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SIERRA LEONE 1862-1895

Return To Catalogue - Sierra Leone 1896-1920

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Colony of Great Britain in Africa.

1862 Queen Victoria in a octagonal, perforated

  6 p violet

For the specialist: this stamp exists perforated 12 1/2 or 14, it can be found on bluish or white paper with both perforations.

Value of the stamps

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

Bluish paper (1861), no watermark

6 p RRRRPerforation 14
6 pRRRPerforation 12 1/2
White paper (1872), no watermark
6 pRRRPerforation 14
6 pRRRRRPerforation 12 1/2
Watermark 'CC Crown' (1876)
6 p******Perforated 14
Different shades also on bluish paper

Some very rare imperforate proofs exist (and forgeries of those, see under forgeries), also some rare stamps with 'SPECIMEN' or 'CANCELED'

Overprinted 'REVENUE' for fiscal use:

Typical cancellations, 'B 31' and red cancel:

'B 31' cancel

Forgeries, example:

Forgery! Forgery!

I think the above forgeries must be the one described in Album Weeds. It is imperforated (but exists badly perforated). The words 'SIERRA' and 'LEONE' are too close together. The inscription is thicker than in the genuine stamps. The queen's nose (and mouth) are strange. The cancellations that can be found are a circular cancel with townname and date (as shown here), some straight lines (the second image above?) or the cancel that can be found on the genuine stamps also (see above). I have also seen a cancel consisting of 4 concentric circles with some parallel lines in the center part.

Sperati forgeries

Sperati forgery, image obtained from http://www.seymourfamily.com/rfrajola/Sperati/sbritish.htm

The Sperati forgeries pretend to be the imperforate proofs, they seem to have the a claw foot at the second 'R' of 'SIERRA'. By the way, there seems to be a very rare second state Sperati forgery which does not have this characteristics, see http://www.vreug.com/Stamps/slsc2-5.pdf for more details.


1872 Queen Victoria in a rectangle

1/2 p green 1 p red 'typical cancel' 2 p lilac 2 p grey Image obtained thanks to Weldon Padgett 1 Sh brown

  1/2 p brown (1876)
  1/2 p green (1884)
  1 p red
  1 1/2 p (3 Half pence) lilac (1876)
  2 p lilac
  2 p grey (1884)
  2 1/2 p blue (1891)
  3 p yellow
  4 p blue
  4 p brown (1884)
  1 Sh green
  1 Sh brown (1889)


Image reproduced with permission from: http://www.sandafayre.com

  1/2 p on 1 1/2 p lilac

For the specialist; this issue has watermark 'crown CC' or 'crown CA'. 'Crown CA' watermarks were used from 1883 onwards. Some stamps exist with sideways watermark. The perforation of all stamps is always 14.

Value of the stamps

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

Watermark 'CC Crown' (1872), perforation 12 1/2

1 p RR 
2 p lilacRRRR 
3 pRRR 
4 p blueRRRR 
1 Sh greenRRR 
Watermark 'CC Crown' (1876), perforation 14
1/2 p brown****** 
1 pR*** 
1 1/2 p****** 
2 p lilacRR*** 
3 pR*** 
4 p blueRR*** 
1 Sh greenRRR 
1/2 p on 1 1/2 pRRRRRRA misprint exists 'PFNNY': RRR
Watermark 'CA Crown' (1883), perforation 14
1/2 p brownRR 
1/2 p green** 
1 p **** 
1 1/2 p****** 
2 p lilacRR*** 
2 p grey****** 
2 1/2 p ***** 
3 p****** 
4 p blueRRRRR 
4 p brown****** 
1 Sh brown ****** 
1/2 p on 1 1/2 p ******A misprint exists: 'PFNNY': RR

These stamps exist overprinted 'REVENUE' with value labels in different color for fiscal use. The values 1 p lilac and red, 3 p lilac and brown and 1 Sh lilac and blue exist:

These fiscal stamps exist cancelled to order with cancel: 'FREETOWN SIERRA LEONE NO 18 91', example:

Image obtained from http://pages.sbcglobal.net/radgetters/_wsn/page3.html

I have seen a postcard of 1 p red in the same design as the above postage stamps (issued 1881). Other postcards in the values 1/2 p green (1893) and 1 1/2 p grey (1881) exist.

Some varieties of the surcharge 1/2 p stamp exist: The surcharged stamp is normally on 'crown CA' watermark, but copies on 'crown CC' watermark exist (very rare). Double and inverted sucharges exist (also very rare). Stamps with a misprint 'HALF PFNNY' ('F' instead of 'E') exist, example:

Image obtained from Weldon Padgett
(misprint 'HALF PFNNY')

Fiscal overprints, 1 Sh green overprinted 'SIERRA LEONE 5 S.'. Remainders are cancelled with a red bar. Examples:

Images obtained from Weldon Padgett
(Reduced sizes)

(part of a sheet with this red bar cancel)


Album Weeds distinguishes two different forgeries.

First forgery of Album Weeds: Spiro forgery:

Forgery! Forgery!

(Reduced size)

The first forgery described in Album Weeds applies to the stamps issued in 1872 (1 p red, 2 p lilac, 3 p yellow, 4 p blue and 1 Sh green) and I have also seen 1/2 p brown and 1 1/2 p lilac. It can be recognized by the fact that it doesn't have a watermark. The perforation is often very primitive. Furthermore the diamonds in the four corners are badly drawn (compare with the genuine stamps above). The 'T' and the 'A' of 'POSTAGE' are touching each other at the bottom, in the genuine stamps, these letters are separated. The white spaces just outside the white lines that form the center design are not equally wide. The top and bottom white line are too small and the left and right line are too large. Often guidlines can be seen in the outer margins (near the perforation), genuine stamps don't have such guidelines. Furthermore the left and right white line don't align with the box for the value label and the box for the word 'POSTAGE'.

(Cancels of the forgeries, reduced sizes)

Maybe the cancels are the easiest way to recognize this forgery. Album Weeds gives circles with a few lines in the center or a diamond shaped figure with horizontal linen in it. I've also seen other cancels (see the small and big images above for examples). As a genuine cancel I have only seen the B31 cancel. These forgeries were made by Spiro. I have seen a whole sheet of 25 of these forgeries of the 1/2 p brown value.


The second forgery mentionned in Album Weeds can be recognized by the fact that the front of the face and the neck are white. The cheek is shaded with dots instead of lines. The diamonds in the corners are too large. There is a line in the outline of the face (which is not present in the originals). Unfortunately I don't posses a picture of this forgery. Album Weeds says only the 3 p red (instead of orange-yellow) was known to him. These forgeries are uncancelled.

Other forgeries, examples:

Image obtained from: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/radgetters/_wsn/page3.html


1 1/2 p lilac
('B31' cancel and Paquebot cancel)

Bisected stamps:

The above bisected stamps could very well be forgeries. The cancels are very faded and these stamps would be more convincing if they were on the whole cover and not 'cut out' like the above ones.


For stamps of Sierra Leone issued after 1895 and miscellaneous, click here.


A website specially dedicated to stamps of Sierra Leone can be found at: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/radgetters/ made by Weldon Padgett.

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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