thumb|120px|right|3 cent stamp, 1866thumb|120px|left|20 bit stamp, 1905
St Thomas was a hub of the West Indies packet
service from 1851 to 1885. Initially mail was transported by a Spanish packet to and from Puerto Rico
; but in July 1867 the British picked up the mail contract, and packet letters are known using British stamps as late as 1879.
The first postage stamp
of the Danish West Indies
was issued in 1856. It had the same square coat of arms
design as the contemporary stamps of Denmark
, but it was denominated 3 cents and of a dark carmine
color on yellowish paper. A yellow burelage
of wavy lines covered the stamp. (In the illustration at right, it is most easily seen along the bottom edge of the larger version.) An 1866 printing was on white paper, with the direction of the burelage lines changed, and in 1872 the stamps were perforated
. In 1873 a 4c value in dull blue was issued.
1874 saw the first numeral issue
of the same sort as used in Denmark. Values ranged from 1c to 50c; all were bi-colored
. Inverted frames
are common for several of the lower values.
As usual for small colonies far away, the Danish West Indies ran out of popular values periodically, and the colonial administration had to improvise. A 1c surcharge
was printed on 7c stamps in 1887, and a 10c surcharge on 50c in 1895. An additional supply of numeral types in new colors came out between 1896 and 1901.
Single-color 1c and 5c stamps were issued in 1900 to meet UPU
regulations. Shortages of 2c and 8c values... Read More