GB Overprints Society

New Publications by GB Overprints Society

Provisional Overprints for the UK

Did you know that despite the advance publicity for UK decimalisation in 1971 no registration envelopes were available for sale with the correct postage rates imprinted on them? Did you know that when compensation rates increased on registration envelopes there were sometimes over 6 million items in stock needing amendment rather than pulping? It is not easy to pick up from the fairly simple listings in the major catalogue of British postal stationery (Huggins & Baker), just how many overprints and corrections emanate from the Post Office. Many of these arose because of errors in the instructions on the items, or accidental retention of obsolete information. A major area, not rectifying mistakes, was the Post Office’s need to bring into use large stocks of postal stationery rendered obsolete by increases in postal rates, or forces envelopes at the end of World War I: indeed in some cases residual stocks of obsolete items are recorded to amount to several million copies. Postal stationery is not cheap to make, and the prospect of pulping such large stocks led to the obsolete items being uprated by the overprinting of either a further stamp image or a device showing the additional payment now due. Tracking this through the various provisional issues highlights the occasions on which the post office found that the rates had risen faster than they could make new head-dies, or, on one occasion, rates were actually reduced after large numbers had been printed and sold for the old rates, and customers needed a rebate. These items have not been subject to detailed study before this book.
The opportunity was also taken to include coverage of the postal stationery provisionals issued by the Post Offices of the UK islands of Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Jersey, which issue their own stationery, and on which there seems little coverage in catalogues. Their treatment of “rescuing” obsolete material reflects many of the approaches of the UK Post Office (Royal Mail), but more frequently. 198 pages. ISBN 978-0-9931878-3-4. £35 plus postage and packing.

Postal Stationery overprinted for use elsewhere (other than airletters)

The Postal Stationery book covers all types of postal stationery other than airletters. The scope of the definition as laid down by the FIP comprises the main types known to most collectors, but also includes (for example) postal orders, telegraph forms, reply coupons, and a brief survey of the huge topic of overprinted stationery packet bands, and overprinted amendments to UK postal material. Remarkable archive material is included for the first time, including official plans for overprinted registration envelopes for the Gulf, airletters for Eritrea and others. The only previous source for overprinted British postal stationery was the Higgins & Gage series; this is now extremely out of date, having been first compiled over 50 years ago, and which contains a number of omissions, and ghosts or misleading entries which have now been clarified in this book. The book cannot claim, however, to include all the details covered in specialist societies’ journals and books, otherwise the GBOS book would be twice the current size. But the detail is certainly sufficient for most collectors, with cross-references to more specialist material where necessary. 504 pages. ISBN 978-0-9931878-1-0. £60 plus postage and packing.

Airletters overprinted for use elsewhere

The Airletters book traces the development of British airletter design from the first overprinted issues to the final issues in the 1960s, and, with the help of archive material, explains why the later issues had the “wrong stamp” on them, continuing on special printings with the Queen’s head when Britain had changed to the parliament design. Several new types came to light during the research, extending the previous findings of Terry Jones’s catalogue. In fact only 2 months before the book was due to go to press a totally new airletter design was found with the “Value-Only” overprint, right at the end of the period; this is a major new find, and to date only 3 copies are known, all used as part of the same business correspondence. Archive material also includes essays, official correspondence and provision cards. 122 pages. ISBN 978-0-9931878-0-3. £36 plus postage and packing.

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Overprinted GB postal stationery



Overprinted GB airletters

GB Provisionals front cover

version: 11 June 2017, 17 June 2017