On 1 September 1853, the first triangular postage stamp was issued in the Cape of Good Hope, which was a British colony at the time. The triangular shaped stamp, which became known as the Cape Triangular, was the first stamp to be issued in Africa.
It’s currently one of the 13 most valuable stamps in the world, estimated at US$40,000.
The stamp was designed by Charles Davidson Bell, who was Surveyor General of the Cape Colony at the time. The triangular shape of the stamp was a unique design for a stamp during this period, which depicted the figure of Hope. Sir George Cathcart had supposedly suggested that the stamps look completely different from those of the British.
The reason for these stamps was allegedly due to the fact that postage was based on distance, and therefore proved unfairly expensive. The Cape Triangular stamps appeared in two values, the “four pence blue” and the “one penny red”, and could be used to pay inland post only.
Source: Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau