Over the Sea – Ship and Maritime Mail

Over many centuries, ships, boats and maritime vessels of all kinds have been used as a means of transport for mail along rivers, and over lakes and seas. In more recent decades, historic ships and boats used for mail transportation have repeatedly been featured on stamps, sheetlets and booklets. An important number originate from British territories, the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey or the Isle of Man.

Mail transport by sea is a popular topic for stamp issues, as seen on this 2010 issue from Jersey

Finland’s Post supported the international stamp show Nordia ’81 in Helsinki with a 1m.10 stamp on 6 May 1981, sold together with an admission ticket at 6m.10 (Mi 880, 412,984 sold). The centre image shows Furst Menschikoff; the first sea-going passenger steam ship in Finland. She was built in Turku and sailed on a route between Saint Petersburg, Tallinn (Reval), Helsinki (Helsingfors), Turku (Åbo) and Stockholm from 1837.

The Furst Menschikoff of Finland appeared on a special stamp for Nordia ’81

In 1986, Finland issued a beautiful, interesting and inexpensive souvenir sheetlet to announce the Finlandia ’88 Philatelic World Exhibition. It included a map of ancient maritime postal routes over the Baltic Sea.

Iceland showed eight post ships in a 1991 booklet, while the Faroe islands followed with a set of four in 1992.

Iceland’s 1991 set showing post ships

Mail ship set from the Faroes in 1992

A nice topical addition was the ship letter box from Jersey to St Malo portrayed on the 40p stamp of 2002 in the set from Jersey.

A ship’s letter box was shown on a 40p Jersey stamp in 2002

Article by Michael Burzan

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