Sherlock Holmes is the subject of a set of unique stamps issued by Guernsey Post to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The six stamps tell the story of “Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Alderney Bull”, a new mystery set in Alderney which was written specifically to provide material for the stamps by Keith Robinson, an illustrator and animator. This created a link between Holmes and Alderney that did not exist in the original stories.
The stamp images take us through the story, which begins with the report to Holmes and Watson of the theft of a prized Alderney bull. This leads to the arrest of a herdsman whose jacket contains a coded message, which the police believe is the same secret writing found on the harbour wall.
A half-built lighthouse becomes the focus for Holmes and Watson as they try to solve the mystery, and the final stamp shows a man being arrested who Holmes has concluded is guilty of the Alderney bull theft.
Robinson drew his inspiration for the story’s focus from the Alderney bull, which, at the end of the 19th and early 20th century, was a highly prized possession thanks to the richness and quantity of the milk its cows produced and its easy going nature. In 1910, US buyers were allowed to buy Alderney bulls direct from the island, but the high prices paid by American buyers meant that nearly all the prize bulls – and sometimes whole families of prize cows and heifers – went to America.
In addition to the First Day Cover and Presentation Pack, Guernsey Post has also presented the stamps in a unique “mystery pack” – a first in the stamp world – which includes the complete story and special minting of the stamps on which there is an invisible image that can be seen using the special magnifying glass supplied in the pack – giving buyers the chance to solve the mystery for themselves. Full details can be found at www.sherlockstamps.com