Philatelists focus on Gibraltar

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For the Stamp Club’s ‘President’s Night’, Norman Fairbairn produced a range of the issues of Gibraltar for his fellow members.

Local interest was focused on a 2/- value issued in 1942 featuring the Eliott Memorial, this being in commemoration of General Eliott (1717-1790) of Stobs who commanded the garrison during the great seige between 1779-1783, repelling the combined Spanish and French force, so keeping the colony British.

Norman’s display covered the issues from 1886 through to 1951 and started with the stamps of Bermuda overprinted for use on ‘The Rock,’ followed by its own stamps eleven months later, then the 1889 surcharges in Spanish currency before returning to sterling in 1898.

A new monarch, King Edward VII, meant further sets and the same applied for King George V and King George VI.

Complementing all these issues were a comprehensive study of the many shades, plate flaws, papers, perforations and the many varieties among the lettering in the overprinted stamps. The first pictorial issue came in 1931, ‘The Rock’ being the obvious image, this featuring in many subsequent sets.

Some superb high values were included in those shown, even in mint condition and one in particular, the £5 value of 1925 – but this, as Norman confessed, was a forgery; the genuine costs thousands of pounds! In 1918, ½d stamps were overprinted ‘War Tax,’ the extra going to the war efort.

The president included many of the Gibraltar stamps overprinted ‘Specimen,’ these rarer issues being distributed to other countries as examples of the colony’s stamps and he concluded his informative display with those overprinted for use at British Post Offices in Morocco.