Barbados 1927 Tercentenary Of Settlement Stamp

According to history, the first settlers arrived in Barbados on February 20th, 1627, in a vessel called the “William and John”, commanded by Captain Henry Powell, and entrenched themselves near the spot where the earlier English settlers had landed in 1625 when the Colony was annexed, and called their settlement James Town. This expedition had been fitted out by Sir William Courteen, a prote'ge' of the Duke of Marlborough, to whom James I had granted the island. In 1627, a new patent was issued by Charles I granting the island to James Hay, Earl of Carlisle.

Early in 1926, a suggestion was made to the Colonial Authorities that a series of postage stamps in the appropriate design be issued to commemorate this event. Several designs were suggested but were considered to be unsuitable. A decision was then made to issue a special postage stamp, and a notice was inserted in the local press calling for designs to be submitted for which the successful designer would be granted a gratuity of ?10. The Colonial Postmaster explained that an original design was required, and not one which had been used elsewhere and then adapted to local conditions. The response was good and by the closing date, forty nine designs had been submitted including three from British Guiana. While the local competition was going on, the Crown Agents had also been asked to obtain designs in England, and the one submitted by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. Limited was accepted. This was very similar to the entry submitted by Miss H. E. Cox, and she was granted a gratuity of one half of the prize money which had been offered.

On September 22nd 1926, Indent No. 74 was sent off to the Crown Agents for 1,000,000 of these stamps. The printing was done under Requisition No. 1857, and a total of 7,792 sheets were printed. These were despatched to the Colony on January 13th 1927, and the stamp was issued on February 17th 1927. At first the stamps were only sold to persons who asked for them specif¬ically, but as from June 1st, when 630,000 were still on hand, the regular de-finitive One Penny stamp was temporarily withdrawn, and the commemorative stamp sold exclusively. The issue was withdrawn from sale on September 30th 1927. The stamps were printed in sheets of 120 without a plate number.


Watermarked Multiple Crown & Script CA. Perforation 121/2. Recess printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. Limited.

Details of the quantity printed and sent out to the Colony are shown in the table below.

Reqn No. Invoice date Qty Notes
1857 13/01/27 935 040
Retained for distribution to
delegates of the Postal Union
Congress, London, in 1929
934 440
7/10/27 Treasury 35 040
7/10/27 G.P.O. 69 744
104 784
Total Sales: 829 656

Of the 600 stamps which were retained to be presented as above, only 500 of them were presented. The remaining 100 stamps were destroyed on August 15th 1928.

Specimen stamps

The Invoice does not show how many stamps were overprinted SPECIMEN for distribution to members of the Universal Postal Union. However, at that time, approximately 427 stamps were being so distributed.

Barbados 1927 Tercentenary Of Settlement Stamp overprinted "Specimen". SG 240s

Colour trials

Barbados 1927 Tercentenary, SG 240, seven imperforate colour trials in shades of red or carmine, affixed to board (151 x 204mm.) ex Bradbury Wilkinson archives, each with colour number below and annotated ''as submitted'' at lower left. Carmine ink mix no. 45 was the colour chosen for the issued stamp. Sold at Grosvenor Auction in 2004 for ?480 plus buyer's premium



  1. The stamps of Barbados, Edmund A. Bayley, FRPSL, 1989