JUST FOR STAMP COLLECTORS
SOME HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS OF PHILATELY
These are some items from my personal collection.
Please note that this is not a commercial page; I have nothing for sale. This is a "Show
and Tell" page only.
But you might find some interesting, maybe even useful, information herein.
Much of the information found on this page has been gleaned from 'The Encyclopaedia of
British Empire Postage Stamps' published by Robson Lowe Ltd., London, England. This comes
in six volumes and is an invaluable source of information on matters postal from the earliest
times up to 1952.
--------STAMPS OF GREAT BRITAIN--------
(1)The famous "Penny Black", issued on May 6th.1840 was the World's first
adhesive postage stamp. The letters in the lower corners were a guard
against forgery. Each stamp in a sheet had a different combination,
the letters running 'AA' to 'AL' in the top row to 'TA' to 'TL' in the
The particular item illustrated is an invention from the
1990 miniature sheet. It makes a very impressive sight when set as
(2)Forgeries of then current British stamps made by the German Nazi
Government in 1944 for propaganda purposes. You might notice that they
used the deep colours of the 1937 issue rather than the paler, 'economy'
colours issued in 1941. On the blue stamp the German wavy line watermark
is plainly visible!
(3)A modern postal forgery.
The forger has photocopied a sheet of genuine stamps and then
run the copy through a private perforator. The perforation is wrong
(11 instead of 15x14) and, under magnification, the stamp, particularly
at its edges, is fuzzy and quite different from both the photogravure and
lithograph printings of the original.
But it worked! It passed through the British Postal System. This is a
used copy well tied to a piece.
MACHIN FORGERIES is a small page with more info on this topic.
--------STAMPS OF GREAT BRITAIN
(1) In the early days of adhesives, British stamps were used in many
of the island colonies of which one was MALTA. In the period 1857-1885,
British stamps were used in Malta for
all but local mail (which was franked by the local 1/2d stamps). This
is an 1870 piece with two British stamps cancelled with the duplex CDS/Barred Oval
that was characteristic of British postmarks of the time. 'A25' was the
postal code assigned to Malta.
(2) Nineteenth Century Britain had strong trading interests throughout
South America and many British Consulates operated post offices for the
benefit of local British merchants. Their mail was franked with British
stamps and each office had its own postal code. Illustrated is a piece
cancelled in Buenos Ayres, Argentina, with a barred oval 'B32'.
The Ottoman Empire was another favourite stamping ground of the
British Post Office with offices in (1),(3)Constantinople (Istanbul),
coded "C" and (2)Smyrna ("F87") amongst others.
Stamps surcharged in Turkish denominations were issued in 1885
to avoid speculation against the devaluating Turkish currency.
BRITISH ARMY POST OFFICES
(1) SOUTH AFRICA. During the Boer War(1899-1902) letters home from British
troops were franked with British stamps. This postmark with 'Field
Post Office - British Army S. Africa' was one commonly used cancellation.
(2) TURKEY. A British Army Post Office (British A.P.O.) operated in
Constantinople 1919-20 during the British Occupation after WWI had brought
about the final collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
CHRISTMAS ISLAND. This Christmas Island is in the Pacific Ocean, one of the Line
Islands, in what is now Kiribati (formerly the British Colony: 'The Gilbert & Ellice
and has been renamed 'Kirimati'. It is not to be confused (as I did) with the Christmas
Island in the Indian Ocean (now a Territory of Australia) mentioned on page 2.
(Nor the one in Nova Scotia which is scarcely mentioned anywhere.)
I have Bill Wiles to thank for setting me straight on this point.
FROM AROUND THE EMPAH!
(1-3) GIBRALTAR used in MOROCCO: The first British Post Office in Morocco
opened in 1857 and British Stamps were used until 1886 when the service
was transferred to Gibraltarian administration. Stamps of Gibraltar
were then used until the issue of stamps overprinted "Morocco Agencies"
British Offices operated in 12 towns: Alcazar, Casablanca, Fez, Laraiche,
Mazagan, Maquinez, Mogador, Rabat, Saffi, Tangier, and Tetuan.
Shown are Gibraltar stamps cancelled in three of them: Fez, Mogador and
(4) MAURITIUS used in SEYCHELLES: The Seychelles, a group of 92 islands
in the Indian Ocean, were a dependency of Mauritius until 1904 when they
became a seperate colony. Between 1861 and 1890, when the first Seychelles
stamps were issued, stamps of Mauritius were used.
In the barred-oval cancellations, 'B53' was assigned to Mauritius, 'B64'
(5) SOUTH AFRICA used in SOUTH-WEST AFRICA: During WWI South African forces
occupied German South-West Africa. South African stamps were introduced and
used until overprinted stamps were issued in 1923.
(6-7) CHINESE IMPERIAL POST OFFICE: China did not become a member of the UPU
until 1914; instead it signed seperate conventions with various countries.
These required mail leaving China to be paid partly by Chinese stamps and
partly by those of the country to which the mail was going. Because the
foreign stamp could not be cancelled at the office where it had been mailed,
it could be stolen and replaced by a stamp of lower denomination en route.
To prevent this, the mailing office applied a small handstamp, consisting
of the letters 'IPO' (Imperial Post Office), usually boxed, in a way that
it fell on both stamp and cover, so that the stamp is "tied" to the cover.
This handstamp can be found on Hong Kong stamps between 1899 and 1905.
34 types are known.
In order to speed up its loading the original JfSC page has been divided into two.
to see many more goodies.
Our other philatelic pages (which includes "India Used Abroad", "Paquebot"
and "Hong Kong Treaty Ports") as well as all external links can now
be reached from our new page:
A CENTRE FOR STAMP COLLECTORS
For comments, etc, email me NOW
or later at: