For Christmas, something a little lighter which conveniently fits in quite nicely with blog no. 180. Ambling around the internet as I sometimes do, I discovered an amusing little site with Commonwealth stamps relevance which is produced by the supporters of "The Dominion Of British West Florida". The site introduces itself by telling us that "The Dominion of British West Florida is a small Dominion Realm, a former enclave of the British Empire, lying between the Gulf of Mexico on the south and 32.28 degrees north (lands north of the 31st parallel are reserved for the native peoples), and between the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers on the east and the Mississippi River on the west." The text goes on to say that "We do not seek to restore 'British Sovereignty', rather we seek to restore the Native Sovereignty of our People under God and the Crown. We proclaim the necessity of religion, the wisdom of tradition and the authority of the family, and the advantages of legitimate monarchy...Our goal of Dominion Status within the Commonwealth of nations would make West Florida a Sovereign Nation within the Territory of the United States, on par with the Indian Tribal Nations...The Government of British West Florida is striving for Dominion Status as a Commonwealth Realm, on par with Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and The Bahamas." The text strikes a note that might appeal to Tory politicians in Britain when it next says, "We advocate the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and the restoration of close political and economic links between Commonwealth realms." It states that "British West Florida rejects any attempts to reduce the Royal Prerogative, holding fast to the British tradition of a Strong Monarch and Free Subjects, with each expecting the Rights, Duties, and Privileges of the other." Phew! Still, the authors of this piece have seen that the production of postage stamps for this unrecognised Dominion could be beneficial particularly as a year set from 2007, when the first issues were made, is being sold for the not inconsiderable sum of $75US. The British West Florida site acknowledges that the stamps have no postal validity, even calling them "Cinderellas", so there is no attempt to pass them off as genuine postage stamps. I suppose that they would be fun to buy if they were cheaper in price. The first issue is depicted at the head of the blog and features a local beach scene with a portrait of the Queen inset at the upper right corner and was released in May 2007. Subsequently, further stamps depicting scenes in the "Dominion" were produced during 2007 and up until June 2008:-
A Christmas stamp was issued for 2007:-
and the January 2008 stamp depicted an attractive waterfall scene:-
I do not expect that British West Florida will be joining The Commonwealth in the near future but I suppose these stamps are harmless fun as long as people know what they are spending their money on. The same is equally true of many of the collectable labels which actually find their way into modern stamp catalogues because they have a theoretical postal validity; I have highlighted many such items during 2012 and no doubt there will be many more in 2013.