April 2020

Collecting by theme: Chickens on stamps

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).

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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.

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Other items worthy of mention:

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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.

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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.

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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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