First day cover for 1978 Summer Isles set issued to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the Queen’s Coronation, featuring four stamps in 5p, 10p, 15p and 25p denominations.
The front of the FDC features an image of the Queen, alongside the stamps cancelled with a red “Tanera Wester Ross Scotland” postmark. Inside is a card insert featuring interesting information about the issue.
The reverse of the cover features the Great Britain 25th Anniversary of the Coronation set (SG 1059-62), cancelled with a “First Day of Issue – 31 May 1978 – Inverness” postmark, alongside the wording “The Silver Jubilee of the Queen’s Coronation – Summer Isles, Wester Ross, Scotland – Cover No. 2”.
The cover is in good condition, with just some minor yellowing around the edges reflective of its age.
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.