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  South African Coelacanth Issue - 9 February 1989

IDENTIFICATION OF THE COELACANTH 50 YEARS AGO

Fifty years ago, on the 20 February 1939, the stunning announcement was made that a Coelacanth had been caught off the Chalumna River mouth near East London. At that time, the Coelacanth was thought to be extinct for nearly 70 million years. The discovery of the Coelacanth was described as the biological find of the century.

     
 
A live Coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, in it’s natural habitat.
   
 
Portraying Prof. J.L.B. Smith and Dr. Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer with a Coelacanth.
   
 
The modern building that houses the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology in Grahamstown, South Africa.
   
 
The GEO two-man submarine which is being used to study the living Coelacanth.
   
         
         
  Technical Detail:

Values: 16c, 30c, 40c and 50c
Stamp Format: 38,07 x 28,7 mm
Sheet Division: 5 x 5 stamps
(3 unidentified panes per slate)
Paper: Harrison - phosphorous coated
Quantity Printed: 16c - 17 500 000
: 30c, 40c and 50c - 2 500 000 each

Designer: Angus McBride
Printer: Government Printer, Pretoria
Printing Process: Lithography
Perforation Guage: 14 x 14 mm
Gum: PVA
No water mark
Last Date of Sale: 8 May 1989