First Issues - 1855 to 1857

page 4.2

Relatively few states and provinces made their first issues during these three years.

South Australia SG1 Sc1 Australia SG277 Sc274
1st January 1855
SG1 Sc1
Centenary commemorative
1954 SG277 Sc274

South Australia

The only Australian state in this period and the fifth in total issued on 1st January 1855 and was commemorated in 1955.

German States

Bremen SG1 Sc1 Mecklenburg-Schwerin SG1 Sc1a text
Bremen Mecklenburg-Schwerin
10th April 1855
SG1 Sc1
1st July 1856
SG1 Sc1a
commemorative postmark

Bremen on 10th April 1855 and Mecklenburg-Schwerin on 1st July 1856. The latter is a charmingly small stamp, designed to be subdivided to accommodate various postal rates. When quartered, it is not quite the world’s smallest stamp or first issue, that honour goes to the 1861 first issues of Bolivar, Colombia [more on small stamps here]. The display rules state that only stamps owned can be shown, but a second exception has been made (see also Denmark in the 1850-51 display) for the postmark celebrating the 150th anniversary of this issue. This brought the total of German states to thirteen.


Newfoundland SG1 Sc1 Newfoundland SG66 Sc61 Newfoundland SG192 Sc-C6 Newfoundland SG-D2 Sc-J2
1st January 1857
SG1 Sc1
1897 SG66 Sc61
400th anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland and QV's 60th
first real airmail
1931 SG192 Sc-C6
Post Due
1939 SG-D2 Sc-J2

The fourth Canadian province in issue on 1st January 1857, Newfoundland continued to produce consistently attractive stamps until finally joining Canada in 1949. The first airmail is a remarkably expensive (£15k/£8k) 1919 overprint for the first transatlantic air post [see note].

South Africa SG707
[26th May 1857]
South Africa commemorative
1990 SG707


Following the Cape of Good Hope triangles, Natal was the second South African province to issue on 26th May 1857. The stamp is as faint and indistinctive as it is expensive, hence the 1990 commemorative of the similar 1 shilling 1857 stamp.

The Argentinian province of Corrientes will be covered in the next display.

Twinnings Tea Rare Stamps card
Series 1, card 16,
Newfoundland's first airmail.

Twinings have again come to the rescue with the Newfoundland first airmail on card 16 of the first set of Rare Stamps tea cards (I had to pay a rather surprising £15 for the set of cards: the second series is much cheaper). The text on the reverse of the card states, 'Early in 1919 a prize of £10,000 was offered for the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. Hawker and Grieve made the first attempt, but came down in the sea and were rescued. Letters they carried bore these stamps. Only 200 were printed: examples are now worth about £500 each.'

Ardath #11

This explains the price of the stamps and also provides a good example of price stamp inflation: the cards were produced in 1960.

The stamp is also illustrated in a splendid resource published in 1939 and found in February 2014, Ardath cigarette cards. Here's their version of the story, 'The 3 cents brown stamp of the series with which Newfoundland commemorated the deeds of her men in the Great War, with its handsome head of a caribou, is not at all a rare item in its original state but when it bears the overprinted words "FlRST TRANS-ATLANTIC AlR POST April, 1919" it becomes at once a first-class historical souvenir and a great stamp rarity. ln this state it was issued for use on correspondence carried by Harry Hawker in 1919, when he set out to try and win the Daily Mail £10,000 prize for the first Trans-Atlantic flight - a flight which, in this case, ended in mid-ocean.'


page written May 2013