SOUTH GEORGIA & SANDWICH ISLANDS STAMPS

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(Please cut and paste STAMP ITEM NUMBERS in to the order form)

 

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.

This Territory was formed in 1985; previously they were governed as part of the Falkland Islands dependencies. The Territory is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, the South Sandwich Islands. 

There is no native population on any of the islands, and the only present inhabitants are the British Government Officer, the Deputy Postmaster and mainly scientists, as well as museum staff at nearby Grytviken.

 

Due for release 1st September 2021

Ecosystems in Recovery – Whales

The waters around South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands are safeguarded through a 1.24 million square kilometre Marine Protected Area (MPA). Biodiversity great and small is celebrated and conserved. However, this has not always been the case. During the 20th century over 170,000 whales were killed in South Georgia waters having an untold impact on the ecosystem as a whole. Whaling ended in South Georgia in the 1960s, but whales were rarely seen on this important feeding ground for the next 40 years.

 
More recently, anecdotal accounts indicated that whale populations were increasing and the ecosystem was recovering. Running from 2017-2021, a project to estimate the recovery status, abundance, diversity, health and habitat use of whales on their South Georgia feeding grounds was established. The South Georgia Wild Water Whales project was led by the British Antarctic Survey in collaboration with research experts around the world.
The project used a range of scientific approaches, including conducting visual and acoustic surveys of whales, collecting photo-identifications and skin samples for genetic identification, deploying transmitters on whales to track their movements, collecting samples of whale breath by drone, and measuring whale body condition using overhead images. The project also benefitted from the many citizen scientists who took photo-identifications of whales at South Georgia and submitted them to www.happywhale.com, a global repository of whale photographs which are regularly matched with researcher catalogues.

This series of stamps celebrates the recovery of whale populations around South Georgia and showcases some of the fantastic scientific research which is helping us to better understand, and further protect them.

55p - Southern right whale

South Georgia is thought to be a key summer feeding ground for the southern right whale. To examine how they use this feeding habitat, two southern right whales were tagged with transmitters in austral summer 2020, and their movements tracked by satellite for the following months. While one whale (a female, blue track) travelled to the ice edge during summer and autumn, the second animal (a male, green track) remained in South Georgia coastal waters for six months, mostly at the western edge of the island, migrating north from South Georgia towards warm waters in winter (July). These patterns help to highlight which areas are particularly important for feeding right whales and show individual contrasts between whales and their use of high latitude habitat over summer and autumn.

70p - Humpback whale

Over six hundred humpback whales were seen during a whale survey around South Georgia in 2020. These sightings are shown as red dots on the map, with the size of the dot indicating the size of the group. This information was used to predict areas of high humpback whale density around the island. High intensity purple shading indicates high densities of whales. Understanding the density and distribution of whales is important to enable us to manage human activities such as shipping that may pose a risk to whales.

80p - Antarctic blue whale

The underwater vocalisations of blue whales were recorded using sonobuoys: acoustic devices which enable whale calls to be detected and the direction they come from to be measured. These data were collected during expeditions to South Georgia in 2017, 2018 and 2020. The calls and their bearings were analysed to determine the likely locations of the whales, and these were plotted on a map. In 2017, vocalising blue whales were all detected in deep water, both to the southwest of the island and to the north of the island (shown in yellow). In 2018, blue whales were detected on the continental shelf off the northern coast (shown in green). In 2020, sonobuoys were deployed around the entire island of South Georgia. In this year, blue whales were detected to the west of South Georgia, near to Shag Rocks (shown in red), along the northern shelf, and to the southeast of the island. These acoustic data show blue whale detections around the island are increasing, this pattern is also reflected in the number of visual sightings of blue whales, which have been rising in recent years as populations recover from industrial whaling. 

First Day Cover - Humpback whale key feeding habitats

Satellite-based tracking of humpback whales feeding in South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands waters was used to model their likely distribution within the MPA. By examining whale distribution between October and July over a 17-year period, these models show that humpback whales have particular hotspots over the South Sandwich Trench, to the west of the South Sandwich Islands, and immediately over the shelf of mainland South Georgia (yellow areas of high habitat use probability). Encouragingly, this shows that the current footprint of the MPA and its management measures afford a significant degree of protection of the feeding grounds of migratory humpback whales.

The Wild Water Whales project was funded by EU BEST, Darwin PLUS, South Georgia Heritage Trust, the Friends of South Georgia Island and the World Wildlife Fund, with logistical support from the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. More project information can be found here: https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/south-georgia-right-whale-project/

 

Technical Details
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Design Andrew Robinson
Printer Cartor
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 1 September, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS 

ST012280     Ecosystems in Recovery - Whales   Mint Set 

ST012281     Ecosystems in Recovery - Whales   CTO Set 

ST012282     Ecosystems in Recovery - Whales    FDC

 

For further information, please contact Juliet Warner at

Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1737 818101, Fax: +44 (0) 1737 818199

email: jwarner@pobjoy.com

www.pobjoymintstamps.co

 

 

Recent Releases

95th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands 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        

  • 40p Princess. Princess Elizabeth in her girl guide uniform in Frogmore, Windsor, England on April 11, 1942. (Photo by Studio Lisa/Getty Images).
  • 55p Coronation. A portrait by Cecil Beaton of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh after the Coronation 1 June 1953.
  • 70p Marriage The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive at St Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving held in honour of the Queen's 80th birthday, June 15, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images).
  • 80p Leisure. Princess Elizabeth looking through her stamp collection in the State Apartments at Buckingham Palace, July 1946. (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images).
  • £1.05 Pageantry. The Queen and Prince Philip leave after The Order of the Garter Service, at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, on June 14, 2010. The Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and was founded by Edward III in 1348. The patron saint of the Order is St George (patron saint of soldiers and also of England) and the spiritual home of the Order is St George's Chapel, Windsor. (Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/AFP via Getty Images).
  • £1.25 Royal Duty. The Queen attends the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor. (Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/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

 

 GO TO STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

 

 

Royal Navy Ships - December 2020 

As a British Overseas Territory, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands has a close relationship with the Royal Navy. On hand to provide reassurance, protect British sovereignty and support efforts to protect the environment, Royal Navy ships are always a welcome sight.

 

 

The Royal Navy’s presence in the South Atlantic region typically is composed of a patrol vessel and a frigate which is supported by tankers from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The patrol vessels are based in the Falkland Islands and visit South Georgia on regular taskings. The officers and crew of these vessels become friends and colleagues for those who live in the Territory. When the moment came to bid farewell to the resident vessel HMS Clyde and welcome its replacement HMS Forth it was both a sombre and celebratory time. 

HMS Clyde 80p, £1.05

Launched in 2006, HMS Clyde is a River Class patrol vessel built by VT Shipbuilding in Portsmouth. After undergoing rigorous sea trials and safety training it was commissioned into active service and was deployed to the South Atlantic to relieve HMS Dumbarton Castle which was based in the Falkland Islands.

At 81.5 m in length and with a beam of 13.5 m, the vessel had a top speed of 21 knots and is capable of staying at sea for 21 days without the need for resupply. The vessel is powered by two Ruston 12RK 270 engines and is equipped with a Pacific 22 RIB and a Rigid Raider which are invaluable in difficult beach landings such as those needed to support personnel on the rugged South Georgia beaches. Although aircraft were not carried as standard, a flight-deck is available and has been invaluable in assisting repatriation of med-evac cases from South Georgia.

After a distinguished career as one of the Royal Navy’s great work horses, HMS Clyde returned to Portsmouth Naval base in December 2019 and shortly after was decommissioned from service.

HMS Forth 70p, £1.25

Launched in 2016, HMS Forth is a Batch 2 River class offshore patrol vessel built by BAE Systems Govan shipyard in Glasgow. The vessel is 90.4 m in length and has a beam of 13.5 m and offers cutting edge technology and efficiency. With a maximum speed of 24 knots and the ability to stay at sea for 35 days without re-supply HMS Forth is well suited to explore and protect the remote and isolated islands of the South Atlantic.

Although the commissioning process was not straightforward, HMS Forth arrived in the Falkland Islands in January 2020 and crossed the 850 miles of waters to make her debut patrol to South Georgia in April the same year. HMS Forth has capacity to carry up to 110 personnel and is ideally suited to carry the range of personnel needed to support the Royal Navy and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands in its shared objectives.

 

Technical Details:

Design Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Release date 8 December, 2020

Ships badges TradeMarks of the Secretary of State

for Defence are used under licence.

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

 STAMP ITEM NUMBERS 

ST012223    Royal Navy Ships Mint Set

ST012224    Royal Navy Ships CTO Set

ST012225    Royal Navy Ships  FDC

 

 

Duty and Sacrifice – Shackleton’s Unsung Heroes - November 2020

 

The story of Shackleton and his men is the stuff of legend. In 1915, with the loss of his vessel Endurance during the Imperial-Trans Antarctic Expedition there followed a story of survival, bravery and determination famed throughout the world. Shackleton and five of his men undertook an epic open boat journey across the Southern Ocean and the first ever overland crossing of South Georgia in order to raise the alarm and send help to crew members who were left behind battling for survival on Elephant Island. Famously, all of Shackleton’s men survived. Each individual stepped up where they had the skills and strength to do so, but also had the courage to put aside their ego and acknowledge weakness so as not to endanger their crew mates. 

 

 

On their return to England in 1917 the First World War was raging. Despite knowing they may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, Shackleton’s men did what they considered to be their duty and signed up to help the war effort. Whilst a handful of those men were recognised for specific acts of gallantry, previously recognised on a South Georgia stamp edition in 2019, most simply displayed the same selfless resolve they showed during the Endurance expedition. They were in effect Shackleton’s unsung heroes. 

70p - Timothy McCarthy 1888 - 1917 and SS Narragansett

McCarthy was an able seaman during the Endurance Expedition and due to his skills and resilience was one of the five men who accompanied Shackleton on the rescue mission to South Georgia.

Immediately on return to England, he signed up to the war effort as part of the Royal Navy Reserve and was deployed as a leading seaman on SS Narragansett. On transit between the south-west coast of Ireland and the Scilly Isles the vessel was torpedoed and he, along with all other 45 hands on board were killed. He was the first of the Endurance crew members to die in the war, just three weeks after returning from the expedition. 

80p - Alfred Cheetham 1866 - 1918 and SS Prunelle

Cheetham was already an Antarctic veteran by the time he was serving as third officer on the Endurance having previously served as part of the Discovery and Terra Nova Expeditions. Worsley referred to him as “a pirate to his fingertips” and his cheerful disposition made him an invaluable boost to morale for the men left on Elephant Island. 

On return to England, Cheetham learned that one of his sons had died serving on RMS Adriatic. Despite this personal tragedy, Cheetham enlisted in the Mercantile Marine and served aboard SS Prunelle. Just 2 miles from the safety of port, the vessel was targeted by a German submarine SM UB-112. The ensuing explosion sank the ship, killing 12 of the 16 crew, including Cheetham.

£1.05 - Huberht Taylor Hudson 1886 – 1942 – WWI Mystery Q-ships

Hudson was a navigating officer in the Royal Navy who took part in the Endurance expedition as a mate. Able to turn his hand to many skills, Hudson proved an invaluable team member due to his ability to catch penguins for food whilst the party were trapped in the ice. The trials of the expedition took its toll on Hudson and by the time the party were rescued from Elephant Island he was in poor mental and physical health.

Nevertheless, Hudson also signed up to help the war effort and served on the ‘Mystery Q-ships’. These heavily armed merchant vessels had concealed weaponry and were designed as decoy vessels to lure enemy submarines into making surface attacks. Hudson survived WWI and such was his sense of duty that he later served in WWII as a Royal Navy Reserve Commodore when in 1942 he died when his vessel Pelayo was torpedoed by U-552. 

£1.25 - Charles Green 1888 - 1974 and HMS Wakeful

Son of a master baker, Green ran away from home at 22 to join the Merchant Navy. When in Buenos Aires, after hearing that Shackleton had fired his cook for drunkenness, Green signed up for the Endurance expedition. Working day and night in the galley whilst at sea, he continued to cook for his crew mates when stranded on the pack ice. A few days after arrival on Elephant Island, Green collapsed from exhaustion.

When back in England he enlisted in the Royal Navy and continued to serve his country in the best way he knew how - as a cook. During WWI he served on the Destroyer HMS Wakeful and was injured when the vessel was attacked. He re-joined the Merchant Navy in 1919 and served on a range of ships until retirement in 1931. During WWII he continued to do his duty and worked as a Fire Watcher in Hull. Green died in 1974 at the age of 85. He was one of the last members of the Endurance crew to pass away.

 Lest we forget.

 

Technical Details:

Design Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Release date 11 November, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

ST012202   Shackleton's Unsung Heroes Mint Set

ST012203   Shackleton's Unsung Heroes CTO Set

ST012204   Shackleton's Unsung Heroes  FDC

 

Definitive 2020 - October 2020

 

South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are set against a backdrop of constant change. Until Captain Cook landed on the island in 1775 and claimed it for King George III, South Georgia was untouched by man. The first sealing expeditions came just a few years later and human driven change began apace. Sealers decimated fur and elephant seal populations and inadvertently introduced rodents which predated native birds and changed the islands immeasurably.

 

 

Shortly after the sealers left because their industry was no longer viable, a new wave of change came with the whaling industry. As demand for whale oil grew, large processing facilities and shipyards were built on shore and a host of harmful materials and non-native plant species were introduced to the environment.

 

 

Abandoned in the 1960’s, these facilities leave a valuable historic record and a host of environmental challenges in their wake. The oceans around South Georgia were once again exploited beyond their sustainable limit from over fishing in the 1990’s. However, today nature takes the driving seat and SGSSI is a global rarity - an ecosystem in recovery.

 

 

More recently, the changes to SGSSI have mostly been in favour of the environment. Since becoming a Territory in its own right in 1985, the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) has put the environment at the heart of its policies.

 

Each of the stamps in the new definitive represents an iconic image for SGSSI and has a story of restoration and hope: 

 

1p – Native Invert: Native invertebrates, and the habitats they live in, now have the highest level of protection under our Wildlife and Protected Areas legislation. 

2p – Greater Burnet: Once heavily grazed by reindeer which were introduced by Norwegian whalers and outcompeted by non-native plants, burnet is now thriving due to eradication projects to remove the species which harmed it. 

5p – Antarctic Fur Seal: Protected by national and international legislation, fur seals are now abundant on South Georgia’s beaches. Higher predators such as fur seals are used as a barometer for change, and so the thriving seal populations we see today are a good indicator of a balanced marine ecosystem.

10p – Krill: The base of the Antarctic food chain, within the SGSSI Marine Protected Area special measures, such as no take zones and seasonal closures, are in place to maintain its abundance so wildlife can feed on krill whenever they need to; a critical time being when they are feeding their young. 

50p – Grey-headed Albatross: Thousands of these birds were once killed by the fishing industry but new by-catch mitigation measures pioneered in SGSSI means birds are no longer caught in our waters. GSGSSI supports a range of initiatives to better understand global foraging patterns of albatross and in partnership with ACAP, are working to protect them beyond our borders.

70p – Shackleton’s Cross: Perhaps the world’s most famous explorer, the cross at Hope Point was erected by his men shortly after he died. It was fully renovated in 2018/19 austral summer including the secret compartment; will you find it when you visit?

80p – Humpback Whale: Although populations were significantly depleted by the whaling industry, gatherings of dozens of humpback whales feeding on krill swarms are now a common sight in the northern bays of South Georgia. 

£1 – Grytviken Church: Built by Norwegian whalers, the church has been renovated using traditional techniques through a joint initiative between GSGSSI and Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

£1.25 – Pharos SG: A vital tool in protecting the SGSSI Marine Protected Area against illegal, unregulated and unlicensed fishing. Pharos SG also provides vital logistical support to Government, science & monitoring projects and building teams all of which are vital for the sustainable management of the Territory.

£2 – South Georgia Pipit: Endemic to South Georgia these small song bird songs were taken to the brink of extinction by the invasive rodents, but following the rat eradication project, the air is filled with their song once again. 

£3 – Toothfish: Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as one of the world’s most sustainable fisheries, the SGSSI toothfish fishery is a model of how to implement best practice and raise standards across the industry and across the globe.

£5 - Macaroni Penguin: It is thought more than 1 million pairs of macaroni penguin breed on South Georgia. The species is classed as threatened by the IUCN and so on SGSSI their feeding grounds and breeding sites are highly protected.

Airmail Postcard Rate - Elephant Seal: Once again the master of the beach, these huge creatures are thriving and captured only by camera lenses of visitors and film-makers  

Even against the backdrop of environmental policies and efforts made by GSGSSI and its stakeholders to restore and protect the SGSSI environment, there is still the threat of global climate change. This has the potential to affect the Territory in an irreversible and profound way. Looking ahead, it will be a priority for GSGSSI to contribute toglobal efforts to understand and tackle this unprecedented challenge and safeguard SGSSI for the future.

 

Technical Details:

Design Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Booklet size 146 x 76mm

Booklet contents 10 Airmail Postcard stamps plus shape cut labels

Release date 15 October, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS

 

       ST012197   Definitive Mint Set

       ST012198   Definitive CTO Set

ST012199   Definitive  FDC

           ST012200   Airmail Booklet Mint*

             ST012201   Airmail Booklet CTO*  

*The bonus labels in the airmail booklets feature various images drawn from the definitive set and will be allocated at random. The label shown is for illustration purposes only and is not guaranteed.

 

 

From the Air - August 2020

 

In recent years small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have become increasingly popular. UAVs come in a range of sizes but the devices used on South Georgia are typically less than 7 kg and powered by battery. The advanced computer systems and sensors mean that they can be programmed to fly detailed flight paths, keep steady in turbulent winds and even return to their home station when batteries run low. These safety features are vital to make sure that the South Georgia environment and wildlife is not damaged during flights.

In South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands use of UAVs is restricted to projects authorised by the Government. However, they offer a different view on the world and have huge potential to collect valuable data in less time and cause less intrusion than multiple people in the field so in recent years a number of projects have been supported to use them.

 

 

As many of South Georgia’s coastal areas are crowded with wildlife, particularly during the breeding season, an early application was to use UAVs to conduct surveys. By flying at a safe height above the beaches and bays, operators were able to get a unique bird’s eye view. This meant it was possible to accurately count the number of animals without having to cause disturbance by walking on the beach or approaching in a boat. Being able to quickly assess the number of animals in an area has meant it is possible to closely track how wildlife changes through the seasons. In the future the information we get from this data will form part of our visitor management plans. 

Closely linked to surveys of wildlife are surveys of the environment that they inhabit. Programming UAVs to fly in a grid pattern over the coastline has meant it is possible to create detailed maps not just of land and sea but also the amount and type of vegetation cover. This information can help track how species are recovering after the removal of invasive species and how ground in front of glaciers is colonised after the ice retreats. Whilst some ground-truthing of data in these newly exposed and pristine pieces of land is still required, UAV methodology largely removes the need for physical transects to be completed.

As well as getting a new perspective on current activities on South Georgia, UAVs can be used to get an insight to the past. The rich cultural heritage of the island from early sealing expeditions through to the whaling industry of the 1900’s has left its mark. Although some artefacts are visible from the ground, by taking to the sky it is possible to see a new level of detail and reveal structures not seen for hundreds of years. As nature reclaims these spaces this record is all the more important.

Of course, the incredible footage of the South Georgia landscape and its wildlife is too good not to share and so another key use of UAVs has been for outreach and media projects. Use of UAVs allows filmmakers to show wildlife like we have never seen it before. As animals are unaware of the UAVs flying many meters above them they behave naturally whilst we, as custodians of this environment gain insight to their world. 

This series of stamps celebrates some of the unique perspectives gained through these projects. 

 

Technical Details:

Photography

70p Bird Island SAERI/Neil Golding

70p Elephant Seals John Dickens

80p King Edward Point John Dickens

80p Penguins & Seals Tom Hart

£1.25 Whaling Station George Lemann

£1.25 Bayard Tom Hart

FDC John Dickens

Design Bee Design

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Release date 5 August, 2020

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

 

STAMP ITEM NUMBERS   
                 H                   H
        ST012179   From the Air Mint Set
    ST012180   From the Air CTO Set
ST012181   From the Air  FDC

 

 

HABITATS RESTORED

H

 

CENTENARY OF THE END OF WW1