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Title: Antigua
Series: The Melville Stamp Books, no. 26
Author: Melville, Frederick John (1882-1940)
Date of first publication: 1929
Edition used as base for this ebook: London: The Philatelic Institute, 1929 (first edition)
Date first posted: 16 January 2009
Date last updated: 17 June 2014
Faded Page ebook#20090108

This ebook was produced by: Adrian Mastronardi, David T. Jones, the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net & The Philatelic Digital Library Project at http://www.tpdlp.net



Printed in Great Britain by
W. R. DINGLE,  26,  Plumstead High Street, London, S.E.18.

title page
Copyright.All rights of translation and reproduction reserved.



Fred. J. Melville,

President of the Junior
Philatelic Society.
profile of Queen Victoria


chapter head--melville stamp books



Antigua has long held an alphabetical prominence in the forefront of the catalogue of the postage stamps of the British Empire, but this is the first occasion on which a book has been devoted to the stamps of this Island Presidency.

In these times of specialisation, the small colony with a comparatively limited range of stamp issues, claims more and more attention from the collector who finds the big countries too much for his time and purse. That Antigua has the merit of philatelic compactness is readily discernible from the limited space her stamps occupy in the catalogues. That her few issues are of philatelic interest and merit the attention of specialists, we have endeavoured to show in the present volume.

Our thanks are due to the Rev. C. S. Morton, Mr. Harry E. Huber, Captain L. J. Gilbert-Lodge, and Captain A. E. Hopkins, for information and useful suggestions, and in the case of Captain Hopkins, for kindly undertaking the revision of the proofs.



  Introductory Note 5
CHAPTER I. Early Postal Arrangements 9
CHAPTER II. The Perkins-Bacon Stamps 15
CHAPTER III. De La Rue Issues 22
CHAPTER IV. The Large Seal Stamps 27
CHAPTER V. Multiple "Crown C. A." 32
CHAPTER VI. War Stamps 35
CHAPTER VII. Double Medallion Series 38
CHAPTER VIII. Remainders 42
CHAPTER IX. Antiguan Stamps Used Elsewhere 43
CHAPTER X. Bibliography 45
CHAPTER XI. Check List 48
APPENDIX The Post Office Act, 1860 53

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Early Postal Arrangements.

Antigua is one of the five Presidencies, and is the seat of government of the Leeward Islands Colony. Two lesser islands, Barbuda and Redonda, are Dependencies. Antigua has an area of 108 square miles, population 32,000; Barbuda, sixty-two square miles; and Redonda. The chief town is St. John's, with a population of 9,300.

Discovered by Columbus, in 1493, the island was named after the church of Santa Maria la Antigua in Seville; its first settlement was 1632, when a few settlers went there from St. Christopher. The island was bestowed by patent of King Charles II. on Lord Willoughby, in 1663, when a large number of colonists were sent out. In 1667, a French raid from Martinique took possession of the island, but it was restored to the British by the Treaty of Breda in the same year.; it has since remained a British Possession.

The comparative prosperity of the colony, chiefly producing sugar, with its extracts molasses and rum, and cotton, has suffered frequent and serious set-backs from hurricanes, earthquakes and fire, but has always made a good recovery. In 1854, the Treasurer of the island,[10] Thomas Price, wrote, "Antigua is like a cat with nine lives; she somehow always lights upon her legs."

In common with other West Indian islands, the "Antegoa" is specified in the list of postage rates prescribed in the Act 9 Anne c. 10 (1710) and its early postal history runs parallel with that of Nevis, Jamaica, etc., already outlined in this series of monographs. Until May 1st, 1860, the postal arrangements of the colony were controlled by the British Postmaster-General from London. An internal post was set up by the island authorities in March, 1841, between St. John's and English Harbour, under the postmastership of Mr. Scotland, but this was a tentative arrangement, pending receipt of instructions from London, and it was probably interrupted by the destructive fire, which did extensive damage to the commercial quarters of St. John's on April 2nd, 1841.

The Rev. C. S. Morton has traced some interesting correspondence concerning local and official complaints against the postmaster, Mr. Scotland, a member of a noted family in Antigua. The Governor, through his Assistant Private Secretary, complained of delays in delivering despatches, and required the postmaster to transmit all letters immediately they were received to the office of the Assistant Private Secretary. Mr. Scotland courteously declined, and he was upheld by the Postmaster-General:

1.—The duties of Postmaster of this island are already sufficient to occupy his close attention.

2.—He cannot leave his office, and his income forbids him employing a clerk or messenger.

3.—There is no precedent in any Post Office in the West Indies for so doing.

On appeal to London, the Postmaster-General replied that "no provision was made or was considered necessary in any Colony for the delivery of letters and despatches otherwise than at the Post Office. If, however, the Governor specially desired, the Postmaster could employ a special messenger, but at His Excellency's expense."[11]

The Postmaster's salary was £80 a year, a remuneration Mr. Scotland received from 1840 until his death in February, 1850.

Of this officer of the Posts in a distant Colony, a surveyor sent out on two occasions from London to investigate complaints concerning the postal service, reported: "I know no postmaster by whom the duties are performed more correctly or more creditably; the only cause of his unpopularity (as connected with the office of Postmaster) is his strict acting up to the regulations of the Department, and refusing to deviate therefrom in the smallest instance, this circumstance lays him open to the charge of causing inconvenience to the public."

At this period, letters arriving by the Mail Packets at English Harbour, were sent round to St. John's by boat, and there was an omnibus company which conveyed inland letters by road between the two towns. A proposal to establish an official postal route by road between the two places, involving as it would the setting up of a post office at English Harbour, with a postmaster in charge, was turned down as too costly. The omnibus company offered to undertake the conveyance of mails thrice weekly, in each direction, at a charge of £31 4s. per annum. This, with an allowance of £10 for the Postmaster at English Harbour, meant an expenditure of £41 4s., while the postage fees were estimated at fourpence per letter, to produce but £26.

Mr. Scotland's daughter, Mrs. Mary Cumming, succeeded to the office of Postmaster on February 15th, 1850, and in forwarding an application for an increased remuneration, the Governor, who stated she was "satisfactory and obliging," pointed out that the salaries of the post office of St. Kitts and Dominica were £120 and £100 respectively, while at Antigua, where the duties were more important and laborious, the remuneration amounted to no more than £80.

The application was not granted by the Postmaster-General, and Mrs. Cumming resigned the office after[12] four years; William Mercer was appointed in her stead, May 1st, 1854.

The privilege of using English stamps was accorded to the British West Indian Colonies in 1858, and the 1d. rose-red of 1857, the 2d. blue of 1858, plate numbers 7, 8 and 9, 4d. rose of 1857, 6d. lilac and 1s. green of 1856 are known with the postmark "A02" of St. John's, Antigua. A sub-office was opened at English Harbour, and received the postmark "A18," but the only English stamp found with this postmark is the 6d. lilac of 1856 without corner letters, and this is of considerable rarity. The "A02" obliterator was sent out from England on April 17th, 1858, and the "A18" on June 1st, 1858.

Following upon Mr. Anthony Trollope's official visit of investigation to the West Indies on behalf of the British Postmaster-General in 1858, the policy of handing over the administration of the island post offices to the Colonial Governments, which had long been under consideration, was put into effect. The Colonial Governments were notified that the home Post Office Department would cease to charge itself with the management of the West Indian Posts from May 1st, 1860, from which date the local administration would have to take control.

The Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for the Colonies, forwarded on March 4th, 1860, to Lieutenant-Governor Eyre, a copy of the following letter (dated February 21st, 1860) respecting the transfer of the Post Office at Antigua to the control of the local government.

G.P.O.—February 21st, 1860.

"I have laid before the Postmaster-General your letter of the 14th inst. forwarding a copy of the despatch from the officer administrating the Government in Chief of the Leeward Islands, respecting the transfer of the Post Office at Antigua to the control of the Colonial Governments, and I am directed by His Lordship to offer the following observations with reference to the statement of Governor Eyre that the Colony accept the transfer on condition of one-sixth of the whole postage inter-colonial as well as between Great Britain and Antigua[13] being allowed to the Colony towards meeting the cost of the local establishment.

"According to the arrangement originally laid down, one-sixth of the postage on letters sent from the Colony to the United Kingdom will belong to the Colonial Post Office, but the same proportion of the postage chargeable on inter-colonial letters despatched to and from Antigua by packet cannot be given up to the Colonial Post Office.

"The British packet rate of 4d. per ½oz. levied upon the latter class of letters represents the sea rate only and belongs wholly to the Imperial Post Office.

"Instead of one-sixth of such postage, however, the Colonial Post Office will be at liberty to levy its own internal rates upon the inter-colonial letters in addition to the British postage.

"With reference to the expense of conveying the mails by land from English Harbour to St. John's, I have to state that as this expense is incurred in consequence of a deviation on the part of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company from the terms of their Contract, it will continue to be paid by this Department and reclaimed from the Company.

"The Postmaster-General requests that the Duke of Newcastle will be so good as to cause a reply to the above effect to be made to the Governor of Antigua, at the same time pointing out to him that the date fixed for the transfer of the posts to Colonial control has been changed from 1st April to the 1st May next.

I am Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
F. Hill."

The Post Office Act of Antigua was passed on April 24th, 1860. It established the following rates: one penny the ½oz., twopence for 1oz., fourpence for 2oz., and heavier letters in proportion, and provided that all letters be prepaid by money or stamp affixed.

By virtue of this Act, William Mercer was re-appointed Postmaster at St. John's on April 30th, 1860, and his salary, increased to £100, was thenceforward paid from[14] the Colonial Treasury, and Miss Ryding was appointed on May 17th, 1861, as Postmaster (in place of Mr. William Ryding) at £20 per annum and an allowance of £7 10s. for office rent at English Harbour.

William Mercer died at Christmas, 1861, and was succeeded by his wife, Dorothy Mercer, who had assisted her husband in the duties, on December 26th, 1861. Her daughter succeeded to the office in 1869, but ten years later was arrested, January 5th, 1876, for embezzling £712, but was acquitted owing to a defect in the Larceny Act. She was dismissed from the post office.

Miss Ryding continued to act at English Harbour until the office was abolished in 1879, when she retired with a pension. The last mail steamer calling at English Harbour arrived there on May 17th, 1878.

profile of Queen Victoria

chapter head PAX



The Perkins=Bacon Stamps.

one penny stamp

In a letter to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Governor gives the first information relating to the preparation of postage stamps:—

Leeward Islands, Antigua, 11th April, 1862.

My Lord Duke,—With reference to your Grace's circular despatch of November 22nd last, desiring to be furnished with specimens of postage stamps used in the Leeward Islands to be produced at the International Exhibition, I have the honour to state that I directed Mr. Houghton (162, New Bond Street) to forward to your Grace's Department the postage stamps he is preparing for Antigua.

(2)—I have the honour to enclose specimens of postage stamps used in Nevis of the following denominations: 1s., 6d., 4d. and 1d.

(3)—Postage stamps are not at present used in[16] Dominica, St. Kitts, Montserrat, or the Virgin Islands.

E. A. B. Hamilton, Governor.

The Mr. Houghton referred to in the above letter was probably an intermediary acting as agent for the Colonial government.

Antigua's philatelic history commences with an engraved stamp from the house of Perkins, Bacon and Co., London. This firm engraved and produced the first adhesive postage stamps of Great Britain in 1840, stamps, the simple beauty and utility of which have never been surpassed by any other methods of manufacture. There was a family resemblance about most of the early Perkins-Bacon stamps, in the mounting of a simple profile of Queen Victoria on a ground of finely reticulated lines. The head dies used for the Colonial stamps were different from those used for the English stamps, but in a few cases the general treatment of the stamp as a whole brings the design into somewhat close approximation to the English stamp.

This family connection is easily recognisable in the first stamp of Antigua, on which is a diademed profile to left of the Queen, on the finely reticulated rectangular ground, with tablets of colour above and below the profile, bearing the simple uncoloured inscriptions antigua (above) and six pence (below). The drawing of this Queen's head has been attributed to Mr. Edward Henry Corbould, whose water-colour drawings of the royal portrait, profile and full-face, had been used as models for the engraving of the earliest New Zealand, Natal, Ceylon and St. Helena stamps. The engraving of the profile is attributed to Charles Henry Jeens,[1] and this was also used (as an oval medallion) for the Turks Islands stamps of 1867. The first Antigua die, according to an old engraving book of Messrs. Perkins, Bacon and Co., was finished May 10th, 1862.

The completed die, with inscriptions, was transferred [17]to a steel plate of 120 set, ten horizontal rows of twelve, the plate being thus about one half the size of the majority of the early British and Colonial plates constructed by Messrs. Perkins, Bacon and Co. This plate was completed June 7th, 1862.

The first order for stamps was for a sixpence denomination, destined mainly to be used for the unit letter rate of postage from the colony to Great Britain, 6d. per ½oz. The first consignment of 8,000 sixpence stamps was sent out on July 1st, 1862, just two years after the date on which the transfer of the control of the post office had taken place. These stamps were printed in blue-green on a dull white wove paper, without watermark, and are rough perforated 14 to 16. This perforating machine is the one which was constructed for the printers in 1860 by Mr. James Griffiths, of Clerkenwell, a single-line machine with a twenty-three inch bed-plate. The punches were not ranged in perfect uniformity, which accounts for the different gauges of perforation produced along the twenty-three inch line. The machine, so far as its use on Antiguan stamps is concerned, was in a worn and somewhat clogged state, which corresponds to the description given by Messrs. Bacon and Napier in their Grenada handbook[2] as the "A2" perforation, i.e., the A or Griffiths machine in its blunted or clogged state.

Another perforating machine was used in conjunction with the one gauging 14 to 16; this was a smaller machine, having a length capacity of twelve inches, and an irregular gauge 11 to 13. This is Messrs. Bacon and Napier's "B" machine, but wherever it occurs in compound with the A2 machine, it distinguishes stamps from trial sheets, and although unused specimens are familiar to collectors, they were not issued in the colony. Captain A. E. Hopkins points out that this perf. 11 to 13 does not exist alone, only in compound with 14 to 16.

Imperforate proofs from the plate are known in black and in yellowish-green, on a thick paper without water[18]mark. There is also a plate proof in green on hard semi-transparent paper. This is always found cancelled with a thick vertical pen stroke.

The sixpence, blue-green, perforated 14 to 16, was issued in the colony in August, 1862.

A very marked re-entry has been recorded on the plate of this stamp, the position of which has now been located with certainty, and is the second stamp in the third horizontal row. This position has only recently been fixed from a block in the possession of Captain L. J. Gilbert-Lodge, F.R.P.S.L. There is another re-entry, not so pronounced, which was discovered by the Rev. W. G. Iremonger, but the position of this has not yet been determined.

In the official list of the island's Revenue for 1862, there is an item "Post Office Stamp Account £11 9s. 6d." which presumably means that 459 were used in that year. There is a separate Post Office Revenue item of £59 11s. 2d., making a total of £71 0s. 8d. on the Revenue side, while the expenditure is nearly balanced at £70 16s. 3d.

On September 26th, 1862, a short Act of two clauses was passed for the prepayment of postage by affixing a stamp on inter-colonial letters. The stamps of the appropriate denomination, one penny, were thereupon ordered from Messrs. Perkins, Bacon and Co.

The next deliveries of stamps were 8,000 of the Sixpence, despatched November 14th, 1862, and 96,000 One Penny stamps shipped on December 12th, 1862. Each of these consignments consisted of stamps printed on the paper watermarked "small star," the Sixpence in a blue-green approximating to the original issue, the One Penny stamps of identical design, adapted from the same original die as the Sixpence, being printed from a plate of 120 set in a lilac-rose colour. The One Penny die was in hand November 13th, and the plate was completed November 24th, 1862.

The plate for the One Penny stamps has yielded two re-entries, one above the other, the eighth stamp in each of the two top rows. [19]

The perforation was, as before, the irregular 14 to 16, but here again we get unused specimens of the One Penny rosy-mauve perforated 11-13 by 14-16, from some trial sheets which were never issued in the colony.

Imperforate and partly imperforate copies are known of each value.

On the subject of the imperforates, Mr. E. D. Bacon wrote in the "Monthly Report of the Herts Philatelic Society," 1907-1908 (p. 27):—

"All the supplies of stamps sent out to the island were roughly perforated 14 to 16, with the exception of a small number of specimens, which were through inadvertence either left imperforate or partly so. I have myself seen imperforate specimens of the One Penny lilac-rose (i.e., Gibbons' rosy-mauve) and the Sixpence yellow-green, star watermarked stamps, which certainly appear to have satisfactory margins, and a note in Messrs. Collin and Calman's 'Catalogue for Advanced Collectors,' p. 11, says: 'both the 1d. and 6d. imperforated exist in unsevered pairs in collections in this country' (i.e., in the United States). I have not been able to trace an imperforate pair of the Sixpence, with star watermark,[3] but a postmarked, imperforate pair of the One Penny lilac-rose was at any rate in the possession of the late Mr. C. H. Brock, of Philadelphia, and was sold with Part II. of his collection by public auction in New York on March 3rd, 1890, for $16.00. This pair of stamps passed into the hands of Mr. F. de Coppet, and was again sold by public auction in New York on April 3, 1893, on the disposal of his collection, this time for $91.50![4] There is also a description of an imperforate pair of the One Penny lilac-rose in 'Le Timbre Poste' for September, 1889, but it is quite likely that this is the same pair as that owned by Mr. Brock and afterwards by Mr. F. de Coppet. The only [20]reference I have found in the magazines to an imperforate specimen of the Sixpence is that in the 'Philatelic Record' for August, 1887: 'Antigua.—We have seen the Sixpence green, on paper watermarked with star, imperforated. As it seems satisfactory, we suppose it has been taken from a sheet which escaped, or partially escaped, the former clumsy perforation of Messrs. Bacon and Co.' These imperforate specimens must, as the writer in the 'Philatelic Record' says, have come from sheets which had either entirely or partly escaped the perforation. Quite possibly the latter, as the Tapling collection contains a postmarked horizontal strip of three of the One Penny, orange-vermilion, without any vertical perforation."

From the same two plates, Messrs. Perkins, Bacon and Co. continued to print the One Penny and Sixpence Antiguan stamps until 1871, their final consignment being despatched on July 6th of that year. During the whole period the small star paper, and the irregular rough perforation 14 to 16 were continued. The colours varied in successive printings. The One Penny at first lilac-rose, afterwards dull rose (1864) and orange-vermilion (1867) with intermediate shades. The Sixpence varies from a deep blue-green to a pale yellow-green.

During the entire period of their association with Antiguan postage stamps, Messrs. Perkins, Bacon and Co. despatched 479,600 One Penny stamps, and 194,120 Sixpence stamps, and the separate consignments are on record in their books. These consignments are given in detail below, and to them we have added a note of the colour in the case of the One Penny stamps; the date of the introduction of the yellow-green for the Sixpence has not been ascertained with any certainty.


1862 July 1 8,000 No Watermark.
1862 Nov. 14 8,000 Wmk. star.
1863 June 12 8,000 "
1863 Aug. 26 20,000 "
1864 Sept. 7 10,000 "
1865 June 10 20,000 "
1866 May 14 16,000 "
1867 July 8 8,040 "
1867 Oct. 7 6,480 "
1867 Dec. 12 6,400 "
1868 March 10 6,400 "
1868 June 25 6,400 "
1868 Oct. 1 6,400 "
1869 April 12 6,400 "
1869 June 15 6,400 "
1869 Oct. 11 6,400 "
1870 Jan. 4 6,400 "
1870 April 5 6,400 "
1870 June 30 6,400 "
1870 Oct. 6 6,400 "
1871 Jan. 5 6,400 "
1871 April 6 6,400 "
1871 July 6 6,400 "

One Penny.
(All watermarked star.)

1862 Dec. 12 96,000 Lilac-rose.
1864 April 27 24,000 "
1864 Sept. 7 36,000 Rose.
1865 June 10 60,000 "
1866 May 14 24,000 "
1867 July 8 24,000 "
1867 Oct. 7 14,400 Orange-vermilion.
1867 Dec. 12 14,400 "
1868 March 10 14,400 "
1868 June 25 14,400 "
1868 Oct. 1 14,400 "
1869 Apr. 12 14,400 "
1869 June 15 14,400 "
1869 Oct. 11 14,400 "
1870 Jan. 4 14,400 "
1870 April 5 14,400 "
1870 June 30 14,400 "
1870 Oct. 6 14,400 "
1871 Jan. 5 14,400 "
1871 April 6 14,400 "
1871 July 6 14,400 "

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De La Rue Issues.

four pence stamp

On November 23rd, 1871, the two plates from which Messrs. Perkins, Bacon and Co. had printed all the Antiguan stamps up to that date were handed over to new contractors, Messrs. De la Rue and Co., who have printed all the postage stamps of the colony since that time. Normally, a consignment of stamps was due to be sent out about the date of the transfer of the plates, for none had been despatched since July 6th; Messrs. De la Rue and Co. despatched their first consignment of Antiguan stamps on December 14th, 1871, and they were issued in the Presidency early in 1872. These were printed on the paper in general use for stamps supplied to the order of the Crown Agents by Messrs. De la Rue at that time, watermarked Crown CC, and they were perforated 12½. The One Penny was at first in a lake, and in a subsequent printing in a scarlet colour; the Sixpence is in a blue-green.

The perforation was 12½ by the single-line machine which the new printers had been using since 1863 on all[23] the recess-plate printed stamps from Perkins, Bacon and Co.'s plates.

About 1875, a new single-line perforating machine, gauging 14, was used on the stamps, and the printings with this perforation are in lake and lake-rose for the One Penny and blue-green for the Sixpence.

On March, 1866, an Act had reduced the rate to be charged for each registered letter from sixpence to fourpence, such sum to be divided in equal portions between the Imperial Government and the Antiguan Post Office. No stamp of the appropriate denomination was issued however until 1879, when Antigua having been admitted (July 1st) to the Universal Postal Union, new stamps of the denominations 2½d. and 4d. were produced. Copies of the 1d. bisected, and used with whole stamps to prepay a 2½d. rate exist, but were never authorised or indeed permitted so to be used.

These new values were surface printed by Messrs. De la Rue and Co. from the earliest type of the key-plate introduced by that firm for the economical production of stamps for many colonies. Although generally referred to as the Cyprus type of key-plate its earliest use was for Antigua in 1879, this key-plate being adapted by the Virgin Islands next (1880), then Cyprus (1881), Turks Islands (1881), St. Lucia (1883) and Natal (1887). The design is a diademed profile of the Queen to left on a background of horizontal lines; the inner configuration of the design is octagonal, with small foliate ornaments at the spandrels, and an outer rectangular frame leaving uncoloured panels at top and bottom, for the addition at a second printing of the "duty-plate" of the name of the colony and the denomination. These were printed in sheets of sixty on paper watermarked Crown CC, and were perforated 14. The 2½d. is in red-brown and the 4d. in blue. These were all of the "Die I." of the colonial key-plate, with marginal plate number 1.

With the adoption of the new watermark Crown over CA (instead of CC) in 1882, the next Antiguan stamps appeared printed on the new paper, the two surface[24]-printed stamps of 1879, 2½d. red-brown and 4d. blue, being supplemented by an additional value, Half Penny dull green, all perforated 14.

In 1884, a printing of the One Penny from the old intaglio plate in the carmine-red colour was perforated on one of the old, and all-but-discarded perforating machines, the one gauging (barely) 12, which was probably the first of its kind to be installed by Messrs. De la Rue and Co. Its resuscitation after an interval of twenty years provides the only lapse from the usual perf. 14 throughout the printings of Antiguan stamps from 1875 to date. This stamp with the 12 perforation, in scarlet, has been chronicled, but this is a colour changeling.

There was probably only the one printing which was perforated 12, and in the same year the One Penny stamp, still in carmine-red and on the CA paper, appeared perforated 14. It was followed in 1885 by the 6d. in deep green, with the same watermark and perforation. In 1886, the colours of the 2½d. and 4d. were interchanged, and the 2½d. appeared in ultramarine, and the 4d. in red-brown. A new value, 1s. printed in mauve, in the key-plate type, on CA paper and perforated 14 was added in this year and completes the series. The key-plate 2 was used for the 2½d. ultramarine, the 4d. red-brown and the 1s. mauve; the ½d. green occurs in plate numbers 1 and 2.

A small variety of the 2½d. blue consists of a damaged "2," due to a defect on the duty-plate, at the first stamp of the third row of the right-hand pane. The original damage occurred soon after 1879. Captain A. E. Hopkins has a copy of the 2½d. brown CC showing the variety.

Imperforate proofs exist of the surface-printed stamps on CA paper as follows:—½d. green, ½d. yellow, 1d. carmine, 2½d. brown, 2½d. ultramarine, 4d. blue, 4d. red-brown and 1s. mauve. Unissued varieties, of which a few specimens are known, are the ½d. in yellow-buff, olive, and lilac, and the 1d. in sepia, on CA paper, and perforated 12.[25]

The One Penny "Stamp Duty" long fiscal stamp, printed in blue and indigo is found with the bogus overprint, reading POSTAGE & REVENUE in sans serif capitals in black, with a bar cancelling the words stamp duty. This was alleged to have been issued and used as a provisional penny postage stamp in 1885-1886, but it was never issued in Antigua, and was the invention of a European swindler. The fiscal stamp in question is known without any overprint, apparently postally used, as also are the threepence and one shilling fiscal stamps; but there is no satisfactory evidence of their having been admitted for postage.

A Proclamation of October 30th, 1890, announced the supercession as from the following day, October 31st, of the several distinctive issues of stamps for Antigua, St. Christopher, Nevis, Dominica, Montserrat, and the Virgin Islands, by one uniform series of postage stamps for the Leeward Islands group. From that time onward the stamps used in Antigua are only to be distinguished from those used in the other presidencies of the Leeward Islands by their postmarks, and for thirteen years, until 1903, the series of separate stamps for Antigua was as a closed book. We shall see in the next chapter that the book has been re-opened, but to conclude the record of the first period it should be noted that the remainders of the stocks of the several stamp denominations of Antigua were included in the great sale of the Leeward Island stamp remainders in 1892, and the steel plate for the One Penny and the duty-plates for the ½d., 2½d., 4d. and 1s. were totally destroyed in 1894; the key-plate being in use for other colonial postage stamps was not destroyed. The original steel plate for the Sixpence was at the same time defaced, and delivered in cancelled condition to Messrs. T. H. Thompson and Co., Bishop Auckland, who purchased the Leeward Island remainders. Mr. T. H. Thompson subsequently presented this defaced plate to the Leinster Collection of Postage Stamps in the Science and Art Museum, Dublin, where it is on view in a frame. The plate measures about thirteen inches square,[26] bears ten horizontal rows of twelve stamps, cancelled with diagonal lines; it bears no plate number.

From January 1st, 1891, the postage on a half-ounce letter from any of the Leeward Islands to Great Britain was reduced from 4d. to 2½d., and the inter-island rate was fixed at 1d. per half-ounce letter.

profile of Queen Victoria

chapter head post horn



The Large Seal Stamps.

three pence and five shillings stamps

The Virgin Islands reverted to a separate stamp issue in 1899, but the other Presidencies of the Leeward Islands Colony continued to use the uniform colonial stamps until 1903, when separate issues were authorised by the Executive Council.

Order in Council.

At a meeting of the Executive Council of the Leeward Islands at Government House, Antigua, on Monday, the 29th June, 1903.

Whereas by Section 3 of the Leeward Islands General Stamp Act, 1890, it is provided (inter alia) that there shall be a uniform stamp or stamps for use throughout the Colony whereby all postage rates and stamp duties shall be expressed.[28]

And whereas by Section 3 of the Leeward Islands Stamp Act, 1902, it is provided that the Governor may from time to time by Order in Council direct that a special stamp or stamps may he used in each or any Presidency concurrently with such uniform stamp or stamps as aforesaid.

Now therefore it is hereby ordered by the Governor in Council as follows:—

On and after the third day of July, 1903, special stamps may be used in the Presidencies of Antigua, St. Christopher-Nevis, Dominica, and Montserrat, concurrently with the uniform stamps now in use throughout the Colony of the Leeward Islands.

The several values of the said special stamps in the said Presidencies shall be ½d., 1d., 2d., 2½d., 3d., 6d., 1s., 2s., 2s. 6d., and 5s. The postcards shall be Single: ½d., 1d.; Reply: 2d. The wrappers shall be ½d., 1d. The envelopes shall be 1d., 2½d.; and Registration envelopes shall be, large and small.

The design of the special stamps for the Presidency of Antigua shall be the same as that on the Public Seal of the Presidency for all values with the exception of the 5s., which stamp will bear the design of the head of His Majesty the King.

(Here follow descriptions of designs for the other Presidencies.)

The postcards, wrappers and envelopes of the several Presidencies shall bear designs similar to those of the minor values of the postage stamps.

Made in the Executive Council of the Leeward Islands this 20th day of June, 1903.

A. E. Eldridge,
Acting Clerk to the Council.

The new stamps for Antigua, although announced for August 3rd, were actually issued in July, 1903. They are of uniform large size for all ten values, the design for the values from ½d. to 2s. 6d. showing the Royal Arms[29] and the Seal of Antigua, of which Mr. George Milne gives a detailed description:—[5]

"In this design, the Royal Arms in use for England is placed above the Seal of Antigua. The device on the disc being the seal used for Antigua by the Presidency of the Leeward Islands.

"The imperial crown is placed above the garter which encloses the shield, the garter is of a dark blue with border, buckle and pendant of gold, on it in letters of gold the motto: 'HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE' ('Dishonour to him who thinks ill of it,') and not, as it is commonly rendered, 'Evil to him that evil thinks.'

"Supporters:—Upon the dexter side, a lion guardant, or, crowned as in the crest, upon the sinister side, a unicorn argent, armed, crined, and unguled or, gorged with a coronet composed of crosses pattée and fleurs-de-lys, a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back of the last.

"Motto:—'DIEU ET MON DROIT' in the compartment below the shield and thereon the union badge of the rose, thistle, and shamrock engrafted on the same stem. This motto, 'Dieu et mon droit,' is the French for 'God and my right,' being the motto of the English Sovereigns. (The words were the countersign chosen by Richard I. before the Battle of Gisors, 1198, where he defeated the French.)

"Explanation of Supporters:—On the right side of shield (i.e., the right of the supposed bearer of the shield) a gold lion in erect position, one hind paw on the ground, the other three paws elevated, the animal looking out from the shield, and having his tail elevated, on his head is a gold crown same as in crest. On the left side of shield a unicorn (a fictitious animal) in silver, with teeth, mane and hoofs all in gold, and encircled round the throat with a small crown, which is set with crosses [30]pattée and fleur-de-lys alternately. Attached to this 'coronet' or small crown is a chain which passes between and is carried backwards over the forelegs.

"Antigua Seal:—The disc under the Royal Arms contains a representation of the seal of Antigua. This seal is one of six devices used as seals by the Presidencies of the Leeward Islands for Antigua, Dominica, St. Christopher, Nevis, Montserrat, and the Virgin Islands, and these six seals are represented on the Arms of the Leeward Islands on six small shields, the seal of Antigua occupying the position of "dexter chief."

"The seal of Antigua is a landscape coloured proper (i.e., in natural colourings).

"Around the circumference of the whole device are the inscriptions in minute lettering 'EDWARDUS VII., D.G. BRITT: OMN. REX F.D. IND: IMP:' and 'SIGIL INSS. ANTIGUAE ET BARBUDAE.'

"This central device is printed from the key-plate, while the frame, bearing the inscription 'ANTIGUA POSTAGE REVENUE,' and the value is printed from the duty-plate.

"For the 5s., a small oval portrait medallion of King Edward VII., after Mr. Emil Fuchs' model, is printed by the key-plate, and the ornate frame with shield-shaped opening and all inscriptions are printed by the duty-plate. For the 5s. the value is denoted in figures in each of the upper angles, in addition to the words at the base."

The stamps were at first printed in sheets of sixty on ordinary Crown over CC paper; the perforation throughout is a comb perforation 14. The stamps were received at St. John's, Antigua, on June 13th, 1903, and comprised all values; a second printing of the ½d., 2d., 3d. and 6d. on the same paper was received there on June 9th, 1904, while a third supply of three values only, 2½d., 1s. and 5s., reached the Colony in January, 1906, was still on CC paper, but chalk-surfaced instead of ordinary. The quantities printed on the CC paper were as follows:—

  1903 1904 1905
½d. 59,160 60,960
1d. 243,720
2d. 12,600 12,240
2½d. 30,360 6,000
3d. 6,240 12,600
6d. 6,360 6,360
1s. 6,240 3,000
2s. 6,360
2s 6d. 6,360
5s. 2,640 3,000

Although printed in 1905, the year in which the chalk-surfacing was introduced, the Antiguan chalkies did not begin to appear until 1907. The halfpenny black and green, watermarked Crown over CC was chronicled on chalky paper in 1907, and was catalogued for several years, but there is no record of any printing of this stamp on chalk-surfaced paper, and it has now been deleted from the catalogues.

A very late printing of the penny black and carmine on Crown CC paper was on a distinctly bluish paper; supplies were distributed by Ewen's Colonial Stamp Market in July, 1909, and the variety is said to have been "otherwise practically unobtainable." It is quite a scarce item.

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Multiple "Crown C.A."

In January, 1907, "Der Philatelist" reported from "specimen" copies, the ½d. green and 2½d. blue, monocoloured stamps on the multiple Crown over CA paper, but the first of the stamps to appear on the new paper was the 2½d. blue, monocoloured, issued in January, 1908. A supply of 6,300 had been received in the Colony at the beginning of the year and they were described ("E.W.S.N." 14-3-08) as on ordinary paper but much thicker than usual.[6] The 1s. on the new paper, chalk-surfaced, followed in February 1908. A further quantity of 12,000 2½d. blue and 6,180 1s. blue and purple were received in the island on July 15th, 1908. The all-green ½d. on the new paper (ordinary) did not appear until April, 1909, and the all-rose 1d. in the following July, and two months later this was reported on a thinner paper (issued September, 1909). The ½d. green and 2½d. blue were noted as issued in November, 1909 on thinner paper. The 6d. purple and black appeared in August, [33]1911, the 2d. purple and brown, 3d. grey-green and orange-brown, and 2s. green and violet appeared in February, 1912, all these four being chalk-surfaced.

five shillings stamp

The 5s. from a new key-plate bearing the profile of King George V. on a medallion, within the same border plate as the King Edward stamp, appeared in grey-green and violet on chalky paper about July, 1913. There was a further supply of this 5s. received in the Colony in February, 1914, with slight variations in shade.

In September, 1915, some new shades were noted, printed on paper with a yellowish gum, instead of white, except in the case of the 1d. in bright scarlet (in place of carmine), which is on thin paper with white gum. The new printing of the ½d. was in deep green, on thick paper. The following were on chalky-surfaced paper:—2d. dull purple and red-brown, 6d. magenta and grey-black, and 1s. deep blue and dark purple.

Early in 1917 the Post Office ran out of ½d. and 1d. stamps; in new printings of these, the ½d. was in dull blue-green, and the 1d. in deep scarlet, on a rather thicker paper than the scarlet 1d. of 1915. On August, 1918, new shades of the 2½d. in deep blue and the 3d. deep green and bright orange appeared. The 1d. in a dark red, sometimes described as aniline, as it appears to have saturated the paper and shows through to the back, appeared on September 29th, 1919.[34]

Known printings on the multiple Crown CA paper:—

  1907   1908   1909  
½d. 3,120 [a]   30,180 [b]
1d.     30,040  
2½d. 3,120 [a] 18,300 [b]  
1s. 1,560   6,180    
5s. (K.G.)      
  1910   1911   1912  
½d. 30,720      
1d. 30,480   30,720    
2½d.   12,180    
6d.   6,000    
5s. (K.G.)      

(a)—thick paper.    (b)—thin paper.

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War Stamps.

From September 1st, 1916, an additional tax on letters originating in the Colony and posted to places in the British Empire was imposed, and this was extended as from February 1st, 1917, to letters posted to the United States. The Post Office notified the public in the following documents:—

Rule I.

Made by the Governor-in-Council under the Authority of Leeward Islands Act No. 9 of 1909.

In addition to the postage now chargeable on letters posted in the Presidencies of Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis and Dominica, and addressed to any place in the United Kingdom, or in any other part of the British Empire, outside the Colony of the Leeward Islands, there shall be charged on every such letter the following additional postage:—

On every such letter                ½d.

This rule shall come into effect on the 1st September, 1916, and shall remain in force until the 31st day of March, 1917.

Made by the Governor-in-Council under the authority of Section 6 of Leeward Islands Act No. 9 of 1909 this 9th day of August, 1916.

(Sd.) E. D'A. Tibbits,
Clerk of the Council.


Rule II.

Made by the Governor-in-Council under the Authority of Leeward Islands Act No. 9 of 1909.

In addition to the postage now chargeable on letters posted in the Presidency of Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis and Dominica, and addressed to any place in the United States of America there shall be charged on every such letter the following additional postage:—

On every such letter                ½d.

This rule shall come into effect on the 1st February, 1917.

Made by the Governor-in-Council under the authority of Section 6 of Leeward Islands Act No. 9 of 1909 this 29th day of December, 1916.

(Sd.) E. D'A. Tibbits,
Clerk of the Council.

Rule III.

Made by the Governor-in-Council under the Authority of Leeward Islands Act No. 9 of 1909.

In addition to the postage now chargeable on letters posted in the Presidencies of Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis and Dominica, and addressed to any place in the United Kingdom or in any part of the British Empire, outside the Colony of the Leeward Islands, there shall be charged on every such letter the following additional postage:—

On every such letter               ½d.

This rule shall come into effect on the 1st April, 1917, and shall remain in force until rescinded.

Made by the Governor-in-Council under the authority of Section 6 of Leeward Islands Act No. 9 of 1909, this 12th day of February, 1917.

(Sd.) E. D'A. Tibbits,
Clerk of the Council.


The first supply of ½d. stamps overprinted "war stamp" in one line in black, were of a deep blue-green shade, on paper of medium thickness, and reached the colony in time for the coming into operation of Rule I. as quoted above on September 1st, 1916. The overprint in even sans serif capitals was printed from a stereotyped plate cast from a setting of sixty repetitions of the words in printer's type. A second printing in circulation in October was on appreciably thicker paper, with a dull thin gum, instead of the colourless shiny gum of the first printing.

In April, 1917, the Colonial Office Journal announced the impending change to a red instead of a black overprint, and these stamps with red overprint were despatched on May 25th, but were not placed on sale in the Island until October 1st, 1917. The stamp was in a dull green on thin paper, and the overprint from the same stereotype plate is in bright red, but there are variations in the paper, from thin to medium and extra thick, and in the shades of the green and of the overprinted red colour.

Early in 1918 it was decided to provide a single stamp to cover the ordinary and additional war postage, and the new value 1½d., issued in May, was printed in brown-orange, and overprinted "war stamp" in black; it was never issued without the overprint. The Order-in-Council authorising the issue was not promulgated until February 21st, 1919.

It will be noted that although King George V. had acceded to the Throne eight years previously, the inscription "Edwardus VII." remains on the central portion of the stamp design, the old key-plate being used, with, of course, a new duty-plate. There was another printing of this stamp in 1919, in which there is a variation in shade between the shade of frame and centre, the frame being in orange and the centre in deep yellow.

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Double Medallion Series.


The Crown Agents for the Colonies announced in their Bulletin, July-September, 1920, an issue for Antigua in an entirely new design, and on June 29th, 1921, the impending issue was dealt with in the following:—


Whereas it is enacted by Section 3 of the Leeward Islands General Stamp Act, 1890, as amended by the Leeward Islands Stamp Act, 1902, that there shall be a uniform stamp or stamps for use throughout the Colony whereby all Postage Rates and Stamp Duties may be respectively denoted or expressed, and such stamp or stamps shall be adhesive or embossed or impressed, or otherwise as the Governor shall by Order-in-Council from time to time direct: Provided that the Governor may from time to time by Order-in-Council direct[39] that a special stamp or stamps may be used in each or any Presidency concurrently with such uniform stamp or stamps as aforesaid:

And whereas it is further enacted by Section 4 of the Leeward Islands General Stamp Act, 1890, that the Governor shall from time to time by Order-in-Council fix the design or designs and the mode in which each design shall be used and the several values of the stamp or stamps in accordance with the said Act:

And whereas it is desirable that there should be a special stamp of the designs and denominations set out herein, for the use of the Presidency of Antigua concurrently with the Stamps of the Colony:

Now, therefore, the Governor-in-Council doth hereby order and direct as follows:—

On and after the first day of July, 1921, special stamps may be used in the Presidency of Antigua concurrently with the uniform stamp now in use throughout the Colony of the Leeward Islands.

The several values of the said special stamps shall be ½d., 1d., 2d., 2½d., 3d., 6d., 1s., 2s. and 2s. 6d.

The design of the said special stamps for the Presidency of Antigua shall be in two medallions, one containing the head of His Majesty the King, and the other containing the device taken from the Arms of the Public Seal of the said Presidency.

Made by the Governor-in-Council this 29th day of June, 1921.

(Sd.) E. D'A. Tibbits,
Clerk of the Council.

The new stamps were of the normal small postage stamp size, which must have come to the Antiguan business community as a boon after eighteen years of the large stamps. The oval medallion with the profile[40] of King George V. is fringed with pearls, and has the crown at top; this occupies the upper left portion of the design, and it impinges on the shield containing the device of the Antiguan Seal which occupies the lower right portion of the stamp design. The whole of the design and inscriptions, except the value tablet in the upper right, form the key-plate, which consists of 120 repetitions in two panes of sixty, with marginal line round each pane. A second marginal line extends round the duty-plates so that in the printed sheets there is a double line. The key-plate No. 1 appears only on the bottom margins in the usual positions.

For the stamps on white paper the new Colonial stamp paper watermarked Crown over Script CA was used, but for the stamps on coloured paper the old Roman CA paper was used for the first printings. The values from 3d. upward were chalk-surfaced. All the values provided for in the Order-in-Council of June 29th, were put on sale on July 1st, 1921.

These were:—

½d. dull green.
1d. carmine-red.
2d. grey.
2½d. bright blue.
3d. purple on pale yellow.
6d. dull and bright purple.
1s. black on emerald.
2s. purple and blue on blue.
2s. 6d. black and red on blue.

An Order-in-Council of January 9th, 1922, provided for the addition to the above values of stamps of 1½d., 4d., 3s., 4s. and 5s., as from February 1st, 1922, to facilitate the prepayment of postage rates under an increased tariff which came into operation at the beginning of the year. A further Order-in-Council authorised the issue of a £1 stamp for June 1st. 1922. These were printed on the white Script paper or on the coloured Roman CA papers.[41]

1½d. dull orange.
4d. grey-black and red on yellow.
3s. green and violet.
4s. grey-black and red.
5s. green and red on pale yellow.
£1 purple and black on red.

The Postmaster of Antigua stated in a letter to Mr. W. E. Hughes under the date April 16th, 1924:—

The following Antigua stamps have been received at this island:—

Script 1d. red, 1,933 sheets of 120.
Script 1½d. orange, 430 sheets of 120.
Script 2½d. blue, 91 sheets of 120.

I cannot say how many were sold by the Crown Agents. The 2½d. blue is sold out. [7]

The next changes were due to a re-arrangement of colours to conform with the Postal Union standards. The 1d. was changed from red to "blue-purple" to give it the official colour description, "bright violet" according to the catalogue; the 2½d. from blue is now orange; both the 1d. bright violet and 2½d. orange were issued on September 27th, 1923.

In July, 1925, fresh supplies of the 2d., 3d. and 6d. stamps were received and issued, and this time the 3d. was on the chalk-surfaced pale yellow paper with the Script instead of the Roman CA watermark; the 2d. was in a slate-grey, and the 6d. is in brown-purple and bright purple. These were issued July 23rd.

The foreign letter rate was reduced from 3d. to 2½d. on April 1st, 1926; as a result the 2½d. stamp may be expected to revert to its blue colour in the next supply.

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The important stock of remainders of the stamps of the several Leeward Islands Presidencies on hand after the introduction of uniform stamps for the Colony in 1890, was offered for sale in a circular signed by Mr. Fred. Evans. Colonial Secretary of the Leeward Islands, under date August 20th, 1891. The successful bidder for the entire lot was Mr. T. H. Thompson, of Bishop Auckland, whose tender of £5,800 was accepted in 1892; the face value of the stamps was £4,788. With the sale were included plates, duly defaced of the first 6d. Antigua and the Dominica key-plate, both of which are now in the Leinster Collection at the Science and Art Museum, Dublin.

The quantities of Antiguan stamps included in these remainders were:—

½d. 41,064
1d. 74,989
2½d. 26,0094
4d. 38,464
6d. 6,300
1s. 1,387

In 1924, instructions were received in the Colony from the Colonial Office in London, that stocks of old stamps on hand after their supercession by a new issue should be destroyed, there was a formal destruction, under official supervision, of the remainder of the large Seal type stamps, ½d., 1d., 3d. and the ½d. War Stamp, and the 5s. King George stamp.

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Antiguan Stamps Used Elsewhere.

The 1d. carmine and the 1d. rose, watermarked Crown CA, printed by Messrs. De la Rue and Co., for Antigua, were in use provisionally in the Island of St. Christopher in 1890, and copies so used can be distinguished by the postmark "A12" instead of "A02." Mr. W. W. Munn has found three values of Antigua, the 1d., 6d. and 1s., apparently used in St. Christopher, but Captain Hopkins states that no stamps except the 1d. were properly used in St. Christopher although all denominations were definitely authorised.

The cancellations A10 (St. Vincent), A11 (St. Lucia), denote ship letters.

Concerning the use of Antiguan stamps in Barbuda, the small dependency of Antigua, about twenty-five miles to the north, Mr. Harry E. Huber, writing in the "Stamp Collectors' Fortnightly," states:—

"Prior to July 13th, 1922, there was no post office at Barbuda, but Antigua[8] stamps were sold by the Anglican parson at Codrington to the civil population for use on letters, packages, etc. These were then handed in at the manager's office, placed in a bag along with the official mail, and dispatched by the weekly mail sloop to St. John's. Official correspondence (without stamps, of course) was postmarked with an 'Official Paid' cancellation (a single-line circle, 25mm. diameter, lettered 'Official Paid, Barbuda,' with the date in three lines in [44]centre—*—JY 24—22), but the stamps on the civil mail were not cancelled until it reached St. John's. This procedure was in force prior to 1905, and as the present mail sloop has been running for some twenty-five or thirty years, these postal arrangements probably date from the early '90's.

"Leeward Islands postage stamps were valid for postage in Barbuda,[9] but the parson (Rev. Humphrys) preferred and bought Antigua stamps from the Postmaster at St. John's, and received the vendor's discount of five per cent. With the issue of Barbuda/Leeward stamps, he discontinued selling Antigua stamps. Although a dependency of Antigua, and the laws of Antigua apply to it 'when not repugnant thereto,' Antigua stamps were not valid in Barbuda during the currency of the overprinted stamps. Consequent on the exhaustion of the overprinted Barbuda/Leeward stamps (the right to have a special issue being ruled against by the Secretary of State for the Colonies), the manager obtained from the Treasury at St. John's supplies of stamps of the Federal series. Early in 1926, the 2d. of the Federal series (Roman CA) exhausted at St. John's, and it was necessary for the manager (who is also Postmaster) at Barbuda to make use of the 2d. Antigua stamp, as this was a much needed value, and represented the British Empire and U.S.A. letter rate. This, however, has been reduced to 1½d., effective 1st April, 1926, and it will require the use of another value of the Antigua series at Barbuda, i.e., 1½d."

chapter head Melville stamp books





B.P.—British Philatelist.
B.P.S.—Bazaar Philatelists' Supplement.
C.C.P.—Collectors' Club Philatelist.
G.S.W.—Gibbons' Stamp Weekly.
H.M.R.—Monthly Report, Herts Philatelic Society.
L.P.—London Philatelist.
M.W.S.N.—Mckeel's Weekly Stamp News.
P.J.G.B.—Philatelic Journal of Great Britain.
P.R.—Philatelic Record.
P.S.—Postage Stamp.
S.C.—Stamp Collecting.
S.Cr.—Stamp Collector.
S.C.F.—Stamp Collectors' Fortnightly.
S.L.—Stamp Lover.
W.P.E.—Weekly Philatelic Era.


"The Postage Stamps, etc...of the British Colonies in the West Indies." pp. 1-5. Compiled and published by the Philatelic Society, London, 1891. ** Plates.

"A Catalogue for Advanced Collectors." Vol. I., pp. 11-12. The Scott Stamp and Coin Co., New York, 1895.

"Kohl-Briefmarken-Handbuch." 11th edition (Dr. Herbert Munk). Vol. I., pp. 68-71. Nachtrag (Addenda), pp. 1103-1104.

(Bacon, E. D.), H.M.R., I., 26 (Nov. 1907). L.P., XXXIII., 17; XXXV., 108. (Creeke, A. B.), S.C.F., XXIII., 67. (Dallimore, J. C.),[46] G.S.W., XI., 541. (Darlow, J. J.), S.Cr., XIV., 183, et seq. H.M.R., VII., 127 (Mar. 1914). P.R., XXXV., 63. (Ellis, D.), S.L., IV., 37. (Hopkins, A. E.), Antigua Reference List, 2pp.; L.P., XXXII., 289. (Lamb, F. F.), P.J.G.B., XVIII., 72. Repr. M.W.S.N., 1908, p. 263. (Melville, F. J.), P.S., XVII., 181. (Nankivell, E. J.), G.S.W., II., 97; P.S., III., 150. (Phillips, C. J.), L.P., XXXIII., 41. (Smith, B. T. K.), P.R., XXXV., 7, 22, 45, and see p. 63. (Young, F. C.), W.P.E., XVIII., 145 et seq.

Issues of 1921-1925.

(Huber, H. E.), S.C.F., XXXII., 132.

Antiguan Stamps Used Elsewhere.

(Turner, J. R. F.), B.P.S., Dec. 2, 1895. (Wilson, C. Stewart), B.P.S., Jan. 8, 1896. (Heginbottom, E.), P.S., XVII., 207. (Iremonger, Huber, Berg), S.C., XX., 164, 322.


(Hopkins, A. E.), S.C.F., XXVIII., 398.


(Stone, W. C.), W.P.E., XVIII., p. 151.

Bogus Stamps.

(Melville), "Phantom Philately," p. 20, (1923); M.P.J., II., 52, 59; Amer. P., VII., 117.

Breitfuss Collection.

S.G.M.J., XVIII., 35.

Faking in Antigua.,

S.G.M.J., IX., 65.

Ferrari Collection.

Sale Catalogues, IV., 466-469; VI., 71; XIII., 121.


(Stone, W. C.), W.P.E., XVIII., p. 149. "Timbre Fiscal," II., 8; IV., 7; X., 21. M.W.S.N., XIV., 168.

Georgian Stamps,1911-1922.

(Talbot, G. B.), S.C., XVIII., 472. (Armstrong, D. B.), W.E.P., XXI., 68.

Great Britain Stamps used in Antigua.

B.P., IV., 61, 75.



S., III., 50.


S.L., IV., 37.


(Thiele, R. R.), Adhesive, II., 173.

Tapling Collection.

S.G.M.J., V., 174.


Imperforate. (Colson), "Postage Stamps and their Collection," p. 43, with illus., p. 44 of 1d. "star," vertical pair. C.C.P., I., p. 76, 6d. "star," imperf. pair, Apr. 1922.

profile of Queen Victoria

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Check List.

1862.—Engraved by C. H. Jeens. Printed from plates engraved in recess by Perkins, Bacon and Co. White wove paper. No watermark. Rough perforation 14 to 16.

6d. blue-green.

Die proof in black on card.
Imperforate proofs in yellowish-green.
Imperforate proofs in black.
Trial perforations, all blue-green:—

Perf. 11 to 13 by 14 to 16.
Perf. 14 to 16 by 11 to 13.

1863-1867.—Design and impression as before. On paper watermarked "small star." Rough perf. 14 to 16.

1d. lilac-rose.

Trial perforation 11 to 13 by 14 to 16.
Die proof in black on card.

1d. dull rose.

1d. orange-vermilion.

Imperf. vertically.

6d. blue-green.


6d. yellow-green.

Double perf. between, vertically.


1873.—Designs as before. Recess-plate printed by De la Rue and Co. on thick white wove paper, watermarked Crown CC. Perforated 12½. White gum.

1d. lake.


1d. scarlet.

Watermark inverted.

6d. blue-green.

Watermark inverted.
Watermark reversed.
Watermark inverted and reversed.

1875-1876.—As before but perforated 14.

1d. lake.


1d. lake-rose.

Bisected and used as ½d.

6d. blue-green.

Watermark inverted.
Watermark reversed.

1879.—Key-plate design. Surface printed by De la Rue and Co. Watermarked Crown CC. Perforated 14.

2½d. red-brown.
4d. blue.

1882.—Key-plate design. Surface printed by De la Rue and Co. Watermarked Crown CA. Perforated 14.

½d. dull green.
2½d. red-brown.
4d. blue.

1884.—Recess-plate printed by De la Rue and Co. Watermarked Crown CA. Perforated (barely) 12.

1d. carmine-red.


1884.—Printed by De la Rue and Co. from recess plates (1d. and 6d.); and from surface-printing key and[50] duty plates (2½d., 4d. and 1s.). Watermarked Crown CA. Perforated 14.

1d. carmine-red.


1d. rose.


2½d. ultramarine.
4d. chestnut.
6d. deep green.


1s. mauve.

(NOTE:—From October, 1890, to June, 1903, the only postage stamps used in Antigua were the contemporary issues of the Leeward Islands Colony, which may be found with Antiguan postmarks.)

July 1903.—Surface-printed by De la Rue and Co. in sheets of 60 (12×5) from a key-plate (No. 1) bearing the Royal Arms and Seal of Antigua, and duty-plates with the frame design and inscriptions. Watermarked Crown CC. Perforated 14. Centre in first colour. (The 5s. was printed from separate key and duty plates in a special design with medallion of King Edward.)

½d. grey-black and grey-green.
1d. grey-black and rose-red.

On bluish paper (1909).

2d. dull purple and brown.
2½d. grey-black and blue.

Chalk-surfaced paper (1907).

3d. grey-green and orange-brown.
6d. purple and black.
1s. blue and dull purple.

Chalk-surfaced paper (1907).

2s. grey-green and pale violet.
2s. 6d. grey-black and purple.
5s. grey-green and violet.

Chalk-surfaced paper (1907).

(NOTE:—A cancellation of concentric rings sometimes found on these stamps was done with the end of a round hard-wood ruler when the proper "chop" had been mislaid.)


1908-1917.—As before, but printed on paper watermarked Multiple Crown CA. The ½d., 1d. and 2½d. now in monocolour. The 2d., 6d., 1s. and 2s. are on chalk-surfaced paper.

½d. green.

Thick paper.

½d. deep green (1915).
½d. dull blue-green (1917).
1d. red.
1d. bright scarlet (1915).
1d. deep scarlet (1917).
1d. dark red aniline (1919).
2d. dull purple and brown.
2d. dull purple and red-brown (1915).
2½d ultramarine.

Thick paper.

2½d. blue.
2½d. deep blue (1918).
3d. grey-green and orange-brown.
3d. deep green and bright orange (1918).
6d. purple and black.
6d. magenta and grey-black (1915).
1s. blue and dull purple.
1s. deep blue and dark purple (1915).
2s. grey-green and violet.

1913.—As before, with portrait medallion of King George V. in place of King Edward VII. Chalk-surfaced paper. Watermark Multiple Crown CA.

5s. grey-green and violet.

1916-1920.—War Stamps. Royal Arms and Seal Type, overprinted war stamp in one line of sans serif capitals in black (B) or red (R).

½d. deep blue-green, B.

Thick paper.

½d. dull green, R. (Oct. 1, 1917).

Thick paper.

1½d. orange, B. (May, 1918).
1½d. orange and deep yellow, B. (1919).


1921-1927.—King's Head and Seal design. Engraved and printed by De la Rue and Co. from electrotype plates of 120 (two panes) with plate No 1 in bottom margins only. Values from 3d. upwards are chalk-surfaced.

(a)—Watermarked Multiple Crown CA:—

3d. purple on pale yellow.
4d. grey-black and red on pale yellow.
1s. black on emerald.
2s. purple and blue on blue.
2s. 6d. black and red on blue.
5s. green and red on pale yellow.
£1 purple and black on red.

(b)—Watermarked Multiple Script CA:—

½d. dull green.
1d. carmine-red.
1d. bright violet (1923).
1½d. dull orange.
1½d. red (1926).
2d. grey.
2d. slate-grey (1925).
2½d. bright blue.
2½d. orange (1923).
3d. purple on pale yellow (1925).
6d. dull purple and bright purple.
6d. brown-purple and bright purple (1925).
2s. blue and lilac on blue (1927).
2s. 6d. black and carmine on blue (1927).
3s. green and violet.
4s. grey-black and red.

(NOTE:—Stamps of Great Britain issued prior to 1858 are sometimes seen with the postmark "ANTIGUA" in block capitals, framed. These were actually used at "Antigua Street," a Scottish sub-office of the period [Edinburgh], soon after closed.)

chapter head Melville stamp books



The Post Office Act.

AN ACT for the management and regulation of the Branch of the Imperial Post Office established in this Island.

24th April, 1860.
I assent.
Wm. Byam,
President Administering the General Government.

Whereas it is expedient, in conforming with the desire of Her Majesty's Government, to take over and regulate by local enactment, the Branch of the Imperial Post Office established in this Island.

Be it enacted by the Governor, the Council and Assembly, as follows:—

1.—The Governor may appoint a Post Master for the City of Saint John, and a Deputy Post Master for the Town of English Harbor.

2.—Each Post Master and Deputy Post Master shall, within fourteen days after his appointment, give unto Her Majesty, her Heirs and Successors, for the due and faithful performance of the duties of his office, and for the payment of all Moneys, which shall come into his hands, in his capacity aforesaid, a Security Bond binding himself and two Sureties in such sums as shall be fixed by the Governor in Council.

3.—The Post Master shall receive a Salary of One Hundred Pounds, and the Deputy Post Master a Salary of Twenty Pounds, which said salaries shall be inclusive of Clerk hire, if any, and shall be paid quarterly, on the Warrant of the Governor to the Treasurer.

4.—The Post Master and the Deputy Post Master shall submit to the Governor, for his approval, the Names of such Clerks as they may desire to employ in the performance of the duties of their Offices.

5.—All persons employed in the Post Offices with the sanction of the Governor shall be exempt from serving on any Jury or Inquest, or in the Militia.[54]

6.—There shall be established in the City of Saint John a General Post Office, and in English Harbor, a Branch Post Office, in such Places as the Governor in Council shall direct.

7.—All letters, newspapers or parcels transmitted by Post to this Colony for delivery therein, shall be delivered to the person to whom the same may be addressed or to his Agent at the Post Office in Saint John's, except such letters, newspapers or parcels be addressed for delivery at English Harbor.

8.—The Post Offices shall be open between the hours of eight o'clock in the morning and four o'clock in the afternoon, Sundays and Holidays excepted; but if the mails shall arrive at the Post Office in Saint John's after that hour, it shall be kept open for the delivery of letters till eight o'clock, and when the Mails arrive, or are made up on a Sunday, or on a Holiday, it shall be open from Eight to Ten in the morning and from One to Three in the afternoon.

9.—No letter, newspaper or parcel coming from the United Kingdom by Post, and delivered at Saint John's or English Harbor, and no letter, newspaper or parcel posted at Saint John's or English Harbor and sent to the United Kingdom, shall be liable to any other rate of Postage than that charged by the Imperial Government; and the Post Master and Deputy Post Master shall collect and receive the same in all cases where the same shall be payable.

10.—On every letter brought to this Island by Post from any place except the United Kingdom, and on every letter posted in this Island for any place except the United Kingdom, there shall be charged the following rates of Postage in addition to that charged by the Imperial Government, viz.:—

For any sealed Letter or Package not exceeding half an ounce         One penny

Exceeding half an ounce, but not exceeding one ounce         Two pence

Exceeding one ounce, but not exceeding two ounces         Four pence

and so on in progression, an additional two pence being charged for every additional ounce or fraction of an ounce.

11.—On Printed Books, Pamphlets and other Publications, and Manuscripts brought to this Island by Post from any place except the United Kingdom, or posted in this Island for any place except the United Kingdom, these shall be charged, if not exceeding one ounce, one penny, and if exceeding one ounce, for every ounce beyond that weight, one penny.

Provided Always,

First, that the said Printed Books, Pamphlets and other Publications and Manuscripts shall be without a cover, or in a cover open at the ends.[55]

Secondly, that there be no words or communications written upon any part of the same, or upon any part of the cover thereof, except the name and address of the person to whom the same shall be directed.

Thirdly, that there be no paper or thing enclosed within the same.

12.—It shall be lawful for the Post Master and the Deputy Post Master to examine any Newspaper, any Printed Book, Manuscript, Pamphlet or other Publication sent through the Post without a cover, or in the cover open at the ends, in order to discover whether it contains any letters, or in any other respect contravenes the conditions hereby required to be observed; and in case any one of such conditions has been transgressed, such Newspaper, Printed Book, Manuscript, Pamphlet or other Publication shall be charged with the postage to which a letter of the same weight would be liable.

13.—All letters posted in this Island shall be prepaid in money, or by affixing thereon a Stamp, or Stamps of this Island to the value of the Postage chargeable; and in all cases where any letter shall be posted in this Island, without having thereon such stamp or stamps, or having affixed thereto stamps the value of which is less than the Postage to which such letter is liable, such letter shall not be forwarded.

14.—The Post Master shall from time to time publish in the Contract Newspaper, a notice of all letters which shall be posted, without payment of the rates of Postage, payable in respect of the same, specifying the address of such letters, and if the rates of postage payable on the same shall not be paid within one calendar month after the first publication of such notice, it shall be lawful for the Post Master to open any such letter in which the rates of postage payable in respect of the same shall not have been prepaid, and it shall be the duty of the Post Master to return such letter to the Writer thereof, if it be practicable to do so.

15.—Official letters and communications to or from Public Offices marked "On Her Majesty's Service" and having the name and Office of the person sending the same written on the left-hand corner under the letter or communication shall be transmitted through and by the Post free of postage. Provided always that every such letter shall be on the Public Business of the Officer or Department from which the same shall be forwarded, or to which the same shall be addressed, and on no other subject.

16.—Postage shall not be payable on any letter addressed to or sent by any private soldier or seaman employed in Her Majesty's service.

17.—The Governor in Council shall from time to time cause to be provided proper and sufficient Postage Stamps, or Dies,[56] or other implements, for expressing and denoting the rates or Duties of Postage, and such Dies shall be kept in such custody and such stamps shall be made or impressed from such Dies, or other implements as the Governor in Council shall from time to time, by writing under his hand, direct.

18.—It shall be lawful for the Governor in Council to appoint such persons as he shall see fit to retail the Stamps denoting the duties of postage on letters under such regulations as shall, from time to time, be made by the Governor in Council.

19.—The trans-Atlantic and inter-colonial letter bills, and necessary accounts to be kept with the General Post Office in London, or with any Colonial Post Office, shall be kept in such manner, and form, as is now or may hereafter from time to time, be directed by Her Majesty's Post Master General; or in the absence of any such direction, as may be ordered by the Governor in Council.

20.—The Post Master and Deputy Post Master respectively shall keep a correct account of all Letters, Newspapers, and Packets, passing through their respective Offices to and from the United Kingdom, and to and from all other places, with the Postages paid thereon, and fees received for letters posted after the time fixed for the closing of the Mails. And on the first day of every month, or as soon after as may be, they shall lay the same before the Governor, who shall issue his Warrant to the Post Master authorising him to transmit to the Receiver-General of the Post Office Revenue in London, the proportion of Postage due on a debit and credit account to the Imperial Post Office, and to pay the balance in his hands together with the amount received by the Deputy Post Master to the Treasurer for the Public uses of the Colony.

21.—The supervision and control of the Post Office shall be vested in the Governor in Council, who shall have authority to fix the hours for making up the Mails,—the fees for late posting,—and to make such rules and regulations touching the general administration thereof, as shall from time to time, be deemed necessary.

22.—Any letter posted in this Island may be registered, and there shall be charged for each letter so registered the sum of six pence; but such registration shall not render the Post Master or Deputy Post Master in any manner liable for the loss of any such registered letter or the contents thereof.

23.—The Post Master and Deputy Post Master shall submit quarterly to a Joint Committee of the Council and Assembly a full and particular statement of the incidental expenses of their several offices during the past Quarter; and upon the certificate of the said Committee of the correctness of such incidental expenses, the Governor shall issue his Warrant to the Treasurer for the payment of the same respectively.[57]

24.—All unpaid duties of Postage receivable under the authority of this Act may be sued for and received with full costs of suit before a Justice of the Peace in a summary manner as in the case of Servants' Wages, on complaint of the Post Master.

Dated at Antigua, the twenty-fourth day of April, in the year of Our Lord, One thousand, eight hundred and sixty; and in the twenty-third year of Her Majesty's Reign.


Passed the Assembly the nineteenth day of April, One thousand, eight hundred and sixty.

Clerk of the Assembly.

Passed the Council the nineteenth day of April, One thousand, eight hundred and sixty.

By Command,
Clerk of Council.

Duly published on the twenty-fourth day of April, One thousand, eight hundred and sixty.

Provost Marshal.


[1] Jeens, Charles Henry, Engraver. Born 1827 at Uley, Gloucestershire; died 1879. For biographical notice see "Postage Stamps in the Making," Vol. I., p. 69.

[2] "Grenada," by E. D. Bacon and F. H. Napier, London, 1902.

[3] Major T. Charlton Henry, of Philadelphia, has an imperforate pair of the 6d. star watermark.

[4] This pair of the 1d. lilac-rose, imperforate, is now in the collection of Mr. Arthur Hind, after having been also in the Bowers and Worthington collections.

[5] "Heraldry in Philately," by George Milne. London, 1919, p. 25.

[6] "It may have been observed that some stamps are printed on thicker paper than others. This is only supposed to apply to stamps printed by the steel or copper-plate process, as it has been found that the wetting necessary in printing by this process tries the thinner paper too much. The paper referred to is about 25 per cent. thicker than the ordinary paper, and it has been inadvertently used for printing the last two issues of the large Antigua stamps."—"Colonial Office Journal," April, 1908.

[7] Mr. Hughes notes that if we add the usual sales through the Crown Agents to the above figures we get, in all: 1d. red, 240,000; 1½d. orange, 60,000; 2½d. blue, 18,000.

[8] Captain Hopkins, who met the parson, Mr. Humphrys, in 1919, states that he only stocked, at that time, Leeward Islands stamps.

[9] Captain Hopkins emphasises that Leeward Islands stamps were the only ones sold when he was in Barbuda in 1919, and adds that he has never seen an Antigua stamp cancelled Barbuda except the 2d. referred to by Mr. Huber as having been used there early in 1926.

Transcriber's Note:

1. page 9--corrected date of discovery by Columbus to 1493

2. page 10--added opening quote mark in phrase before Antegoa

3. page 32--extra period after "E.W.S.N." removed

4. page 50--right bracket ) added after end of NOTE

[End of Antigua by Fred J. Melville]