The use of pigeons for carrying messages goes back to ancient times. Perhaps the most famous example in the philatelic era occurred during the Siege of Paris in 1870, when pigeons were flown out of the beleaguered city by balloon to Tours. There microfilmed messages were attached to the birds before they were released for their return flights to Paris. Messages thus carried are today rare and valuable collectors' items. Several cases are on record where local stamps have been issued for privately operated pigeon posts. The best-known of these is the New Zealand Great Barrier Island Pigeongram Service, which had its own locally typeset stamps. There were also stamps for Herm Island's pigeon post which operated during the summer of 1949, prior to the installation of a radio telephone; afterwards the pigeon post stamps were used up on parcels until the supply was exhausted.
- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's EncyclopaediaPublished 1966Posted January 9, 2000
Index of 507 Notes from the Past
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