Irish Stamps: Commemoratives 1929-1970

Irish First Day Covers (FDC’s) are very highly sought after by collectors worldwide – especially the early ones – which can be very difficult to find, let alone afford !  Most of the first day covers you see from Ireland were produced by An Post (originally, the Department of Post & Telegraphs) and they frequently win design competitions and awards for their designs.  As such, Irish stamps are very collectable.

The first few FDC’s are not usually found on pre-printed FDC envelopes, so collectors need to know what dates they were first issued on.  Be very careful about checking the date on the postmark before you buy.  Also, beware of the many ‘philatelic’ covers that were issued with older commemoratives on St Patrick’s Day covers and other such ‘unofficial’ items.  Once again, always check the date !

1929 O'Connell set on single registered f.d.c., Dublin violet rubber datestamps

1929 O’Connell set on single registered f.d.c., Dublin violet rubber date stamps

  • The difference between an FDC and a ‘second day’ cover is usually a multiple of 10 (or more), where the ‘second day cover’  is only worth a fraction of the price of a genuine first day cover.
  • In addition, some Irish FDC’s appear with ‘censor marks’, whereas others are available on a range of different pre-printed envelopes.  All are collectible and some are quite scarce – so look out for the difficult ones.

There are three sets of links in the table below

  1. An image of the stamp(s) ‘mint’ or ‘postally used’ in the Description column
    1. + additional information on errors and varieties, where appropriate
  2. An image of first day cover (FDC) in the Date column
  3. Links to blog posts under More Information – these blog posts include the historical background to the stamps

There are many different ways of collecting Irish commemorative stamps, e.g. singles (mint and used), sets (FDC’s, blocks of 4, plate blocks, control numbers, colour controls, gutter pairs and, of course, the varieties and errors.  Once a basic collection has been attained, collectors usually begin to specialise in areas such as these.

Year Description Date: FDC More information
1929 Daniel O’Connell (3)

  • 2d a) retouch (R15/12)
  • 2d b) pen behind ear (R4/12)
  • 2d c) bullet hole
22-Jun-1929 Daniel O’Connell
1930 Shannon Scheme (1) 15-Oct-1930
1931 Royal Dublin Society (1) 12-Jun-1931
1932 Eucharistic Congress (2)

12-May-1932 The Cross of Cong
1933 Holy Year (2)

1934 50th Anniversary of the G.A.A.

27-Jul-1934  The G.A.A.
1937 Constitution (2)

  • 2d a) watermark inverted
1938 Father Matthew (2)

1-Jul-1938 Fr. Matthew
1939 U.S Constitution (2) 1-Mar-1939
1941 25th Anniversary of Easter Rising ovpt (2)

  • 2d a) snub-nodes “e” (R5/3)
  • 2d b) short “1” in 1916
1941 25th Anniversary of Easter Rising (1)

  • 2½d a) broken pillar
  • 2½d b) broken statue
  • 2½d c) damaged capital (R12/4)
  • 2½d d) broken windows (R10/1)
1943 Gaelic League (2) 31-Jul-1943 Douglas Hyde
1943 Rowan Hamilton (2)

  • ½d a) bullet hole
13-Nov-1943 Rowan Hamilton
1944 Michael O’ Cleary (2)

  • ½d a) watermark sideways
  • 1/-  a) cheekbone missing
  • 1/-  b)watermark sideways
30-Jun-1944 Michael O’Cleary
1944 Brother Rice (1)

  • 2½d a) watermark inverted
29-Aug-1944 Edmund Ignatius Rice
1945 Thomas Davis (2)

  • 2½d a) watermark inverted
15-Sep-1945 Thomas Davis
1946 Davitt / Parnell (2) 16-Sep-1946 Michael Davitt
Charles Stewart Parnell
1948 Insurrection (2)

  • a) 2½d watermark inverted
19-Nov-1948 Theobald Wolfe Tone
1949 Republic of Ireland (2)

  • 3d a) dot over chimney (R1/1)
1949 J. Clarence Mangan (1)

  • 1d a) watermark inverted
5-Dec-1949 J. Clarence Mangan
1950 Holy Year (3)

  • 2½d a) minor retouch
1952 Thomas Moore (2)

  • 2½d a) minor re-entry
  • 2½d b) cracked plate (Plate 2A: R4/9-10)
  • 2½d c) re-entry (Plate 1B: R3/6)
10-Nov-1952 Thomas Moore
1953 An Tostal (2)

  • 2½d a) dot missing
  • 2½d b) malformed “3” appears as “5”
1953 Robert Emmet (2)

  • 3d     a) re-entry (R1/10)
  • 1/3d  a) line touching “T” and “17.78”
21-Sep-1953 Robert Emmet
1954 Marian Year (2)

  • 3d a) hand flaw (Plate 1B: R1/5)
1954 Cardinal Newman (2)

  • 2d a) watermark inverted
19-Jul-1954 Cardinal Newman
1956 John Barry (2)

  • 3d a) re-entry (R2/6)
  • 3d b) re-entry (Plate 2B: R2/7)
  • 3d c) re-entry (Plate 2B: R3/6)
  • 3d d) retouch (R4/10)
16-Sep-1956 John Barry
1957 John Redmond (2)

  • 1/3d a) cross bars on “e” of eire (R4/4)
 2-Nov-1957 John Redmond
1957 Thomas O’ Crohan (2)

  • 2d a) watermark inverted
 1-Jul-1957 Thomas O’ Crohan
1957 William Brown (2) 23-Sep-1957 William Brown
1957 Luke Wadding (2) 18-Nov-1957 Luke Wadding
1958 Thomas J. Clarke (2)

  • 1/3d a) hair behind ear (R6/12)
28-Jul-1958 Thomas J. Clarke
1958 Mary Aikenhead (2)

  • 3d    a) hairline
  • 3d    b) dot in crucifix (R2/11)
  • 3d    c) re-entry (R2/4)
  • 1/3d a) hairline
20-Oct-1958 Sr. Mary Aikenhead
1958 New Irish Constitution (2) 29-Dec-1958
1959 Arthur Guinness (2) 20-Jul-1959  Arthur Guinness
1960 World Refugee Year (2)  20-Jun-1960
1960 Europa (2)  19-Sep-1960
1961 Aer Lingus (2)

  • 6d a) dots in foot of “R” of EIRE
1961 St. Patrick (3)  25-Sep-1961 St. Patrick
1962 O’ Donovan & O’ Curry (2) 26-Mar-1962 John O’Donovan
Eugene O’Curry
1962 Europa (2)

  • 6d a) dot under “6p”
1963 Freedom from Hunger (2)

  • 4d a) hairline (Plate 2B: R6/2)
  • 4d b) hairline (Plate 2B: R10/2)
1963 Europa (2)

  • 1/3d a) re-entry
1963 Red Cross Centenary (2)

  • 1/3d a) line flaw (R1/1)
1964 Wolfe Tone (2)  13-Apr-1964 Theobald Wolfe Tone
1964 New York World Fair (2)

  • 5d     a) tower flaw (R14/2)
  • 1/5d  a) tower flaw (R14/2)
  • 1/5d  b) (R1/1-6)
1964 Europa (2)

  • 8d    a) spur on stem (R1/14)
  • 8d    b) stroke on “p” (R616/)
  • 1/5d a) accented “p” (R6/5)
1965 Telecommunications (2)

  • 8d a) green line
1965 William Butler Yeats (2)

  • 5d    a) retouch (R6/3)
  • 5d    b) spur flaw (R3/1)
  • 1/5d a) flaw below “LE” (R2/2)
  • 1/5d b) retouch (R5/3)
  • 1/5d c) missing colour (brown)
14-Jun-1965 William Butler Yeats
1965 International Co-operation Year (2)

  • 5d   a) margin line (R15/5)
  • 10d a) value flaw (R9/6)
1965 Europa (2)

  • 8d     a) retouch (R20/6)
  • 1/5d  a) retouch (R20/6)
  • 1/5d  b) plate flaw (R11/1)
1966 50th Anniversary of Easter Rising (8)

  • Connolly a) dot under “6” (R9/3)
  • Connolly b) collar flaw (R2/3)
  • Connolly c) damaged background (R1/1)
  • Pearse a) damaged background (R1/1)
  • Ceantt a) dot under “6” (R9/3)
  • Ceantt b) 2nd printing, deeper shade
  • Ceantt c) damaged background (R1/1)
  • McDermott a) line flaw (R18/6)
  • McDermott b) 2nd printing, deeper shade
  • McDonagh a) dot under “6”(R9/3)
  • McDonagh b) 2nd printing, deeper shade
  • McDonagh c) damaged background (R1/1)
  • Plunkett a) line flaw (R18/6)
  • Plunkett b) 2nd printing, deeper shade
12-Apr-1966 Thomas Clarke
James Connolly
Padraic Pearse
Eamonn Ceannt
J.M. Plunkett
Thomas McDonagh
Sean McDermott
1966 Roger Casement (2)

  • 5d a) hair line (R1/15-16)
  • 5d b) hyphen flaw (R2/17)
  • 5d c) thin “5” second cylinder
 3-August-1966 Roger Casement
1966 Europa (2)  26-Sep-1966
1966 Ballintubber Abbey (2) 8-Nov-1966
1967 Europa (2)  2-May-1967
1967 Canadian Confederation (2)  28-Aug-1967
1967 Tourist Year (2)  25-Sep-1967
1967 Fenian Rising Centenary (2)

1967 Jonathan Swift (2)  30-Nov-1967 Jonathan Swift
1968 Europa (2) 29-Apr-1968
1968 St. Mary’s Cathedral (2) 26-Aug-1968
1968 Countess Markievicz (2) 23-Sep-1968 Countess Markievicz
1968 James Connolly (2) 23-Sep-1968 James Connolly
1968 Human Rights (2)  4-Nov-1968
1969 Dáil Eireann (2) 21-Jan-1969   Dáil Eireann
1969 Europa (2) 28-Sep-1969
1969 International Labour Organisation (2)  14-Jul-1969
1969 Contemporary Art (1)  1-Sep-1969
1969 Mahatma Gandhi (2)  2-Oct-1969 Mahatma Gandhi
1970 Conservation Year (2) 23-Feb-1970
1970 Europa (3) 4-May-1970
1970 Cork Yacht Club (1)

1970 Contemporary Art (1) 1-Sep-1970
1970 Patriots (4) 26-Oct-1970 Terence McSweeny
Thomas McCurtain
1970 Kevin Barry (2)

2-Nov-1970  Kevin Barry




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