Collectors’ Stamps from Guadeloupe

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Sunny Guadeloupe may be off the tourist trail for many Americans and Canadians, but Europeans have been visiting this French territory for hundreds of years. Most notable as the site where Columbus touched down on his second voyage to the Americas, it has been a hotbed of everything good and bad brought by colonialism ever since.  

After extensive fighting between French, British and Swedish authorities, control of the island was ceded to France in 1815. Stamps were used in the region as early as 1851. Initially, these were simply issues from the French mainland. In 1884, however, the island began using the common stamps of the French colonial territories, in this case, overprinted with GUADELOUPE or GDE. Several variations of these early provisionals exist, and errors, such as inversions and misspellings of the island’s name, were common. As a result, these issues represent some of the more interesting and rare Guadeloupe collectors’ stamps on the market today.

1905-1946: The GUADELOUPE POSTES Issues

Guadeloupe began issuing its own pictorial stamps in 1905. This series of attractive issues ran until 1927 and included many designs highlighting the nature, scenery and industry of the island. Some of the more notable of these Guadeloupe collectors’ stamps include the 1906 View of La Soufriére and the 1905-27 Harbor at Basse-Terre, and the 1924-27 Pointe-à-Pitre, Grand-Terre.

A second pictorial series was issued in 1928, consisting of 42 stamps with three main designs. Around the same time, the island colony also produced semi-postage, postage due and airmail stamps. Uniformly interesting, any of these are a worthwhile area of study for anyone curious about French or Caribbean colonial history.

1946 Onward

Guadeloupe was formally named a French overseas department in 1946 and, with that, ceased to produce its own stamps. While Guadeloupe’s philatelic tradition lasted a relatively short time, even a casual collector will find much to occupy themselves with. Add to that the fact that, compared to other colonies, even Guadeloupe’s rare stamps are relatively affordable on the collectors’ market, and it’s easy to see why someone would want to begin a collection.

Collecting Guadeloupe Stamps

If you’re interested in beginning a collection of Guadeloupe stamps, you’ve come to the right place. Apfelbaum has more than 100 years of experience as a dealer of rare and collectible stamps from around the world. Our online store frequently has stamps from Guadeloupe and other French colonies available for sale. We also provide appraisals and consultation around other issues related to buying, selling and collecting stamps.

If there’s a particular rare Guadeloupe stamp you’re looking for but can’t find in our online store, contact our office directly. We may be able to help you track down that hard-to-find issue you need to take your collection to the next level.