Epaulettes of Belgium

11 May 2018  Fri

“Epaulettes” is the colloquial name of the first series of postage stamps issued by Belgium. They were produced as the result of a series of national reforms to the postal system in Belgium.

It is heavily influenced by the example of the British postal system, which issued its first stamp, the Penny Black in 1840. The Belgian government supported the inauguration of a Belgian equivalent. The idea of postage stamps, which would allow the sender to pay in advance, was officially sanctioned by Leopold I.

An act was passed in April 1849, and on 1 July 1849, the first postage stamp was issued. The stamps were produced in 2 denominations with the same design. The first, a brown 10 centimes stamp, could be used to send a letter up to a distance of 30 kilometres and the other the blue 20 centimes could be used on all other ordinary national mail.

The stamp depicts King Leopold I portrait, he is wearing a military uniform with the highly visible epaulettes (a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of rank by armed forces). That is how the stamp acquired its name. They were inscribed "POSTES" ("postage") at the top, along with the value of stamps in numbers. At the bottom was the stamps face value in the French language text.

Like the first British stamps, it did not carry the name of its country of origin, since they were intended for use only within Belgium.

Image Courtesy: http://www.belgianstamps.eu

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