About the name
In 1847 Sir William Gomm was made Governor of Mauritius. His first task was to improve the Mauritian Postal system and enable Mauritius to have its own locally produced stamps.
The Governor commissioned a local engraver named Barnard to produce 500 one penny and 500 two pence postage stamps (the famous Penny Blue).
Coincidently, at that time, Lady Gomm was hosting a fancy dress ball and wanted to use the new stamps to send the invitation cards.
An iconic symbol of Mauritius is born
Honoured by his task, the engraver rushed to his work shop but forgot the wording for the left side of the stamp. He went to ask the postmaster but as he came to the building, he read “Post Office" on the shop front. Believing these were the right words for the stamp, he dashed back to his workshop to finish the design.
Just before sending the cards, the mistake was spotted. But as Lady Gomm was eager to send the invitations there was no time to re-engrave the plate with the usual “Post Paid" inscription.
From the 500 Penny Blues produced, only 12 are believed to be in existence today. In 1993, at an auction, a Penny Blue Stamp was sold for $1.4 million dollars. That makes it one of the world's most expensive stamps and one of Mauritius most iconic symbols...