Page 1 - Barbados Britannia Issues - Robert Lebow
P. 1

Barbados: The Britannia's (1852-1878)




          Have you ever thought it interesting to be a real sleuth?  The Barbados Britannia's
          offer this opportunity.  The identification of the correct stamps for each issue requires
          some real detective work.  The following considerations are to be taken into account:



          1.  Color - even at the beginning this became a major problem because there were no
                                                              st
             denominations on the earliest issues.  The 1  Issue Two Pence Purple looked more
             like slate blue making it difficult to distinguish from the One Penny Blue.  Also, in
             later issues shade variation was obvious, especially when multiple printings of an
             issue occurred.  And to compound the problem, over time some of the inks used
             had a tendency to cause the stamp colors to fade.


          2.  Paper - there are several considerations involving paper determination.
                 a.  Bluing - whereby paper reacted with prussiate of potash in the ink to cause a
                                            st
                    bluing effect on the  1  Issue.  This is the major determinate between the 1       st
                           nd
                    and 2 Issues.
                 b.  Perforations - this is the most difficult area of identification for the early
                    issues.  The early machinery was not precise and was subject to variation due
                    to its manufacture with hand inserted pins.
                 c.  Watermarks - Perkins Bacon had the original contract to print Barbados
                    stamps beginning in 1851.  The earliest issues were unwatermarked.  Later
                    issues had two types of "star" watermarks described as "large star" and

                    "small star".  Collectors have difficulty in distinguishing between the two
                    types because the stars were constructed by handbent wires and the "small
                    stars" were sometimes nearly as large as the "large stars."  In 1874 the
                    contract was given to De La Rue.  All Britannia's printed by De La Rue were
                    on p  per watermarked "(Crown)/CC".
                 d.  Density - the paper thickness varied from very thin to very thick.  On very
                    thick paper watermarked issues this makes watermark determination
                    difficult.


          This exhibit addresses the above characteristics in chronological order by issue.  The
          postal markings are an area of interest and are shown in this exhibit.  There were two
          types of obliterators, oblong and later on those known as "bootheel".           umbers were
          assigned to each parish on the island, there being eleven parishes.  The challenge is to
          try and collect cancels from each parish for each issue.  Some of the parish numbers

          are quite elusive.  A good representation of these cancels is shown herein.
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