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125th Anniversary of the Birth of
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

(click for more)

[May 22, 1859 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - July 7, 1930 (Crowborough, Sussex, England)]

Sherlock Holmes

Scott #629-632, 663 ss, July 16, 1984, perf. 14

The Turks & Caicos Islands Post Office commemorated the 125th anniversary of Arthur Conan Doyle's birth by issuing a set of four stamps and one souvenir sheet. The four stamps depict scenes from Holmes's cases. Each stamp also bears a circular portrait of Doyle and his signature. The issue honoring Doyle was designed by Steve Karp, and was printed by the Walsall Security Printers Ltd. of England.


The Adventure of the Second Stain.
Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, Lord Bellinger, and the Rt. Hon. Trelawny Hope.
"Of the twelve short stories on his 'best' list, excluding those in the Case Book, Conan Doyle ranked 'The Adventure of the Second Stain' eighth. The original manuscript, 31 small folio leaves (5½ in another hand), white vellum, was auctioned in New York City on January 26, 1922, bringing $170. It was later listed in Scribner's Sherlock Holmes Catalogue at $450. It is presently owned by Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, the gift of the late Christopher Morley."
The Annotated Sherlock Holmes


The Adventure of the Final Problem.
Sherlock Holmes fighting Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls.
"Conan Doyle's own opinion of 'The Final Problem' was a high one: He placed it No. 4 on his 'twelve best' list of the short stories. Of the original manuscript, only 'a noble fragment' is recorded, the 'original autograph manuscript of Sherlock Holmes' letter to Dr. Watson, regarding his last meeting with Professor Moriarty.' The fragment was auctioned in Philadelphia on December 8, 1915; its present location is unknown."
The Annotated Sherlock Holmes


The Adventure of the Empty House.
Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson and Inspector Lestrade at the arrest of Colonel Moran.

"It has been said that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's second wife supplied him with the idea for 'The Adventure of the Empty House,' and how Sherlock could safely and 'logically' be brought back to life in the pages of Collier's and the Strand. In any case, the story ranked high with Sir Arthur himself, who placed it No. 6 on his list of the 'twelve best' Sherlock Holmes short stories."
The Annotated Sherlock Holmes


The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.
Sherlock Holmes introducing Doctor Watson to Mycroft Holmes.

"Mycroft Holmes was a much larger and stouter man than Sherlock. His body was absolutely corpulent, but his face, though massive, had preserved something of the sharpness of expression which was so remarkable in that of his brother. His eyes, which were of a peculiarly light watery grey, seemed to always retain that far-away, introspective look which I had only observed in Sherlock's when he was exerting his full powers."
The Greek Interpreter

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle practiced medicine until 1891 after graduation from the University of Edinburgh, and the character of Holmes, who first appeared in A Study in Scarlet (1887), partly derives from Dr. Joseph Bell, surgeon and tutor of medicine at Edinburgh noted for his deductive reasoning. Short stories about Holmes began to appear regularly in the Strand Magazine in 1891 and later made up several collections, including The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905), and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927). Conan Doyle wearied of him and devised his death in 1893 - only to be forced by public demand to restore him ingeniously to life.
Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature



Designer Dr. William R. Hanson's original art board and overlay for the souvenir sheet, showing how a stamp design is prepared for the printer. From his article in the October 2000 American Philatelist, The Adventure of the Detective Stamp

vertical gutter pairs


Turks and Caicos Islands

British dependency in the West Indies, comprising two small groups of islands at the southeastern end of The Bahamas and about 90 miles (145 km) north of the Dominican Republic. The Turks group is the smaller of the two and consists of Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and lesser cays. The Caicos group consists of six principal islands-- South Caicos, East Caicos, Middle (or Grand) Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales, and West Caicos--and several cays. The seat of government is at Cockburn Town on Grand Turk Island. Area 193 square miles (500 square km). Pop. (1993 est.) 13,400.
There is evidence that a primitive culture once existed on Turks and Caicos. At the time of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival in 1512, the islands were inhabited by Indians. They remained unsettled by Europeans until 1678, when British settlers from Bermuda established a salt-panning industry. The islands were at first placed under The Bahamas government, but in 1874 they were annexed to the colony of Jamaica, remaining a part of that territory until 1959. In that year they received a new constitution providing for separate government, and in 1962 the islands became a crown colony. The Bahamas governor was also the governor of Turks and Caicos from 1965 until 1973, when the islands received their own governor. In 1976 a new constitution took effect, and elections were held establishing a ministerial type of government. Some efforts toward independence were made in the early 1980s, but these ceased in 1985-86 when scandals forced the governor to dissolve the executive council and assume administrative control. In 1988 elections were held to restore representative rule.

The name Turks allegedly derives from a species of cactus whose scarlet flowers resemble a Turkish fez; that of Caicos perhaps from cay icoco (a coco plum tree).

Encyclopaedia Britannica

The Philatelic Sherlock Holmes