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The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a UK Overseas Territory and is administered in London by staff in the Polar Regions Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Government of the Territory has its own legislative framework and makes a range of legal and administrative appointments. 

The BAT Government also has an advisory body on Place-Names and operates four Post Offices. The BAT has no indigenous population and presence in the Territory is provided by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).  


95th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Government of the British Antarctic Territory 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.


  • 53p Princess. The Princess Elizabeth is pictured holding a corgi in the grounds of Windsor Castle, 30 May 1944. (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images).
  • 68p Coronation. A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, circa mid-1950's. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images).
  • 78p Marriage. The Queen and Prince Philip say farewell to the Italian President and his wife as they depart Buckingham Palace at the end of their State Visit on March 17, 2005. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images).
  • £1.04 Leisure. The Queen sitting on rocks beside a waterfall on the Garbh Allt Burn with a corgi on her lap. The photograph was taken on the Estate at Balmoral Castle, Scotland during the Royal Family's annual summer holiday in September 1971 and was part of a series of photographs taken for use during the Silver Wedding Celebrations in 1972. (Photo by Lichfield Archive via Getty Images).
  • £1.26 Pageantry. During the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia, Queen Elizabeth II is pictured leaving the State Opening of Parliament at Parliament House, Hobart. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images).
  • £1.35 Royal Duty. The Queen laughs as she is taken on a tour of the Carole Brown Health Centre in Dersingham, Norfolk in February 2009. (Photo by Chris Jackson/PA Archive/PA 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


Antarctic Birds - December 2020

Adaptations of polar seabirds for survival in their extreme environment include dense plumage for insulation and a countercurrent heat exchange system to stop their feet freezing. All species in this stamp issue breed at very high latitudes, and three of them – the snow petrel, Antarctic petrel and south polar skua – are recorded visiting the Geographic South Pole. It is one thing for a seabird to thrive in Antarctica in the austral summer when there is abundant food in coastal waters and 24-hour daylight, but quite another to tolerate the intense cold and darkness of the austral winter. However, only some spend their nonbreeding season in much warmer climes.



The snow petrel, Antarctic petrel and southern fulmar are in the order Procellariiformes (tubenoses), which have evolved unique adaptations associated with oceanic lifestyles involving foraging trips of 100s and sometimes 1000s of km from colonies during breeding. Adults produce stomach oil by partial digestion of prey, and so can transport enough energy to the chick despite long intervals between feeds. The oil also provides excellent defence when regurgitated, as most predators are avian and the oil causes matting of the feathers, reducing waterproofing and flight capability. 

Dainty and with all-white plumage, the Snow Petrel is many people’s favourite Antarctic seabird. It breeds colonially on Antarctic islands and sometimes – like the Antarctic petrel - 100s of kilometres inland on nunataks (exposed rocky peaks and ridges above the ice sheet). Where there is little precipitation, deposits of regurgitated stomach oil build up just outside the entrance to crevices, analysis of which can reveal occupation histories of these sites and patterns of glaciation stretching back tens of thousands of years.

68p The South Polar Skua breeds on islands close to the Antarctic continent and feeds at sea, mainly on Antarctic silverfish, or penguin colonies, but the latter only where there are no sympatric brown skuas (which are much larger and would dominate in disputes over prey). South polar skuas are exceptional long-distance migrants and have diverse strategies; birds tracked from the same colony in the South Shetland Islands included transequatorial migrants to various regions in the North Atlantic or North Pacific Oceans, and a small proportion wintered in the southern hemisphere.

78p The Antarctic Shag, now usually considered a separate species within the blue-eyed shag species complex, is the only cormorant found at very high latitudes. It is a coastal species and non-migratory, but is often forced away from breeding colonies in the austral winter to roosting sites close to the ice edge in order to feed in open water (and in 24-hour darkness). Unlike most Antarctic seabirds, this species feeds predominantly on fish and not krill, and are by far the best diver of the flying seabirds, reaching a maximum depth of around 60 m.

£1.04 The Antarctic Petrel is another species with a very high-latitude breeding distribution in coastal Antarctica. High densities found in ship-based surveys in the Weddell and Ross Seas suggest a world population that far exceeds that known from land-based surveys, i.e. huge colonies may remain undiscovered. Clues to their whereabouts can be provided by satellite remote-sensing used to detect the unique spectral signature of guano, allowing seabird colonies to be discriminated from background geology. 

£1.26 The Southern Fulmar is closely related to the familiar northern fulmar of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and is just as widespread but at the opposite end of the globe. Its stiff-winged fluttering interspersed with long glides, and unique silhouette make it easy to identify at sea. Like most Antarctic seabirds, southern fulmars eat mainly krill and fish, and occasionally squid, which they obtain at the sea surface or within a few metres depth.

Text by Richard Phillips, UKRI BAS.


Technical Details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

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 Expected December 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



       ST012229      Antarctic Birds    Mint Set
      ST012230      Antarctic Birds    CTO Set
ST012231      Antarctic Birds     FDC



Discovering Antarctica Stamp Design Competition - December 2020


2020 marks the 200th Anniversary of the discovery of the Antarctic continent, an incredible environment that is full of life both above and below the ocean.

The UK has a long and proud history in Antarctica and plays a leading role in protecting and studying the continent. The British Antarctic Territory forms the largest and most southerly of the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories. The UK’s claim to this part of Antarctica is the oldest of any made on the continent, dating back to 1908.



Our world-class science is conducted by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), who will soon be able to make use of the new polar ship RRS Sir David Attenborough – which some of you will know as Boaty McBoatface! 

To celebrate the 200th Anniversary, a competition was run for children aged 4 – 17 years old to design an official postage stamp for the British Antarctic Territory. The design theme was “Discovering Antarctica”, with four lucky winners having their very own drawings featured on official stamps.

A panel of 5 judges, which included representatives from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the British Antarctic Survey and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust held a lively discussion to review the entries for each age group. The winning designs include a range of subjects which were felt to represent the ‘Discovering Antarctica’ theme.

The judges also wanted to highlight the great work of the runners up and their designs feature on the official First Day Cover envelope. The winning designs were adapted to a stamp format before being presented to HM The Queen for final approval before they were printed.

We think the designs make a wonderful and vibrant set with the ‘Discovering Antarctica’ theme well captured across the designs. The Government of the British Antarctic Territory would like to thank all those who submitted designs and for helping to mark the 200th anniversary since the discovery of the Antarctic continent. 

68p Dorothy Johnson, age 6

Dorothy’s design of a whale was described by the judges as striking, making good use of colours and demonstrating the wildlife within the British Antarctic Territory.

Dorothy has told us, “I chose to draw a humpback whale because I like whales and I saw one in my Snail & the Whale book. I know they live in Antarctica.” For anyone unfamiliar with ‘The Snail and the Whale’, it is a popular children’s book by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. (We’re fans of the book too!). Whales are also seeing a recovery in numbers in the Antarctic region, after being hunted in large numbers in the past. 

78p Jessica Barry, age 8

The judges felt that Jessica’s design was eye-catching, containing a broad range of subjects such as wildlife and science and that some of the expressions were brilliant.

Jessica explained “I love learning about animals from around the world and I wanted to show lots of the Antarctic animals that I heard about from a talk at school.” Jessica is right to highlight the range of wildlife that live in the Antarctic. From seals, whales, and sea creatures, to fish, penguins and a variety of other bird species. In her design, Jessica has also captured a visiting scientist who looks delighted at their surroundings.

£1.04 Oliver Sander, age 10

The judges described Oliver’s design as artistic, with lovely detail including the iceberg in the shape of the Antarctic continent.

Oliver explained “I have been inspired by multiple things to draw and paint this image. First of all, during my holidays, I completed my junior PADI diving qualification, which is the reason I added a diver and some special Antarctic underwater creatures. Secondly, icebergs are very common in Antarctica but I thought, as this was a stamp, it would be good for people to see the continent as an iceberg. The final thing is that there are many types of sea birds living in Antarctica. I didn’t want to include any penguins as I knew these would be a common feature in other competitors’ stamps but I did include a species of petrel which my parents saw on their trip to Antarctica. They even brought back and showed some original Antarctic stamps from many years ago which I was very excited to see!”

We’re so glad to see that Oliver has taken inspiration from many things. Icebergs, like the one in his design show that they come in wonderful and strange shapes as well as varying sizes. They are made from freshwater ice and some are so big due to snow that has fallen on them for hundreds of years. With Oliver’s new diving skills, perhaps he’ll discover an actual iceberg in the shape of Antarctica.

£1.26 Samaira Hasan, age 14

The judges agreed that Samaira’s design captured the history brilliantly, with good use of colour.

Samaira told us “My mother’s first-hand experience of visiting Rothera, the UK research station in Antarctica, helped me to appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of this continent which I wanted to portray in the design. During the Discovery Expedition, Scott, Wilson and Shackleton were key crew members who demonstrated crucial characteristics including perseverance and resourcefulness which is why I wanted to illustrate their voyage. In the stamp, I drew the Discovery Ship and the tethered hydrogen balloon that Scott took to the air during the expedition.”

What a journey that must have been for Captain Scott and his crew. Samaira is right that their efforts showed extreme resourcefulness and perseverance. Her depiction of Scott and his balloon conducting aerial reconnaissance stands the test of time. We still use this method today to monitor climate change and weather patterns in Antarctica.


Technical Details

Designers 68p Dorothy Johnson, age 6

78p Jessica Barry, age 8

£1.04 Oliver Sander, age 10

£1.26 Samaira Hasan, age 14

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 Expected December 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



 ST012226      Discovering Antarctica Stamp Design Competition    Mint Set
ST012227      Discovering Antarctica Stamp Design Competition    CTO Set
ST012228      Discovering Antarctica Stamp Design Competition     FDC