The Cormorant

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Here’s one from my small-but-growing rare postage stamp collection: An 1843 New Guinea Post Office stamp commemorating the pirate ship Cormorant. It’s a real beauty and I was thrilled to find it in amongst a load of old 1970’s Panini sticker albums at a Hassocks car boot sale, a year or so ago.*

The Cormorant was owned and captained by the Dutch pirate (and unordained priest) Joris van Beek (1593-1654). It’s interesting and quite surprising that New Guinea chose to celebrate van Beek and the Cormorant as they were responsible for a great deal of plunder and damage to life and property around the Java seas. Perhaps it was because of van Beek’s curious and notable custom to hold regular religious services on board the Cormorant, where he blessed the crews of captured ships before he encouraged them overboard. Whatever the reason for the stamp’s origins, I’m jolly glad I’ve got one. It’s worth at least £46.50 according to the Royal Mango Stamp Index.

* maybe it was Scaynes Hill. Memory is a bit hazy.

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