(Part II of II) This is a somewhat unknown subject in the revenue area, scarcely documented in a few publications known. Without explanation you would not recognize them being used for that purpose. With this small article I want to take a closer look at this aspect of revenue stamp usage.
In Hiscocks these are the only type of revenues overprinted for telegraphic usage. They are less seen used but you can’t see that in the quotations of this catalogue. The overprints are found in many varieties and for those familiar with this key type of stamp you can distinguish 2 types with differences in a line below the chin and differences in the crown. These were probably the last telegraphs for Natal because later issues are not recorded and they probably started to use postage stamps.
B: Orange Free State
For a short and detailed story you can use Hiscocks. For more information the publication of the Orange Free State Study Circle is a grateful work to check for. Next to the possible use of postage stamps in the early years you will find the first hand-stamped overprints with “TELE GRAAF” in 2 rows in 1885, followed by 2 colours of the 1 shilling in 1886. The overprint can be found with several shades, positions and errors. This concerns also the 1 shilling overprints on the 7- ; 8- and 9 shilling of 1878 in 1888. Due to their treaty with other former colonies of South Africa they used the same rates as Transvaal.
After the Boer War in 1900 the existing stamps were overprinted “V.R.I.”and “T.F.”.This was not for the revenue stamps! These higher values were only used by the Army Telegraphs and for that purpose overprinted “A.T.” The cancellations are equal to those of Transvaal. I do not have data of usage but they will not be that much different from Transvaal. The 10 shilling value was used in Rhenoster Ridge. There is another issue dated 1903 but they were made on the remaining postage stamps. From that date they probably used postage stamps.
This provisional series was issued during 1881-1882 using Special Adhesive stamps of 1866. Hiscocks reports 2 values in different colours for the “Calcutta” overprint (24 x 2½mm and 28 x 3 mm with stops); 3 values with the “Madras”overprint (26 x 2¾mm) without stop and one value with 2 types of the “Bombay” overprints (26 x 3 mm and 24 x 2½ mm ) with no stops. Examples below show the “Calcutta version being No 22 (type I) and No 26 (Type II). Printing figures reported are very small from 400! to 48.000.
Based on Hiscocks there ate 2 types of overprints known on these revenue stamps issued in 1918. The first type with “TELGRAPHS” from 1933 should exist for the entire series up to $ 10,- but so far only a 5; 10 and 25c are reported. The example on the previous page issued in 1935 without “S”is only known for this value. Found on Ebay and in the mean time sold for more than $ 50,- (cat. 1982: £30)
E: New Republic / Transvaal
The first and last overprint on revenues of the South African republic was on a 2 Pound value in 1902. This was a provisional issue to fill up the demand. In 1903 there were overprints on the new revenues of Transvaal issued in 1903. Many forgeries are reported like those of Fournier which will sell also for a reasonable price on an auction. The real overprint has been done by a bolder and more smudged hand-stamp. Examples shown below like the one at the left were overprinted afterwards on a soaked off stamp previously cancelled by the Deeds Registry Office for a transaction of property. The one in the middle has probably been affixed on a similar document but now pen-cancelled. The one at the right appears to be cleaned because of the colour shadings at the background.
I hope this is a first step for another aspect in fiscal philately. There is much to report in this area which seems to have no end…
- Transvaal revenue and Telegraph stamps. Alan R. Drysdall (1995)
- Telegraph & Telephone stamps of the World; S.E.R. Hiscocks (1982)
- British Commonwealth revenues; J. Barefoot 2003
- History of the Atlantic cable Company
- Distant Writing; A story of the Telegraph Companies in Britain in 1838-68