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Commonwealth Posts come together for the first time in postal history

The Commonwealth sheet is priced at £20 and can be ordered online here

For the first time in postal history, 27 postal administrations within the Commonwealth have come together for a genuine postage purpose to produce a unique stamp sheet to mark the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the role as HM The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.

The first of its kind product is officially issued on Friday (27th November) when the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting opens in Malta in which HM The Queen, HRH Prince Philip, HRH Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend. The Commonwealth sheet of stamps also coincides with HM The Queen being the longest reigning monarch and the 175th anniversary of the Penny Black – postage stamps have always linked the Commonwealth nations together.

The unique sheet of stamps has been months in the planning and through the Commonwealth Countries Postal Administration (CCPA) Office in London, Isle of Man Stamps & Coins invited all official postal administrations to join them in commemorating the milestone anniversary. A total of 27 postal administrations agreed to participate and each of the stamps are valid for postage in the country of issue. The entire project has been coordinated by Isle of Man Post Office including design and packaging and all orders will be despatched from the Isle of Man.

The project was the brainchild of Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps & Coins, Isle of Man Post Office. It had been a long standing career ambition of hers to bring the postal administrations of the Commonwealth together to produce something unique and which encapsulated the values of the Commonwealth: shared culture and traditions, equality, respect and tolerance. She is delighted the idea has finally come to fruition.

She said: "It is unprecedented for 27 independent postal administrations to come together and produce a sheet of stamps. The principle of the sheet is that, like the Commonwealth, each participating nation is equal. Participating postal administrations include Kenya, New Zealand, Antigua, Barbados, Tanzania, St Kitts, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos, Ghana, Grenada, Zambia, Tuvalu, Sierra Leone, Falkland Islands, Cook Islands and Tristan da Cunha."

"It's been a delight to work with our colleagues in all corners of the Commonwealth to bring the stamp sheet, the first of its kind in postal history, to life. It is also an honour that it has been endorsed by the Commonwealth Secretariat" she added.

The stamp sheet was printed by stamp security printers BDT International based in Eire and its Managing Director Conor Dalglish said: "Since 1976 it has been the pleasure of our family business to print postage stamps for an ever increasing number of Commonwealth Postal Administrations. It is therefore a great honour to be involved in the print management of this historic sheet of stamps – a world first."

The Isle of Man's status within the Commonwealth is as a Crown dependency and it takes part in several Commonwealth institutions including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Commonwealth Games.

President of Tynwald Clare Christian said: "I congratulate Isle of Man Post Office on their initiative and effort in coordinating with so many countries to bring out this unique set of stamps at a time when the Commonwealth Heads of Government meet in Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat celebrates its 50th Anniversary. This unique voluntary gathering of 53 free and equal countries, many of which are small Island nations, represents some 2.2billion people, most of whom are under 30, underlining its importance for the future. The Isle of Man values its participation in this influential global community through its involvement in the Commonwealth Games and by way of Tynwald's active participation in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, both of which lead to bonds of friendship, co-operation and better understanding."

Mike Kelly, Chief Executive of Isle of Man Post Office, said: "The success of Maxine realising her long standing ambition is testament to our mission and values to link people and business worldwide and drive innovation and creativity. She has driven the project with passion and enthusiasm and I commend her on this initiative. We are fortunate at Isle of Man Post Office to have a dedicated and loyal workforce who take pride in every aspect of their work and this is a clear demonstration of this."

Last evening (Wednesday), Maxine Cannon of Isle of Man Post Office presented a framed set of the Commonwealth sheet of stamps to the Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma in Malta, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting opening on Friday. Meanwhile each Head of Government received a personal gift pack from the Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office, Graham Cregeen MHK, Member of the House of Keys, Tynwald Parliament Isle of Man.

On receiving the Commonwealth stamps Kamalesh Sharma said: "I am delighted to receive these stamps from the Isle of Man Post Office on behalf of the participating countries which are spread throughout the Commonwealth. The stamp sheet clearly demonstrates the affection they all have for HM The Queen Head of the Commonwealth. These countries are to be congratulated in their efforts to bring this project to fruition in the year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Secretariat. In the year HM The Queen became the longest reigning monarch, Her Majesty remains well respected and long may she remain the Head of the Commonwealth."

The Commonwealth sheet is priced at £20 and can be ordered online here

Please also see this article on the Commonwealth website -

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