British Antarctic Territory
The British Antarctic Territory (BAT)
Fossils and reconstructions of prehistoric animals and plants on stamps of British Antarctic Territory
is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the
as the largest of its 14 British Overseas Territories.
It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the
South Pole, overlapping the Antarctic claims of Argentina
(Chilean Antarctic Territory).
The Territory was formed on 3 March 1962, although the UK's claim to this
portion of the Antarctic dates back to letters patent of 1908 and 1917.
The area now covered by the Territory includes three regions which,
before 1962, were administered by the British as separate dependencies
of the Falkland Islands
: Graham Land,
the South Orkney Islands, and the South Shetland Islands.
Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article 4 of which states "The treaty does not recognize,
dispute, nor establish territorial sovereignty claims; no new claims
shall be asserted while the treaty is in force", most countries do not
recognize territorial claims in Antarctica.
The United Kingdom has ratified the treaty.
In 2012, the southern part of the territory was named Queen Elizabeth Land in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.
The territory is inhabited by the staff of research and support stations operated and maintained by the British Antarctic
Survey and other organizations, and stations of Argentina, Chile and other countries.
There are no native inhabitants. [R1]
The first stamps of British Antarctic Territory were issued in
1963, a definitive set of 15 values, shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and various scenes of
human activity in Antarctica.
Since then, 10-20 stamps are issued every year in several sets, with a full definitive series every few years.
British Antarctica is unusual in that it does not design commemorative postmarks for use on its FDCs.
The FDC postmarks look like the regular postmarks, but have the text “FIRST DAY OF ISSUE” underneath the date.
The Falkland Islands
Bureau acts as the sales agent for the British Antarctic Territory.
All official First Day Covers are cancelled at the relevant base in the
Territory, before being returned to the Philatelic Bureau at Port
Stanley for distribution. The Antarctic Postman, based at Port Stanley,
visits BAT bases by ship to officially release new stamps and the
stamps are not otherwise available for sale until this has happened.
The date of the visit is recorded and the stamps are then released at
the Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau, at Port Lockroy for tourists,
and elsewhere. [R2]
Official stamps of British Antarctic Territory related to Paleontology: dinosaurs and other
prehistoric animals, fossils.
- [R1] British Antarctic Territory (BAT):
- [R2] Postal History and Philately of British Antarctic Territory (BAT):
Links to official website of Post Authority, stamp catalog and list of new stamps of British Antarctic Territory are here.
Many thanks to
Dr. Peter Voice
from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University,
for the draft page review and his very valuable comments.