175 years ago, on 21 September 1847, the British Colony of Mauritius issued its first two stamps, engraved and printed on a copper plate by British Joseph Osmond Barnard. Barnard produced a series of 500 orange-red one-penny stamps for the local post office and 500 deep blue two-penny stamps for overseas use. On the same day the wife of the current governor, Lady Elizabeth Gomm, placed the very first stamps on her "Ball Invitation Covers" for her Costume Ball.
Stamps were a new concept at the time, and only a handful of countries used them. Mauritius was the fifth country in the world to print stamps - two years before Germany. Who would have thought back then how valuable and famous the stamps would become one day.
Therefore, we fondly remember our Mauritius Special Auction in 2021 and are very proud to have been able to offer one of the famous "Ball Covers" to our customers. This was no ordinary auction, as it is a great honour and every auctioneer's dream to be able to sell a piece that only comes under the hammer once every few decades. In 2021, the Mauritius "Ball Cover" changed hands at our Auktionshaus Christoph Gärtner for 8.1 million (hammer price, excluding buyer's premium and taxes).
Many still existing copies of the first Mauritius issue are now museum stocks and therefore not for sale on the market. This is what makes these stamps so valuable and allows the price to rise continuously with each change of ownership.