The Big Billfish Tournament, which attracts the sportsfishing elite from the United States, Canada and Europe, is held annually in the Turks & Caicos Islands in the West Indies. The term "billfish" includes any of the large species with a prominent bill, such as sailfish, swordfish and various marlins (white, blue and black).

To hail the 1988 Billfish Tournament, the Turks & Caicos issued four new stamps and a souvenir sheet.The 8-cent depicts a giant swordfish jumping into the air after being hooked by an angler from the deck of a fishing boat, a 28-foot Aquasport 270 Express Fisherman. The 10-cent shows the captain of the boat, the swordfish and the angler having their picture taken. The 70-cent illustrates the fishing boat leaving port for the big fish area. The $1 pictures a large blue marlin underwater.


Two noteworthy projects sponsored by the United Nations celebrated their 40th anniversaries and were duly honored with stamps by two different countries at the end of 1988.

The Commonwealth of Dominica in the Windward chain of the West Indies saluted the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the issuance of a single stamp and a souvenir sheet.

The $3 stamp bears a portrait of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped save an estimated 100,000 Hungarian Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps in the final months of World War II.

The $5 souvenir sheet features the logo of the U.N.'s Human Rghts Day. In the border portion of the sheet are illustrations of four prominent advocates of human rights: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., against a backdrop of Washington's Capitol Hill; Mahatma Gandhi, against a backdrop of the Taj Mahal in India; Albert Einstein, against a backdrop of the famed Musical Clock in Munich; and Eleanor Roosevelt, against a backdrop of the White House.

Togo, the former French colony in West Africa, is also releasing a U.N. anniversary stamp set. The set is a tribute to the 40th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The 80-franc illustrates a graphic scene of people of different races holding aloft a candle symbolizing light breaking through the darkness of ill health. The 125-franc pictures the logo of WHO over the numerals "40," with a map of Togo between the "4" and the "0."

The Dominica and Togo stamps are available at your local dealer.


The Marshall Islands, former U.S.-administered Trust Territory in the Western Pacific, has released a setenant (attached strip) of four vertical 25-cent stamps and a single 45-cent airmail in tribute to the pivotal role played by Kwajalein (one of its islands) in the U.S. space shuttle program. It was at Kwajalein that tracking and recovery ships of the U.S. Space Command effected recovery of the PRIME vehicle.

The strip illustrates the PRIME launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base (Calif.) downrange to the Kwajalein Missile Range, the PRIME lifting body re-entering from space, the PRIME parachuting to recovery off Kwajalein, and the space shuttle Discovery over Kwajalein. The 45-cent depicts a space shuttle over Rongelap at Kwajaleln.

The new Marshall Islands stamps highlighting the role of Kwajalein is the second in the series of Marshallese stamps dedicated to the atoll's important role in the history of space exploration. The 1985 issue honored the island group's participation in the International Halley Watch.


Here's a popularity note from the files of the Postal Service. The most popular first-day cancellation of any 1988 U.S. stamp was the Cats (block of four) stamps. Total cancellations amounted to 872,734. The Australian commemorative achieved the next-highest total - 523,465.

Five additional issues - Virginia Statehood, Georgia Statehood, James Weldon Johnson, Massachusetts Statehood and Knute Rockne - had sales of more than 400,000 first-day cancellations each.