The first Rhodesia stamps, issued on 2 January 1892, were inscribed “British South Africa Company”. This inscription was common amongst all stamps until the territory administered by the BSAC was transferred to other colonies in the 1920s. Stamps inscribed “Rhodesia” appeared in 1965 with the renaming of Southern Rhodesia. High values from the first set which reach to £10 found with fiscal cancellations, are worth approximately 10% of a postally used example, however fiscal cancellations can be removed and fresh gum added so collectors are warned to purchase these stamps from trusted sources, however genuine unused examples do exist without original gum.
The Arms of the Company appear on most stamps until the famous ‘Double Heads’ and ‘Admiral’ issues of 1910 & 1913 respectively. In my opinion the Rhodesian Double Heads rank amongst some of the greatest British Empire stamps. Ranging from ½d to £1 the most notable feature of this issue is the tremendous colours and combinations of two colours from 3d onwards, many are spectacularly brilliant. The smaller ‘Admirals’ also offer a spectacular range of colours plus different dies of KGV’s head and like the Double Heads, different perforations.
The rarest Rhodesia stamp is the 1s double head with a perf gauge of 14x15, however the most famous is the £1 scarlet & slate-black error of colour. The postmarks and postal history of this area are avidly sought by philatelists, tiny short- lived post offices and mines being of particular interest to specialised stamp collectors.The territory of the British South Africa Co was split into the colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923, Northern Rhodesia becoming a colony in 1924; the stamps of the British South Africa Company being valid there for a few months after these new colonies began issuing their first stamps.