Isle of Man Stamps & Coins commemorates the Battle of Clontarf, a turning point in Irish history

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins is pleased to present a set of six stamps to mark the millennium anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf. Due for release on April 15th, this commemorative sheet brings the historic events to life through the dynamic paintings of Victor Ambrus and evocative text from Dr Howie Firth, one thousand years after the great battle.

The Battle of Clontarf was fought outside Dublin on Good Friday, 23rd April 1041 and marked a turning point in the history of Ireland, stemming the power of the Norse and Danes.

In the text that accompanies the sheet, Howie provides a short but detailed narrative account of the dramatic events leading up to the demise of King Brian Boru and the conquest of his armies and territories in Munster.

Howie’s narrative also includes select quotes and insights from expert chroniclers of the period and their accounts refer to King Brian Boru as a hero figure that brought years of peace, stability, commerce and learning to 11th century Ireland.

The stamps use six different renderings that are representative of war. The images created using watercolour and ink capture the stark brutality and ferocity of war and colour is applied in a bold and brash manner. Images are action led and show different scenes, various scenes from the battle as well as individual profiles including Brodir the Warrior and the portrait of the Earl Sigurd’s mother Eithne.

Commenting on the stamps Dr Howie Firth said: “It’s tremendous that the Isle of Man Post Office is marking the 1000th anniversary of an event that has resonated through the centuries in stories and sagas. The battle affected the lives of so many people and communities, from Ireland and Man to Orkney and Iceland. The sea route from Norway down through the Irish Sea and on the Mediterranean was one of the great trading highways of Europe at the time, and the Isle of Man was part of the complex mix of commerce and politics.

The stamps are beautiful, capturing the swirl of the battle when the two armies clashed on the land between the Liffey and the Tolka on Good Friday 1014. It’s good to think of the shared appreciation in art and story bringing people together to remember those who lived and died at Clontarf.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager, Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said: “Victor Ambrus has produced some amazing images that capture crucial events in the thousand year old shared history of the Isle of Man, Ireland and the Orkney Isles. The Battle of Clontarf is a key event in history that has shaped the future of Ireland and of course the Isle of Man. These stamps pay a great tribute to the memory of the battle and King Brian Boru. We are very pleased to be able to offer our collectors such an important piece of history.”

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins and the Red Arrows celebrate the 50th display season with a set of six stamps

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins is pleased to present a set of six stamps celebrating the 50th display season of the Red Arrows. Due for release on February 19th, the celebratory anniversary pack comes complete with six stamps that depict the speed, agility and precision of the world-famous Red Arrows synchronised acrobatics team.

The Red Arrows is the public face of the Royal Air Force and have thrilled thousands of fans and spectators with displays around the globe, including the Isle of Man. The team is a core part of the Royal Air Force and its pilots have previous combat experience in various theatres across the world.  Each individual both male and female contributes to maintain the team’s position and it’s a world leader in its class. To date the team has performed over 4500 displays worldwide in 55 countries.

The stamps depict the Red Arrows squadron in its signature formations around the world including its trade mark diamond nine formation and show the famous red, white and blue smoke trails left behind.

This postal tribute created in association with the Ministry of Defence offers high definition photography with vibrant images and a high quality finish to create a fitting celebration of the Red Arrows 50th display season.

Maxine Cannon, General Manager Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said: “The stamps look fantastic and frame the images of the planes perfectly. We are delighted to be able help the Red Arrows celebrate its landmark 50th display season with this commemorative set and to be able to add these to our portfolio of stamp collections.”

Squadron Leader Jim Turner, Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, said: “The stamps beautifully capture the images of the jets, the sky and the countless audiences who have enjoyed the displays performed by the team around the world.

“Those pictures used in the design of the stamps demonstrate speed, precision and dedication – which are not just hallmarks of the Red Arrows but also of the Royal Air Force as a whole.

“The stamps also help celebrate what will be a very special 2014 for the Team – our 50th display season.

“This is a milestone moment for a Team that represents the United Kingdom, the values of the Royal Air Force and helps promote British industry.”

He added: “We are impressed with the way Isle of Man Stamps and Coins have presented the pictures of the jets and the aerobatics.

“The Isle of Man has often been a date in our display calendar, involving the TT celebrations, and is an event we look forward to.

“We hope people will share our pride and enjoyment when you watch us perform during 2014 and we would like to thank you for your continued, and valued, support.”

To view the Red Arrows stamps and to pre-order please click here

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins forges link with Panama Canal to mark Centenary

Isle of Man Post Office has produced a miniature sheet that marks the Centenary of the Panama Canal, the incredible feats of the civil engineers tasked with its creation and a series of achievements exemplified by the passage of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth through the world famous waterway. The sheet is due for launch on 8th of August.

The construction of the Panama Canal was first officially authorised by the Spanish Government in 1819, however it’s commencement was stalled for some time whilst a number of surveys were undertaken, one of which by Manxman William Kennish, born in Cornaa in 1799 and recognised by The Society of Arts and Commerce as a notable engineer, explorer, inventor, scientist and poet.

Following a number of setbacks, the project was eventually completed by the US Government and the Canal was officially opened on 15th August 1914 with the passage of the cargo ship SS Ancon. Since then, the Panama Canal has averaged 14,000 ships per year, representing 5% of the world’s shipping industry, and continues to be regarded as one of the world’s busiest waterways. In 2014, we mark 100 years since the first ship sailed its entire length.

Panama will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary by different events throughout the year. These events will focus on the aspects that have led to its international status as well Panama’s future. Last but not least Panama celebrates the Canal through its generous and necessary Canal extension, referred to as the ‘Third Set of Locks’, which is currently in progress and set to double the capacity of the Canal by 2015 by creating a new lane and allowing more and larger ships to transit.

The miniature sheet consists of a collage of images associated with the Canal’s Centenary celebrations; it includes a visual of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth passing through the world famous Panama waterway, with Cunard also celebrating next year the 175th Anniversary of its first ship Britannia setting sail in July 1840.The image also includes a map of the Canal and a high definition photo of Manxman William Kennish.

William P. McLaughlin, Past President/Historian of Panama Canal Society said: “It was a very pleasant surprise when the Panama Canal Society was contacted by Maxine Cannon of the Isle of Man Stamps and Coins informing us of the wonderful tribute they have done in commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal.  The Panama Canal Society was founded on July 24, 1932 by a group of former employees of the Panama Canal who wanted a means to keep in contact with each other.  The Panama Canal Society has been going strong all these years with over 2,000 members who were born, lived and worked in Panama for the Panama Canal.  Our motto is “To preserve American Ideals and Canal Zone Friendships”.  The Panama Canal was one of the United States greatest engineering accomplishments but this fame is slowly disappearing with newer generations.  We are honoured that the Isle of Man still recognises the importance of the Panama Canal by commemorating the 100th Anniversary.  It is also a great to know of Manxman William Kennish and his part in making the Panama Canal reality so long ago. The visionaries of that era are to be commended to have the vision of the great Panama Canal which still operates for the world all these years later in time.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said: “The Panama Canal is a remarkable project and considered one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Modern World’. On the Centenary of its first passage we are delighted to present our miniature sheet which marks the occasion. A number of challenges were faced during the Canal’s development which stalled its progress, and yet through the perseverance of its workforce, celebrated liners such as Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth now use it every year. We would like to thank our supporters Cunard for their assistance and congratulate them on their 175th Anniversary in 2015.”

An Ace playing cards stamp issue from Isle of Man Stamps & Coins

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins has another ace up its sleeve with its latest collectors stamp issue this time based upon the history of Manx themed playing cards. Due for release on the 8th of August, this issue features six fascinating, full colour stamps.

The history of playing cards is one of mystery and intrigue. Believed to have originated from China as far back as 1294 before arriving in Southern Europe by the late 1300s, and spreading quickly by trade and colonialism where they adapted to different cultures in which they found themselves. Indeed it is believed that the core elements of the decks and suits that we have today originated in the 15th Century from the red and black colour scheme of France during that period.

By the late 19th century the Isle of Man had developed into a popular tourist destination drawing visitors from across England. As the demand for the sale of novelty goods grew with holiday makers wishing to commemorate their trip, Warrington businessman, Samuel Webb, saw this opportunity and opened his first shop in Duke Street Douglas. He then commissioned a set of playing cards featuring iconic Manx elements as a souvenir for tourists and authorised London based designers and printers Charles Goodall and Sons to produce the first set. Over the next 57 years they with other companies, produced approximately 30 different designs leaving a unique legacy in playing cards history which has been beautifully commemorated into this collector’s issue.

The six stamps incorporate select images from local expert Mike Goodall’s exceptional collection. A descendant of Charles Goodall, Mike has worked closely with Isle of Man Stamps and Coins to provide access to and collate six of the most iconic in his extensive catalogue, and which also reflect the changing printing techniques of the era from engravings through to photography and ink. Each scene depicted, including Bradda Head and Peel Castle to the Laxey Wheel and the Groudle Wheel, is set against a vibrant background which corresponds to the rear of the original card, giving a complete representation with every unique stamp.

Mike Goodall collector said: “I was delighted when I was approached by the Isle of Man Post Office for help with their proposed issue of a set of stamps featuring Isle of Man souvenir playing cards with scenic views of the Island, These cards were published in the second half of the 19th century, some of the first of this type to be produced worldwide; several of the packs selected for use were designed and printed by my family’s old company, Charles Goodall and Son of London. The designers are to be congratulated in having produced a gorgeous and elegant set of stamps with the Isle of Man views clearly recognisable in such a small space.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps & Coins said: “We would like to thank Mike Goodall for his expert assistance and generous access to his exceptional collection which marks an important and unique addition to our collector’s portfolio. This is a rare opportunity to own a collection which captures forgotten moments in Manx tourism history, from surviving architecture to lost landscapes.”

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day with a stunning stamp issue

To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day Isle of Man Stamps and Coins is pleased to present a striking set of six stamps, commemorative sheet and limited edition folder, produced in support of the Royal British Legion and The Normandy Veterans Association. This emotive issue is due for release on the 8th of May to commemorate the 6th of June 1944, the day in which D-Day took place.

The allied invasion of the Normandy beaches on 6th June 1944 was the largest amphibious assault ever and one of the most heroic, audacious and significant battles of World War II (WWII). Known as Operation Overlord, the invasion involved nine army divisions in the initial attack with the support of over 7000 ships and 11000 aircraft. More than 75000 British and Canadian troops, and 57000 US troops landed on the beaches, with a further 24000 landing by air. The beaches known by their Overlord code-names, Sword, Gold and Juno in the East, the site of the British and Canadian landings, and Omaha and Utah to the West, where American forces were concentrated.

In the text that accompanies the stamps Manxman Hector Duff provides a very detailed and personal account of his memories of Operation Overlord, and the unexpected resistance as the allies tried to push into France and force the Germans back into their own country.

Hector’s story of events, chronicled by Colonel Charles Wilson of the Isle of Man Cadet Force describes how he looked at D-Day as a crossroads between the long war already fought and the final push which was at the end of WWII. His account builds a clear picture of the events that unfolded on the day, from the rough Channel crossing in the Landing Craft Tanks, to the realisation of the hundreds and hundreds of vessels surrounding them and his discomfort at the heavy firing and amount of infantry dead on the beach and in the water from the initial waves.

The set of six stamps in the issue feature original black and white prints of photos from the infamous beach landings up until the liberation of Europe. In addition, a commemorative sheet that incorporates stamps from the 50th, 60th and 70th D-Day Anniversaries has been included and a limited edition folder is also available, from which £2.50 of each sale will go to The Normandy Veterans Association, for the new memorial that will located in the National Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire, in remembrance of those who fought on the beaches of Northern France in 1944.

Hector Duff said: “Isle of Man Stamps and Coins have created a moving stamp issue commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. The black and white images used have been taken from photographs from the Press Association which are poignant and truly representative of D-Day. They bring back memories to me of the day itself and the hard ones that followed before victory was secured.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said: “We are delighted with the stamps that have been produced; D-Day was a major turning point in WWII. Hector’s account is true of many veterans that survived the Day and the events that followed. His recollection depicts D-Day as it happened and is a fitting tribute to those that fell and the veterans who survived.”

ISLE OF MAN STAMPS & COINS UNVEILS NEW WEBSITE www.iomstamps.com

Isle of Man Stamps & Coins, a business unit of the Isle of Man Post Office has announced the launch of its brand-new website. The new site has a contemporary look and feel, is simple to use and navigate enabling customers to find all the information they need. The site has been developed to more effectively address the needs of our customers, both domestically and internationally.

New and enhanced features of the Isle of Man Stamps and Coins section of the site include:

A full range of existing and future collections, and money saving special offers available for purchase through the online stamps and coins shop and the ability to share details of these via social media channels.

Media Centre area with press information – here press contacts can register for an account and receive instant access to the latest press releases, product information and high resolution images.

Business and Individual accounts are available for on-going use with the ability to manage online preferences. Guest accounts are also available for adhoc use, both options offer a secure login.

The site is optimised for use on mobile and tablet devices as well as desktop computers, giving customers to opportunity to view and make purchases whilst on the go!

Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins commented: “We are delighted with the newly launched site. Our Stamps & Coins pages look fantastic and we have received really positive feedback from customers who have described the site as clean and modern, simple to use and easy navigate.

We believe one of the greatest benefits of the new website to be the improved presentation of our products offered and that this in turn should assist in increasing uptake through higher conversion rates and a better user experience via online channels. At the outset of the project our vision was to match the online experience of our products with the physical experience, we feel this has been achieved with the help of Isle of Man web site developers Dot performance.”

Andy Orton, Managing Director of Dot Performance commented on the new site: “The size and scope of the project demanded a comprehensive and collective approach to the digital strategy, to become more innovative, efficient and internationally competitive.

The research process involved benchmarking against over 30 similar international sites. Working in a design-led, co-operative creative process with the Isle of Man Post Office, we considered a multitude of user personas, all accessing the site across multiple devices to identify the needs of real-world users and putting the user experience front and centre of the design process. This was then developed into a solution which integrates seamlessly with the existing Post Office’s systems and business processes. The expected outcome being services are now much more immediate and greater operational efficiency will be achieved with multiple systems talking to each other.”

Island of Culture 2014 and stamp collection exhibition launched

On Monday afternoon Isle of Man Stamps and Coins and key representatives from the Post Office attended the official launch of the Island of Culture 2014 and stamp collection exhibition at the Villa Marina. The exhibition available to the public includes a collection of stamps reflective of eight cultural topics and will last for three weeks.

The collection produced and exhibited by Isle of Man Stamps and Coins showcases its latest issue which has been designed by Manx artist Juan Moore in addition to those with island links produced in the last 40 years. The exhibition is split into the eight themes in line with the latest issue – dance, drama, music, literature, visual arts, design, film and craft.

Towards the end of the launch event Geoff Corkish MBE MLC, Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office presented Hon Clare Christian BSc President of Tynwald and Patron of Island of Culture 2014 with a framed, commemorative set of the stamps with artwork produced by local artist Juan Moore. The stamps are the Isle of Man Post Office’s contribution to Island of Culture 2014.

Geoff Corkish MBE MLC, Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office commented: “2014 will be a vibrant and highly celebratory year. Events held over the duration will be a chance for everyone to celebrate our island of culture through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, cultural festivals, film and digital innovation and lay a lasting legacy for creativity on the Isle of Man. Juan Moore’s fabulous and outstanding Island of Culture stamp issue further adds to the celebrations. The stamps were specially created and show eight aspects of Manx culture.”

Michael Lees, Island of Culture Director said: “The Island of Culture 2014 stamps are iconic. Juan Moore the Manx artist who was commissioned to design these stamps has caught the imagination in his designs. They depict all aspects of the arts in a way that will appeal to all generations. I am delighted that they have gone on sale throughout the world and will arouse an interest worldwide. His daily blog throughout 2014 will continue the interest in his work and Island of Culture.”

To view and order the Island of Culture stamps please click here

A video introduction with interviews about the stamp issue and Island of Culture 2014 can be viewed here