BAHAMAS – Stamps and Postal Stationery to 1970
By Peter Fernbank FRPSL

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This new book reflects the extensive latest research into the stamps and postal stationery of the Bahamas up to 1970. It is a substantial improvement upon the 1950 publication by Harold Gisburn, and replaces it as the standard reference work on the subject. A joint publication with the British West Indies Study Circle.
This work is an attempt to reflect the current state of knowledge within these aspects of Bahamas philately up to 1970.

Peter Fernbank FRPSL

Collectors of Bahamas have long awaited a successor to Harold G. D. Gisburn’s slim handbook of 1950 in which he briefly touched on most aspects of Bahamas philately. Since then many of the philatelic disciplines within Bahamas have benefitted from scholarly and detailed publications but stamps and postal stationery have remained substantially neglected. This work attempts to remedy this situation.
Each series of stamps is examined in detail, from its inception and development through to its issue and eventual demise. The various archive items that exist in both private and public domains are examined and listed, including artists’ essays, die and plate proofs, colour trials and Specimens, etc. The format, marginal markings and plate numbers of the printing plates used for the issues stamps are detailed along with a listing of the printings made and the constant varieties that exist within many of the issues. Exceptional events during the span of each issue are also noted.
Whilst much of this work has been written by the editor a number of specialists in their respective fields have contributed specific chapters. In certain cases this is the culmination of research extending back over 30 years.
Records held in national archives have been extensively consulted and information gathered from within specialist study circles, philatelic journals, auction catalogues and specialist collections formed by Bahamas enthusiasts. It is extensively illustrated in colour throughout, with many of those from the charming Chalon 

Peter Fernbank was born in Orpington, Kent. In his early career he followed his father into the RAF, but served in radio and radar engineering rather than flying. His later career was in computer electronics, initially as an engineer and later as Calibration Manager.

A stamp collector from an early age, he later formed a deep interest in the King George V issues of the British West Indies. This eventually diversified into the King George V Imperium key plate issues (of all the participating colonies) and resulted in a book on the subject in 1998, subsequently awarded the Crawford medal by the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL). A second updated edition appeared 15 years later in 2013. In parallel with this he formed a specialised collection of Bahamas, producing a study paper on the intriguing Special Delivery issues in 2010 and was editor and major contributor to Bahamas: Stamps and Postal Stationery to 1970, produced as a joint venture between the BWISC and the RPSL.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London and, in addition to the Crawford medal, was awarded the Tapling medal in 2010 for the best paper published in The London Philatelist during the relevant period for his article ‘De La Rue Sheet Numbering’. He is a long-time member of the British West Indies Study Circle and contributed numerous article to their journal. He was also a founder member of the Banbury Stamp Society.

He is married to Jenny and has three grown-up sons. He has always been a keen sportsman, played cricket for over fifty years and continues to play league table tennis. His other interests include Egyptology and the chronology of ancient civilisations.

INTRODUCTION The Bahama Islands 
CHAPTER 1 The Chalon Head Stamps
1.1 The Decision to Issue Stamps 
1.2 The Perkins Bacon Issues – 1859 to 1862 
1.3 Printings by De La Rue from the Perkins Bacon Plates, 1862 to 1883 
1.4 The Plating Varieties 
1.5 Forgeries 
CHAPTER 2 The Queen Victoria Surface Printed Issues 
2.1 The One Shilling Green 
2.2 The 1884 – 90 Series 
CHAPTER 3 The Queen’s Staircase Issue 
CHAPTER 4 Overprints on the Queen’s Staircase Stamps
4.1 Special Delivery 
4.2 The Charity Stamps 
4.3 The War Tax Issues 
CHAPTER 5 The Post-1900 Surface Printed Issues
5.1 King Edward VII Definitive Issue 
5.2 King George V Definitive Issue 
5.2a War Tax Issues 
5.3 King George VI Definitive Issues 
CHAPTER 6 The Early Bradbury, Wilkinson Issues
6.1 Tercentenary of the Colony 
6.2 The 2s and 3s Definitive Issues 
CHAPTER 7 King George V Commemorative Issues
7.1 Peace Celebration 
7.2 Tercentenary of the Colony (see CHAPTER 6) 
7.3 King George V Silver Jubilee 
CHAPTER 8 The Waterlow Pictorial Issues
8.1 The 1935 King George V 8d Value 
8.2 The 1938 King George VI 4d, 6d and 8d Values
CHAPTER 9 King George VI Commemorative Issues
9.1 The Omnibus Issues
1937 Coronation 
1946 Victory 
1948 Silver Wedding 
1949 75th Anniversary of the Universal Postal Union 
9.2 The Landfall of Columbus Issue 
9.3 Tercentenary of Settlement of the Island of Eleuthera 
CHAPTER 10 Queen Elizabeth II Definitive Issues
10.1 The 1954 – 63 Issue 
10.2 The 1964 Self-Government Overprints 
10.3 The 1965 Issue 
10.4 The 1966 Decimal Currency Surcharges 
10.5 The 1967 Decimal Currency Issue 
CHAPTER 11 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Issues 
CHAPTER 12 Postal Stationery
12.1 Postal Cards 
12.2 Reply-Paid Postal Cards 
12.3 Postal Envelopes 
12.4 Registered Envelopes 
12.5 Air Letters 
12.6 International Reply Coupons 
APPENDIX 1 The Recess Printing Techniques of De La Rue 
APPENDIX 2 Sheet Numbering by De La Rue 
APPENDIX 3 Auctions with Significant Bahamas Content 

Book Review by David Wilson (published in the BWISC Bulletin)

Jointly published by The Royal Philatelic Society London and the BWISC (2017).  ISBN 978-0-900631-83-6

In previous years, many collectors of Bahamas issues - like me - turned to Harold Gisburn’s definitive volume (The Postage Stamps and Postal History of the Bahamas) to identify and research the contents of their collection. Gisburn however suffered from two significant disadvantages, namely that his colour plates were converted to black-and-white images in the printed book, and the book’s publication in 1950 preceded most of the major writings on Bahamas varieties, errors and forgeries.

The publication of Peter Fernbank’s book serves to bring the body of learning up to date with the major bonus of including spectacular colour plates of every significant issue and its varieties. The advantages of colour are evident immediately in the extensive treatment of the QV Chalon Heads, contributed by Chris Harman, where the different shades of the 1d, 4d and 6d – as listed in Gibbons plus unlisted others – are set out together to allow the collector a compare-and-contrast analysis.

Here and elsewhere, Peter’s own research among the De La Rue and Crown Agents’ records allows the reader to consider the printing dates and quantities as a further identification aid. The book benefits from the integration of elements from many specialist collections and auction offerings to show the development of issues from essays to proof materials and colour trials.

The Queens Staircase chapters are especially comprehensive and satisfying, exploring the design history and describing the changes which took place in the Vignette and Duty Plates during the numerous printings. Building on the earlier works of Morris Ludington, the book shows many examples of the scratches and retouches that allow us to position the stamps from the printing of the early vignette plates.

The War Tax chapter incorporates the latest learning regarding the forgeries of supposed overprint errors, which has developed from papers published over the last 10 years. Peter includes major sections on sheet numbering across the Bahamas issues, identifying fonts and sizings to assist the identification process.

Much has been written over the years on the Landfall of Columbus overprints and the unique characteristics of the overprint at each position on the sheet. As contributed by Roger West, these varieties are all illustrated in enlarged colour to allow a complete analysis of any individual stamp. The book concludes with chapters covering all the remaining issues up to 1970, plus Bahamas Postal Stationery contributed by Keith Hanman.

As to omissions, Peter’s focus on the stamps of the Bahamas means that there is no description of the early pre-adhesive handstamps and postal markings. And for anyone who might retain an interest in Bahamas’ ill-fated Undersea Sea Floor Post Office, they may wish to keep a copy of Gisburn on their shelves.

In all other respects, Peter’s book is an unqualified success in providing the complete reference guide to everything a Bahamas collector will encounter. 

Sample Pages