First day of issue postcard for the 1985 “Balloon Flight” Lundy issue. The stamp (listed in Jon Aitchison’s Lundy catalogue as number 268), features the red overprint “1st BALLOON FLIGHT FROM LUNDY – 1985” on the previous 20p puffin bust definitive from 1974.
Alongside the Lundy stamp, cancelled with a “June 19 1985” handstamp, the postcard features the heading “First Balloon Post from Lundy”, along with a picture of the island’s Millcombe Valley, and technical details of the flight itself.
The address side includes a “Greetings from Lundy” illustration, and a Royal Mail 13p stamp bearing a 20 June 1985 Bideford postmark.
Please note that each postcard has some everyday wear and tear from having been sent through the post from Lundy to an address in Berkshire, and there is also a little discoloration where the adhesive from the Lundy and Royal Mail stamps appears to have soaked through over the years.
Lundy is an island in the Bristol Channel, whose stamps are among the longest-established and most sought-after local issues.
Unlike many labels that bear the name of British offshore islands - such as Eynhallow or Staffa - Lundy's stamps have always performed a genuine local postal function. When the British General Post Office withdrew its services from the island in 1928, the then-owner Martin Coles Harman introduced the first Lundy stamps in 1929 to cover the cost of carrying mail to the mainland.
To avoid confusion, Lundy stamps initially had to be fixed to the reverse of any postal items. From 1962, Lundy stamps were allowed were allowed to be affixed to the address side of postcards - but still well away from the 'official' British stamp - with this policy extended to all mail in 1992. These days, mail from the island only requires a Lundy stamp, which now incorporates the Royal Mail charge alongside the extra "puffinage".
Since 1969, Lundy has been owned by the National Trust, and financed, administered and maintained by the Landmark Trust, who continue to issue Lundy stamps. As of 2022, over 400 Lundy stamps have now been produced over the past nine decades, and 40,000 items of mail are sent annually. You can read more about the Lundy postal service on the Landmark Trust website.