Collectable and rarely seen postcard, featuring the first ever Shuna local stamp, which was issued in 1949 and shows a map of the island.
The stamp is cancelled with a “Shuna” postmark, bearing the date “2 Nov 1949” (not the first day of issue – that was 11 October).
On the other side, the cover is addressed to a residence in Ohio, USA. It bears a 1d King George VI stamp for onward postage via the Royal Mail system, cancelled with an Oban “2 No 49” postmark.
The postcard shown in the scans is the exact one that you will receive. It is in generally very good condition, with just a few very minor scuffs and knocks befitting its age and journey through the post.
Located 20 miles south of Oban, off the coast of Arduaine, the island of Shuna is about three miles long and one and a half miles wide. There is only a handful of permanent residents, but a steady flow of visitors who travel there to enjoy the six available holiday cottages. It's not to be confused with another Shuna island in Argyll & Bute, off the coast of Port Appin.
Only two Shuna stamps were ever issued, but they are quite unusual in both dating from the reign of King George VI. Though Lundy and some of the smaller Channel Islands were producing issues at this time, Shuna appears to be the first Scottish island to have created its own local stamps.
The first stamp, printed in mauve and with a 2d denomination, was released on 11 October 1949. It was designed by Lady Selby, whose family then owned the island, and reportedly intended "as a collector's item".
In 1950, it was followed by a second stamp of similar design, but this time in blue and sold for £2. This particular stamp also bore the overprint, in red, "Special Boat Run". Rushstamps explains that "the reason for high value being charged for this item [was] a fee for specially chartering a boat in conjunction with carrying important letters to the mainland in time to catch the mail; in other words, after the normal boat had left", while another source indicates that the labels were simply "used to defray island expenses".
Either way, a few used examples do exist, affixed to the back of covers that bear normal British stamps on the front, as well as some first day covers. It is not entirely clear, however, why no further Shuna issues were produced after 1950.