Notes from the Past

Pacific Steam Navigation Company

This old-established British shipping company, trading to the west coast of South America, produced its own stamps in 1847 to prepay charges on mail carried by its steamers.  Supplies of two values, each showing an old-time paddle-steamer of the period, were duly printed but were apparently never used owing to the objections of the Peruvian Government.  In the 1850's, however, the government began to consider the introduction of postage stamps.  The company thereupon presented the government with a supply of its stamps, and it was decided to try these out pending the arrival of Peru's first regular issue.  The P.S.N.C. stamps -- the initials appearing in the four corners of the designs -- were used in very small quantities, probably fewer than 100 all told.  Genuine examples are now great rarities, though they have been extensively forged.  They were introduced on 1 December 1857, and were current for only about three months until the appearance of Peru's first definitives in March, 1858.  The company's stamps therefore rank as the first issue of Peru, and are unique in having been prepared as locals but eventually used with government authority.
 
 
 
- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia
Published 1966
 Posted March 5, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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