A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Monday, August 27, 2018

Brazil 1843-1879: a closer look

1850 Scott 24 60r black
Into the Deep Blue
Brazil is a challenge for the WW collector.

The main difficulty lies in identifying the seventeen watermarks found during the classical era,  primarily for the 1918-41 definitives. But help is available. For those with an obsessive bent, there is my "Who's afraid of watermarking the 1918-41 series?".

Altogether, there are five blog post links to Brazil, and they are listed under the "Out of the Blue" section below.

But, up to now, I've not actually published a review of the early stamps of Brazil in a general way. Consequently, this post (Brazil 1843-1879) and the next one (Brazil 1881-1889) will cover the field.

And an interesting field it is.

The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Brazil 1843-1940, 669 major number descriptions (does not include Air Post Semi-Official stamps). Of those, 356 are CV <$1-$1+, or 52%.

Brazil is a major country in South America, and naturally there are expensive CV stamps, primarily during the 1843-1866 era. But, overall, the stamps are not as expensive as one would think. And for the interested philatelist, there are plenty of avenues to explore.

A closer look at the 1853-1879 stamps and issues
1000 Reis = 1 Milreis
1843 Scott 3 90r black
On August 1, 1843, Brazil issued  three engraved postage stamps (30r, 60r, 90r), known then and now as the "Bull's  Eyes" (Olho-de-boi). They were the second country to do so for a stamp issue valid in the entire country, after Great Britain, and the 1840 one penny black & two penny blue.

Like Great Britain, the design has no country name. The extensive lathework pattern was done as a deterrent to forgery.

The stamps were developed by government printers in Rio de Janerio. The long held- and still persistent- belief that London's Perkins, Bacon & Petch, producers of the Penny Black, were the printer for the "Bull's Eyes", is false.

Why did Brazil not picture the sovereign? Apparently, there was concern that cancelling over Dom Pedro's image might appear disrespectful.

The 90 Reis value, reserved for international mail, had 349,182 copies printed. CV for an intact used example (obviously, mine is not) is $1,300.

In contrast the US 1847 10c black "Washington" had 865,000 copies printed, with a CV today of $825. Despite the lesser CV of the US 1847 10c black vs the Brazil 90r "Bull's Eye", one has to pay actually a 50% cost premium for the US stamp, compared to the Brazil stamp, when one factors in the number of copies printed. I think this reflects the supply/demand curve for classic US vs classic Brazil stamps. Considering their scarcity relative to the  US, classic Brazil stamps are not as highly valued.

Naturally, many (all?) of the numeral stamps of Brazil have been forged. Here is the PhilatoForge site from UK that discusses the "Bull's Eye" forgeries.

1844-46 Scott 9 60r black, Thin paper
Between July 1,1844 and October 16, 1846, a seven stamp "slanted numeral" set was issued. This means the "Bull's Eyes" were only used by themselves for one year.

The "slanted numeral" stamps have a CV of $20+ to $100+ for four stamps. The three higher denomination stamps (180r, 300r,  600r) are in the CV$thousands.

The paper can be grayish or yellowish, and the three middle denominations (30r, 60r, 90r,) can be found on thick paper (2X CV).

1850 Scott 28 600r black
Yellowish paper
On January 1, 1850, an eight stamp "upright numeral" black colored set was released.  (Actually, Michel states the 20r black , which usually is found precancelled with a single horizontal line (pen, blue crayon) or a double diagonal line (pen), was issued September, 1849.)

CV is $3 to $100+ for the stamps in the issue. The 30r black & the 60r black are only a modest CV $3+.

The example here is on yellowish paper.

In 1910, the issue (except for the 90r) was reprinted on very thick paper.

1850 Scott 23 30r black
Grayish paper
Here is a 1850 30r black on grayish paper. Neither Scott nor Michel give a separate CV price for yellowish vs grayish paper.

1854 Scott 38 30r blue
1850 design stamps, but colored blue, were issued for the 10r and 30r denominations in 1854.

CV is $10+-$60+.

Of note, two more colored numerals (280r red, 430r yellow) were issued in 1861 (not shown).

CV is $100+.

1866 Scott 44 30r black, Perf 13 1/2
(Note; Michel states 13 1/4 for Perf)
The first perforated issue (Perf 13 1/2) for Brazil was produced in 1866, These eleven perforated stamps have their doppelgangers that were previously issued as imperforate from 1850-1861. The perforated issue was short lived, as Brazil produced their engraved "Emperor Dom Pedro" issue soon after (July 1, 1866).

CV for genuine copies are $100+ - $800+, except the 60r black is CV $30.

In all cases, perforated specimens have a higher to much higher CV than the corresponding imperforate specimen.

And therein lies the problem.

Cert for Brazil 1850 Scott 44 30r black, Perf 13 1/2
Scott states: "Fraudulent perforations abound. Purchases should be accompanied by certificates of authenticity".

1866 Scott 53 10r vermilion, Perf 12
"Emperor Dom Pedro"
On July 1, 1866 an engraved seven stamp set featuring two portraits of Emperor Dom Pedro was released. The issue was perforated 12, and the usual stamps can be found on thick or thin white wove paper. (Bluish paper commands a premium.)

Alert: Make sure, for the 1866 issue, you are identifying stamps that are perforated (Perf 12). The identical in design 1876-77 issue is rouletted!

1866 Scott 54 20r red lilac, Perf 12
"Emperor Dom Pedro"
The 20r shows the second portrait used for Emperor Dom Pedro. This design was also used for the 200r black.

CV for the seven stamps in the Perf 12 issue ranges from $1+ to $30+.

Of interest, both Scott and Michel list two shades for the 20r: "red lilac' & "dull violet". That is the end of shade listings in Michel for the issue. But Scott additionally lists shade varieties for the 10r (vermilion, carmine vermilion), 80r (slate violet, rose lilac), and 100r (blue green, green).

1866 Scott 58a 100r green "Emperor Dom Pedro"
Type I
Scott also details three types of 100r stamps, while Michel is silent.

The Type I stamp (minor number) is found in a green color.

1866 Scott 58a 100r green 
Left outer frame close-up: Type I
Type I is characterized by a left frame line weak and incomplete, and composed of a single line which never touches the upper ornaments.

1866 Scott 58 100r blue green
Type III
The Type III stamp (major number) has a blue green color.

1866 Scott 58 100r blue green
Left outer frame close-up: Type III
Type III has a left frameline that is complete, and composed of two continuous outer lines which meet the upper ornaments.

Type II (minor number- not shown) has a left frameline that is incomplete, but has a double outer line that does not touch the upper ornament.

1877 Scott 66 200r black "Emperor Dom Pedro"
The Perf 12 1866 issue stamps were replaced by rouletted versions in 1876-77.

Let me comment about the 200r black "Dom Pedro". I clearly recall that gorgeously engraved 200r black in my Father's stamp album. That memory, at least in part, lit the fuse for WW collecting as an adult.

1876 Scott 67 500r orange
CV for the seven stamp 1876-77 rouletted issue ranges from $1+ to $40+.

1878-79 Scott 69 20r violet 
"Emperor Dom Pedro" ; Rouletted
Between 1878-79, another engraved rouletted "Dom Pedro" issue was released. For the 20r value, the same portrait, as used on the 1866-77 issues, was utilized. The frame design was new.

Scott lists three shades (one major-violet, two minor-dark violet, rose lilac) for the 20 reis stamp.

1878-79 Scott 74 260r dark brown
"Emperor Dom Pedro"; Rouletted
Of the 1878-79 rouletted ten stamp issue, nine of the stamps used this new portrait of Dom Pedro with a distinguished silver white full beard.

1878-79 Scott 76 700r red brown
CV ranges from $1+ for the 100r green to $100 for the 700r red brown.

Note, if this stamp was on cover, the CV would be listed as $3,000+. !! If I could go back in time, I would never soak off classic era stamps from their covers, but keep them intact!

1878-79 Scott 77 1000r gray lilac
I wonder why catalogues, not infrequently, do not agree on issue release dates?

Scott, as I've labeled this issue, has "1878-79" as the release dates, but no further information. Michel lists August 10, 1877 ( 10r, 20r, 50r, 100r, 200r, 260r) and October 4, 1878 (80r, 300r, 700r, 1000r) as the dates of issue. Here, Michel is more specific. Does that mean they are more correct? Not necessarily. But they do give more cause to believe them.

1878 Scott 78 300r orange & green
"Emperor Dom Pedro"; Perf 12
Finally, an engraved bi-color  300r orange & green "Dom Pedro" stamp, perforated 12, was issued August 21, 1878. (Scott and Michel agree on the release date.)

CV is $20+.
Emperor Pedro II of Brazil 1887, Age 61
A little something about Dom Pedro II - 

He was the only legitimate male child to survive infancy of Pedro I, who reigned from 1822 to 1831 (abdication). 

He was Emperor for 58 years between 1831 (age 5!) (Coronation 1841) and November 15, 1889. 

But the monarchy was abolished with the establishment of the First Brazilian Republic (President Deodoro de Fonesca). He was the second and last ruler of the Empire of Brazil. 

He died on December 5, 1891 at the age of 66 in Paris, France.

But during his tenure, he provided political stability for Portuguese speaking Brazil (unlike the Spanish speaking Hispanic neighbor countries), developed a robust representative parliamentary monarchy, abolished slavery, expanded civil rights, and insured freedom of speech.

The 6 foot 3 inch tall Monarch was known as "the Magnanimous".

His legacy lives on, and  he is considered one of the greatest Brazilians.

Deep Blue
1844-46 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 53 pages for the 1843-1940 stamps of Brazil. All of the Scott major numbers have a space.

1866 Scott 56 50r blue "Emperor Dom Pedro"
Out of the Blue
Enlightened rulers can make a difference. 

Comments appreciated!


  1. I completely agree on the 200r Dom Pedro, that has to be one of the most magnificently engraved stamps ever produced. Were these produced in Brazil or by contract to a firm in another country?

    1. I believe they were produced in Brazil, but I don’t have my catalogues with me at the moment, so I am willing to be corrected.

    2. Scott Classic Catalog is silent. I do see that the country name was spelled "Brazil" on the stamps until 1917, when it switched to "Brasil". Perhaps Brazil was an exonym and Brasil was the endonym?

      BTW and totally off topic, I was inspired by your blog to create my own little blog effort, http://www.classicstamps.org/ with the focus more on the history shown by the stamps.

    3. Michael - if you review the “More interesting blog and websites” list down the left hand column, you will note I’ve already added your website. And a very nice website ( and topic ) it is! Congratulations - I will be checking regularly!!!