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Rare red Perot to go on display

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Some of the rarest stamps in the world, from The Queen’s own collection, will be part of a special stamp exhibition at Masterworks next month.

The stamps are Perot stamps, named after William Bennett Perot, who served as Bermuda’s first postmaster general from 1818 to 1862.

Perot Post Office on Queen Street bears his name.

Mr Perot produced the stamps between 1848 and 1865 to foil mail cheats who were not leaving money in a dropbox for postage. Only 11 Perot stamps are thought to exist in the world, and they have commanded as much as $100,000 at auction. The Queen has three.

The exhibition will include The Queen’s Perots, the Kirkcudbright Cover bearing a block of ten 1d penny blacks the first stamps issued in the world and posted on the first day of use on May 6, 1840, as well as a number of other early stamps of Great Britain provided from The Queen’s private collection.

Another highlight will be Perot stamps from the collection of former Premier David Saul. Dr Saul has been collecting Bermuda stamps for over 60 years. His collection boasts many rarities, including two Perots.

“I have the right one of a pair of Perot stamps that was found in 1935,” said Dr Saul. “The pair are in red ink. Six out of the 11 known Perots are in red ink, the other five are in black ink. The red ink pair, that I have, were separated by the English Auction House, Harmers, and I own one and the other is in the Royal Collection. In addition, I do own one of the rare black Perots.”

Bermuda was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to introduce a uniform postal rate in 1842, only two years behind the United Kingdom and three years ahead of America. Mr Perot’s introduction of postage stamps to the Island made Bermuda only the second British colony to issue its own. The Island was years ahead of many other countries such as France, Canada, Russia and Italy.

Michael Sefi, the Keeper of The Queen’s private stamp collection said that only 11 Perot stamps are believed to have survived, making it very rare for the three held in the Royal Philatelic Collection to be travelling overseas.

“That they are ‘returning’ to Bermuda for the first time is particularly appropriate and, on its 200th anniversary, celebrates the important role the Bermuda Post Office played in the development of the modern postal system,” said Mr Sefi.

The exhibition is being sponsored by Hiscox Bermuda. Charles Dupplin, CEO of Hiscox, said the exhibition would be a real treat for stamp enthusiasts.

“Together with the five other Perots being lent to the exhibition, they will make for a spectacular addition to the Masterworks’ exhibition and for keen philatelists, it is a real privilege to see such rare and pioneering stamps returning, albeit temporarily of course, to their ‘home’ country,” said Mr Dupplin.

The exhibition at Masterworks is part of the 200th anniversary celebrations for the Bermuda Post Office as well as Masterworks’ 25th anniversary. The stamps will be added to an existing exhibition on the history of the Bermuda Post Office which begins on April 5.

Masterworks founder Tom Butterfield said he was thrilled to have the stamps in an exhibition to celebrate the foundation’s anniversary.

“It is thrilling to us that we are able to host these stamps to share with the people of Bermuda and our visitors,” he said. “They will complement our collection and add to the overall experience of seeing a little piece of Bermuda’s history and culture when one walks through our doors. This exhibit is an illustration that visual art forms take on many interpretations and this adds to that lexicon. We are honoured to be given the responsibility, and we sincerely hope that all of Bermuda will come down to the Botanical Gardens and see this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit.”

The stamps will be on display at Masterworks from April 19 to 28.

1840 Kirkudbright Cover
David Saul talks with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip when they visited the Island as part of its 400th anniversary celebrations.
1854 Perot red on blue wove.

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Published March 30, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 30, 2012 at 8:49 am)

Rare red Perot to go on display

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