A Postal History Gallery of Related Events


Ernest Shackleton

Nimrod Expedition


Official Expedition Stationery

Ernest Shackleton, leader of the 1907 British Antarctic Expedition, was sworn in as a New Zealand postmaster and was supplied with all requirements for the business of a post office.

The expedition was supplied with 23,492 overprinted New Zealand stamps and virtually all mail from the continent was franked with the stamps. All mail passed through the New Zealand post office.



Swedish Magellanian Expedition


The SWEDISH MAGELLANIAN EXPEDITION of 1907-09, under Dr. Carl Skottsberg, conducted botanical and zoological studies in the Falkland Islands and the southern area of South America as an analysis of the relationship to Antarctica

The known mail from the expedition was dispatched from South American post offices.


(Courtesy of George Hall)

Mail to expedition members of the Swedish Magellanian Expedition was received through consular offices in various locations during 1908.

The field research work was initiated in the Falkland Islands during the 1907 season. All incoming mail was directed to the consulate serving the Falkland Islands. The piece on the left is backstamped with the Falkland Islands canceler.


Jean-Baptiste Charcot

Second French Antarctic Expedition

Mail from a crewmember aboard the expedition vessel POURQUOI PAS?. Using expedition stationery, the letter was posted to France at Montevideo, Uruguay, 23 March 1910, while en route back to Europe after a successful wintering in the Antarctic. As with the First French Antarctic Expedition, this expedition was under the command of Jean-Baptiste Charcot.


(Courtesy of Herb & Janice Harvis)

Official postal card (Wharton FA-10) of the Second French Antarctic Expedition, showing a tabular iceberg photographed during the first expedition five years earlier. Mail from crewmembers was posted at South American ports.

(Courtesy of George Hall)


First Commercial Settlement at Kerguelen


Kerguelen 1909

 A commercial settlement on the edge of the Antarctic Ocean was attempted by the French government in 1909. In an effort to establish postal services at the settlement on Kerguelen Island, the concession company requested approval to overprint Madagascar stamps. When this was disapproved, regular French stamps were used. In the absence of a cancellation device, all mail was canceled by the official "stamp of office" of the 'Resident'. The first mail was in 1909.


(Courtesy of George Hall)

Mail was returned to France on the company steamer JEAN D' ARC. This mail service was almost unknown for many years due to the remoteness of the island and the limited amount of mail. The station was discontinued in 1925.


(Courtesy of George Hall)