Trinidad & Tobago stamps

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Flag of Trinidad and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is a nation located in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela. It is an archipelagic state consisting of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and 21 smaller islands. The larger and more populated island is Trinidad.

The Postal History: The first joint stamps were issued in 1913. During World War I sheets of the 1/2d and 1d values were overprinted and sold to raise money for the Red Cross (1d only) and the War effort respectively, creating the well known Red Cross and War Tax overprints. There are a host of errors, shades and verities and hence this popular area to collect.

Later in 1935 the currency denominated on stamps was changed from Pounds/ Shillings/ Pence to the Dollars/ Cents still used today. Up until independence, Trinidad and Tobago participated in most of the so-called "Omnibus Issues" such as the Silver Jubilee of King George V and the Coronation of King George VI. It also issued attractive definitive series of engraved stamps featuring local scenes.

Since independence, Trinidad & Tobago has followed a sensible issue policy unlike some of its Caribbean neighbors who try to balance their budgets by issuing stamps aimed at collectors. Also, Trinidad and Tobago has not followed the trend of issuing stamps aimed at the topical market, i.e. Disney et. al.. Most of the topics illustrate local arts, culture and public figures, and they are esthetically pleasing. These facts make collecting Trinidad & Tobago stamps interesting and relatively inexpensive.


Scott: #68O

Issued: 10.10.1949

UPU Issue

Inside #68: Stamps on Envelopes

Scott: #216-8P

Issued: 12.4.1972

125th Anniversary, Lady McLeod Stamp




Inside #216-8: Trinidad & Tobago SG #1 (Lady McLeod)

Scott Note before Trinidad #1O

The Postal History of Trinidad

Trinidad was on the outer periphery of the Spanish Empire and as such was only rarely visited by official ships. This meant that there was no regular service on which to base a postal service. Hence postal history of Trinidad really starts with British rule. The first post office was established in Port of Spain in 1800 and the earliest letter found with Trinidad markings dates from 1806.

The first stamp issued in Triniad was the famous Lady McLeod (See above) in April 1847. Besides beingan attractive stamp it is famous for being the first stamp issued by a British Colony. It was however not issued by the government but was a private issue. It was the brain child of David Bryce who operated a steamer (the Lady McLeod) between Port of Spain and San Fernando. He would carry mail at a rate of 5c per letter but was plagued by the problem of running out of change when customers would pay with large coins. Hence he decided to introduce stamps which could be bought individually 5c or at $4 per 100. The stamps were cancelled by pen in the form of cross.

Inland mail services was implemented by the governor Lord Harris and commenced on 14th of August 1851. Imperforated stamps (these had to be cut) printed by Perkins and Bacon in England were introduced at this time. These had no values written on them but were sold for 1 penny each (see picture above). When shortages of these stamps occurred provisional issues printed in the colony were introduced. In 1859 4d, 6d and 1/- stamps were introduced for payment of overseas letters. Later stamps with pin hole perforations were introduced followed by regular perforated ones when the technology to produce them was perfected. (In the early perforating machines problems occurred which led to poor perforations or what is known as Rough Perf. Stamps (circa 1861)).

At times shortages of certain values of stamps occurred and other stamps were either bisected or surcharged with new values. Stamps from Trinidad were issued up to 1909 after which stamps from Trinidad and Tobago were introduced.

Scott: #218aO

For ships on stamps on stamps:

Scott: #312-7P

Issued: 1.8.1979

Centenary, Tobago Stamps

Inside #312: Tobago #1O

Inside #313: Tobago #2O

Inside #313: Tobago #7O

Inside #314: Tobago #3O

Inside #314: Tobago #27O

Inside #315: Tobago #4O

Inside #315: Tobago #25O

Inside #316: Tobago #5O

Inside #316: G.B. #28O




Inside #317: Tobago #6O


Scott: #317aO

The Postal History of Tobago

In 1841 the British GPO established a branch office in Scarborough. The first stamps used in Tobago were British stamps (1858 to 1860). The first Tobago stamps introduced for postal use in 1879, (see above), were in fact fiscal stamps (used on deeds and official documents). Later in 1880 separate stamps inscribed with "POSTAGE" were introduced.

As with Trinidad when shortages of certain values occurred stamps were overprinted with new values to meet the shortfall. In 1889 Tobago was united with Trinidad to become the Colony of Trinidad &Tobago but despite this stamps continued to be issued up to 1896. After this stamps of Trinidad were used followed by stamps of Trinidad and Tobago in 1913.

Scott: #318-20P

Issued: 4.10.1979

Death Centenary of Sir Rowland Hill

Inside #318: Trinidad & Tobago #109O

Inside #319: Trinidad & Tobago #273O

Inside #320: Tobago #10O

Inside #320: Trinidad #62O

Scott: #320aO

Scott: #488-91O

Issued: 20.3.1989

Centenary, Unification of the Islands

Inside #488: Trinidad & Tobago #2O

Inside #489: Tobago #31O

Inside #490: Trinidad #71O

Inside #491: Trinidad & Tobago #274O

(Thanks to Zhang for the scan)

Scott: #554P

Issued: 30.12.1992

50th Anniversary, Philatelic Society

Inside #554: Mexico #733P

Scott: #588-91O

Issued: 7.6.1996

Remembering World War II

Inside #588: Trinidad & Tobago #52AP

Scott: #650-2O

Issued: 1.10.2002

Golden Jubilee, QE II

Inside #650-2: Trinidad & Tobago #119O

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