Postage stamps and postal history of the British Virgin Islands

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1867 stamp
1867 stamp

The British colony of the British Virgin Islands has produced its own stamps since 1866. Before that it used un-overprinted British stamps which may be identified by the cancel A13 for the main city Tortola.[1]

First stamps[edit]

The first stamps were produced in 1866 and included a depiction of St. Ursula[2] who, according to legend, had 11,000 virginal handmaidens, and after whom the islands had been named.

Leeward Islands stamps[edit]

In 1890 stamps for the islands were replaced with the general issue for the Leeward Islands until 1903 when separate issues for the Virgin Islands were resumed. Between 1903 and 1956 Virgin Islands and Leeward Islands stamps were used concurrently.[1]

Change of name[edit]

Since 1968 the stamps have been inscribed British Virgin Islands rather than just Virgin Islands as they had been before. This was to avoid confusion with the American Virgin Islands which are administratively separate and use United States stamps.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, p.151. ISBN 0-356-10862-7
  2. ^ Stamps of the World. Stanley Gibbons. 2004. p. 459. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Melville, Fred. Virgin Islands. Philatelic Institute, 1928.
  • Migliavacca, Giorgio. Specialised stamp catalogue of the British Virgin Islands, 1787-2001: Including postal history, postmarks and cancellations. Millennium Project Committee, Government of the Virgin Islands in conjunction with the British Virgin Islands Philatelic Society, 2001.
  • Migliavacca, Giorgio. The Treasured Stamps of the British Virgin Islands. Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Virgin Stamps.

External links[edit]