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What Kinds of Postage Stamps Were Issued in British Colonies and Territories?
Great Britain issued its first stamp in 1840, emblazoned with the image of Queen Victoria. Authorities in British colonies and territories soon followed suit, issuing local versions of the postage stamp. Colonial stamps often feature images of British monarchs, such as Queen Victoria, Edward VII, or George V, although local motifs are also common. Postage values are almost always indicated in local currencies. As colonies and territories gained independence from the British Empire, they began issuing stamps as independent nations. "Dead country stamps" are stamps from former colonies that are now independent. Collectors who are interested in stamps from British colonies should familiarize themselves with the history of the British Empire, as this can help them distinguish between dead country stamps and national stamps.
How Valuable Are Stamps from British Colonies and Territories?
The value varies greatly. Important factors for determining worth include age, rarity, and condition. Many former colonies and territories did not gain independence until the 20th century, so colonial stamps from those regions are relatively modern. Nineteenth century stamps tend to be more rare and therefore fetch higher values; however, newer stamps can still be worth money if they are rare. Condition is another important factor. Stamps in pristine condition usually command higher prices than stamps with marks or tears.
What Are Some Useful Catalogs for Collecting Stamps from British Colonies and Territories?
Stanley Gibbons is a useful catalog for learning about stamps from British colonies and territories. It is a British publication, and it produces specialized catalogs for British and Commonwealth stamps. The Scott catalog can also be a helpful resource.