This site contains a listing of stamps from throughout the world that depict turtles, tortoises, or terrapins or which are in some way related to turtles, tortoises, or terrapins, even though the stamp may not actually depict a chelonian. Thus, a stamp is included in the list which pictures the Turtle Beach Hotel and a number of stamps are included which depict a lighthouse erroneously called the Turtle Lighthouse, even though there are no turtles pictured on those stamps. Some stamps of questionable postal validity are also included, such as the stamp from Upper Yafa, the stamps from Dhufar, and the many recent local and regional stamps from areas within the former Soviet Union.
On the other hand, excluded from the list are a number of stamps which depict animals having the words "turtle" or "tortoise" in their names, but which are not related to turtles or tortoises. Some examples are: at least three stamps depicting tortoise-shell cats, at least two stamps depicting tortoise-shell butterflies, one stamp depicting a turtle dove, and one stamp depicting a mollusc shell called a "tortuguita" in Spanish. All of these stamps have been arbitrarily excluded from the list because the names refer to animals other than chelonians.
It is our goal to make this list as inclusive as possible in regard to types of philatelic materials, so that anyone can look it over and decide what they may want to include in their collection and what they do not wish to include. Many collectors enjoy collecting Cinderella material and if they wish to do so, this list will be helpful to them. On the other hand, purists can use the list as well, ignoring or rejecting materials whose credentials they do not wish to accept. The mere inclusion of an item in this list does not imply that every turtle stamp collector should try to obtain that particular item for his or her collection.
Major variations of stamps are included in the list, but not every minor variation. An attempt has been made to include all variations which are listed separately, under a unique number, in at least one catalog. Many stamps exist in perforate and imperforate forms and these are not included in this list as different stamps. Similarly, stamps which differ only in the printing process by which they were produced, are not listed as different stamps.
With a few exceptions, the scientific names of the turtles conform to the nomenclature of Ernst and Barbour (Ernst, Carl H. and Roger W. Barbour. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London. ISBN 0-87474-414-8). The major exception is the taxonomy and nomenclature of the Galapagos Tortoise Complex. Ernst and Barbour have divided the giant tortoises inhabiting the Galapagos Archipelago into 12 separate species. In this list, they are treated as a single species (Geochelone elephantopus), with a number of subspecies.
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