Forerunners – Sinn Fein Stamps of 1907. [093]

There is no doubt as to the purpose for which the Sinn Fein stamps were issued in 1908, or possibly 1907. There is evidence that they aimed at propaganda, recruitment, and the fostering of the Home Rule policy. There were two designs; one design has a central oval, in which , Hibernia, as a young lady, holds a harp. The word “EIRE”, is at top the Irish Wolfhound sits at the bottom. “SINN FEIN” is at both sides, while the arms of the four provinces occupy the four corners of the stamp. (Figure 1). The upper right box has a crown which can be either broad or narrow. Both are known p10 or p11½.

The second stamp (Figures 2 & 3) has a Celtic Cross is the central theme with the word “EIRE” written at the juncture of the arms of the cross. Some Celtic scrollwork, and four large shamrocks, fill the remainder of the design in a simple frame. Three different varieties in color with perforations either 10 or 11½ are known.

Although no value is stated on these stamps, it is certain they were used to collect revenue.

They were extensively advertised in the Irish press of the day giving the names of the agents in the various towns.

These labels were gummed for fastening to envelopes and post cards to be sent through the post. They could not replace the legal postage stamp, but it was intended that they be used in conjunction with them on the address side. The legal stamps in use in Ireland at the time, bore the portrait of the reigning British monarch, Edward VII. From correspondence dealing with the Sinn Fein stamps, we learn that “… the Sinn Feiners made it a rule not to answer letters they get unless they have one of these stamps on them”.

It was not long before the postal authorities took action. An official order appeared on 2nd July, 1908 forbidding this practice. It declared that these stamps were “… used for advertising and other purposes”, and that “… when they are placed on the address side they cause embarrassment to the officers of the Post Office”. The practice had to cease, but in future, these stamps could be used on the reverse side.


“Stamps with an Irish Story”, Rev. Brennan, John, D.F. Newsletter, Vol.2.,No.17, Winter 1974.

Hibernian Handbook and Catalog of the Postage Stamps of Irelan d, Hamilton-Bowen, Roy, 2014.

The Revealer, numerous articles.