The Blue Penny is a dark blue stamp worth 1 penny and Red Penny is an orange-red stamp worth 2 pence. These are the first stamps issued for the postal service of Mauritius, then a British colony island. They were issued in 1847, and thus were the first British stamps to be issued outside of England. These are rare and highly sought after stamps in the world.
On september 20th, 1847, the engraver Joseph Osmond Barnard, an Englishman who had emigrated to Mauritius in 1838, was chosen to create these stamps. He is preparing a project and receives first order for 500 copies of each stamp.
The stamp depicts Queen Victoria is shown in profile. It is surrounded by several mentions: “POST OFFICE – POSTAGE – MAURITIUS”: a word error because he should have written ‘post paid’, instead of ‘Post Office’.
The stock of “Post Office” which thus consisted of one thousand units, was passed quickly. In 1853, the stamp is reissued with a new word “POST PAID”. This explains the rarity of stamps Penny Blue and Red penny “post office”! Copies of Blue Penny are exhibited in the museum of the same name, in Port Louis.