First day cover (FDC) for the hard-to-find 2011 Summer Isles issue, featuring four se-tenant stamps (30sg, 35sg, 60sg, 1PS) commemorating the “Island Farm” set up by Sir Frank Fraser Darling in 1939.
The front of the FDC features the four stamps cancelled with blue and black “5 May 2011” handstamps, alongside a Royal Mail Scottish regional definitive.
The reverse side of the cover is blank except for the same black handstamp used on the front, and a handwritten caption “43/150”, presumably marking this cover as a numbered limited edition.
The cover is in excellent condition.
About the Summer Isles
Unlike a lot of the labels that purport to come from islands off the coast of Britain, Summer Isles stamps have always performed a genuine local postal function.
On 1 September 1970, due to the lack of an official postal service to and from the largest and only inhabited island, Tanera Mòr, the Summer Isles Estate was permitted to launch a private, year-round mail service to and from the mainland at Achiltibuie.
Attractive stamps were issued until 1986, before the service fell dormant until its relaunch under new ownership in 1996. The first new issue in three years - and seemingly the most recent issue to date - was produced in 2016, celebrating "Island Music". Mail posted on the island has always had to bear both a Summer Isles stamp (for transportation to the mainland) and a Royal Mail stamp (for its onward journey).
After several years on the market, the island of Tanera Mòr was purchased by businessman Ian Wace in 2017, and is (as of 2022) still undergoing a programme of restoration that will see it "become an idyllic retreat capable of hosting up to 60 paying guests". We understand that a new post office has been built, but will not be operational again until the six-year renovation of the island is complete.