The 1847 stamp and its superlatives.

This stamp is hardly known among the general public. Nevertheless, it bears several firsts and is one of the rarities not only of the British colonies. It was the first stamp issued in the British colonies and it is also the first ship stamp in the world.

Lady McLeod, Collection Alfred Caspary, Collection Claude Cartier, specimen with the widest margins

The stamp was issued on the Caribbean island of Trinidad in 1847 to prepay for the carriage of letters on the paddle-wheel steamer Lady McLeod, which sailed between the cities of Port of Spain and San Fernando. The face value of this stamp was 5 cents, or $4 if the customer bought 100 pieces.

According to various sources, 91 or 92 have survived to this day, almost half of which are on letters.

Of course, these stamps were not absent from the famous collections of such icons as Baron Philipp von Ferrary, Alfred H. Caspary, and Thomas K. Tapling.

March 2, 1848, from Port of Spain to San Fernando. Addressed to Messrs. Taylor & Co. Unique corner copy with full margins on two sides, cancelled by two cross strokes. Sold the last time in May 1990, London

Only one single stamp with the sheet corner margins (upper left) has survived to this day, and that even on a letter. The present owner acquired it in 1990 at an auction in London and it has not appeared on the market since. This collector, who comes from Germany, has since purchased two more letters with this stamp, plus one beautiful example with very wide margins.

I am preparing a detailed article on this subject with lots of interesting information for the Merkur Revue magazine and it will be published during 2023.

#ladymcleod #trinidad #firststamp #theoldeststamp

Robert Napier's shipyard at Govan, where the "Lady McLeod" was built (after George S. Measom, 1861)


Tel: +420 608 386 845


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  • Radek Novák
  • +420 608 386 845