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Bermuda Flag

Bermuda's postage stamps

Many feature history, environment, flora and fauna

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) at e-mail exclusively for Bermuda Online

To refer to this web file, please use "bermuda-online.org/stamps.htm" as your Subject.

Bermuda postage stamp 13

Admiral Sir George Somers, Bermuda 1609 Artists who painted Bermuda Bermuda, Britain & Commonwealth
Bermuda & Canada Bermuda & France Bermuda & USA
Bermuda's postage stamps Historic Houses History 1500 to 1699
History 1700 to 1799 History 1800 to 1899 History 1900 to 1939 pre-war
History 1939 to 1951 History 1952 to 1999 History  2000 to 2005
History 2006 Part 1 History 2006 Part 2 History 2007 Jan and Feb
History 2007 March History 2007 April History 2007 May
History 2007 June 1-15th History 2007 June 16 to 30th History 2007 July 1-15
History 2007 July 16th to 31st History 2007 August 1 to 7 History 2007 August 8 to 14
History 2007 August 15 to 21 History 2007 August 22-31 History 2007 September 1 to 10
History 2007 September 11 to December 31 History 2008 to 2010 History 2011 through 2012
History 2013 History 2014 part 1 History 2014 part 2
History 2015 January History 2015 February History 2015 March
History 2015 April History 2015 May History 2015 June
History 2015 July History 2015 August  

Introduction

Beautiful stamps are a serious business for Bermuda Post Office. The Island’s colorful stamps not only serve as payment for postage, they generate extra revenue thanks to legions of collectors around the world. It is a feather in the cap for Bermuda Post Office (BPO) that its stamps are so eagerly anticipated and collected by people around the world. The BPO has a philatelic coordinator, currently Mr Stanley Taylor. Part of the magic is striking the right balance between issuing a number of pleasing, new designs each year and not ‘overkilling’ collectors with a constant barrage of releases.

Some 700 to 800 committed collectors of Bermuda stamps have standing orders with the post office that guarantee an automatic payment is made as soon as a new stamp issue is released. This ensures the latest designs are immediately forwarded to them to add to their collections. Most collectors are in the US, the majority on the East Coast. There some in Australia, Hong Kong, Eastern Europe, England and Canada. The BPO also has customers from the cruise ships or tourists staying at hotels who come in to buy stamps as they are collectors.

For a number of reasons the quantity of Bermuda stamps sold has fallen by between a third and a half in the past decade or so. One factor is the increasing use of e-mail and other forms of electronic messaging replacing traditional mail and letter writing. Less tourists in Bermuda has resulted in less postcards being sent, and therefore less stamps bought, and many businesses now use franking machines, doing away with the need for physical stamps.

Even so, many hundreds of thousands of Bermuda stamps are produced each year in four separate design issues. The first new issue of 2013, released in February 2013, was a set of stamps commemorating the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. The stamps come in a variety of face values, each with a different design. The biggest quantity produced is the 35 cents version for local postage, of which 150,000 were made.

A lot of care is taken to ensure Bermuda stamps are interesting and lively. They tend to be bigger in size than other jurisdictions, allowing more detail to be included. Each stamp design is discussed and agreed on by committee then sent off for Royal approval before it can be issued. Many stamp collectors focus on a particular subject, era or country. Those who collect Bermuda’s stamps like the fact there are only four new issues each year. Sheets of stamps and first-day covers are highly collectable. Some Bermuda stamps from the earliest days, such as the Perot stamp of the 1840s, can trade for as much as $250,000. Sometimes an unexpected event can increase the demand for a particular stamp. The 2009 tall ships issue included one stamp featuring the Canadian ship SV Concordia, which visited Bermuda that year. When it sank a year later, near Brazil, many people sought out the Bermuda stamp as a collector’s item.

As a  group of very small and isolated islands only 21 square miles in collective total land area, surrounded by the western Atlantic Ocean, nearly 600 miles from the nearest mainland of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, USA and 3,150 miles from London, England, Bermuda - developed after discovery in 1609 as a British colony - initially developed its own system for handling letters and parcels or valuable items, known as packets, for urgent delivery. 

It began in Bermuda by depending first on packet ships that sailed mostly first from the southern English part of Falmouth, Devon.  (See the book referred to above, The Bermuda Packet Mails and the Halifax-Bermuda Mail Service, 1806 to 1886. Dr. Jack (John) C. Arnell and Morris. H. Ludington). 

These fast small sailing ships were the first in the world to offer a regular national and international parcel and postal service.  Packet ships were vessels employed to carry British post office mail packets to and from British embassies, colonies and outposts. They were regular, scheduled service, carrying freight and passengers. Their crew were referred to by trade as packet men and their industry was the packet trade. Interestingly, the French word "paquebot" derives from the English term "packet boat," but means a large ocean liner.

Packet ships, among them Royal Mail ships and Cunard, connected Bermuda with St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, New York City and or Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada. A packet agent was based in each of those ports. In those days, when the capital of Bermuda was the Town of St. George, not the later-built City of Hamilton, the packet agent managed all external mails from the town. (Packet agent hand stamps issued from 1820 were the precursors of the postage stamps of today).  A domestic mail service was begun in Bermuda in 1784 by the Bermuda Gazette, but was later taken over by Bermuda's colonial government. In 1859, both internal and external mail service became the colony's responsibility, with the chief postmaster being based at the Town of St. George.

1848

However, it was not from the town but in the new City 13 miles away that Hamilton William Bennett Perot, postmaster, whose ancestors had arrived in Bermuda from France as persecuted Huguenots and became Anglicized, created Bermuda's first postage stamps. He did so by hand, from his office at Par La Ville, Queen Street, Hamilton, using the words "HAMILTON BERMUDA" in a circle, with the year and Perot's signature in the middle. They became known as Perot Provisionals and are among the unique creations of philately. Bermuda's most cherished stamps are the original Perot stamps from 1848, in three values. Perot served as Bermuda’s first postmaster general from 1818 to 1862. Perot Post Office on Queen Street bears his name. He produced the stamps between 1848 (only eight years after they were introduced in Great Britain) and 1865 to foil mail cheats who were not leaving money in a dropbox for postage. His stamps were used only for the internal mail within Bermuda, which is why the collecting fraternity never found about them until 1897. Only 11 Perot stamps are thought to exist in the world and they have commanded as much as $100,000 at auction. The Queen has three and Dr Saul has two. Back in 1848, Mr Perot’s stamps were worth a penny. One of Dr Saul’s Perots and one of the Queen’s were originally joined but were torn apart by an auctioneer in the 1930s. One was sold to the Queen and one was put on the market. The Queen is not an enthused stamp collector but she takes her duty to preserve one of the world’s best stamp collections very seriously. Much of the collection was inherited from her grandfather, George V. Her collection, known as the Royal Philatelic Collection, consists of 328 red albums of about 50 pages each of stamps from George V’s time, which means there are over 16,000 pages in the collection, which may have as many as 20 or 30 stamps on them. The focus of the collection is now on the postal stamps of Great Britain and all the colonies and now a lot of the Commonwealth countries) and the late Baron Stig Leuhesen's Estate (he once lived in Bermuda). A later (1860) crown-in-circle design used at St. George's is attributed to its then-postmaster James H. Thies. 

1848. March 1. 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 and only eleven are still known to exist.  These first Bermuda stamps, issued 8 years after Britain's famous Penny Black by UK postmaster general William Hill, the word's first postage stamp, but which had not yet appeared in Bermuda, was a provisional issued because the postmaster was being cheated by letter-writers. Perot, set a fee of 1 penny per ounce for letters both local and abroad. Perot also delivered the mail. Perot's Post Office, established in 1842, was located in his home. Contemporary accounts depict Perot spending a lot of his time working in his garden, treating interruptions from postal customers as an annoyance. Due to the fact that stamps for prepayment of postage were not available, Perot placed a box at the door of his house for deposit of letters and the 1 penny fee. Perot regularly noticed that the postal box contained more letters than coins, but he was unable to determine which customers were not paying. The story goes that he mentioned his plight to a neighbor, an American who told him about the postmasters' provisionals that Virginia postmasters issued in the absence of government-authorized postage stamps. Perot decided to issue his own by striking his circular hand stamp on a sheet of bluish paper; the resulting black inscription read 'Hamilton' across the top and 'Bermuda' across the bottom. In the centre, he removed two plugs used to denote the day and month and substituted "One penny" and his name 'W.B. Perot'; he left the year plug intact. Perot then cut up the sheets and, commencing on March 1, 1848, sold the stamps as prepayment of postage until 1856. It's not known how many sheets were produced, but only 11 of the Perot 1 penny stamps in used condition are known to exist.

1848 Bermuda postage stamp William Perot

 

1854

Bermuda Perot stamp of this year is shown below: 

Perot stamp 1854

1864

Issue of Queen Victoria 1 penny stamp, below

Bermuda stamp 1864

1865

General stamp issues in Bermuda began with a set of three (1d, 6d, and 1 shilling), each with a different design based on the profile of Queen Victoria. Bermuda, as a British colony, followed the custom still common on most British UK and some (but not all) now-politically independent countries of the British Commonwealth but then pat of the British Empire to show an image of the current British monarch on all postage stamps. These were supplemented with 2d and 3d values in 1866 and 1873. 

Bermuda stamp 1865 Bermuda 1875 stamp

Bermuda stamp 1886 Bermuda stamp 1886 b Bermuda stamp 1901

1902

King Edward VII who succeeded his mother Queen Victoria after her reign of more than 60 years, was not honored with his image on new stamps like his late mother. Instead, the first postage stamp of his ilk depicted a Bermudian dry dock, as the stamp below shows. 

Bermuda stamp 1902i

Bermuda stamps 1902 set of three

That design remained in use throughout his reign. However, the King was honored another and much longer way, with Bermuda's main civilian hospital, formerly the Cottage Hospital, renamed after him.

1906

Bermuda one penny postage stamp, issued in the reign of King Edward VII.

Bermuda postage stamp 1906

King George V had a number of Bermuda stamps bearing his likeness from 1910, including the seal of the colony (a caravel), and the higher values (2 shillings and more). 

1912

Bermuda stamp 1912

Bermuda stamp 1912.

1918

Bermuda stamp 1918

Bermuda stamp 1918

1920

Bermuda's first commemorative stamps included this 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 inscription "TERCENTENARY OF ESTABLISHMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE INSTITUTIONS" below. 

Bermuda commemorative stamp 1920 Bermuda stamp 1920a

Bermuda Commemoratives 1920

1921

A second issue of commemorative stamps a year later commemorated the same occasion with a completely different design, with George V in the centre and various symbols in the corners.

Bermuda stamps 1921

1924

Bermuda stamps included the following:

Bermuda stamp 1922-1934 Bermuda stamp 1234

Bermuda stamp 1924 ii

1935

 Included was this one:

Bermuda stamp 1935

1936

Bermuda issued a pictorial series of stamps, consisting of nine stamps with seven different designs depicting local scenery. Several of the designs were reused, and three more added, for a 1938 issue featuring King George VI.

1936. December 4. The Bermuda Post Office issued a First Day Postage Stamp Commemorative Paquebot Cover. It marked the 5th anniversary in December of the sailing of the Furness Withy Q. T. E V cruise ship "Monarch of Bermuda" so-named in honor of King Edward VIII who reigned briefly and was posted in the high seas when the ship left New York for Bermuda. It also showed an American postage date. The Admiral Beatty Chapter 46 of Hamilton was an organization formed to honor the famous British Admiral who among other things had accepted the surrender of the German fleet in 1918 at the end of World War 1, or Great War. He died earlier in 1936.

First Day cover of December 4, 1936

1937

Bermuda stamp 1st November 1937

Bermuda stamp 1937a Bermuda stamp 1937bBermuda stamp 1937 c

1938

Stamps included several of the yacht Lucie:

Bermuda stamp 1938 £1 Bermuda 1938 10 shillingsBermuda 1938 5 shillingsBermuda 1938 2/6

Bermuda 1938 2/-Bermuda stamp 1938 1/-Bermuda stamp 1938 Lucie 2p

Bermuda stamp 1938 7.5p

1941

April 7. First Day Postal Service and Official First Day Cover of the US Military Bases post offices just established in Bermuda.  Sent by the US Marine Detachment, first unit to be based in Bermuda. Stamps shown are United States of America Army and Navy for Defense Postage 2 Cents and United States of America, Industry Agriculture for Defense Postage 1 Cent.

First USA stamps issued in Bermuda by a Bermuda US military base

See above story

July 14. First Day Cover of First official mail from US Bases in Bermuda was sent, from members of the US Marine Barracks at NOB Bermuda, opened after the Marine Detachment Bermuda, referred to earlier, closed the day earlier. This base was part of the Land Lease program which exchanged British Bases for US Ships.

1941 first mail sent home by US Marines based in Bermuda

1946

June 8. To commemorate the 1939-1945 World War 2 victory in its own way as a British Colony, the Bermuda Post Office issued these two postage stamps. They were referred to as Victory stamps.

World War 2 Victory stamp 1

World War 2 Victory stamp 2

1949 

A century after it was issued, Postmaster Perot's provisional postage stamp (see below) was commemorated by the issue of three stamps, a 2 pence and a halfpenny blue and brown; a 3 pence black and blue; and a 6 pence violet and green. 

1949 Postmaster Perot centenary stamp Perot stamp centenary

1949 Postmaster Perot postage stamps commemorating centenary of his first (1849) stamp.

1949

Bermuda stamp 1949c

1953

Bermuda stamp 1953.

November 26. The Bermuda Post Office issued this First Day Cover to commemorate the just-concluded Royal Visit. The postage stamp used was a QEII 6d White-tailed Tropicbird Phaeton flavirostris.

First Day Cover for November 23 1953 Royal Visit

1962

Bermuda stamp 1962

Note how Government House was spelt wrongly

Bermuda stamp 1962 b

1965

The Bermuda Regiment was formed, a stamp noting it.

Bermuda Regiment postage stamp

1967

Bermuda stamp 1967i

Bermuda stamp 1967ii

1971

May 10.  The Bermuda Post Office issued an Official First Day Cover and the following stamps commemorating the voyages of the Deliverance: :4c Building of Deliverance 1609-1610; 15c Deliverance and Patience arrive in Jamestown Virginia 1610; 18c Wreck of the Sea Venture 1609 and 24c Deliverance and Patience 1610.

1971 First Day Cover and postage stamps of Deliverance

Bermuda 1971 stamp 1 Bermuda 1971 stamp 2Bermuda 1971 stamp 3Bermuda 1971 stamp 4

1975

200th Anniversary of Bermuda's (pro-American) Gunpowder Plot. See Bermuda's History 1700-1799. Four stamps were issued, shown top left.

Bermuda Gunpowder Plot August 1775

1975

 Bermuda 1975 stamp 1 Bermuda 1975 stamp 2

Bermuda 1975 stamp 3  Bermuda 1975 stamp 4

1975 Bermuda World Bridge Championship postage stamps

1975

October 27. The following First Day Cover was issued for the 200th anniversary of the following:

Bermuda Gunpowder Plot

1976

1976. June 15. The Bermuda Post Office issued a First Day Cover and special postage stamps to commemorate the arrival in Bermuda of a fleet of Tall Ships in their Tall Ships Race across the Atlantic to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the USA. Stamps: 5c Christian Radich Norway (cadet ship); 12c Juan Sebastian de Elcano Spain (cadet schooner); 17c Eagle USA (coastguard cadet ship); 20c Sir Winston S. Churchill Great Britain (cadet schooner); 40c Kruzenshtern USSR (cadet barque); $1 Cutty Sark trophy.

June 1976 arrival of Tall Ships

See above article

1979

November 26. The Bermuda Post Office issued this First Day Cover and these stamps to honour the Centenary of the Bermuda Police Service. 8c male and female police officers; 20c police office in Birdcage; 25c Police launch "Blue Heron" and 50c Police car and motorcycle.

1979 Bermuda Police Service Centenary stamps

1982

May 13. The Bermuda Post Office issued an Official First Day Cover to commemorate Bermuda Shells. This First Day Cover was sent to The Hon. J. M. G. M. (Tom) Adams, Q.C., M.P., then Prime Minister of Barbados and a keen shell collector.

1982 Bermuda Shells First Day Cover

1982. June 17. The Bermuda Post Office issued this Official First Day Cover and postage stamps to commemorate the establishment of the Bermuda Regiment in 1965. Postage stamps are BERMUDA REGIMENT 10c REGIMENTAL COLOURS AND COLOUR PARTY; 25c HER MAJESTY'S BIRTHDAY PARADE; 30c GOVERNOR INSPECTING GUARD OF HONOUR; 40c BEATING THE RETREAT; 50c CEREMONIAL GUNNERS and $1 GUARD OF HONOUR ROYAL VISIT, 1975.

1982 Bermuda Regiment stamps

1982. November 18. The Bermuda Post Office issued this Official First Day Cover and postage stamps to commemorate Bermuda's Forts, with their original spelling. Stamps: 10c Charles forte; 25c Pembroks forte; 30c Southampton forte and $1 Smiths forte and Pagets forte.

November 1982 Bermuda stamps of forts 

Bermuda forts stamp 3

Bermuda forts stamp 4

Bermuda forts stamp 1 Bermuda forts stamp 2

 Bermuda Forts stamps, see above

1983

17th October. A British Airways Concorde flew from Bermuda to Orlando, Florida. in 1 hour and 36 minutes.

Bermuda Concorde British Airways commemorative stamp

British Airways, not Bermuda Government, stamp issue

When British Airways and Air France commenced SST Concorde services in 1976 - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde_SST - to their major routes, including in BA's case to the Caribbean, Bermuda was not then and never became one of the destinations included. Bermuda's runway was easily long enough but may have been deliberate policy on the part of BA not to fly the world's most expensive-to-operate supersonic aircraft which carried only a relatively small number of passengers when compared to much more expansive aircraft on the London-Bermuda direct route which was BA's single most profitable route by far. But it is known that BA charter or regular flights stopped off in Bermuda on several occasions during Concorde's commercial lifespan (that lasted until 2003), including when the Queen flew to and from the Caribbean on her Jubilee tour.

1984

January 26. The Bermuda Post Office issued a First Day Cover and Commemorative stamps to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Island's first newspaper and Postal Service.  
Stamps: 12c Joseph Stockdale 1754-1803; 30c Bermuda's first newspaper; 40c Stockdale's Postal Service; and $1 The 'Lady Hammond. '

200th anniversary postage stamps

See above

May 3. To commemorate  the 375th anniversary of the colonization of Bermuda, the Bermuda Post Office published this First Day Cover and postage stamps:

375th anniversary of founding of Bermuda 2

375th anniversary of founding of Bermuda

1985

Bermuda issued these stamps on all the parishes:

City of Hamilton stamp Devonshire Parish Hamilton Parish stamp Paget Parish stamp 

Pembroke Parish stampSandys Parish stamp Smith's Parish stamp Somers stamp 

Southampton Parish stampSt, George's Parish stampWarwick Parish stamp

1986

January 16. The Bermuda Post Office issued this Official First Day Cover of Bermuda Shipwreck postage stamps. Featured stamps were the 3c Constellation Wrecked 1943; 5c Early Riser Wrecked 1876; 10c Curlew Wrecked 1856; 12c Warwick Wrecked 1619; $8 HMS Pallas Wrecked 1783.

1986 First Day Cover of Bermuda Shells postage stamps

1987

January 22. The Bermuda Post Office issued this new Official First Day Cover and postage stamps. They commemorated the Bermuda Railway of yesteryear. 15c Front Street Hamilton c.1940; 40c Springfield Trestle; 50c No. 101 Pulling the St. George Special at Bailey's Bay Station and $1.50 The Boat Train at St. George. The 'Prince David' alongside.

Bermuda Railway First Day Cover and postage stamps

Bermuda issued the following commemorative postage stamps shown below to mark the 50th anniversary of aviation in Bermuda:

aviation 1987 Bermuda postage stamps

1987. April 30. To commemorate the artistry of Winslow Homer in Bermuda from 1901, the Bermuda Post Office issued these commemorative postage stamps:

April 1987 Winslow Homer postage stamps

1990

April 19. The Bermuda Post Office issued a First Day Cover and postage stamps in honor of Masterwork's Bermuda Paintings. They featured 18c Fairylands, Bermuda, c 1890 Ross Sterling Turner; 50c Shinbone Alley, c. 1953 Ogden M. Pleissner; 60c Salt Kettle, 1916 Prosper Senate and $2 St. George's, 1934 Jack Bush.

1990 postage stamps from Masterworks Paintings

See above story.

1990. October 18. The Bermuda Post Office issued a commemorative First Day Cover and postage stamps to celebrate a century of World Communications for Bermuda. Stamps: Cable and Wireless Centenary 20c The Halifax and Bermudas Cable Company Office opened for service Monday 14 July 1890; 55c SS Westmeath laid first submarine cable between Halifax, Nova Scotia and Bermuda in 1890; 70c Old wireless transmitting station opened May 1928 at Lily Park, St. George's; and $2 Cable ship Sir Eric Sharp built 1989.

October 18 1990 centenary stamps of Cable & Wireless

1991

May 16. The Bermuda Post Office issued this First Day Cover and Commemorative stamps Part 3. Stamps: 20c Pitts Bay Road, Prosper Senat 1916; 55c Frank Allison 1930; 70c Old Maid's Lane, Jack Bush 1934; $2 St. George's, Ogden M. Pleissner 1953.

1991 Bermuda Paintings stamps

See item above

Bermuda issued this commemorative postage stamp to mark the 65th birthday of the Queen and 70th birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh.

1991 Bermuda stamp

1993

One of the many special stamps was for the City of Hamilton's bicentenary that year. 

Hamilton as new capital

1994

October 6. The Bermuda Post Office issued the following First Day Cover and postage stamps: 10c Calabash Crescentia cujete; 25c Mulberry Morus nigra; 35c Grape Vitis vinifera; 55c Orange Citrus sinensis; $1 Prickly Pear Opuntia dillenii; $5 Banana Musa paradisiaca.

1994 Bermuda Flowering Fruits postage stamps

 

1995

December 4. The Bermuda Post Office Government issued an Official First Day Cover and six postage stamps on Military Bases formerly in Bermuda. They are shown below:

     Bermuda military bases postage stamps 1

Bermuda military bases postage stamps 2

The one relating to the former Canadian Forces Station has the following description for this BD$1 stamp on the liner details of the First Day Cover issued with this issue. "The Royal Canadian Navy leased some fourteen acres of former British Admiralty lands at Daniel's Head towards the western end of Bermuda in 1963. The installation was established as a signals intelligence unit to support the Canadian Forces and to aid in search and rescue operations.  Due to changes in international relations and with increased fiscal constraints, the Canadian Government closed the site in December 1993."

CFS Bermuda postage stamp

Since then, cultural, illustrated events and personalities in Bermuda history have largely dominated Bermuda postage stamps. 

Historical and cultural stamps

Of special interest are these stamps that commemorated Bermuda's colonial history as a British island nation and overseas territory. Sir Thomas Gates, as Governor designate, and Admiral Sir George Somers commanded the British fleet to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609, from Plymouth, Devon. Off the Azores, after a tempest, seven of nine ships got to Jamestown. The flagship Sea Venture, with Somers, Gates and 150 others, was wrecked on a Bermuda reef. All survived and found wild hogs, birds and marine life as food, no humans. Bermuda was uninhabited, with a warm and mild climate. Nine months later, in May 1610, leaving four men to keep Bermuda inhabited as a new British possession, they sailed on two pinnaces they built in Bermuda from native red cedar, the Deliverance and Patience, for Jamestown. 

Sir Thomas Gates,  Admiral Sir George Somers,1609 sailing from Plymouth, DevonBermuda stamp Jamestown Bermuda stamp Jamestown 2

They arrived there with enough provisions from Bermuda for the starving Virginia colony. 

Conditions were horrible there, with chronic food shortages, rampant starvation, miserable conditions, sickness and difficulties with Indians, compared to idyllic if isolated circumstances in  Bermuda nearly 600 miles away. In Virginia, they had been presumed dead. Only when they arrived did the Virginians - later, officials in England - know they had landed and survived. 

Bermuda ships arrive in Virginia 1610 to relieve Jamestown

Accounts of their tempest ordeal before their shipwreck and their pleasure with Bermuda caused a sensation in London. They inspired William Shakespeare to pen his The Tempest drama; and resulted in the permanent settlement of Bermuda in 1612. 

In 1620, the first legislative meeting was held at St. Peter's Church, St. George's, later rebuilt in limestone. English architecture was used by the first colonists but with local limestone not wood after 1620. Bermuda limestone was the building material, for protection against hurricanes. But quarrying and cutting was arduous. It is still used today mostly for roofs. (Concrete blocks are now the walls in modern Bermuda homes). Early settlers built first wooden then limestone forts on Paget and Smith's islands. But only one ever fired a shot in anger, against a Spanish ship. 

First St. Peter's Church 1612 First Bermuda FortsLimestone quarrying & cutting

In 1775, some Bermudians, sympathetic when America rebelled against British rule, stole gunpowder from the British Army in St. George's. They delivered it to an American ship, for General George Washington's armies. The Continental Congress exempted Bermuda  from the food and grain embargo against other British territories during the Revolutionary War.

Gunpowder Plot 1775

In 1793, over the objections of the town of St. George, Hamilton was incorporated in 1793 as Bermuda's capital. 

In 1962, it was the 350th anniversary of Bermuda's Parliament, the House of Assembly, the oldest of all British colonial and overseas parliaments.

Bermuda BluebirdBermuda CahowBermuda Cardinal

Bermuda LongtailBermuda Skink

2002

May. A new postage stamp set was issued, showing four Bermuda caves - Fantasy Cave, Crystal Cave, Prospero's Cave and Cathedral Cave.

2005

November 18. 50th Anniversary of Bermuda Orchid Society was celebrated with the issue of four orchid stamps. 

Bermuda stamp orchids a 2005 Bermuda stamp orchids b 2005

Bermuda stamp orchids c 2005 Bermuda stamp orchids 4 2005

2005

December 23. Stanley Gibbons Group Ltd, noted rare stamp dealers, launched the Bermuda domiciled and incorporated Rare Stamp Investment Fund, with legal advisor Cox Hallett and Wilkinson.

Bermuda Stamp for Washington DC Exhibition

2009

 Bermuda's 400th year of settlement.

Bermuda stamp for 400th year

2011

Bermuda Casemates Dockyard stamps

Bermuda stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

Bermuda Stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

Bermuda stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

Bermuda stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

2012 

July 12. The Bermuda Post office, to commemorate Masterworks Museum of Bermuda, released this First Day Cover of new Bermuda postage stamps. They featured the artworks done in Bermuda by Thomas Anshutz, South Shore, Bermuda; Ogden Pleissner St. George's; André Biéler, Front Street; Dorothy Austen Stevens Street Scene, Bermuda (Elliott Street); Albert Gleizes La Maison du Gouveneur; and Frank Small,Welcoming Smile. 

July 2012 Artists stamps

Other stamps include St. Peter's Church

St. Peter's Church Bermuda stamps 2012

Bermuda stamps 2012

2013

July 16. One of Bermuda’s most cherished traditions was chosen to adorn a new set of Island stamps released this week. Gombeys are the subject of the third set of stamps issued by the Bermuda Post Office for 2013 and they are the first in a planned series focusing on folk life and arts of celebration on the Island. The brightly colored images will be seen around the world, on regular mail and by collectors who order first-day covers or sheets of stamps. Gombey dancers are really Bermudian. They’re significant to our heritage and they have not been showcased greatly in past years. Those who purchase the first-day covers also received liner notes about the Gombeys and their place in Bermuda history. The Gombey stamps feature close-up details of the dancers’ costumes and dancing movements. 

2014

Bermuda Flowers featured on Bermuda Postage stamps

2014 Bermuda Flowers postage stamps

2015

To come.

Books and Papers on Bermuda's Stamps include

A Beginning Collection of Bar and Duplex Cancels on the Victorian Stamps of Bermuda. David R. Pitts. Mimeo; May 1998. [58 pp.]

A Study of the Printings of the King George VI Key-Type High Values of Bermuda, Leeward Islands & Nyasaland. Eric P. Yendell. Study paper no. 13. King George VI Collectors Society, 1983; 21 pp.

Air Mails of Bermuda. Norman C. Baldwin. Sutton Coldfield, U.K, F.J. Field, 1967. [16 pp.].

Bermuda. Henry R. Holmes. London, H.F. Johnson, 1932; 93 pp.

Bermuda, 1938-53, 1/- to £1: Inferences from the Crown Agents' Records. Study paper no. 2. King George VI Collectors Society, 1973; 16 pp. Originally published as whole number 74 of Geosix.

Bermuda: A Study of the King George VI High Value Definitives - 12/6 Perf. 14. Wilson C. K. Wong. Study paper no. 14. King George VI Collectors Society, 1989; 46 pp.

Bermuda by Air: A Handbook and Catalog of Bermuda Philately. Charles E. Cwiakala. Edited by R.W. Dickgiesser. Killen, Ala., Bermuda Catalog Project, 1996, xiv+141 pp.; bibliography.

Bermuda King George VI High Values: A Guide to the Flaws and Printings. Robert W. Dickgiesser. Weston, Mass., Triad Publications, 1980, 59 pp.; bibliography.

Bermuda Mails to 1865; An Inventory of the Postal Markings. Michel Forand and Charles Freeland. Monograph no. 13. British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group, 1995; 128 pp.; bibliography, index.

Bermuda: The 1910-36 "Ship" Type Stamps. M. H. Ludington. London, Junior Philatelic Society, 1955; 35 pp.

Bermuda: The Half-Penny on One Penny Provisional of 1940. {Study paper no. 9] King George VI Collectors Society, 1976; 11 pp. Published as whole number 93 of Geosix.

Bermuda: The Handstruck Stamps and Cancellations. Robson Lowe, 1956. London,  45 pp.

Bermuda: The Post Office, Postal Markings and Adhesive Stamps. Robson Lowe, 1962. London,  297 pp. + 51 plates. A 4-page list of "Addenda and Corrigenda" was published in 1966. Supplement. London, Robson Lowe, 1968; 38 pp. + 14 plates.

First flights of Bermuda and British Caribbean FAM Routes. Charles E. Cwiakala. [Monograph no. 3]. British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group, ca. 1982; [35 pp.]. Reprinted from the British Caribbean Philatelic Journal.

Head-plate flaws of the King George VI high values of Bermuda, Leeward Islands, and Nyasaland. Interim report no. 2. King George VI Collectors Society, May 1970; 25 pp.

King George VI Large Key Type Stamps of Bermuda, Leeward Islands, Nyasaland. Robert W. Dickgiesser and Eric P. Yendall. Weston, Mass., Triad Publications, 1985, 183 pp.; bibliography.

Regular Sea Communications with Bermuda to 1914. Reprinted from Bermuda Historical Quarterly, 1979; iv+8 pp.

Stamps from the Bermuda Prize Court Sale. Kasimir Bileski. Canada ca. 1949, 11 pp.

Study of the head-plate flaws of the George VI high values of Bermuda, Leeward Islands and Nyasaland. Edwin H. Folk. Interim report. Philadelphia, August 1968, 7 pp.

The Airmails of Bermuda, 1925-1989: A Specialized Catalogue and Illustrated Price List. William J. Clark. Greenwich, Conn., Havemayer Press, 1990; [68 pp.]. Second edition revised and augmented, 1991 [76 pp.]. Third edition, revised and augmented, 1992.

The Bermuda Packet Mails and the Halifax-Bermuda Mail Service, 1806 to 1886. Dr. Jack (John) C. Arnell and Morris. H. Ludington.  Postal History Society, 1989, 103 pp. Includes annual tables showing dates of departure and arrival of each packet and mail boat at its various ports of call.

The Development of the Transatlantic Mail Service to Bermuda. Dr. Jack (John) C. Arnell. Offprint from Bermuda Journal of Archaeology and Maritime History. 1989. 18 pp. [pages 25 to 42.

The Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps. Volume 5, part 5; Bermuda and British Honduras. Robson Lowe. London, Robson Lowe, 1973; 128 pp.

The Furness Line to Bermuda. M. H. Ludington and Michael R. Rego. Monograph no. 11, British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group, 1991; 60 pp.

The King George V High-Value Stamps of Bermuda. Myles Clazer. Marblehead, Mass., Calaby Publishers, 1994; xv+208 pp.; bibliography; index

The King George VI issue for Bermuda - the 1/2d to 1/6 values: an attempt to examine and evaluate new evidence. Frank R..Saunders. King George VI Collectors Society, 1970; 16 pp.

The Postal History of Blockade Running through Bermuda, 1861-1865. Monograph no. 14. British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group, 1966; iii+47 pp.; 2 indexes

The Postal History of Bermuda. Edward B. Proud. E.B. Proud Ltd., 2003; 432 pp..

The Postal History and Postage Stamps of Bermuda. Lawrence, Mass., Quarterman, 1978; 446 pp.; index.

The Postage Stamps of Bermuda. Bertram W. H. Poole. W.E.P. philatelic handbook no. 7. London, D. Field, 1911; 39 pp.

The Royal Mail Steam Packets to Bermuda and the Bahamas, 1942-1859. M. H. Ludington and Geoffrey A. Osborn. London, Robson Lowe, 1971; 26 pp. + 7 loose maps.

West Indian Censorship Devices. Handbook no. 2. Geoffrey G. Richie. Harrogate, U.K., Roses Caribbean Philatelic Society, 1977; 105 pp. In addition to Bermuda, contains articles on Bahamas, Barbados (revised), British Guiana (revised), British Honduras, Cayman Islands (revised), French West Indies, Grenada (revised), Jamaica (revised), Leeward Islands, St. Lucia (revised), and St. Vincent.

Bermuda's General Post Office (GPO)

To which all enquiries re postal stamps should be made

The Philatelic Bureau, Bermuda General Post Office, 56 Church Street, Hamilton HM 12. Bermuda. E-mail Email philatelic@gov.bm. Telephone: (441) 297-7893.

Stamp Design Advisory Committee

Advises the Bermuda Government's General Post Office on what stamps should be issued and when. See under alphabetical order in Bermuda Government Boards.

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