Being surrounded by stamps all day, 10 years ago I decided I needed a sideline collection that would require decades of searching and in all probability just a few additions per year. Enter my 17 strong collection of hand-illustrated chicken envelopes and postcards (pre-printed advertising covers do not qualify).
I have just the one Victorian cover which fortunately features two examples; one cooked chicken on the table in front of a donkey and one guitar playing chicken sat on a stool.
Whilst it is my only cover I do also have a very nice ‘piece’ with a particularly good-looking chicken atop a penny red (SG43).
Luckily for me, there was another with a passion for poultry and I’ve managed to obtain six examples from the ‘Norris’ correspondence from the mid-1930’s.
Other items worthy of mention:
The sender of this postcard has ingeniously used old stamps to create the chicken, chicks, reeds and the sun.
Sadly I rarely see a non-GB hand-illustrated chicken cover and have just one example from Canada to the USA in 1946.
The letter is luckily still enclosed which begins with a picture of a pig as part of the sender's salutation so one can assume he was a fan of the farmyard.
I have allowed one non-illustrated cover in my collection so far, obviously this is a man carrying a teapot, but the postmark cancelling the stamp is the Hermitage Poultry Farm Wexford 31 Dec 1904.
Chickens pop up from time to time in philately, I’m not sure why, but it has allowed me to build a humble collection of covers, which naturally also extends to other chicken associated ephemera.
In the 1950s the GPO released a series of posters, one of which now hangs on my living room wall and currently is in eye-line as I work from my Covid-19 induced home desk set up.
I’ll leave the technical articles to the very knowledgeable stamp specialists we have here at Stanley Gibbons but I hope you have enjoyed this light-hearted collection amidst the very surreal circumstances we all find ourselves in.
Stay healthy and happy collecting.
This article is written by Managing Director Victoria Lajer.
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