On August 1, 1843, Brazil issued its first postage stamps, approximately four years before the United States. Not wishing to obliterate the effigy of Emperor Dom Pedro II, the authorities directed a simple design for the stamps. Known as the 'olhos-de-boi' (bull's eyes), the 30, 60, and 90 reis stamps, which are shown below, were finely engraved in the Brazilian Treasury on a machine turned background and are considered to be among the most beautiful of Classic stamps. These were followed in 1844 by the 'inclinados', the 'olhos-de-cabra' (goat’s eye's) in 1850 and the 'olhos-de-gato' (cat's eyes) in 1854. It was not until 1866 that the effigy of Dom Pedro II appeared in Brazilian stamps.
The Dom Pedro stamps represented Brazil from 1860 to 1890 when the Republic was declared, after which stamps tend to show allegories or prominent historical leaders. A challenge for collectors of Brazil are the many watermarks used for the definitive issues of the first half of the 20th century.
- Schiffer, Dr. Francisco, Catalogo de Selos do Brasil.
- MacKay, James, The World of Classic Stamps 1840-1870.
- Scott Classic Specialized Catalog, 2006.