Stamps are meant to commemorate (among other things) important historic occasions. So why wasn’t the first power-sharing government of Norn Iron (after the Good Friday Agreement 1998) commemorated? Well actually it was….by me.
I actually had a little trouble with this one. On the morning of 2nd December 1999, I got a train to Dublin, with six self addressed envelopes….with a Norn Iron regional postage stamp…..upside down. I had used my new-fangled computer thingy to print out labels with the logos of the four parties who would share power and the inscription in English and Gaelic “”Northern Ireland” Government 2nd December 1999″.
Unfortunately the guy at the Philatelic Bureau in GPO Dublin would not accept the envelopes across the country. The issue wasnt the inscription or even the “Queen” being upside down (that happens accidently….er six times) ….the issue was actually “cancelling” another country’s stamps. The only reason I was at the Philatelic Bureau was to get a nice “handstamp” with the date clearly shown.
This meant I had to drop the six envelopes in an ordinary postbox at the GPO. And they duly arrived at my house a few days later.
So I got myself some nice philatelic souvenirs of an historic day.
Propaganda stamps were often used in the 1912-1922 period and made a return in Norn Iron when someone (NOT ME!!!) overprinted British stamps with political slogans. The person involved did so for commercial reasons….passing them off to gullible people as stamps produced by “the IRA”. Later he produced the same stamps with “loyalist” slogans. Most of these did not pass thru any postal service as they were clearly “illegal” but he did have some cancelled by a friendly sub-postmaster.