1980 set of eight stamps from Gairsay, depicting paintings from the Tombs of Thebes in Egypt.
Though the stamps are inscribed “Gairsay Islands”, Gairsay is, in fact, a single small island.
Cancelled-to-order (CTO) condition (see our glossary page for an explanation of what CTO means).
Gairsay is a small island in Orkney, around two miles long and one mile wide, which currently has a population of three people after a period of being uninhabited in the 1960s.
Various well-produced labels bearing the Gairsay name appeared between 1980 and 1996, many featuring themes likely to appeal to stamp collectors such as football, royalty and, bizarrely, Coronation Street.
Information about the origin of these issues is scarce, but their typical similarity in size, quality and topic to issues from Bernera and Easdale - which are known to be the work of Clive Feigenbaum, and often bear his Philatelic Leasing Ltd imprint in the sheet margins - suggest that Gairsay stamps, too, are the work of the controversial businessman, who died in 2007.
Needless to say, these are fantasy issues rather than genuine local stamps, given that they are not thought to have ever served any actual postal function.