions. The immediate waters surrounding BBI have high numbers of young sharks, which suggests that it is an important nursery habitat for Ascension's shark species. BBI is protected by the National Protected Areas Ordinance 2003.

£5 Wideawake Tern: The most numerous nesting seabird on Ascension is the Wideawake or sooty tern. Despite predation from cats and egg collecting (in the 1830s marines could collect as many as 120,000 eggs a week although this became illegal in the 1960s) and then the decision by the US Army to build the runway on their favourite nesting area numbers are still in excess of 250,000 nesting pairs. It can be an incredible sight to see thousands of the birds hovering above you.

 

Technical details:

Designs Bee Design

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Stochastic Lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 22 December, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide)

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

ST012235    Island Treasures Definitive    Mint Set
ST012236    Island Treasures Definitive   CTO Set
ST012237    Island Treasures Definitive     FDC
 

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