Located 30 miles off the coast of mainland Germany, Heligoland has a long philatelic history. Originally ceded to Great Britain by the French after the Napoleonic wars, Heligoland had long Danish roots and the local language is a variant of Frisian which is the dialect of Danish that is thought to be the basis of early English. The invasion route across the North Sea that brought Saxon invaders to Britain was past the Heligoland Islands. The key geopolitical activity during the Nineteenth Century for most European countries seemed to be building spheres of influence. This was effected mostly by occupation and setting up Colonial governments and the British influence in Heligoland was no doubt invigorated as a counterweight to Prussian expansion and a desire to keep the North Sea safe for British shipping. Though called a British Colony and collected by Commonwealth collectors, Heligoland stamps are unlike any other in the British area. Most British stamps have a similar feel and most were produced either by Perkins, Bacon and Company, the issuers of the early Great Britain stamps, or by the Crown Agents. The designs of the vast majority of British stamps are limited and fit into only a few patterns. Heligoland stamps are almost a hybrid of German Empire stamps, with their embossed centers, and British stamps. As such, they are an interesting addition for most collectors.

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