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Indian Ocean Study Circle

Indian Ocean Study Circle

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Indian Ocean Study Circle for Mauritius, Seychelles/BIOT, Réunion, Comores and Madagascar collectors.

The Study Circle was founded in 1970 to promote and encourage the study of all aspects of the stamps and postal history of the islands of the western Indian Ocean. If you collect the stamps or postal history from any of these islands, and you are not a member of IOSC, you may be missing out on much that can help to make your hobby still more interesting.

Membership offers the following:

Meetings: Two in London each year and one in the country.

Auctions: Two per year with 100-200+ lots of stamps, postal history, maps, literature etc. mainly from the western Indian Ocean area.

Publications: The Bulletin "I0" is distributed free to all members three times a year containing research information on philatelic and non-philatelic aspects of the islands. Since 1980 the Society has published 10 illustrated handbooks/hardback - 5 each on Mauritius & Seychelles, free to paid-up members.

Competitions: An annual "8 in 5" - 8 sheets with 5 minutes talk, the winner receiving a medal.

Research: There is usually one member, invariably more, who can provide the answer to a relevant query.

Postal History & Stamps Handbook 

The Indian Ocean Study Circle’s eagerly awaited handbook, hardback with  dust wrapper, on Seychelles Postal History and Stamps. Each section has been written by a specialist and the whole edited by Sue Hopson and Brian McCloy, both past/present Officers of the IOSC and Fellows of the Royal Philatelic Society London and of the Society of Postal Historians. The chapters cover every aspect of the stamps and postal history of the Country up to 1976, including postal stationery, revenues, specimens, International Reply coupons, disinfection etc.

Since the Seychelles handbook was published, it has been very well received by the reviewers. Here are a few of the excerpts from those reviews:

Everything known about the postal history of Seychelles must be in there ...
(Regar, Seychelles)

... the IOSC are to be congratulated on producing a handbook of high quality, rich in content and greatly enhanced by the quality of the illustrations
(The London Philatelist, journal of the Royal Philatelic Society London)

and fromThe American Philatelist
Although the Farmer book was a great boon, this new volume has improved and expanded upon the information available to collectors. ... The numerous black and white illustrations help make this a most useful book.

Cost: £40 per copy plus £5 for postage by surface mail or £11 by air mail.


Countries Covered
by the IOSC


Captured from France in 1810, independent within the British Commonwealth (as a republic since 1992), was in 1847 the first British colony and the fifth country in the world to issue postage stamps. Mauritius was also the first colony to order stamps via the Crown Agents (1848), the world's first surcharges were prepared in 1854, though not issued until 1858. The definitive issues from 1860 onwards, notably the Queen's head and Arms types, are full of interest for the philatelist and postal historian alike. Also of great interest is the pre-adhesive postal history, of both French (before 1810) and British (after 1810) periods.

Stamp Domain's Resource Page for Mauritius

Mauritius Local & Rural Posts 1840-1890
by Dave Tarry

The Seychelles Archipelago

Consists of 115 islands permanently settled in 1770 by French Mauritians and Réunionnais. It became a British colony, following the annexation of Mauritius, in 1810 and gained independence in 1976. In 1890 named colony keyplates were issued, previously Mauritius postage stamps were used cancelled B64. The Victorian locally printed surcharge errors are numerous, as are the Edwardian keyplate errors. The maritime element forms an interesting section in any postal history collection, The postage stamps issued since independence depict the unique flora and fauna of the whole group of islands.

Stamp Domain's Resource Page for Seychelles

"A Hard Time in Paradise" - a Book Review
The History of Seychelles 1827 - 1919


A French colony since 1638, becoming an overseas department in 1946, Réunion (formerly Bourbon) first issued stamps in 1852, the typeset locally produced 15c and 30c, French stamps surcharged in the local currency and were issued 1949-74. Since 1 January 1975 unsurcharged French postage stamps have been used.

Stamp Domain's Resource Page for Réunion


Discovered by the Portuguese in 1500, in 1840 Diego Suarez became a French protectorate, in 1892 extending to the north-west of the island. Following disputes a military expedition was sent in 1894, and the second Protectorate existed until 1896, becoming a republic within the French community until 1972 when the Government became under military control. During World War II, the island under the Vichy Government of Marshal Pétain, the British capturing Diego Suarez in 1942 to prevent the Japanese using it as a base.

Stamp Domain's Resource Page for Madagascar

The Comores Archipelago

The French Colonial period began with Mayotte in 1841, Grande Comore and Anjouan in 1886. Attached to Madagascar in 1914, becoming a French Overseas Territory in 1946. In 1975 all but Mayotte declared unilateral independence. Mail is recorded from c1872 from the Comoros, and Nossi Bé sent mail by British steamer to Zanzibar and from 1880 a French sea link existed from Mayotte to Réunion. From 1880 the French Messageries Maritimes shipping line ran a link between Mauritius and Mozambique via Madagascar and Comoro ports.

Stamp Domain's Resource Page for Comores

  we do not have current contact details for the Study Circle