Bermuda’s Shipwreck Postage Stamps
In 1986 the Bermuda Post Office issued a set of stamps depicting seventeen ships that were wrecked off Bermuda. This is a short description of each wreck:
3¢ – CONSTELLATION
The Constellation was a 4-wasted American schooner on its way from New York to Venezuela with general cargo when she was lost on July 31st, 1943.
5¢ – EARLY RISER
During the 1830’s, officers of the British Army garrison in Bermuda introduced 4- and 6-oared gigs for rowing matches. Later these gigs were used by local pilots to meet incoming vessels. Early Riser was such a pilot gig and was lost in 1876.
7¢ and 18¢
MADIANA – The Madiana was a British registered iron screw steamer bound from New York to Bermuda when she ran aground on Bermuda’s reefs on February 14th, 1903.
10¢ – CURLEW
The Curlew was a small wooden screw steamer used by the Cunard Line on the Halifax-Bermuda-St. Thomas service. On March 18th, 1856, she ran on the Bermuda reefs and broke in two. Seven of the nine bags of mail were salvaged.
12¢ – WARWICK
The Warwick was a brig which brought much needed supplies to Bermuda in 1619. While anchored in Castle Harbour, the vessel sank during a storm. She was discovered in 1967.
15¢ – H.M.S. VIXEN
The H.M.S. Vixen was an obsolete British steam-driven iron naval vessel, stationed at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Ireland Island. In 1890 she was scuttled.
20¢ – SAN PEDRO
A merchant ship of the New Spanish treasure fleet, the San Pedro was wrecked on Bermuda’s reefs in 1594, while carrying treasure home to Spain. This included gold bullion, silver coins and jewelry.
25¢ – ALERT
Bermuda was famous for its small, one-masted sailing sloops, built of Bermuda cedar. 25 to 30 feet long, they were used for fishing, freight and as pilot boats. The Alert was a fishing boat lost in 1877.
40¢ – NORTH CAROLINA
The North Carolina was an English iron barque with a cargo of cotton that was lost on the Bermuda reefs in 1880.
50¢ – MARK ANTONIE
The Mark Antonie was a Spanish tartar on a privateering voyage from St. Eustatius to Cape Henlopen, when wrecked in 1777.
60¢ – MARY CELESTIA
The Mary Celestia was a swift, 207-ton paddle-wheel steamer, used as a Confederate blockage runner during the American Civil War. On September 6th, 1864, she struck a reef off South Shore and quickly sank.
70¢ and $1.50 – CAESAR
The Caesar was a British brig bound from England to Baltimore when she was lost off Bermuda on February 21st, 1818.
$1 – L’HERMINIE
The L’Herminie was a 60-gun French frigate used for cadet training. She was wrecked in 1838 while on a voyage from Havana, Cuba to Brest.
$2 – LORD AMHERST
The Lord Amherst was a British armed transport, being used as a hospital ship to carry invalided sailors from Jamaica to England, when she struck the reefs off Bermuda on February 16th, 1778.
$3 – MINERVA
The Minerva was a Bermuda-built cedar ship which in 1849 sailed on a voyage to Africa. Caught in a storm, she was abandoned by her crew and left to her fate. She drifted back to Bermuda and was later found in Somerset!
$5 – CARAQUET
The Caraquet was a passenger/freight steamer operating between Halifax and the British West Indies. On June 25th, 1923, she ran aground near North Rock.
$8 – H.M.S. PALLAS – H.M.S. Pallas was a 36-gun British frigate which ran ashore on St. George’s Island in 1783.