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Islas Juan Fernandez Overprints

Islas Juan Fernandez Overprints
Low values in a set of four stamps overprinted
for use on the Juan Fernandez Islands.

In 1910, a syndicate including government officials succeeded in getting approval to overprint large quantities of a new definitive issue for use in the sparsely populated Juan Fernandez Islands. This was a speculative issue. In addition to creating stamps for the philatelic market, it would make certain value of the unoverprinted definitive issue more scarce and, therefore, more valuable. The ensuing scandal forced the government to make the overprinted stamps valid for use throughout Chile.

Location of the Juan Fernandez Islands
The Juan Fernandez Islands are located off the west coast of Chile.

The islands are famous because Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish mariner whose story is believed to have inspired Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, was marooned there for eight years. The original source of the story is thought to have been A Cruising Voyage Round the World(1712) by privateer Captain Woodes Roger who rescued Selkirk.

Some critics have disputed the identity of the islands, pointing out that the narrator says, "I easily understood, that these were the Caribees, which our maps place on that part of America which reaches from the mouth of the river Oroonoque to Guinea, and onwards to St. Martha" (220). It should not be forgotten that Defoe's novel is a work of fiction that probably draws upon and blends a variety of sources.

400th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Islas Juan Fernandez First Day Cover
First Day Cover for Stamps issued on November 22, 1974 to commemorate the 400th Anniversary
of the Spanish sailor Juan Fernandez's discovery of the islands that carry his name.


"Chile." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. London: 1808.

Ireson, Rymond W. "Philately in Chili." Gibbons Stamp Weekly.
     1 Oct. 1910: 326-327.

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