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Postage due stamps

1914 Inscription 'POSTAGE DUE'

  1/2 p green
  1 p red
  1 1/2 p brown (1923)
  2 p brown
  3 p violet (1918)
  4 p green (1921)
  5 p brown 
  1 Sh blue (1915)

These stamps have perforation 14 and watermark 'Crown GvR' (2 types). A postage due stamp of 2/6 brown on yellow with inscription 'TO PAY' was issued later.

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare

Cheapest type

1/2 p cc 
1 p*c 
1 1/2 p** 
2 p*c 
3 p*c 
4 p*c 
5 p*** 
1 Sh***c 

Government Telegraph stamps

1870 Queen Victoria, inscription 'TELEGRAPHS'

1 Sh green 1 Sh brown 3 Sh blue 5 Sh red

  1/2 p red
  1 p brown
  3 p red
  4 p green
  6 p grey
  1 Sh green
  1 Sh brown
  3 Sh blue
  5 Sh red
  10 Sh grey
  1 Pound brown
  5 Pounds orange

(Peter Winter forgery)

I've been told that the above forgery was made by Peter Winter in the 1980's.

There exist also some fiscal stamps with overprint 'MILITARY TELEGRAPHS' (they seem to have been used in Great Britain, Egypt, Bechuanaland and South Africa), examples for Egypt (Sudan?):

(Reduced sizes)

All these stamps are very rare.

Some similar stamps with overprint 'ARMY TELEGRAPHS' also exist, they were issued in 1895 (1/2 p orange) and 1900 (1/2 p green, used in South Africa).

Private Telegraph Companies

Electric Telegraph Company Limited

(Sorry, no picture available yet)

This company issued many telegraph stamps, (the first ones in 1851).

Universal Private Telegraph Company

(Universal Private Telegraph Company, I've also seen a 6 p brown)

This telegraph company issued its stamps in 1864 in the values: 3 p (?), 6 p brown, 9 p (?) and 1 Sh lilac. In some (all?) cases they have a control number overprint.

The English and Irish Magnetic Telegraph

(English and Irish Magnetic Telegraph)

The English and Irish Magnetic Telegraph stamps were issued in 1853 in the values: 1 Sh black, 1 Sh 6 p lilac, 2 Sh 6 p blue, 4 Sh red and 5 Sh green. There should be a control letter on these stamps. Stamps without control letter (such as the above) are remainders.

The British and Irish Magnetic Telegraph Company

The British and Irish Magnetic Telegraph Company also issued stamps in 1857 (sorry, no picture available yet). I've seen: 3 p, 6 p and 1 Sh, all in black (other values exist).

London District Telegraph Company

(London District Telegraph Message Stamp 90 Cannon Street)

The London District Telegraph Company issued its stamps in 1862 in the values: 3 p black on yellow, 4 p black on blue and 6 p black on red and 6 p red. These stamps have control numbers overprinted (in red, small black and large black, depending on the value).

Bonelli's Electric Telegraph Co Limited

I've also seen 'Bonelli's Electric Telegraph Co Limited' with a mercury design (3 p grey, 3 p brown, 3 p green, 6 p black, 9 p blue and 1 Sh orange) issued in 1861. Sorry, no picture available yet

The South Eastern Telegraph Company

Issued stamps in 1860. Sorry, no picture available yet

The United Kingdom Telegraph Company

Issued first stamps in 1862 in upright size: 3 p brown, 6 p red and 1 Sh violet. Sorry, no picture available yet.

Another set was issued in 1863 (oblong size):

(United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Company Limited, 'INT' overprint)

The following values exist: 3 p yellow, 6 p red, 1 Sh violet, 1 Sh 6 p green, 2 Sh brown (the values 3 p, 6 p and 1 Sh also exist overprinted with 'INT').

The Submarine Telegraph Company

(Sorry, no picture available yet)

Issued stamps in 1861: 4 1/2 p lilac, 3 Sh 9 p lilac, 4 Sh lilac, 7 Sh 6 p lilac, 8 Sh lilac and 4 Sh (in red) on 8 Sh lilac. Proofs in black seem to exist.

Telephone stamps

1884 Head of Robert Raynsford Jackson, inscription 'NATIONAL TELEPHONE COMPANY LIMITED', various frames

  1 p black
  3 p red
  4 p blue
  6 p green
  1 Sh brown

These stamps have perforation 12.

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
1 p *** 
3 p*** 
4 p*** 
6 p****** 
1 Sh*** 

College labels

A special delivery service existed to transport the mail between each of the colleges in Oxford and Cambridge from 1870 to 1886. Stamps, envelopes and postcards were issued. Keble college started using stamps first in 1870. The use of stamps was prohibited by the government in 1886, but postal stationery still seems to have been used afterwards.

Examples of stamps:
OXFORD: 'All Souls', 'Balliol', 'Exeter', 'Hertford', 'Keble', 'Lincoln', 'Merton', 'St.John's';
CAMBRIDGE: 'Queen's', 'St.John's' and 'Selwyn'.

Examples of envelopes:
'Hertford', 'Keble' and 'Merton'

Examples of postcards:
'Exeter', 'Hertford', 'Keble' and 'Merton'


(Lincoln college, and St.John's coll. messenger, reduced sizes)

Literature: "The College Stamps of Oxford and Cambridge, A Study of Their History and Use from 1870 to 1886",  by Cummings (1904), 109 p.

Newspaper tax, examples

Newspaper tax marks started to be used in 1712 and can be found up to 1855.

Bury and Norwich post about 1850

North British Advertiser Newspaper One Penny:

(Reduced size)

I have seen a similar design for 'Montrose Review Newspaper', 'Illustrated London News Newspaper' and 'London Gazette Newspaper' (all 1 p red).

Other design:

(Illustrated London News Newspaper)

('Illustrated London Newspaper, The Times (3x))


1915 Stamps issued in a prisoners camp in Germany, inscription 'Ruhleben, Express Delivery' to be used inside the prisoners camp

1/4 p blue and black

13 different values exist, 1 value overprinted 'On Service' and 2 overprinted 'DUE'. Some of these stamps can be considered as bogus issues.

If my information is correct, the 'genuine' stamps have perforation 11 1/2. Some forgeries were made in 1925 with perforation 10 1/2. By the way, I think the above shown stamp is such a forgery as well. If anybody has a picture of a guaranteed genuine stamp, please contact me!

Even postal stationery seems to have been issued, example:

(Reduced size)

(Some mystery stamps, proofs or forgeries? Images obtained thanks to Mark Curtis)

Unissued Airmail Stamps

Inscription 'AIRMAIL ONE PENNY', standing Mercury in an ellipse

I have seen an identical perforated stamp in green (also 1 p).

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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