GB Overprints Society

Mafia Island

In January 1915 the British Army occupied Mafia Island of the coast of Tanganyika, taking over control from the German authorities who had been in control since a local treaty in 1892.


The only stamps listed in the major catalogues for this occupation are either overprints on contemporary Tanganyika revenues, German "yachts" colonial key-types, some Zanzibar issues, or on Indian stamps already overprinted "IEF" for use by the India Expeditionary Force. However in May 2007 Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions offered two hitherto unpublished items (ex King), stating that they were found in an envelope with a contemporary note stating that the items were examples of what was being used (or being considered for use). This suggests that they may have been proofs or just an idea, as no used copies have ever turned up, and both items are unused.

The Grosvenor auction of May 2009 illustrated similar overprints on contemporary IEF Indian postal stationery, but although pointing out that the cancellations were done to order did not comment on whether the overprints were also "to order".

Forgeries and bogus overprints exist on similar and other items.


Mafia envelope 92

(image courtesy of Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions) 

1 1d red George V stamp


Mafia card 92

(image courtesy of Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions)

2 1d red George V "Downey head" letter card

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page last updated: 18 April 2009, 10 August 2012 

gbos: GB Overprints Society