Antigua was discovered by Christopher Columbus, in 1493, and was named after the church of Santa Maria la Antigua in Seville.
The island was first settled in 1632; a set of ten stamps was issued on 27 January 1932 to commemorate the tercentenary.
By the Treaty of Breda in 1667 Antigua became a British Possession.
The postal arrangements of Antigua were controlled by the British Postmaster General from London till 1 May 1860. An internal post was set up
in March 1841, between St John's and English Harbour, with Mr Scotland as the postmaster. From 1858 Great Britain stamps were made available
for use in Antigua. Letters from St John’s were postmarked “A02” and those from English Harbour received a postmark “A18”.
The Post Office Act of Antigua, passed on 24 April 1860, by the Assembly of the Leeward Islands, transferred control of the
Antigua Post Office to the local governmentin Antigua.
The first order for stamps was for a sixpence denomination to be used for the letter rate which applied from Antigua to Great Britain.
A consignment of 8,000 stamps was sent out on 1 July 1862 by, the printers,
Messrs Perkins Bacon and Co. These arrived and were duly issued sometime
in August 1862. A one penny stamp was issued in 1863. The design of both these two stamps is based on a drawing of Queen Victoria’s head by Edward Henry
Corbould and was engraved by Charles Henry Jeens.
The plates from which Messrs Perkins Bacon and Co had printed all the Antiguan stamps up to that date were handed over to the new contractors for
Messrs De la Rue and Co on 23 November 1871. A 2˝d and a 4d stamp, with a new design known as the "Key Plate", were issued in 1879,
a ˝d stamp was issued in 1882, a 2˝d stamp in a changed colour and a one shilling value were issued in 1884, using the "Key Plate" design as before.
1879 Key Plate four pence stamp
Between 31 October 1890 and July 1903 Leeward Island stamps were used in Antigua.
At a meeting on 29 June 1903 the Executive Council of the Leeward Islands authorised separate issue for each of the islands to be used
concurrently with those of the Leeward Islands. Ten values, a ˝d to 2s 6d showing the Royal Arms and the Seal of Antigua and a 5s showing the
head of King Edward VII, were issued in July 1903.
A total of seven different stamps were issued during the reign of Queen Victoria and ten different stamps were issued during the reign of
King Edward VII. During the reign of King George V a total of 29 different stamps were issued and 25 stamps were issued during the reign of
George VI. Since 1953 nearly 3,000 different stamps have been issued to date.
In comparison to stamps Antigua has issued very little postal stationery, in fact the total to about 1990 is just 23 items.
Philatelic Societies fo collectors of Antigua Stamps and Antigue Postal History
British West Indies Study Circle - UK based Promote interest in and the study of the stamps and postal history of the islands that comprise the British West Indies including Antigua.
British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group - USA based The main goal of the British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group is to promote interest in, and research into, the stamps and postal history of the
British Caribbean area, including Antigua.
New Issues of Stamps from Antigua
Antigua-Barbuda Philatelic Bureau
Selected pages on Antigua Stamp and Antigua Postal History
The 1932 Tercentenary Issue (A review by Frederick Wall of the Antigua tercentenary issue - from Gibbons' Stamp Monthly of March 1932)
"THERE are two very fine Colonial issues for review this month, one from Newfoundland and the other from Antigua. Of the two I prefer that from the West Indian
island because, for one thing, it is a better printer's job and, secondly, because I am getting a little tired of the constant...."
The Edwardian stamps of the British Empire. Part 1
by D B Armstrong, publ Bright & Son, London, 1912, 79pp Listing of EDVII stamps including those of Antigua
Leeward Islands. Their Post Offices and Postmarks, 1840-1956
publ British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group, 1997, 67pp Includes article on WWII civil censorship in Antigua by Tweddell
The Codrington Correspondence 1743-1851
by Robson Lowe, publ Robson Lowe Ltd, 1st ed 1951, 112pp; 2nd impression 1968 A study of a dossier of letters from the West Indian islands of Antigua and Barbuda mostly addressed to the Codringtons of Dodington with especial
reference to the history of those adventurous times and the hitherto unrecorded postal history of the Antiguan mail. The “Codrington Correspondence”
is a collection of more than 500 letters concerning Antigua and Barbuda written by the Codrington family and their overseers. The collection was sold to
philatelists in the 1950s; before being sold it was microfilmed by the University of Texas at Austin and is now available for use there.
Antigua. The definitive series of King George VI
by F R Saunders, Study Paper No 7, publ KGVI Collectors Society, 1975, 28pp
West Indian Civil Censorship Devices In World War II
Roses Caribbean Philatelic Handbook No1, publ Roses Caribbean Philatelic Society, 1976
Includes details of WWII civil censorship in Antigua