We were admiring various collections of Brazilian stamps and the stamp team at Sandafayre began to debate the merits of Brazil as a collecting area. It is certainly a large area physically, as well as philatelically, being the 5th largest country in the world both by area and population!
A former Colony, Brazil is also the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world, gaining independence in 1822 as the Empires of Pedro I and Pedro II, before becoming a full Republic in 1889.
Brazil is philatelically famous as the third country to produce postage stamps but as the Swiss Canton of Zurich was arguably a 'local' issue then we can say that the forward thinking Brazilian authorities were extreamly quick of the mark! The famous "Bulls Eyes" of August 1843 were issued in values of 30, 60, and 90reis. It is suggested that the sheet arrangement resembled pairs of bulls eyes, so the name stuck!
Interestingly they are not the only stamps of Brazil to acquire a quaint nickname, some of the other earlier issues printed a the Mint in Rio de Janeiro being known as "Snakes Eyes", "Goats Eyes", or "Cats Eyes"
The American Bank Note Company of New York took over the printing contract in 1866 with an issue depicting a variety of portraits of Emperor Pedro II and the 'Classic' stamp period was over, although the beautiful designs, relying on the deep history and beauty of this amazing region, became a hallmark of Brazilian issues through 1881 (where this collection begins) and into the 20th Century with those spectacular 1920's issues depicting Locomotives, Aviation, Shipping, Industry and Airships speaking for a generations aspirations and achievements.