Today's post will look at what in my opinion are some of the world's most beautiful stamps of the 19th Century. During this "golden age" of philately, the standard method of production was engraving, and the people who engraved stamp designs as their life's work produced some truly amazing masterpieces:
This 24 cent stamp from the United States was issued in 1869. It depicts the signing of the declaration of Independence in the centre. The centre is printed in a rich grey-violet, while the border is a dark emerald green. This, in my opinion is one of the most beautiful stamps produced by the United States. Here is the complete set of designs for that issue:
Just beautiful aren't they?
Another series that was issued by the US that is almost as beautiful is the 1893 Columbian Exposition Issue. Here is the 1c value from that set, which I believe is one of the most beautiful stamps from the set:
There were 15 other stamps in this set, which ran to the $5 denomination. A complete set is very expensive and every collector's dream. However, the lower denominations like the one above are still well within reach of the average collector. Some other stamps from this set are shown below:
Finally, in 1898 the Trans-Mississippi issue was released. This was a smaller set of eight stamps, depicting beautiful American scenes:
This is the $1 value from the set. Many collectors consider this to be one of the most beautiful united states stamps. Below are some more values from the set:
Moving over to the United Kingdom, we cannot forget the world's first stamp, the penny black:
The impression of this one is a little bit worn, so some of the finer background lines are not clear, but when you find one of these with a very intense shade of black and clear, unworn impression, it is truly an exquisite masterpiece of engraver's art. The detail of Queen Victoria's profile is breathtaking. Mint examples are very rare and thousands of dollars. However, you can find very nice used examples with reasonably clear cancels for the $200-$300 range, which is not out of reach for most collectors.
Then we have this charity stamp from New South Wales that was issued in 1897:
This is one of the earliest examples, if not the earliest example of multi-colour printing around. I have always considered it to be a beautiful classic stamp.
Then Brazil issued some beautiful stamps for the Emperor Dom Pedro. These were issued from the 1860's through the 1870's:
In 1898 Portugal released a series of stamps to commemorate the Explorer Vasco De Gamma. These stamps were of a common series of designs that were issued throughout the Portuguese colonies:
This concludes a brief tour of some of the most intricate and beautiful stamps produced around the world during the 19th Century. The early 20th century saw many more beautiful stamps than the 19th century did, and some of those will be the subject of the next post.