75p HMS Otranto Cinderella stamp from Islay’s “Remembrance 100” issue of October 2018, used on piece with a clean April 2019 postmark.
Islay is an island (population 3,228) in the Inner Hebrides, approximately 20 miles from the coast of mainland Scotland. It is also 25 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland. Islay is famous for its whisky as well as for being home to many bird species, including wintering geese. Until 1493, Islay was part of the Lordship of the Isles, whose capital was based at Finlaggan Castle.
In November 2017, the island’s first local stamps were issued to commemorate 250 years since the building of the Round Church in the village of Bowmore, and were issued partly to raise money for the Church of Scotland. Four further issues appeared during 2018, and several new sets have been produced each year since. After a pause for most of 2021, an attractive new issue, celebrating Islay Folklore, appeared in January 2022.
The stamps are Cinderellas with no postal function, but are labels designed to accompany standard Royal Mail postage stamps on mail for the UK mainland. Used examples can be found on cover bearing a dated “Bowmore – Bogh Mor” postmark.
Though the stamps are essentially fantasy issues, there is a strong local angle in that they are designed and produced by a former island resident, all relate to aspects of island life, and feature original photographs or artwork.
Past and current issues can be purchased - for the same prices as in our shop - via the Islay Stamps website.