Editor's note: The following is the second of a multi-part Coin
World series about the intersection of coins and postage stamps
prepared by Jeff Starck for the May 2015 monthly edition of Coin World.
The stamp known as the “Blue Mauritius” has sparked a play and a forthcoming movie, due for release in 2016.
The stamp is one of the first two Mauritius stamps issued, which are
among the world’s most valuable.
Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean encompassing about
720 square miles. It is more than 500 miles east of the much larger
island Madagascar, which is located off the southeast coast of the
Read other pieces from the series:
Coins that leave their stamp on history
British Guiana's Penny Magenta stamp an expensive,
Canada's iconic beaver appears on first stamp,
2008 coin honors first stamp from Russia
The Mauritius “Post Office” stamps (Scott 1 and 2) were the first
stamps authorized by any British colonial government. A few dozen 1847
Mauritius 1-penny orange stamps and one 2-penny blue Queen Victoria
stamp erroneously inscribed “Post Office” are still in existence. The
inscription was corrected on later stamps to read “Post Paid.”
A local engraver named Joseph O. Barnard prepared the two designs,
which, like the Penny Black, show the image of Queen Victoria.
Lady Elizabeth Gomm, the wife of the governor of Mauritius,
requested the stamps, to mail invitations to her costume ball.
Very few examples of the 2-penny blue stamp are known, with the
stories of their discovery the fabric of philatelics.
In 1902, a young boy in France discovered a cover (an envelope)
franked with singles of each stamp. The boy sold the cover to a stamp
dealer, and it was resold several times, landing in prominent collections.
A single example of the blue 2-penny stamp was sold in a 2011 auction by Spink, where it realized
£1,053,090, including the buyer’s fee ($1,680,390 in U.S. funds).
The 2015 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers
1840-1940 values the 1-penny stamp at $1.25 million in unused
condition and at $1.15 million in used condition.
The two-penny stamp — the Blue Mauritius — is valued in used
condition at $1.7 million. It is not valued unused.
In 2000, the Pobjoy Mint issued the world’s first colored titanium
coin to honor the Blue Mauritius (also called the “tuppeny blue,” for
its 2-penny face value).
The £5 coin, issued for Gibraltar, was colored blue through an
electrochemical process that the Pobjoy Mint did not disclose.
In addition, a companion ringed-bimetallic 1-crown coin, with a gold
ring and blue titanium center, was also issued in the program.
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that leave their stamp on history: Penny Black
death design pays twisted tribute to Weinman’s Walker
does the quick sellout of the Silver Homestead Bullion Coin mean?
bought it: ‘Cheap’ silver American Eagles, Ike dollars, Roman
Imperial bronze coin
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