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Postal Stamps

The small Island of Mauritius has towering importance in the word of Philately. The first postal stamps in any part of the British Empire,outside the Great Britain, were issued here in 1847. This so-called “Post Office” stamps, are of historical value and importance.

The cover was sold at auction, in 1993, for 5.75 million Swiss francs, the equivalent of about $4 million – the highest price ever paid for a single philatelic item. Besides the legendary “Post Office” Stamps, Mauritius is famous for locally produced issues known as “primitives” extremely popular among stamp collectors because of being rare.

During the regency of Queen Victoria, Great Britain, in 1847 issued stamps carrying the image of the queen, the practice being followed throughout the Great Britain. Most of the early issues of Mauritius were locally designed and produced and have a distinct “primitive” character.

On September 21, 1847, two stamps, one of orange red color and value of one penny and a deep blue two pence were issued. The stamps bear the letter “Post Office” in the left panel. The letter “Post Office “was changed to Post Paid later. The "Post Office" stamps are among the rarest stamps in the world, and are of legendary status in the world of philately.

The total 1000 stamps or 500 stamps of each value were printed from a single plate values. Most of these stamps were issued on invitations sent by Mauritian Governor's wife for a ball which she was holding that weekend.

In 1928, Georges Brunel published Les Timbres-Poste de l'Île Maurice. He stated here that words “Post Office” on the stamps issued in 1847 were by an error of Joseph Barnard, the man who produced the stamps. Over the years, legendary became famous and it was believed that Joseph Barnard, an old man and half-blind watchmaker in absent-minded forgot what he was supposed to print on the stamps.

Though this story is purely fictional, philatelic scholars have confirmed that the "Post Office" inscription was intentional. In support of the veracity of their statement they have also refuted the statements by Georges Brunel.

They affirmed Joseph Barnard was a young man of 31 and not an old one when stamp was released. Besides. Neither he was half blind nor watch maker in that phase of life. Besides, several rubber stamps, prior to the issue of these stamps also used the words "Post Office", as did the first two stamps issued by the United States in July 1847.

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