This joint issue of the Portuguese and Monegasque Post Offices commemorates the discovery of one of the main Azorean fishing spots, the Princess Alice Bank, by Prince Albert I of Monaco and his crew in 1896, which prompted the start of the maritime expeditions of King Charles I of Portugal in the same year. The Prince was one of the main pioneers and promoters of oceanography. The King, himself interested in science and technology as a keen ornithologist and photographer, bought over the years 4 yachts, equipped them with scientific apparatus, hired scientists, and made 12 expeditions around the Portuguese seas until 1907. The royal cabins can be seen in the Naval Museum in Lisbon, while the specimens collected are in the Vasco da Gama Aquarium, which he helped create in 1898 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of da Gama’s discovery of a sea route to India. The Portuguese Navy has an oceanographic ship called D. Carlos I in his honour.
The stamps were designed by José Luís Tinoco, lithographed by the Mint on enamelled paper sheets of 5×5 stamps with perforation 12×12½, and circulated from 1 February 1996 to 3 September 2001. The Monegasque stamps were also printed in the Portuguese Mint.