Easdale Island 1996 Year of the Rat (8p x5, U/M)


Se-tenant strip of five 8p Easdale Island stamps, issued to mark the Year of the Rat in 1996.

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Se-tenant strip of five 8p Easdale Island stamps, issued to mark the Year of the Rat in 1996.

Please note that the sheets (of 25) containing this issue were printed so that the order in which the various coloured stamps appear varies from one row to another. The five stamps you receive may therefore appear in a different order within the strip to that illustrated above.

U/M / Unmounted Mint / MNH / Mint Never Hinged.

About Easdale Island

Easdale is a small carfree island located in Scotland's Firth of Lorn about 15 miles south of Oban, and is linked to the village of Ellenabeich, on the much larger island of Seil, via a five-minute passenger ferry crossing. Seil itself is connected to the Scottish mainland by the humpbacked Clachan Bridge, or "Bridge over the Atlantic".

The island group of which Easdale is a part - the Slate Islands - gives a strong clue to its industrial history. Easdale was the centre of Scotland's slate industry for nearly three centuries, with the final slate being cut in the 1950s. After a period in the 1960s where its population dwindled to single figures, Easdale is now once again home to a vibrant and growing community of nearly 60 permanent residents, and boasts facilities including a folk museum, pub, community hall, and a range of holiday lets. Nevertheless, the remarkable slate industry legacy is still visible everywhere on the island: in the beautifully restored whitewashed slate workers' cottages; in the former quarries that now form tranquil pools and are havens for wildlife; and in the slate that lies underfoot on the paths and beaches.

The first Easdale Cinderella stamps appeared in 1988 (not 1990, as some catalogues suggest), with a very attractive issue depicting flora and fauna. Professionally printed by Format International Security Printers Ltd, and with designs that referenced the island, this was a much higher quality issue than most of those that followed. Subsequent Easdale stamps, issued until 2009, veered off into rather more random subjects - such as Princess Diana, Sachin Tendulkar, the FA Cup, and Susan Boyle.

Easdale's stamps are understood to be the work of Clive Feigenbaum - who had previously created issues in the 1970s and 1980s for Staffa, Eynhallow and elsewhere - and who owned much of the island at that time. As with those issues, Easdale's stamps are purely fantasy issues, with no local postal function.

Today, the Easdale Island website reports that Feigenbaum's son, Jonathan, still owns the parts of the island not occupied by housing, with residents generally owning the freeholds to their own properties.


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