The very first stamps of Barbados were issued in 1852 although it is believed that a regular packet service existed between Britain and Barbados from around 1688. The early covers (pre-stamp) were marked as ‘Barbadoes’ and these covers generally fetch a premium when they turn up at auction.
The first stamps issued in 1852 were on a ‘blued’ paper and featured Britannia seated with a ship in the background. The early issues did not have any value showing on them but were distinguishable from their colour; green for 1/2d, blue for 1d, greyish slate for 2d and a brownish red for the 4d.
The stamps are not as rare as you may imagine however finding stamps of the required quality is quite hard. Much like the Penny Black in Britain, there are plenty of them but as these stamps were issued imperforate in sheets they had to be cut off. Getting a stamp therefore with four good margins is imperative if it is to be an investment. If however you simply want a stamp to look at and are not bothered about the quality then you will find a great number available on various auction sites on the internet.
The stamps shown here are all from my collection and personally, I prefer to go for quality if at all possible. What this means to me is that the stamp needs to be clean and ‘fresh’ (not grubby and soiled) and have four good margins. I would rather have a stamp with four thin margins around it than one with three good margins and a cut on the fourth side.
This, of course, is just a preference and I know of many other collectors who will happily take a stamp with less than four good margins to fill the gap in the album. Collecting with an eye for quality means that there are always a lot of gaps in the album waiting to be filled but the satisfaction of finally filling that gap is so much better for the wait….