Tristan da Cunha stamps

P=have O=don’t have it

Flag of Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha is a group of remote islands in the South Atlantic Ocean and also the name of its main island. The other major islands of the group include Inaccessible Island and the Nightingale Islands. Tristan da Cunha, together with the Gough Island, which is located 395 km away from the group, is a dependency of St. Helena, from which it is 2,000 km distant. In 1961, a volcanic eruption on the island resulted in the bulk of the population (a few hundred people) being evacuated to Britain, though most have since returned. It is extremely difficult to access the island, due to both its remoteness (the island is one of the most isolated in the world) and the fact that the island is surrounded by cliffs over 600 meters (2000 feet) high.


Scott: #153-6O

Issued: 1.6.1971

50th Anniversary, Shackleton - Rowett south Atlantic Expedition

#167a Inside #155: G.B. #167aO


Scott: #206-8P

Issued: 27.5.1976

Festival of Stamps

#1 Inside #206: Tristan da Cunha #1O

#13 Inside #207: Tristan da Cunha #13O

Scott: #260-2P

Issued: 27.8.1979

Death Centenary of Sir Rowland Hill

#12 Inside #260: Tristan da Cunha #12O

#26 Inside #261: Tristan da Cunha #26O

Overprints on St.Helena stamps 13v Inside #262: Tristan da Cunha #58O

Thanks to Jan Van Lin for the scan


Scott: #263P

Local Inside #263: Local Potato Stamp


Scott: #348-51P

Issued: 3.1.1984

St. Helena Colony Sesquicentenary

#7 Inside #348: Tristan da Cunha #7O

#9 Inside #349: Tristan da Cunha #9O

#10 Inside #350: Tristan da Cunha #10O

#12 Inside #351: Tristan da Cunha #12O


Scott: #663O

Issued: 22.5.2000

Stamp Show 2000 Exhibition

#1 LJ Inside #663: In margin of sheet (in show logo) : G.B #1



Scott: #701-4O

Issued: 1.1.2002

50th Stamps Anniversary


Inside #701-5: Tristan da Cunha #1-12O


Scott: #705O

Scott: #789O

Issued: 1.6.2006

500th Anniversary Celebration (Part 3)

Local Inside #789: Local Potato Stamp

The first Potato stamp 1946 – designed by Allan Crawford

#5 Inside #789: Tristan da Cunha #5O




Scott: #844-9O

Issued: 1.8.2008

Alan B. Crawford

Local Inside #845: Local Potato Stamp (1946)


Scott: #901O

Issued: 08.05.2010

King George V Centenary

#159 Inside #901: G.B #159P

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

Scott: #???O

Issued: 10.10.2010

Volcanos Pt 1, 50th Anniversary Volcano Eruption and Island Evacuation

 Inside #???: Tristan da Cunha #46O

 Inside #???: Tristan da Cunha #48O

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

The 'Potato Essays' petition for postage stamps

Scott: #1038O

Issued: 08.04.2015

The 'Potato Essays' - A Petition for Postage Stamps / London 2015

Inside #1038a-i: Local Potato Stamp (1946)

 Inside #1038j: Tristan da Cunha #1-3O

#1 LJ Inside #1038 (in show logo) : G.B #1

The 'Potato Essays' petition for postage stamps: First day cover 

The 'Potato Essays' petition for postage stamps: First day cover


Allan Crawford first went to Tristan da Cunha in 1937 when he joined the Norwegian Scientific Expedition whilst on a trip from Southampton to South Africa.

On later visits to the island as a meteorologist he realized there was a demand for stamps from philatelists and passing ships from the so called Loneliest Inhabited Island in the world. So he decided to develop and produce a stamp or "sticker" for the islanders to place on the outside of their letters. Due to the fact he had little work to do in the peace time weather headquarters he enlisted the help of the departments draughtsman Sgt. Jimmy Brown and they worked together to produce some rough designs. As they did not have permission to use the King George head on them they used the British Union Flag. The islanders also had no money so would not be able to purchase them. They had however during WW2 used potatoes as currency with 4 potatoes equalling 1 old penny (1d) so this currency was added to the designs.

They came up with 9 designs and Allan had 20,000 penny sheets made, each stamp depicted a penguin and its value was 4 potatoes printed in red in sheets of 35 stamps by Hortors Ltd of Johannesburg. The stamp/sticker soon achieved fame as a souvenir from passing ships and collectors throughout the world and was nicknamed the potato stamp.

It also became a misconception that as they were called potato stamps they were produced using a cut potato like children at schools did to make patterns.

The 9 designs in black and white were used later in 1946 as part of a petition for stamps for Tristan da Cunha which was submitted to the UK Postmaster General for consideration as a legitimate postage stamp. The petition for stamps however was refused and it wasn't until 1952 that overprinted Tristan da Cunha on St Helena definitive stamps were used as the islands first postage stamps.

This 2015 stamp sheetlet has been produced using Allan Crawford's black and white designs submitted as part of the petition together with Tristan's first official stamp, the overprinted St Helena definitive. The border of the 2015 sheetlet depicts some of Allan Crawford's early designs. The issue is designed to align with the 175th Anniversary of the Penny Black and launched at the Europhilex Stamp Exhibition London 2015.

Allan Crawford went on to design many stamps for Tristan and was awarded an MBE in 2002 for services to the island.

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

Scott: #????O

Issued: 12.03.2018

70th Anniversary of The Tristan Venture

 Inside #????: Tristan da Cunha #14

Scott: #????O

Thanks to Komlóssy Zoltán

Best website related:

The Tristan da Cunha Website