Brazil holds a special place in the hearts and minds of stamp aficionados, as their first issue of stamps ranks fourth in the chronological order of the issue of adhesive postage stamps.
Although the New York Dispatch and the Fours and Sixes of Zurich came just after the Penny Black, despite the fact that the bull’s eye stamp came after these issues from a date perspective, stamp experts often consider the first stamp of Brazil to rank second only to the British iconic stamp.
The main reason for this is that the original order to create stamps came on November 30th 1840, but as the Brazilian custom authorities seized the engraving machine and instead used it in the service of the mint, this means that conceptually, the original bull’s eye stamp ranks only second to the Penny Black.
Here is a look at some of the rarest stamps from the country that featured so early in the development of a postage stamp system.
The Brazilian bull’s eye issue was first released in various denominations on the 1st August 1843.
Available in 30, 60 and 90 reis values, these stamps were issued just three years after the famous Penny Black, and are particularly important as they were the nation’s first stamps.
The Bull’s Eye stamp was also only the second stamp ever issued that was valid throughout the whole of the country rather than being restricted to a specific region. The historical aspect of these stamps has helped to add to their value and collectors are also attracted to the unusual design, which was designed to resemble a pair of bull’s eyes.
A sheet of 60 Bull’s Eyes stamps was auctioned back in 2013 for a figure of $623,000 and are expected to hold their value, due to the fact that first issues of any country are always going to be iconic.
Following on from the original bull’s eyes issue, the next stamp to appear back in 1844 was a smaller rectangular design which featured italic or inclined numerals of value which translates as the Inclinados or snake eyes.
In 1850, some smaller versions of the original bull’s eyes appeared. The stamps with the default black ink were referred to as the goat’s eyes and some were printed in blue, and these versions with such a distinguishing colour, were referred to as snake’s eyes.
All of these stamps in their various distinctive guises are commonly referred to as the bull’s eyes. There were in fact more than three million bull’s eyes stamps issued, including the aforementioned snake’s eyes and goat’s eyes, so despite the fact that they are noted for their rarity, they hold definite value in the eyes of philatelists, who are prepared to pay large sums of money to add them to their collection.
The Parahyba Provisional
Some stamps have stories attached to them that divide opinion and there is certainly one rare Brazilian stamp that manages to do that, the Parahyba Provisional.
The stamp known as the Parahyba Provisional is also referred to as 5 of Parahyba and also the Parahyba Overprint, so you can take your choice according to who is talking about a stamp that is known to have thirteen mentioned copies and two subsequently discovered later.
On 16th May 1930, a series of three stamps were issued for use on mail that was to be carried on the first recorded commercial flight of LZ 127, otherwise known as the infamous Graf Zeppelin.
The Zeppelin set off from Brazil and headed to Europe in 1930. Apparently just thirteen stamps out of the five thousand stamps on board and used for postage items, were overprinted with a surcharge. The dispute between certain philatelists centers around the official recognition of these stamps and the fact that the stamp was only listed seven years after its issuance.
There are therefore some doubts about the authenticity and history of the stamp, which often leads to lively debate in stamp-collecting circles and probably doesn’t harm future values either.