First Issues - 1840 to 1849

page 1.5

Bermuda SG127
Handstamp centenary
1949 SG127 Sc135


The first Bermuda stamp issue was in 1865, although there were local handstamps produced by the postmaster William Perot from 1848, as shown on this centenary commemorative.


Proposals were first made for postal reform in France in 1832 but were not pursued until the success of British postal innovations had been seen.

France SG6 France SG396 France SG455 France SG351 France SG-D87
1st January 1849
SG6 Sc3
Paris Olympics
1924 SG396 Sc198
1927 SG455 Sc-C1
o/p SG387 Sc127
Red Cross Fund
1914 SG351 Sc-B1
o/p SG336 Sc162
Post Due
1859 SG-D87 Sc-J1

There are numerous approaches to collecting first issues but the most fundamental question is whether to collect the SG1 (or Scott #1 for most collectors) or the first issue by date. France provides a good example of this problem. Scott 1 and 2 (10c and 15c) were issued on 12th September and 29th July 1850 but the first issue, the 20 centimes value Sc3 above was on 1st January 1849. In Gibbons this is SG6 because all the 1849-52 definitive are numbered in value order.

France SG483
1930 SG483 Sc-C5
Council of Europe SG-C1 Sc-1O1
Council of Europe, Strasbourg
1958 SG-C1 Sc-1O1

The first French commemorative (SG125, Sc197) was a 1923 overprint for a Bordeaux stamp show. This catalogues at £325, and so I am on the lookout for one of the many forgeries. Shown above is the first real commemorative, for the 1924 Paris Olympics.

The first French airmail is one of the cartoon overprints and was only sold at a 1927 Marseilles air show. Given the catalogue price and what I paid for it, the above is probably one of the 'many excellent forgeries' referred to in the catalogues. The first real French airmail came three years later.

France has not issued an official stamp ... [later note] ... itself but stamps for use by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg very nearly amount to the same thing.


original page March 2008
rewritten April 2013