Astronomical and astronomy-related postage stamps from the British Isles
On other pages
Stamps incorporating an astro theme can be traced back to 1884. Find out what they look like and where they come from on my World’s oldest astro-stamps pages.
Selected examples of British astronomy and astronomers on stamps of other nations.
A selection of stamps from the USA, USSR/Russia, and other nations, charting the
progress of lunar exploration from Luna 1 to the present, which I first put together for the International Year of Astronomy (2009).
Selected examples of stamps depicting the fabulous northern and southern lights.
Stamps depicting transits of Venus across the Sun, and commemorating expeditions sent to observe them.
The above site is no longer maintained. The link above is to the Wayback Machine, but it has also been archived as a PDF.
FOR a nation that ranks second only to the United States in the world for astronomical research, and has a heritage that is second to none, Britain was initially slow to acknowledge its astronomical achievements via stamps, issuing only three astro-themed examples in the 1960s and 70s. However, since 1984, when a four-value set commemorating the centenary of the Greenwich meridian appeared, British astronomy has been granted its fair share of philatelic commemoratives.
The stamps are presented below in chronological order and include those issued by Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and the Irish Republic (Éire). Click on the links to see an enlarged illustration of the stamps, some background information, and my comments on them.
Ian Ridpath – Chairman, Astro Space Stamp Society
Copyright notice: The stamps shown on these pages are used under the normal rules of fair dealing for the purposes of critical commentary. The designs are copyright the issuing authorities.
Part I (1966–1999)
Europe in space