On Tuesday October 17th2023, Banbury Stamp Society members welcomed Julian Luke who gave a presentation on the Seychelles.
The Seychelles lie in the Indian Ocean, ‘a thousand miles from anywhere’. They were claimed in 1756 by the French who settled there with administration from Mauritius. In the Napoleonic wars the islands surrendered to Britain a number of times – as soon as the ships left, the French flag was raised again. Up to 1861 mail was carried by favour on passing ships, after which a post office was established. The earliest known cover is from 1863 with Mauritius stamps and the ‘B64’ obliterator assigned by London.
From 1878 Mauritius tied its currency to the Indian Rupee and this resulted in a range of local surcharges.
1888 saw Seychelles become an independent administration and issue its first stamps in 1890. The mail contract was won by a French line and so mail from this period carried French routing marks. We saw an example of a cover that caught the wrong boat and so went to Australia before heading back to Europe, adding 30 days to the delivery time. New stamps were issued for Edward VII, and speculators bought all of the stock of 3c values leading to a range of surcharges – Victoria stamps were still available for this up to 1907.
We continued with Commonwealth and local pictorial issues right up to independence in 1976. A coup soon after meant that the stamp order had to be cancelled and redesigned to remove the deposed president’s face.
The next presentation will be ‘The Royal Mail 1840-1880’ on Tuesday November 7th 2023, starting at 6:30pm with a stamp sale, at the Hanwell Fields Community Centre. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.