The post-independence general revenue stamps of Swaziland

English language

Having been a member of the South African Philatelist magazine for many years I was really surprised to find this article of the author in the February 2005 issue filling four pages with these revenue stamps. Since their Independence in 1968, stamps were printed for postage and revenue but perhaps for it’s simplicity they decided to issue stamps for revenue use only. This was the first series since they discontinue overprinted South African (State) revenues in 1933 and some single values afterwards.

Thomas De La Rue probably provided the design and printed the stamps. The first values that were issued were the following values:

  • 2 cent dark brown
  • 5 cent orange
  • 10 cent black
  • 25 cent green
  • 50 cent olive green
  • 1 rand rose red
  • 2 rand blue
  • 10 rand purple

First series of 1970

The value of 10 rand does not yet appear in the last issue of Barefoot. The stamps are printed on watermarked paper type SG W12 (block letter CA upright); with a perforation of 12½ x 12½ and printed in a sheet with 4 panels of 50 stamps each.

First series of 1970
Watermark from the first type (left) and some later types (right)

This article reports so many details that this part of Swaziland in the catalogue should be re-written. John Barefoot has already received a copy from the article.

First there were 2 series known. Now there are 7 with issues up to the early 80s. Watermark may vary considerably; not to mention sorts of paper with their reactions under UV-light. All this can be found in a matrix as shown below with all its varieties.

Several watermarks and UV responses.
Matrix containing all the issues together.

Series of 1984

From 1984, a new series was issued containing 7 values showing a shield on the left:

  • 4 cent dark brown
  • 20 cent orange
  • 25 cent green
  • 50 cent olive green
  • 1 E rose red
  • 2 E blue
  • 10 E purple
Example of series 1984

The stamps were recess printed. A year later, a 4 c value was overprinted with a “6” and a 10 cents in black was issued also.

Revenue overprinted due to the increase of stamp duty on cheques

To reduce cost, the Swaziland Government decided in 2002 to print the values 25c, 1E and 2E in litho. The design was also modernized and around the shield edge they printed continuously the word “SWAZILAND” which can only be seen with a good magnifying glass. They also changed the colours to softer pastel tones than the recess printing so that they are more difficult to reproduce. In 2003 there arrived 10.00 sheets from each value but the value of 25 cents was not issued in May 2004 yet when putting this article together.

Litho printing of the E1-value

The author was authorized to visit the State archives and got help from many persons. Thanks to their effort a new piece of the revenue jigsaw puzzle became visible. The end of the article showed also a new development in the Swaziland revenues. First values were just issued in 2003 which are only 2 values so far known. In due time the older issues will ran out of stock and new ones have to be printed. I hope the author will come with new discoveries in the future.

Source: South African Philatelist; February 2005 Vol. 81 No 1 whole No 868; page 006-010.
Author: P.W. van der Molen RDPSA, FRPSL – East Rand Philatelic Society.

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