First Issues - Twinings tea cards

Rare Stamps, First Set

Both the Twinings sets offered a free packet of stamps if you cut off the bottom section of all 30 cards and returned them to Twinings. The cards have been digitally snipped to save space, but the label is shown on the first and last cards.

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The world's most valuable stamp was found in 1873 by a schoolboy who sold it for 6s. Later bought by the famous Ferrary for £150, it was auctioned for £7,343 at Paris in 1922. In 1940 it changed hands for £10,000 in U.S.A. It is the only one of its kind known. Called “Cottonreels” because they look like labels on reels of cotton, these stamps were British Guiana's first. Only 10 of the 2 cents are known; they are now worth £2,500 each. A poor native woman gave a pair she found to Georgetown church which sold it for £200. The “Post Office” Mauritius issue was printed from a plate engraved by a half-blind watchmaker. Only 500 of the 1d (and 500 of the 2d - see card No. 4) were printed. Only 14 of the 1d exist, one of which was sold for £4,500 in 1957. The 2d “Post Office” is even rarer than the 1d (see card No. 3) and only 12 are known. A fine unused copy, found in an old schoolboy-collection in 1904, is now in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. One of 3 values in Canada's first issue, the 12d was so inscribed because a “shilling” had different values in various parts of North America. The design is from a famous painting of Queen Victoria. The 12d is Canada's classic rarity; a mint example was auctioned from £3,000.
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Before Bermuda had its own stamps, postmaster William Perot installed a letter-box outside the P.O. at Hamilton for pennies and letters when the office was shut. This scheme did not work, so he struck his postmark on sheets of paper and sold them for 1d each. only 10 are now known Charles Connell, Postmaster of New Brunswick, put his own portrait instead of Queen Victoria's on a 5 cents stamp in 1860. He was forced to resign, and his stamp was neer issued. Connell bought up all his stamps, destroyed most of them, but gave a few to collectors. The “Inverted Swan” (really the frame is upside-down) is one of the rarest British Commonwealh errors. Only 14 are known. One was bought years ago by a schoolboy, who persuaded his master to part with it for £2. That stamp is now in the National Museum of Ireland. The 4 annas is the only bi-coloured stmp in India's 1854 set. During printing a few sets were accidentally turned the wrong way round before the second colour was applied, so the head is inverted. About 24 examples are known, of which 3 are in the British Museum Triangular stamps, printed in London, were first issued at the Cape of Good Hope in 1853. In 1861 a stamp famine led to hurried production in Capetown. By mistake, the 1d plate contained one 4d design and the 4d plate one 1d design, causing the rare errors of colour.
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This stamp's rarity depends on tiny white numbers in the network on each side of the Queen's head. Numbers 71 to 225 exist in quantity. Only the No.77 is rare; the plate was faulty and only 1 or 2 sheets were printed from it. About 8 copies are known, valued at £300 each. British stamps overprinted for use by government departments were withdrawn in 1904. Only a few sheets of these 10s. stamps were issued. Many years ago a dealer offered one for £17 10s. to a collector who refused it as being too dear. Now the stamp's value is £1,000. About 24 are known. This stamp, the first in any British Colony, was issued by David Bryce, captain of the ‘Lady McLeod,’ which sailed round the Trinidad coast carrying mail. Sold at 5 cents, the stamp was usually cancelled by penmark; sometimes a corner was lifted with the thumbnail and a piece torn from the service. Produced in London by Perkins, Bacon & Co. (printers of the 1d black, Ceylon's first 4d stamp is very rare unused: fewer than 6 are known. Fourpence was the postage on overweight (2-oz.) letters; the stamps were in small demand and not many were used. The Gold Coast (now Ghama) issued its first £1 stamp in 1889; a few years later this value was suddenly withdrawn because an office cleaner had stolen several jundred copies from a strong room. He was caught and imprisoned. Most of the stamps were recovered, but were officially destroyed.
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Early in 1919 a prize of £10,000 was offered for the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. Hawker and Grieve made the first attempt, but came down in the sea and were rescued. Letters they carried bore these stamps. Only 200 were printed: examples are now worth about £500 each. The world's first multicoloured stamp, it was issued for postage within the canton of Basle. Years ago part of a sheet was found tucked behind some loose wallpaper above a mantlepiece at Basle, where it had lain hidden for over 50 years. The stamp is catalogues at £150. Here is a two-part stamp. Issued before there were stamps for use throughout Switzerland, it was printed like this so that half (5 centimes) could be put on local letters, or the whole (10 centimes) on letters farther afield, as indicated by the words ‘Port Local’ and ‘Port Cantonal’. Discovered in 1885 by a schoolboy among his grandfather's letters, this error of colour (yellow instead of green) is unique. It was once in the Ferrary collection, and sold for £700 in 1922; in 1937 King Carol of Roumania paid £5,000 for it. Now owned by a West European collector. A small part of the printing plate became damaged in use, and to replace it the printers used a 30 öre design, cutting out the figures and inserting ‘20’, but forgetting to alter the words in the circular frame, thus producing a stamp of two values! Catalogue value £200.
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Stamps showing the head of Mercury were used for newspaper postage, blue for 1 paper, yellow for 10, and rose for 50. Later a red stamp was issued to replace the yellow, but demand was small, and it was in use for only 2½ years. Catalogue values are £950 used and £650 unused. Although issued in 1851, this error was not discovered until 1894, 3 examples being found in old correspondence. The mistake occurs in the paper, which is green (normal colour of the 6 kr.) instead of lilac-rose. One of the errors on a letter was auctioned for £7,143 at New York in 1956. Popular rarity among German collectors is the Saxony 3 pfenig red. Issued in 1850, it was used mostly on newspapers. A complete sheet (20 stamps) was once found pasted on a fire screen in an old castle on the Elbe. Although damaged during removal, the sheet was sold for £950 in 1922. This half-tornese blue stamp is known as the “Trinacia” because its design shows the three-part arms of the Two Sicilies: horse for Naples, 3 legs and head of Medusa (the Gorgon) for Sicily, and 3 fleur-de-lys for Bourbon. The stamp was used mainly for newspaper postage. Before Italy became a united kingdom in 1861, stamps were issued by each Italian state, and this is the rarest issued in Tuscany. In 1860 it was quite common, a Belgian dealer buying many for 6d each, and selling them at 9d. Now a fine used specimen is worth £500.
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The primitive “Bulls” were issued for use in the Danubian principality of Moldavia, now part of Roumania, and were printed singly, with a handstamp. There are 4 values - 27, 54, 81 and 108 parales. rarest is the 27 unused. Many of the existing “Bulls” are damaged because the paper is brittle. Only 7 examples of the Alexandria postmaster's stamp are known to exist: 6 on buff paper and 1 on blue. In 1907 one stamp was found in a bundle of love letters by the daughter of the man who wrote them. She sold it for £600. In 1955 it was auctioned for £3,000. This was a temporary issue made by the postmaster of Baltimore before U.S.A. had its first governmental stamps. There are 5 and 10 cent stamps in the set. The 10c. is much the rarer; only 7 are known. One on a letter realised nearly £5,000 at a New York auction in 1955. The first Hawaiian stamps are called “Missionaries” because most of them were found on letters from missionaries at Honolulu to relatives and friends in the U.S.A. There are 3 values in the set: rarest is the 2 cents (about 15 known). Because the paper is brittle nearly all the “Missionaries” are damaged. Early issues of Uruguay are known as “Suns” because of the chubby face in the centre surrounded by rays. The stamps were used on mail carried by stage coaches called diligences, (‘diligencia’ at the top of the stamp). A boy rode the leading horse; there were six of them, arranged in a triangle.


page started January 2014