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Lihou 1969 “Farewell to her Majesty’s GPO” Cover with 1966 Youth Project Issue


Illustrated cover featuring the 1966 Lihou Youth Project set on the reverse, produced to mark the last day before Guernsey’s postal independence.

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This interesting illustrated cover features the 1966 Lihou Youth Project set on the reverse, with a 4d Royal Mail Guernsey stamp (SG 11, from 1958) on the front.

The illustration on the front of the cover includes the line “Farewell to her Majesty’s G.P.O”, to mark the last day before Guernsey’s postal independence, at which point Lihou and the other smaller islands in the Bailiwick were no longer allowed to issue their own local stamps. Both the Royal Mail and Lihou stamps feature a “30 Sep 1969” postmark.

About Lihou

Part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Lihou is a small island, just 15.6 hectares in size, that is rich in marine and birdlife and accessed by a tidal causeway off the west coast of Guernsey itself.

Lihou has been owned by the States of Guernsey since 1995, who now manage the island and guarantee access to Guernsey residents and visitors. Lihou House, the only building on the island in active use, is managed by Lihou Charitable Trust as accommodation for school, youth and other groups.

Compared to other Channel Islands, such as Herm or Jethou, Lihou's stamp-issuing history was relatively short. During the tenancy of Lt Col Patrick Wootton, a set of five stamps, plus a souvenir sheet, was issued on 18 July 1966 as a means of raising funds for the Lihou Youth Project, a Christian project intended to "encourage young men and women to take a real interest in country pursuits and scientific activities", and, it appears, to pay for mail posted on Lihou to be ferried privately to the GPO sorting office on Guernsey.

No further original Lihou stamps were produced, though the island proprietor authorised a 1967 overprinted set to mark the SS Torrey Canyon oil spill disaster, which had polluted the rocks and beaches of Lihou.

Islands within the Bailiwick were no longer permitted to produce their own local stamps once Guernsey gained its postal independence on 1 October 1969, an occasion that Lihou marked with a "Big Brother takes over!" last-day cover on 30 September. However, Lihou stamps can be found with values overprinted in decimal currency, for use during the 1971 UK postal strike.

Lihou stamps bearing overprints for much more recent events - such as the 2010 engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton - are presumably entirely unofficial. Similarly, labels inscribed Lihou that date from 2012 and after also appear to be unofficial fantasy issues.


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