The Turks and Caicos Islands have been under the control of many different governments: Bermuda (although never officially), Bahamas (1799-1848), Jamaica (as both a protectorate while an independent colony 1848-1873 and as a dependency 1873-1962) and now as a British Overseas Territory. All of these changes make for intriguing stamp and coin finds.
Stamps of the islands are highly decorative and illustrate the natural History and History of the Islands. The first Island Stamps were issued in 1867. From this date until 1900, all Stamps were printed with “Turks Islands” — no mention of the Caicos group. After 1900, “Turks and Caicos Islands” was printed on the Stamps. The Museum collection contains Stamps for most years from 1867 up to the present.
Stamps were first introduced in Britain in 1840 to provide a system to send mail around the developing empire. The first post office opened in Grand Turk on 11th December 1854 but it was not until 1867 that the Turks Islands issued their own stamps. These stamps carried the portrait of Queen Victoria and the legend “Turk Islands”. In 1900 stamps started to bear the legend “Turks and Caicos Islands”.
With the development of stamp collecting as a hobby, small nations such as the Turks and Caicos Islands saw the potential of this lucrative market and the Philatelic Bureau on Grand Turk started to produce new series of stamps on a regular basis. The Turks and Caicos Islands are now renowned the world over for the quality and designs of their stamps.
The themes covered have included general scenes of the Islands especially the salt trade, and the wildlife especially fish and coral. However, as the Islands gained recognition for their stamps there was a more varied range of themes, including the 80th anniversary of the Royal Air Force (1998), Disney characters (1979-1985), the Millennium and the American space race, most notably John Glenn’s return to space in 1998.
The Museum holds over 1000 Stamps, either as individual Stamps, first day covers or souvenir sheets. We are trying to build up an extensive collection of Turks and Caicos Island stamps to provide a major resource for stamp researchers. We are seeking donations to fill our gaps and if you can help by donating any stamps please contact the Museum.
Also see sections on:
Stamps Celebrating Space (under Space Race)
Stamps Celebrating Royal Events (under Royal Events)
Stamps Celebrating Golden Jubilee (under Royal Events)