Regional Stamps – Northern Ireland. [155]

Starting in 1958 and continuing through 1969, regional stamps were printed with a picture of the Queen along with border artwork indicative of the region. (Figure 1, 2, and 3). The purpose was to show solidarity with the new Queen. These stamps were in three basic designs used on eleven stamps. Figure 1 shows the design used for the 1’/3d and 1’/6d stamps. The design in Figure 2 was used for the 6d and 9d, while the design in Figure 3 was used used for the 3d, 4d, and 5d in several colors.

These were replaced by the regional Machin head stamps with the artwork by Andrew Machin 1971-2000. (See page on REGIONAL MACHINS).

In 2001, new designs appeared with various designs of local interest, such as the hexagonal rocks in Giant’s Causeway Second class), an aerial view of green farm fields (first class), linen designs (Mail within the Euro Zone), and china patterns (Mail to the rest of the world). These stamps come noth as gummed and self-adhesive, and several perforation types. (Figures 4, 5, 6, and 7).

In all cases, these regional stamps are valid for postage throughout the UK, although they are sold only in their home areas. A challenging collection could be to find the stamps used with related cancels, i.e., the Giant’s Causeway stamp with a cancel from the tourist office there.

This is an area to watch with the announced British exit from the Common Market. Will this result in an expansion or a contraction of regional stamps? Will Northern Ireland become a more independent entity? To unite Britain? To unite with the Irish Republic?