Rare Stamps of the Cape of Good Hope

A square is not the only shape that stamps take.

Triangle stamps also exist – and the first triangle stamps came from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

The 1853 stamps marked the first triangular stamps in issue. Messrs Perkins, Bacon & Co in London, famous book, stamp, and banknote printers, printed them. Engraver William Humphrys cut their original die.

The 4d Cape of Good Hope Triangular

The 4d Cape Triangular

The stamps took this unique shape so that Post Office workers could recognize stamps from the Cape. Anyone who was illiterate could also still recognize them.

The one penny stamps were colored in red and the four pence stamps in blue, and the image on the stamps featured a woman sitting on an anchor on a rock to represent the Cape.

In 1864 the design was replaced with the figure of Hope sitting with a ram and vines. Slight changes continued to be made to the image, but the Hope designs continued in issues until 1898.

The Cape of Good Hope.

The Cape of Good Hope.

Later, in 1900, a 1d stamp showed Table Mountain and the Arms of the Colony. Finally, the last issue of the stamp between 1902 and 1904 showed King Edward VII.

Many triangle stamps have come after these, probably inspired by these notable first issues. Today, the estimated value of an original issue Cape of Good Hope stamp is not up to the value of some of the stamps we’ve written about, but still holds the hefty value of about $40,000.

4 thoughts on “Rare Stamps of the Cape of Good Hope

  1. Thanks for this nice article about some of my favorite stamps. By coincidence I also recently wrote an article about these Cape Triangles. They’re wonderful aren’t they – what a radical idea it must have been back then to produce stamps in this triangular shape!

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