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The Irish Connection  --:
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The first stamps were printed in sheets of 240 stamps in 20 rows of 12 and had to be individually cut with a scissors. It was, in fact, an Irishman, Henry Archer from Dublin, who invented the perforating machine. It came into operation in 1850 and could perforate 3,000 sheets of stamps per hour.                                                                                  In order to ensure that stamps were not re-used, some sort of cancellation was required. The chosen cancel was known as a Maltese cross. Because of the difficulty in distinguishing the cancellation against the black stamp background, the ‘Penny Red' replaced the 'Penny Black' in 1841 and the red ink for cancelling was replaced by the now familiar black ink.

The Irish Post Office --:

saor1.GIF (10040 bytes)From 1814 until Irish Independence in 1922, British stamps continued to be used in Ireland. When the Anglo- Irish Treaty was signed in London on 6th. December 1921 the Irish free State was established, consisting of twenty -six counties. On February 8th. 1922 the Dublin General Post Office announced that , pending the issue of specially designed Irish stamps, British stamps would be over printed for use in Ireland. British stamps were overprinted right up until 1937 with the words ‘Saorstat Eireann’(The Irish Free State) and ‘Rialtas Sealadach na hEireann 1922’(The Provisional Government of Ireland 1922).

definit2.gif (18812 bytes)The first truly Irish stamp went on sale on 6th December 1922, the 2d Map of Ireland. It was chosen following a design competition organised by the Provisional Government. J. Ingram submitted the winning entry. The other design of these early issues included "The Sword of Light", The Arms of the Four Provinces of Ireland", and the "Cross of Cong", seen here on the left.The dies for these stamps were engraved at the Royal Mint in London and a specially watermarked paper was made with an overall pattern of monogram "SE"(Saorstat Eireann) which was used for all Irish stamps until the introduction of the new Irish Constitution in 1937, after which the monogram in the watermark was changed to "e" (Eire). after 1971 all Irish stamps have been printed on unwatermarked paper

The first series of Irish Definitive Stamps i.e. stamps that are on permanent sale, were in use up until 1968, when they were replaced by a set of stamps featuring four designs based on motifs from early Irish Christian Art. These were the winning entries in the 1966 International Design Competition won by Heinrich Gerl of Germany.

Further series introduced in 1982 and 1990 featuring Irish Architecture and Irish Heritage Treasures.
We did a project on the current set of definitives on "Irish Birds" and can be viewed by clicking here

As well as selling permanent sale or definitive stamps, each year the post office issues stamps recognising famous people, events, etc. They are known as special and commemorative stamps. The first such Irish commemorative stamp was issued in 1929 to coincide with the Centenary of Catholic Emancipation.

Since then the Irish Post Office has issued special and commemorative stamps on a wide variety of subjects covering every aspect of Irish life, culture and history.These stamps which also include regular issues on Christmas, Fauna & Flora are one of the most interesting aspects of stamp collecting. New stamps go on sale, on average, eight times a year and collectors should look out for the latest issues to add to their collections.

For further details go to Voyager Stamp Club on this site.

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