The earliest recorded date for any kind of postal service based on Lundy is 3 March 1887, but it was not until 1929 that a private postal service was established on Lundy.
In 1928, the General Post Office concluded its interests on Lundy and closed their sub-post office on the island. Martin Coles Harman - whose family were the last private family to own the island - initially carried the mail free of charge until, to defray increasing costs and increase revenue for the island, he introduced the Lundy stamps. These were first issued on 1 November 1929.
As private stamps, they could not be affixed to postal items on the address side therefore they were subsequently affixed to the reverse. In 1962, consent was given for Lundy stamps to be affixed to the address side of postcards as long as they were set away from the UK stamp. In 1992 this consent was given to all mail.
At first, the Lundy stamp charge, or puffinage, only covered the carriage of mail between the island and the mainland. Since 1974 the Lundy puffinage has incorporated the UK charge and a separate UK stamp is no longer required.
Mr Harman also minted his own coins for use on the island, displaying his own head in place of that of the British Monarch. He was taken to court on the charge that he had ‘unlawfully issued as a token for money a piece of metal … contrary to Section 5 of the Coinage Act 1870’, and was obliged to withdraw them. Puffin coins are now quite rare, but a limited numbers are available through the Lundy Shop as collectors items.
Since 1929 some 350 Lundy stamps have been issued, many of them now very rare and highly collectible. Some 40,000 pieces of mail are sent from the island every year and Lundy is the oldest private postal service operating in the world today.
Lundy stamps and coins are available to order by post from The Lundy Postal Service, Lundy, Bristol Channel, EX39 2LY, by phone on 01237 431831 ext 226 or by email [email protected].
Lundy postal service order form for Collectors