Sir William Gomm is appointed Governor of Mauritius.
He will stay on post until 1849.
1842 (June 14)
Gomm announces Ordinance 13, in which Article 9 states that adhesive stamps must be affixed to postage, such stamps being provided by the Government.
1846 (December 17)
Joseph Osmond Barnard is commissioned to print 500 stamps of each 1d and 2d, for which he engraves a small copper plate.
Barnard delivers to the Central Post Office in port Louis 1000 stamps in two batches (700 and 300) with the wording “Post Office” on the left of the stamps for each value. Later thought to be an error by the engraver, but since disproven. Mauritius becomes the first British colony to issue postage stamps and only the 7th territory in the world to do so.
1847 (september 21)
Lady Gomm celebrates her famous fancy Ball, for which she used many of the stamps to deliver her invitations within the island. The whole issue was used up within a few days.
1847 (September 30)
The Agent General for Crown Colonies in London requisitioned new postage stamps for Mauritius printed in England. These were eventually made in 1858.
In the interval, Barnard was hired to engrave new plates (one for each the 1d and 2 d values, containing 12 stamps each). This time, the wording on the left of the stamps was “Post Paid”.
The “Post Office” issue printing plate seems to disappear. It was either kept by William Gomm among his personal affairs, or by one his administrators.
The plate reappears in the island in the hands of Nevile Stocken, a London stamps dealer, who wrote on his memoirs that he acquired it from one of Lady Gomms descendants, Col. Dominic Henry Colnaghi. It is known that upon hearing of its discovery, an offer of £ 2,500 was made by the Imperial Postal Museum of Berlin to Stocken, who delcined it. Stocken sold the plate to David Field.
The Plate is exhibited by Field at the London IPEX; it is purchased by renowned collector Sydney Loder.
The Plate is taken to the United States for the New York IPEX and exhibited by Field on behalf of Loder; the press refers to it as being worth $50,000.
It is exhibited at the Berlin philatelic exhibition IPOSTA, where it was shown in a special safe together with other major items-including the “Bombay cover”. At about the same time it is purchased by Maurice Burrus through H. R. Harmer, London.
The plate is last shown to the public at the Royal Jubilee Exhibition of British Empire Stamps of the Victorian Era, organised by the Royal Philatelic Society, London. The Plate insurance value for the show was Frs 250,000 (£3,425).
Maurice Burrus dies, leaving behind one of the most important philatelic collections ever formed.
1959 (December 5)
Maurice Burrus’ Mauritius Collection is sold at auction by Robson Lowe, Ltd in London. The plate was not part of it, thus thought by many to be lost.
1963 (October 1)
Odile Burrus, one of the Maurice’s nieces dies.
Family members find the plate between her affairs; it was a present given to her by her uncle.
2013 (November 29)
Jean-Paul Burrus, Maurice’s grand-nephew and godson, approaches David Feldman SA in Geneva searching for guidance and expertise. It is then decided to share the plate with the world.
The Mauritius “Post Office” issue printing plate is unveiled at the Europhilex London 2015 exhibition.
It’s then exhibited in Singapore and Monaco.
The plate will be exhibited in New York from May 28th to June 4th at the International Stamp Show.
The plate will be auctioned by David Feldman SA in Geneva on behalf of the Burrus family.