Faroe Islands stamps

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Faroe Islands A group islands between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway.

The Faroe Islands are a constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland.




Scott: #43-4P

Issued: 7.5.1979


#88Inside #43: Denmark #88aO (Pic of #88)

Bisect: stamp cut in half which has been used to pay the postage at half the face value of the original stamp; the bisect should becollected on the original cover with the postmark or cancellation covering the cut. http://www.askphil.org/b25b.htm

#1Inside #44: Faroe Islands #1O

An interesting period in the Faroese history of philately is the time shortly after the First World War, when the Faroese Post Office was forced to use so called provisional-stamps. On 8 December 1918 the Post Office in Tórshavn received a message from Copenhagen about the following increase of postal rates:

         Inland letters on the Faroes up to 250 gran (15 g) from 5 øre to 7 øre

         Postcards to Denmark up to 250 gran (15 g) from 4 øre to 7 øre

The increase in postal rates came into force on 1 January 1919.

Due to unreliable shipping connections, the supply of new 7-øre postage stamps failed to reach the Post Office in Tórshavn before 1st January 1919. When it became apparent that the increase in the postal rates would bring about a heavy demand for stamps amounting to 7 øre, and that the Faroese Post Offices stock of supplementary stamps, 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-øre, would not be sufficient to meet demand, special provisions had to be made. Thus the Post Office in Tórshavn received authorization to bisect the ordinary 4-øre stamps and use the individual halves as 2-øre stamps.

When the stock of 4-øre stamps began to run low, the Post Office was given authorization to overprint the required number of 5-øre stamps and use them as 2-øre stamps. For this purpose a hand stamp was made out of a wooden block bearing the letters "2 ØRE". Part of a chair leg was used as handle, and therefor the stamp was called "The chair leg stamp".



Scott: #148O

Issued: 29.8.1986


Inside #148: Emblem


Scott: #168O

Issued: 16.10.1987


Inside #168: Pseudo Stamp

Scott: #???-?O

Issued: 01.10.2014

40th Anniversary of Faroe Island Stamps

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #112O

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #182O

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #186O

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #290O

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

Scott: #???-?O

Issued: 01.10.2015

Provisional Stamps 1940-41

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #4O

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #6O

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #5O

Inside #???: Faroe Islands #2O

75 years since the Provisional Stamps during WW2 were taken into use

The two World Wars caused many disruptions and disturbances in the Faroe Islands. The Faroes was occupied by British forces and became totally isolated from the Danish Kingdom, the only outside connections being via UK and Iceland. Soon there was scarcity of daily necessities and already in 1939 ration cards were taken into use. Provisional bank notes were introduced as well.

It was also an irony of history that both in 1919 and 1940 the Post Office started having fears of stamp shortage. Postmaster General Johan Danielsen knew well that the situation could arise as it had done in 1919.

It became quite clear to the Postmaster that the stock of current values was hardly sufficient while there was an abundance of other values.

It soon became evident that the prerequisites for getting more stamps to the Faroes were unsatisfactory even though the war started in September 1939 and Denmark was not occupied until April 9th 1940. There were regular postal connections, but during the autumn of 1939 British Authorities ordered the shipping companies DFDS and Bergenske, carrying mail between Denmark and Faroes, to call at Kirkwall en route in order for the mail to be examined, which of course meant censorship. As a consequence in February 1940 the shipping companies declared that they no longer would accept mail on these routes.

Partly due to these difficulties of navigation and bad ice conditions in Skagerrak and Kattegat, the Tórshavn Post Office did not obtain the necessary stamps prior to the occupation of Denmark on the April 9th 1940. On April 13th that year the first 250 British soldiers were sent ashore in the Faroes. Islandsk Falk, arriving in Tórshavn on the 23rd February 1940, was the last vessel to maintain normal postal connections between the Faroes and Denmark until the end of the war.

It did not make life easier for Postmaster Danielsen that Danish High Commissioner Hilbert, perhaps wanting to underscore his position as The Governor, ordered that the new postal tariffs in Denmark be adopted in the Faroes as of 10th July 1940 - this in spite of doubts whether it was at all possibly to supply the Faroes with the new values which meant an increase in the price of an ordinary letter from 15 øre to 20 øre!

Already on April 27th 1940 Postmaster Danielsen had written to the UPU office in Bern requesting that new Danish stamps be sent to Faroes via neutral countries. However, no one knew how this would be possible.

One of the first solutions Mr Danielsen had in mind was a so-called FRANCO PAID hand cancellation with the values of 5 øre, 10 øre and 20 øre. Four sets were produced to be used in Tórshavn, Klaksvík, Tvøroyri and Vágur.

However, Mr Danielsen had a change of mind, not being satisfied with this un- traditional solution. He preferred the well-known solution of 1919 where the post offices whenever necessary made use of over-printed stamps. The FRANCO hand cancellations were temporarily discarded.

The introduction of over-printed stamps

The printer H.N.J Bookstore played an important part when the decision of over-printing the first stamps was taken in the autumn of 1940. Postmaster Danielsen had been taken ill and therefore the acting Postmaster, chief controller Laurits D. Hansen, conducted the operation.

Two sheets of postage stamps, the red 15 øre Karavel were used as sample prints with the value 20 printed over the 15. These sample prints, however, were unsuccessful because the overprinting was hardly visible to the naked eye. Consequently a bar was placed under the value 20 when the stock of 1399 sheets was printed. These stamps were sold for the first time on November 2nd 1940.

Even if some parcels with stamps from Denmark arrived in Faroes via neutral countries after this first overprinting, the list of over-printed stamps during World War II grew longer due to various values being depleted.

The overprinted stamps used in 1940-41 were as follows:

20/15 øre red (AFA203a) 2.11.1940 ..139.900 exemplars

50/5 øre wine red (AFA246) 6.121940...25.000 -

60/6 øre orange yellow (254) 21.12.1940.17.500 -

20/1 øre green black (196a) 2.05.1941..42.500 -

20/5 øre wine red (246)        17.03.1941.70.000 -

In the summer of 1941 the second edition was over-printed:

20/1 øre green black (196) 3.06.19414.000 examplars

60/6 øre orange yellow (254) 11.06.19415.000 -

50/5 øre wine red (246) 23.06.19412.500

There is a difference between the first and second printing; the space between the zeroes in the over-printed stamps is 13 mm. Since the HNJ printers were a traditional book printer many other variations are to be found in all these sheets.


FRANCO PAID taken into use

Early in 1941 both Mr Danielsen and Mr Hilbert realised that the situation was far from satisfactory. In spite of the new overprints other arrangements had to be made. It was even suggested that British stamps be used in the Faroes but instead Postmaster Danielsen and Governor Hilbert agreed to use the FRANCO PAID hand cancellations mentioned earlier! Later the figure 5 was removed so the postal staff could instead write the actual value of the mail.

In a report after the war Postmaster Danielsen wrote that these cancellations were taken into use due to the gravest need.

6 øre stamps sold as 5 øre

A consignment of stamps from Denmark arrived in early June 1941. It came in handy but the lowest value was 8 øre and at the time the Post Office was running out of the 5 øre value. As a consequence something happened in the Torshavn Post Office that may well be termed a world sensation.

Postmaster Danielsen ordered that in the period May 26th - September 8th 1941 no less than 180 sheets of 6 øre stamps be sold for 5 øre each stamp!

Besides a franking machine was ordered from Britain. It did not arrive until 1943 and was not used to any great extent.

Shipments of stamps had now improved and after 1943 there was no need for any special measures to cover the demand for stamps in the Faroes.

It can be added to this story that on the April 5th 1952 Aage Tholl, the well-known Danish stamp collector, who is a devoted admirer of Faroese postal history, sent a request to the Danish post authorities asking whether overprints from 1940-41 still were valid to use. Mr Tholl received an affirmative reply! However, in a letter to the Tórshavn Post Office dated July 2nd 1953 the Postal Administration invalidated the use of overprints which in reality has been a temporary arrangement in the Faroe Islands during the Second World War.

Already then life in the Faroes had returned to normal even if ration cards and shortage of goods persisted until the end of 1952.


Postcard - provisional stamps

Posta has issued a postcard in connection with the 75th jubilee of the provisonal stamps on 2 November 2015. The postcard can also be purchased cancelled with a ordinary day cancellation from 2 November 2015 and franked with one of the franking labels from 2015.

The postcard is a reprint of an old postcard. It depicts Tórshavn around year 1900. Four of the provisional stamps are also shown on the front.

The original postcard was printed and issued by H.N.J. Bookstore in 1906.

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

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