GB Overprints Society



Until 1948, during the continued British occupation, the wartime MEF (Middle East Forces) stamps were used in Eritrea, and were sold in local currency equivalents (East Africa shillings). They were then replaced by issues overprinted with the country name and local currency. The first set was for the British Military Administration ("BMA"), but with the change to civilian government and wider public use of the posts the overprint was changed to "BA" - British Administration.

Some stamps can be found used with a penline across them: these are collectable in this state as the penline was used as a sort of "perfin" to prevent petty theft; they were probably not used to indicate a concessionary rate (see The Overprinter 2/03 p.31) as they can be found on several denominations.

For overprinted stamps on telegraph forms, perforated "PAGATO" ("PAID"), see Eritrea Revenues.

For forerunners prepared in 1941 (but not issued) see under Somalia.

Note: this numbering system was drawn up by the Society for the website, and may not be used without permission.

King George VI

Definitive set

27 May 1948 (except 65c)

Eritrea BMA low vals 200Eritrea BMA high vals 200

1 "5 CENTS" on d pale green

2 "10 CENTS" on 1d pale red

3 "20 CENTS" on 2d pale orange

4 "25 CENTS" on 2d pale blue

5 "30 CENTS" on 3d pale violet

6 "40 CENTS" on 5d brown

7 "50 CENTS" on 6d purple

8 "65 CENTS" on 8d red (1 February 1949)

9 "75 CENTS" on 9d green

10 "1 SHILLING" on 1/- brown

11 "2 SH. 50 CENTS" on 2/6d green, Arms

12 "5 SHILLINGS" on 5/- red, Arms

13 "10 SHILLINGS" on 10/- blue, Arms

overprint varieties

Eritrea BMA 1d misplaced 200

(image courtesy of Philangles)

2 v1 10c overprint misplaced to the right

4 v1 25c overprint misplaced

Eritrea and Somalia misplaced stop detail 300

11 v1 dot distorted and misplaced "2 SH .50 CENTS" (row 4/7)

Eritrea and Somalia misplaced stop 200

note: this also occurs for Somalia, showing that the same basic plate was used for both; it was corrected for the "BA" issues.

Overprint changed to read "BA ERITREA"
for civilian British Administration

6 February 1950

Eritrea BA 1st set low values 200Eritrea BA 1st set high values 200

Note: the overprint on the 5s and 10s is slightly shorter than the equivalent BMA overprint, making the lines at the top closer together.

14 "5 CENTS" on d pale green

15 "10 CENTS" on 1d pale red

16 "20 CENTS" on 2d pale orange

17 "25 CENTS" on 2d pale blue

18 "30 CENTS" on 3d pale violet

19 "40 CENTS" on 5d brown

20 "50 CENTS" on 6d purple

21 "65 CENTS" on 8d red

22 "75 CENTS" on 9d green

23 "1 SHILLING" on 1/- brown

24 "2 SH. 50 CENTS" on 2/6d green, Arms

25 "5 SHILLINGS" on 5/- red, Arms

26 "10 SHILLINGS" on 10/- blue, Arms

Changed colours and designs

3 May 1951

The colour of the low values was changed to retain conformity with UPU requirements; the release date of these and the new high values was to coincide with the Festival of Britain.

Eritrea BA new colours 200

27 "5 CENTS" on d orange

28 "10 CENTS" on 1d blue

29 "20 CENTS" on 2d brown

30 "25 CENTS" on 2d red

31 "2 SH. 50 CENTS" on 2/6d green

32 "5 SHILLINGS" on 5/- red

33 "10 SHILLINGS" on 10/- blue

Postage dues

watermark sideways

Eritrea BMA dues 200

34 "5 CENTS" on d green

35 "10 CENTS" on 1d red

36 "20 CENTS" on 2d black

37 "30 CENTS" on 3d violet

38 "1 SHILLING" on 1/- blue

overprint varieties

35 v1 10c dot missing after "B"

36 v1 20c dot missing after "A"

36 v2 20c dot missing after "B"

note: the "missing dots" occur in several places on the sheet, and other stamps show them very faint.

Eritrea BA dues 200

39 "5 CENTS" on d green

40 "10 CENTS" on 1d red

41 "20 CENTS" on 2d black

42 "30 CENTS" on 3d violet

43 "1 SHILLING" on 1/- blue

overprint varieties

Eritrea missing

(illustration courtesy of Harmers)

40 v1 10c "C" omitted (row 7/17)

40 v2 10c vertical printers block instead of "C" (row 7/17: related to the above)

43 v1 1s missing dot after "A" (row 2/13)

watermark varieties

42 wi 30c watermark sideways inverted

From 15 September 1952 Eritrea was incorporated into Ethiopia and therefore used Ethiopian stamps.

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page last updated: 31 October 2008, 29 June 2011, 6 March 2013, 8 June 2014, 23 June 2014

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