GB Overprints Society


All stamps are overprinted "BAHRAIN" in addition to the value shown.

A postal service was operated in Bahrain by the Indian postal administration in Bombay from 1884. With the independence of India in 1947 responsibility passed to the British GPO on 1 April 1947, though the postal services remained under the control of Karachi, transferring from Indian to Pakistani administration in August 1947 until the GPO was ready to take over on 1 April 1948. For this reason the previously overprinted Indian stamps were replaced by overprinted GB stamps in 1948.

On 31 December 1965 the GB postal administration was closed and control handed over to the Bahrain postal department on 1 January 1966, though the overprinted stamps had been replaced by a set inscribed "Bahrain" in 1960.

For similar overprints without any country name see under British Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia.

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


King George 6

First definitive set

1 April 1948 except as noted

Bahrain G6 1st set low vals 200Bahrain G6 Arms 200

1 "½ ANNA" on ½d pale green

2 "1 ANNA" on 1d pale red

3 "1½ ANNAS" on 1½d pale brown

4 "2 ANNAS" on 2d pale orange

5 "2½ ANNAS" on 2½d pale blue

6 "3 ANNAS" on 3d pale violet

7 "6 ANNAS" on 6d purple

8 "1 RUPEE" on 1/- brown

9 "2 RUPEES" on 2/6d green, Arms

10 "5 RUPEES" on 5/- red, Arms

11 "10 RUPEES" on 10/- blue, Arms (4 July 1949)

overprint varieties

Bahrain G6 1a partial

2 v1 1 Anna, "RAIN" omitted/albino (possibly unique copy)
(illustration courtesy of Thomas Johansen)

Note: stamps handstamped "BAHRAIN" without a currency value are bogus, but can be found with the overprint upright or inverted. For example:

Bahrain G6 bogus 200

(illustration from Stamp Magazine, January 2005)

Silver Wedding

26 April 1948

Bahrain G6 Silver Wedding 200

12 "2½ ANNAS" on 2½d blue

13 "15 RUPEES" on £1 blue

Olympic Games

29 July 1948

Bahrain G6 Olympics 200

14 "2½ ANNAS" on 2½d blue

15 "3 ANNAS" on 3d violet

16 "6 ANNAS" on 6d purple

17 "1 RUPEE" on 1/- brown

overprint varieties

14 v1 2½ annas overprint double

bahrain 63a intayrnet

- the extra overprint slants slightly so its position varies according to the position of the stamp on the sheet.

UPU Centenary

10 October 1949

Bahrain G6 UPU 200

18 "2½ ANNAS" on 2½d blue

19 "3 ANNAS" on 3d violet

20 "6 ANNAS" on 6d purple

21 "1 RUPEE" on 1/- brown

Changed colours and designs

4a 1950, other values 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.

Bahrain G6 2nd set 200

22 "½ ANNA" on ½d orange

23 "1 ANNA" on 1d blue

24 "1½ ANNAS" on 1½d green

25 "2 ANNAS" on 2d brown

26 "2½ ANNAS" on 2½d red

27 "4 ANNAS" on 4d blue (2 October 1950)

28 "2 RUPEES" on 2/6d -green type I

- type I: "2" level with "RUPEES" (see illustration below)

29 "5 RUPEES" on 5/- red

30 "10 RUPEES" on 10/- blue

overprint varieties

Bahrain R5 extra bar

29 v1 R5 extra bar
(illustration courtesy of Intayrnet)

2nd and 3rd printings, overprint types II and III


Bahrain G6 R2 types 250

types I, II and III

Bahrain G6 R2 detail 300
type I and type II

31 R2 type II (1953)

- type II: "2" slightly above "RUPEES", 15mm between lines

32 R2 type III (1955)

- type III: as type II but 16mm between lines, bottom line further left - "2" clear of "Bahrain".
Type III appears to have been an emergency printing, as the Queen Elizabeth "castle" set was released shortly afterwards. Mint copies are extremely scarce as the difference in overprint was not noticed at the time of issue.

overprint varieties

Bahrain G6 R2 raised I detail 300

32 v1 type III raised I

Queen Elizabeth

Watermark Tudor Crown E2R

5 December 1952 unless otherwise stated

Bahrain QE Tudor 200

33 "½ ANNA" on ½d orange (31 August 1953)

34 "1 ANNA" on 1d blue (31 August 1953)

35 "1½ ANNAS" on 1½d green

36 "2 ANNAS" on 2d brown (31 August 1953)

37 "2½ ANNAS" on 2½d red

38 "3 ANNAS" on 3d violet (18 January 1954)

39 "4 ANNAS" on 4d blue (2 November 1953)

40 "6 ANNAS" on 6d purple (18 January 1954)

41 "12 ANNAS" on 1/3d green (2 November 1953)

42 "1 RUPEE" on 1/6d blue (2 November 1953)

Bahrain QE fonts 300

Fonts: The 1½, 2½, 3 and 6 annas retain the font of the G6 set, in which the "H" is 2.1mm tall; on the other values the "H" is now changed to 1.9mm tall and is noticeably wider. The squatter "H" is used on all the "np" decimal overprints. There are also differences in the size of the "S" in "ANNAS". Illustrated here are the G6 ½ Anna, Tudor 6 Annas, Tudor ½ Anna, and the 40 np.

overprint varieties

33 v1 "½" omitted:

Bahrain 80 misplaced 200Bahrain QE no half 200

In the first printing the "½" was printed as a second operation and can be found misplaced to the left or right, or up or down (see first image above). But on some sheets the second operation was missed out completely, and 3½ sheets survived the recall after this was discovered . Similar misplacements can be found on the Kuwait and BPAEA Tudor ½d stamp, but these do not exist with the fraction missing; on later printings of all territories the fraction was applied at the same time as the rest of the overprint and is always perfectly centred, as in the main set illustration above.

At least two copies of the cylinder number of this error exist:

Bahrain 80a cyl

(illustration courtesy of Thomas Johansen)


3 June 1953

Bahrain QE coronation 200

43 "2½ ANNAS" on 2½d red

44 "4 ANNAS" on 4d blue

45 "12 ANNAS" on 1/3d green

46 "1 RUPEE" on 1/6d blue

Watermark St Edward's Crown E2R
Low values and Castles high values (Waterlow)

23 September 1955 Castles, other values as noted

Bahrain QE Ed2R 200

Bahrain QE Waterlow I 200

47 "½ ANNA" on ½d orange (January 1957)

48 "4 ANNAS" on 4d blue (8 June 1956)

49 "6 ANNAS" on 6d purple (5 December 1956)

50 "12 ANNAS" on 1/3d green (2 August 1956)

51 "1 RUPEE" on 1/6d blue (4 March 1957)

52 "2 RUPEES" on 2/6d brown, type I

- type I: bars very close together and aligned slightly to right of 1st vertical of "U"

53 "5 RUPEES" on 5/- red, type I

- type I: bars very close together and aligned slightly to right of 1st vertical of "U"

54 "10 RUPEES" on 10/- blue, type I

- type I: "1 0" slightly spaced, 0.9mm, overprint 34 mm

overprint varieties

51 v1 R1 overprint double

- the overprint is almost superimposed and can be mistaken for a blurred and overinked print.

stamp varieties

54 sv1 R10 weak entry at bottom of right edge (row 1, stamp 2)

Later printings


Bahrain QE R2 3 types detail 400

Waterlow type I, Waterlow type II, De La Rue type III

Bahrain QE R5 types detail 400

Waterlow type I & type II

Bahrain QE R10 types detail 400

Waterlow type I, Waterlow type II, De La Rue (type III)

55 R2 type II (13 May 1958)

- type II: bars wider apart, aligned under left side of 1st vertical of "U"

56 R5 type II (19 August 1957)

- type II: bars wider apart, aligned further towards 1st vertical of "U"

57 R10 type II (13 May 1958)

- type II: "10" closer, 0.6mm, overprint 33½ mm

Castles, change to De La Rue printings


Bahrain QE DLR 200

58 "2 RUPEES" on 2/6d brown, type III (29 January 1960)

- type III: thinner letters than the Waterlow printings, bars much longer

59 "10 RUPEES" on 10/- blue, type III (1960)

- type III: similar overprint to the Waterlow printings, but a cleaner impression making it appear brighter, though published catalogues describe the colour as "dull ultramarine... with more blue and less ultramarine". It is difficult to distinguish in isolation from a known Waterlow item. The Bahrain overprint is not known used (see The Overprinter 2010/1 p.17). 

Change to decimal currency

100 naye paise ("new pies") = 1 Rupee

1 April 1957

Bahrain QE np 200

The position of the values varies so as to cover up the original value; the "20" had to be higher to remain visible against the dark background, and presumably the "NP" on the 1 np and 40 np is higher than on the 15, 25 and 50 np to more fully obscure the words "five", "six" and "pence" whereas on the latter it had to be low to cover up the original value. Plus of course the extra bars on the 50 np and the different layout on the 75 np. Considerable thought must have been put into these factors!

Note: "BAHRAIN" is now in the same font on all values (see above).

60 "1 NP" on 5d brown

61 "3 NP" on ½d orange

62 "6 NP" on 1d blue

63 "9 NP" on 1½d green

64 "12 NP" on 2d brown

65 "15 NP" on 2½d red, type I

66 15 np type II (diadem top line complete) (April 1959)

67 "20 NP" on 3d violet

68 "25 NP" on 4d blue

69 "40 NP" on 6d purple

70 "50 NP" on 9d green

71 "75 NP" on 1/3d green

Deliberate changes in shade

69a 40np reddish purple (original printings)

69b 40np claret (July 59)

Note: Some printings of the 40np are on paper with a purple surface tint, but this is not a reliable indication of which of these two shades has been used.

2½d type I and type II

Wilding 2.5d types 300

In die I (left) the top of the central cross is incomplete, in die II (right) it is complete; there are other less obvious differences due to the change in the tilt of the portrait within the frame (see below). The diadem is unfortunately often covered up by the word "BAHRAIN", so if it is not easy to see check the tilt: on the above scans you can see that the right vertical line of the central cross points to the left of the right-hand edge of the "knot" in the top of the wreath in die I, whereas in the die II it points to the right of it; the portrait has been rotated about 0.3mm clockwise. The left side of the main central cross is also much more distinct on die II.

If that too is obscured check the bottom (though that is often obscured by the surcharge!):

Wilding 2.5d types bottom 1200

The back of the Queen's neck points to the middle of the second leaf (from the bottom) in die I, and at the bottom of the leaf in die II. The right-hand edge of the dark border on the shoulder of the dress points to the red line in a "knot" in die I but to the middle of the knot in die II. The thick red line on the left of the dress points to the edge of a leaf in die I and to the gap between two leaves in die II. And so on...

Scouts Jubilee Jamboree

1 August 1957

Bahrain QE Scouts 200

72 "15 NP" on 2½d red

73 "25 NP" on 4d blue

74 "75 NP" on 1/3d green

Watermark multiple crowns

24 May 1960

Bahrain QE crowns 200

75 "15 NP" on 2½d red, type II

Note: the multiple crowns watermark 2½d stamp was on a cylinder with slightly more rotation than that referred to for die II (ie it is from "multipositive C") 

Overprinted stamps were replaced by an inscribed set on 1 July 1960, but the British post office continued to run the postal administration until 31 December 1965.

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page last updated: 31 December 2009, 28 April 2012, 21 Feb 2013, 4 March 2013, 4 June 2014, 6 April 2016

gbos: GB Overprints Society