In the early years of the 19th century the Post Office was a branch of the GPO in London & continued to use hand struck markings even after postage stamps were issued in Britain in 1840. In 1857 British stamps were placed on sale in Gibraltar and the numeral 'A26' was allocated for the cancellation of those adhesives as well as the letter 'G' in an oval of bars. Such stamps are eagerly sought by collectors.
The first Gibraltar stamps were issued on 1 January, as there was insufficient time to introduce a new issue before that date, stamps of Bermuda were overprinted “GIBRALTAR”. These overprinted stamps were in different colours to those issued in Bermuda and were replaced by Gibraltar's own adhesives in December 1886.
There are many rare and valuable stamps in Gibraltar philately, perhaps the most popular are the unusually tall high value definitive of the KEVII and KGV reigns, the key stamps being the 1925 £5 violet and black. The Broken “R” varieties of the 1938-51 Pictorial 1s, 2s, 5s & 10s values are valuable and highly sought- after by Gibraltar and KGVI collectors, the 1967 2d HMS “Carmania” with missing grey- blue (hull) is also a significant rarity amongst collectors of Gibraltar and of Ship on stamps. With its rich, historic ties to Great Britain and to the politics of Europe this is one of the Commonwealths most popular stamp and postal history collecting areas.