Notes from the Past

Dominica's First Stamps

The British Postmaster General established a post office in 1858 in Roseau, Dominica's capital.  The ordinary stamps of Great Britain were used.  An oval A07 obliterator was assigned to the office.  British stamps of the era postmarked with A07 can be identified as used abroad in Dominica.

In May, 1860, the Colony took over its own postal system, and for fourteen years used only handstamps for showing postage payments.  Although an essay of a stamp was publicized in 1870, it was not until 1874 that stamps were adopted.

The order for stamps was filled by De la Rue.  The design was based on the Victorian key-plate type used in 1870 in St. Christopher.  The plate had 60 impressions in ten rows of six.  The paper used was watermarked Crown CC.  The stamps were comb perforated 12½.  Two plates were used: a key plate with frame, portrait, and inscriptions common to all values, and a duty plate for each denomination.

The Official Gazette noted on May 5, 1874, that "STAMPS may now be had at this office, at 1d., 6d., and 1s. each.  Letters, &c., dropped into the letter-box insufficiently paid will be DETAINED."  The stamps were issued the day before, May 4, 1874.

The stamps remained in use unchanged for 3 years until the perforation was changed in to 14 in 1877.  In 1879 Dominica joined the Universal Postal Union and ½d., 2½d., and 4d. stamps using the same design were added.

Posted November 22, 2000

Editor's Note:  I have willingly excerpted (almost plagiarized) this from Stamps Day By Day, L. N. and M Williams. Blandford Press Ltd, 1950.

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