Imperforate sheetlet of four stamps from Eynhallow (Holy Island), issued in 1982 and featuring birds: a white-booted pigeon (10p); Arabian vulture (25p); great bustard (40p); and hoopoe (60p). The 40p features a particularly inappropriate spelling mistake!
U/M / Unmounted Mint / MNH / Mint Never Hinged.
You can be forgiven for thinking that Eynhallow is an unlikely stamp-issuing territory, given that the island – located between Mainland and Rousay in Orkney – has been uninhabited since the 1850s. These days, you’re more likely to find birds than humans, and however hard you look you certainly won’t find a post office!
In fact, stamps ‘issued’ by Eynhallow during the 1970s and 80s have a similar story behind them to those of Nagaland, Dhufar and Staffa, among others. Labels from all these territories are essentially bogus stamp issues, produced by the colourful English stamp dealer Clive Feigenbaum for sale to collectors. Feigenbaum, a former chairman of Stanley Gibbons, was expelled from the Philatelic Traders Society (PTS) in 1970 for not making explicit that the labels he was selling were not genuine postage stamps, but he continued to produce ‘stamps’ for all kinds of weird and wonderful places until his death in 2007.
Their lack of postal validity is why stamps from Eynhallow are considered to be Cinderellas. Nevertheless, more than four decades on from their first appearance, Eynhallow issues are a collectable curiosity in their own right – just as long as you know their backstory.