the rare triangular Cape of Good Hope stamp from the 1850s will be auctioned in Sandton on 27 & 28 August, The estimated value is around R450 000 – R550 000. Picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - South Africa’s first stamps were not the usual square stamps we know today but were triangular, which made us the first country in the world to use a different shape of stamp.

Savo Tufedgzic, stamp and coin specialist at Stephan Welz & Co, said we chose these triangular stamps so that those who were illiterate could distinguish local letters from overseas ones.

The first of these stamps, which are known as Cape of Good Hope triangle stamps, are to be auctioned this week along with some other triangular stamps.

They are among the world’s most valuable stamps.

These stamps were used between 1853 and 1864, when square stamps were introduced.

The stamps, to be auctioned in Sandton tomorrow and Thursday, are expected to fetch up to R800 000 for some of the pieces.

Tufedgzic said that in those days, working in a post office was a serious job and the postal service worked well.

“A lot of items were posted. Things like gold were posted because no one would ever steal it.”

The Star