Stamp issues of Bermuda
In its isolated location, the colony originally depended on packet ships for mail, connecting via St Thomas, New York City, or Halifax, Nova Scotia at different periods. A packet agent managed external mails from 1818, with packet handstamps known from 1820.
The Bermuda Gazette operated a domestic mail service from 1784, later taken over by the local government. In 1859, both internal and external mail service became the colony’s responsibility, with the chief postmaster being based at St. George’s.
Bermuda’s first postage stamps were produced locally in 1848 by Hamilton postmaster William B. Perot, consisting of the words “HAMILTON BERMUDA” in a circle, with the year and Perot’s signature in the middle. Known as the Perot provisionals, they are among the great rarities of philately. A crown-in-circle design used at St. George’s in 1860, also rare, is attributed to postmaster James H. Thies.
General stamp issues began in 1865, with a set of three (1d, 6d, and 1/-), each with a different design based on the profile of Queen Victoria. These were supplemented with 2d and 3d values in 1866 and 1873.
In 1902, King Edward VII was not honoured with a depiction on new stamps; instead the issue depicted the Bermudia Dry Dock, and remained in use throughout his reign. These were the first stamps in the British Empire that did not depict the monarch’s head.
The unusual practice continued, at least in part, with King George V, with the low values of the issue of 1910 depicting the seal of the colony (a caravel), while the higher values (2/- and up) were large-format designs featuring the king’s profile.
First commemorative stamps
Bermuda’s first commemorative stamps were an issue of 1920, marking the 300th anniversary of representative institutions. The design consisted of the caravel seal and a profile of George V, with the inscriptions “BERMUDA COMMEMORATIVE STAMP” above and “TERCENTENARY OF ESTABLISHMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE INSTITUTIONS” below. A second issue, in 1921, commemorated the same occasion with a completely different design, with George V in the centre and various symbols in the corners.
Bermuda issued the King George V Pictorial Issue series of stamps in 1936, consisting of nine stamps with seven different designs depicting local scenery. In 1938 several of the designs were reused for the King George VI Pictorial Issue.
In 1949 the 100th anniversary of Perot’s provisional stamp was marked with the Perot Centenary Issue.
Miniature Sheets / Souvenir Sheets
The first Bermuda miniature sheet to be produced was for the 350th Anniversary of Parliament in 1970.
- The Fiscal Stamps of Bermuda Revenue or Fiscal Stamps were issued in Bermuda to confirm fees paid on land transfers, contracts, insurance policies, cheques and telephone bill receipts. All visitors leaving Bermuda had to pay a Head Tax, so many stamps were used for this purpose. Bermuda issued dedicated revenue stamps from 1936 to 1984. […]Read More
- Universal Postal Union official items An international Reply Coupon (IRC) is a coupon that can be exchanged for one or more postage stamps representing the minimum postage for an unregistered priority airmail letter of up to twenty grams sent to another Universal Postal Union (UPU) member country. IRCs are accepted by all UPU member countries. […]Read More
- Official stationery items Postal stationery refers to items such as postal card, air letter, registered envelope or wrapper with an imprinted stamp or inscription indicating that a specific rate of postage or related service has been prepaid. It does not include any postcard without a pre-affixed or pre-printed stamp. Postal stationery is handled similarly to […]Read More
- Thematic and Topical issues of Bermuda Bermuda stamps offer a wide variety of stamps for the Thematic or Topical collector. Popular topical themes are animals, dogs, cats, butterflies, birds, flowers, art, sports, Olympics, maps, Disney, scouting, space, ships, stamps on stamps, famous people, and many others. This list is being gathered together and is no […]Read More
- Bermuda stamp booklets Bermuda’s stamps booklets first appeared in 1948. Bermuda’s postage stamp booklets are made up of one or more small panes of postage stamps in a card cover. Some of the stamp booklets are made from sheets specially printed for this purpose, with a narrow selvage at one side of the booklet pane […]Read More
- Bermuda miniature or souvenir sheets A miniature sheet or souvenir sheet is a small group of commemorative postage stamps still attached to the sheet on which they were printed. The stamps are perforated in the usual way with the selvedge (selvage / margins) of the sheet usually having additional printing, ranging from a simple statement […]Read More
- Bermuda omnibus issues British Empire and Commonwealth omnibus issues are stamps used by a large number of territories with common subjects and designs. Initially designs were identical for each colony with only the values, colours and colony names varying. Later issues, some featuring a wider range of designs, including themes related to the British Royal […]Read More
- Bermuda stamps on covers, envelopes, cards etc If you like covers then you’ll like collecting Bermuda! You’ll find a good selection of First Day Covers, Commemorative Covers, First Flight covers, Airmail covers, NASA covers and Postal History covers available for Bermuda. The term ‘cover’ refers to an envelope or package with an address, postage stamps […]Read More
- Commemorative stamps of Bermuda Bermuda has a very good selection of commemorative stamps to collect and is still issuing collectable commemorative stamps today. Bermuda’s first commemorative stamps were issued of 1920 to mark the 300th anniversary of representative institutions. The first issue, designed by the Governor, consisted of the caravel seal and a profile of […]Read More
- Definitive stamps of Bermuda Definitive stamps are used for everyday postage to meet current postal rates at the time. Bermuda has a good selection of definitives dating back from Victorian times. The first stamps known as the Perot Provisionals are not something you are ever likely to come across to purchase, unless you have £150,000 […]Read More