Sherlock Holmes Anniversary

Guernsey England is recognizing the 150th anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes with a new issue of stamps. Designed by Keith Robinson in the style of Sidney Paget who illustrated Conan Doyle’s original works, the Guernsey Post is also sponsoring the writing of new mystery story called Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Alderney Bull.

Unlike reconstructions of classic literature, the new Holmes’ story provided material for the carefully drawn stamps. A Holmes enthusiast, it was Robinson’s idea to enrich the commemorative issue with a new Holmes plot. The story starts with the theft of an Alderney bull, a breed of livestock much valued in the 19th century for the quantity and richness of milk produced by the cows. The drawings incorporate buildings and landscapes from Alderney, an island within the Guernsey boundaries. By writing his own version of the great detective, Robinson was able to make connections between Holmes and Alderney, links that do not exist in the original stories.

A 43p stamp depicts the arrest of a herdsman and Holmes examining a coded message found in his jacket. Police assume the man is implicated in the crime because the writing on the note is similar to that found on the Alderney harbor wall. A partial lighthouse subsequently becomes the focus of Holmes’ attention, with the final 77p stamp showing Dr. Watson with revolver in hand and the man Holmes has concluded is guilty of the crime apprehended.

Also available is a ‘mystery pack’ which includes the full written story and special minting of the stamps on which there is an invisible watermark that can be seen with the special magnifying glass supplied. It is a clue which provides attentive collectors the chance to piece together the plot of the Curious Case of the Alderney Bull.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born May 22, 1859. His first collection of short stories, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, was published in 1892. The last of his series, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, was published in 1927. Conan Doyle received his knighthood in 1902 and lived to the age of 71, passing in 1930.

Full details can be found at


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