First Issues - 1850 to 1851

page 2.3


Only two days after New South Wales and Spain, delayed by a public holiday, on 3rd January, Victoria issued its first stamp featuring a quaint ‘half length’ representation of Queen Victoria by local artist E. Wilson and printed in Melbourne. The stamp shown is a later SG5 red-brown variant as the orange-vermilion SG1 sells for £15,000 mint. Continuing the Australian innovations, Victoria issued the world's first Registration stamp ( below) and Late Fee stamp (SG33 Sc-I1) in 1854 and 1855.

Victoria SG5 Victoria SG353 Victoria SG-D1 Victoria SG34
[first issue 3rd January 1850]
Queen Victoria
SG5 Sc1
Hospital charity fund
1897 SG353 Sc-B1
Post Due
1890 SG-D1 Sc-J1
World's First

1854 SG34 Sc-F1
Australia SG239
Australia commemorative
1950 SG239-40 Sc228-9

The colony continued to issue attractive stamps until the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The Victoria and New South Wales first issues were commemorated in a 1950 se-tenant pair.


As has been noted, three Swiss Cantons were early movers in issuing stamps in the 1840s. On 7th April 1850 the federal administration made its first issue. The stamp sells at £2,000, but a centenary charity stamp illustrates the design. Its first airmail stamp was an excessively expensive 1918 definitive overprint: the first purpose-designed issue, shown, was in 1923. Gibbons and Scott differ on the first official. [see note]

Switz SG522 Switz SG191 Switz SG316 Switz SG-J1 Switz SGO381 Switz SG D89
[first issue 7th April 1850]
Centenary commemorative
1950 SG522 Sc-B191
25th anniversary of UPU
1900 SG191 Sc98
1923 SG316 Sc-C3
Children's Fund
1913 SG-J1 Sc-B1
1938 SG-O381 Sc-O1
Post Due
1878 SG-D89 Sc-J1


Switzerland is responsible for a number of postal innovations, albeit minor ones. In 2003 it released probably the first braille stamp (the Swiss Federation for the Blind, stated at the time 'Swiss Post is one of the first postal organisations in the world to issue a Braille stamp'). Gibbons Monthly (August 2003) noted that this was rather pointless as registered blind Swiss citizens can post for free.

Switzerland SG1538 Switzerland SG Sc1075
World's First Braille stamp
SG1538 Sc
World's First Scratch 'n' Sniff stamp
2001 SG1478 Sc
World's First Embroidered stamp
2000 SG Sc1075

2001 saw the first Scratch 'n' Sniff stamp celebrating Swiss chocolate.
And in 2000 the first (and rather large) embroidered stamp: this innovation has been imitated elsewhere and may be the subject of a tangent.


original page March 2008
rewritten April 2013