2010 Halley sheet.jpg
2010  Centenary of Halley’s Comet (GB)

On 2010 May 18 Royal Mail issued this Commemorative Sheet to celebrate the centenary of the 1910 return of Halley’s Comet, when the first photographs of the famous visitor were taken. Because Halley’s Comet passed unusually close to Earth 1910, and the Earth was predicted to pass through its tail, the encounter generated enormous public excitement.

This sheet consists of ten self-adhesive first-class stamps with illustrated labels, backdropped by an engraving of Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, USA, where some of the best photographs of the comet were taken that year.

From top left, the illustrations on the labels are:
• The comet photographed in 1910 at Yerkes Observatory;
• A portrait of Halley;
• The Yerkes 40-inch refractor;
• Giotto’s painting Adoration of the Magi, with a comet in the sky presumed to be Halley at its reappearance in 1301;
• A 1910 cartoon illustrating people’s fear that the comet might hit Earth or pollute its atmosphere with poisonous gases;
• Halley’s Comet in 1066, shown on the Bayeux Tapestry;
• A wry headline on an American newspaper of 1910;
• A woodcut of Halley’s Comet from the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493;
• A 1910 souvenir comet postcard;
• An illustration of Halley’s Comet as a sword in the sky over Jerusalem in AD 66.

The complete sheet, and commemorative postmarks, can be seen here.

For more about Halley’s Comet, see here.

Stanley Gibbons nos. (to come, if allocated)