Brazil’s Bull’s Eye Stamps

The first-ever stamps issued by Brazil were released on the first of August in 1843. This was especially notable because, at the time, the only other country-wide stamp issue came from Great Britain. There had been other stamps, but only confined to specific regions within countries.

The Bull’s Eye stamps had the values of 30, 60 and 90 reis. They came out during the International Exposition in Rio de Janeiro, some issued in a special souvenir sheet.


The stamps got their name because of their shapes. The value of the stamps lay inside ovals inside the square stamps; added to their arrangements on the sheets, the stamps mimicked the eyes of a bull. Later, smaller designs were named snake’s eyes and cat’s eyes, and similar blue stamps were called goat’s eyes.

Brazil printed over three million Bull’s Eye stamps. As a result, they’re not the rarest stamps in the world – but they’re still notable in the field of philately.

The famous sheet of four 30 reis stamps Brazil, sold in 2013.

The famous sheet of four 30 reis stamps, sold in 2013.

In 2013, Hugo Goeggel, an expert in the field of South American philately, sold his collection of Bull’s Eye stamps. Just Part 1 of the auction raised over $1 million U.S. The main item of the auction was the block of four 30 reis Bull’s Eyes that had passed through many collectors’ hands since its discovery in 1950.

Goeggel has won multiple awards for his collections of Brazil, Ecuador and Columbia stamps.

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