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British Honduras was a territory in Central America primarily colonized by the Spanish and settled by the British. After a number of disputes between both empires, it finally became a British colony in 1862 and remained so until its independence in 1981. The country was renamed Belize in June 1973.
The British Honduras began using British stamps in May 1858, obliterated "A06", until April 1860, when the colony took over postage operations and mail was sent only with handstamps "BELIZE PAID". It issued its own first stamps in December 1865, which contained a profile picture of Queen Victoria inside an oval-shape reading "BRITISH HONDURAS" in its upper band half and the denomination in the lower band half. The typographed stamp was unwatermarked and perforated (14). It is usual that the perforations touch the design of the stamps given the narrow spacing between them in the sheets.
The design was made by De La Rue and engraved by F. Joubert de la Ferte. These were issued in 1Penny, 6 Pence and 1Shilling, printed in sheets of 240 divided in four panes, where two held the 1 Penny values (120 in total), one the 6Pence (60 pieces in total) and one the 1 Shilling (60 pieces total). Printing different values and colours in the same sheet was possibly a need due to the small volume needed. A total of 235 sheets were printed, what means only 28200 of the 1Penny stamp and half that amount for the other two values. Later orders of 36000 of the 1 Penny in 1869 and 1871 raised the total number for those pieces to 64200. These stamps were ordered at Edward Sheldon and Company. (King, 1981, p.22-25)
The stamp orders after 1871, and until 1879, were made by the Crown Agents, who ordered copied at De La Rue printing company. These were printed on different paper and watermarked (a crown and the letters CC underneath). A later 3 Pence value was added to the set before the colony joined the Universal Postal Union in January 1879. (King, p. 25) This set sells at lower prices than the first.
The first stamps of the colony do not have a particularly high catalogue value, although pieces with perforations that do not cut into the design are scarcer. British Honduras issued stamps until 1973 under its name. Stamps post-name change started appearing in 1973, first as overprints on British Honduras stamps, and later issues containing the Belize name – and that, again, shall be information for another post.
Catalogue Value: Unused **, Used **
King, E.W. A Brief Postal History of Belize (1981). Online version available at the University of Florida website: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095455/00001
* 0.1 - 49 USD
** 50 - 99 USD
*** 100 - 499 USD
**** 500 - 999 USD
***** 1'000 - 9'999 USD
****** + 10'0000 USD
The First Issues Blog is a place to discuss about the stamp number 1 of each country, territory, district, etc. Each additional item to my new collection shall receive a small description about the item, its history and curiosities.
Note that I may add more than 1 'number one' stamp to a place. This happens as I judge that in the case of independence or any other political issue that changed the postal history or when I deemed interesting to do so. This will be noted on the posts when it happens.