Botanical Stamps

A selection collected by my parents, grandfather and me.
One way for a child to learn about plants and places…and a bit of botanical latin too.

There’s just one from my grandfather’s collection: Cattleya skinneri, an orchid. Stamps of his era hadn’t tapped into the profitable collectors’ market. There are more from my father’s collection which he started in 1931. These two collections span the peak and close of the colonial era, useful for understanding politics and nationalism. There are also some beautiful first day issues sent to me by my mother, something that she has done all my life.

The selection includes exotic fruit, important vegetables and popular garden flowers. There’s various agricultural operations, such as spraying pineapples, world cultural events, like International Rice Year (1966) and unusual plants, such as rare ferns of the Channel Islands and seaweeds of the Falkland Islands.

In my teens I started seeking out stamps illustrated by botanical artists, such as Dick Findlay’s works on native plants and landscapes of South Africa and Namibia. I also collected botanical oddities, such as Wormskioldia longipedunculata (Turneraceae).

Two stamp design companies, Courvoisier of Switzerland (click on this link for Swiss stamp makers and scroll down), and Harrison & Sons of Hayes, (English stamp makers) were commissioned to produce stamps for many countries for a long time – many of their stamps are included.

Lastly, there’s some of my favourite wild flowers, including Kangaroo Paw, Persian Cyclamen and Tea Rose, stamps which simply give me pleasure each time I look at them.


Jerry Coleby-Williams