Postally used examples of Caldey stamps can be obtained relatively easily, but undamaged mint copies are surprisingly hard to find.
However, we are pleased to have recently acquired a large amount of new mint stock, and can therefore offer this nice collection of classic Caldey stamps at a discounted price (one-third off) compared to buying them all individually from our store. The stamps you will receive are:
- Caldey Island 2001 Lighthouse Issue (2 Dabs, U/M) – usually £2.50
- Caldey Island 1982 Abbey Church (2 Dabs, U/M) – usually £2.50
- Caldey Island 1980 Caldey Abbey (2 Dabs, U/M) – usually £2.50
- Caldey Island 1976 St Illtud’s Church (2 Dabs, U/M) – usually £2.00
To be clear, all these stamps are in U/M (unmounted mint / MNH / mint never hinged) condition, with their original gum – you are NOT buying the commonly found presentation set, where the apparently mint stamps are in fact stuck to a black background.
About Caldey Island
Located a few miles off the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales, Caldey Island has been owned by the Cistercian Order of monks since 1925. The first Cistercians took up residence on the island four years later, and continue their work there to this day, though Caldey’s history of monasticism goes back much further, to the 12th century.
Starting in 1973, Caldey began issuing its own attractive souvenir stamps, denominated in “dabs” after a local fish. Available from the island’s gift shop, these stamps were intended to be used on postcards sent from the island by its regular day visitors, alongside a British stamp, and cancelled with a special Caldey Island handstamp. The island has its own British Post Office branch, so the Caldey stamps have always been for novelty value, rather than serving a local post requirement.
A little effort is needed to piece together the exact chronology of Caldey stamp issues, but the first, issued on 1 May 1973, was a blue and black stamp depicting the Monastery Church, designed by local Tenby artist Claude A Page and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson and Co.
Subsequent issues featured St David’s Church (15 August 1974, red and black), St Illtud’s Church (21 June 1976, yellow and green), Caldey Abbey (January 1980, gold and black, marking the 1979 golden jubilee of the monks’ arrival on Caldey), and the Abbey Church (1982, blue and black). All were denominated “2 dabs”.
In 2001, a new red and black stamp depicting Caldey Lighthouse was produced (again with a 2 dabs denomination).
On 27 September 2018, the first new Caldey stamps in 17 years were issued. The “Island Wildlife” set features three self-adhesive stamps, recalling the style of the earlier designs and depicting a black swan, red squirrel and gypsy cobs respectively.
You can read more about the postal history of Caldey Island – and see pictures of all the previous issues – in our blog post here.