GB Overprints Society

Notes on the journal index

Notes, definitions, statistics, interesting landmarks and related bibliography


1. This is a thematic index, not a name or title index - there are over 3000 articles or other items in the Journal, so a name or title index would be impracticable. Many articles, moreover, do not have titles. This index therefore complements, but does not replace, the previous title indexes for some earlier years.

2. The format of the entries is by country, with additional sections for general themes and Society Business; the entries show the issue date with the page number in brackets (in bold if there is an illustration).

3. Issue numbering and pagination conventions have varied. Some original pages are misnumbered (and occasionally miscollated), and in some earlier issues are not numbered at all. In some issues substantial articles are repaginated from "1", and some appendices have their own numbering. In some issues the pages of illustrations are not numbered. Some pages given here as "appx" are auction lists/illustrations which were bound into the issues. Readers must bear this in mind when using the "page number" given in the index.

4. The choice of sub-headings ("rates", "forgeries" etc) is as suggested by repeated topics in the journal. They have been as consistent as possible. The decision as to which running themes and which specific detailed headings (eg under "varieties") merit indexing is entirely subjective!

5. The Journals used for the early volumes are those in the Society Library, into which are bound some (but apparently not all) extra circulations such as auctions, AGM reports etc.

6. The name of the Society changed from "The Great Britain Overprints Study Circle" to the "Great Britain Overprints Society" following the AGM in November 1974.

7. The "Objects" of the Society, and the "Study Circle" before it, are very broad (see Constitution). The scope of the Society, its Journal, and this index is therefore similarly broad, more so (probably) than the interests of many of its individual members.

8. Very important (1): an entry against a particular subheading does not imply that that page/article is exclusively about that topic. The majority of articles cover many themes: it would be pointless to repeat all the "general" sections of articles under the subheading "general" if they are shown against specific subheadings. Readers seeking general information must therefore check the references given against all subheadings. Where a page reference is repeated it means there is more than one separate relevant item or article on that page.

9. Very important (2): in the majority of cases the page shown in the index is the start of the article concerned, which is not necessarily the page on which individual sub-topics appear. Please read the entire article, as many themes are repeated in separate sections of the same article; some references are very short and you may have to hunt for them! In some issues the illustrations are on the cover or in a separate appendix.

10. Group headings ("Gulf", "BOFIC" etc) will include many sections about the individual countries; the entries for the specific countries ("Qatar", "Eritrea" etc) are generally exclusively about that country.

11. No index is objective: this index contains many instances of subjective judgement of the compiler. There will undoubtedly be several instances where themes appear in articles which are not included in this index (or where the compiler has misunderstood the article) - not to mention compiling errors. All suggestions for improvement and correction are very welcome. I do not guarantee to have spotted all postmarks with "air", "registered", "parcel", "telegraph" etc in amongst the many pages full of examples.

12. The following are not indexed: contents pages, catalogue references, members' displays, announcements of AGMs and other meetings, comments on catalogue price changes, "hot tips", subscription chasers, "housekeeping"; changes of officer (except Editor), addressees of covers (unless notable), towns shown on postmarks, members' queries (unless they in themselves supply information), adverts, auctions (unless mentioning or illustrating noteworthy varieties), requests for information/contact, pictures in auction listings (unless "interesting"), incidental references to secondary literature (reviews are indexed), items for sale, "tasters" for forthcoming articles, general references (eg lists of countries which used overprinted GB stamps), library additions, and editorial comment unless it contains a substantive matter (this is subjective, though many of them are an extremely good read).

13. SG numbers are those in used in the 2003 "Part I". Articles using obsolete numbering have been indexed under the 2003 number. Some articles are not precise as to which stamp they relate to - these have been indicated where there is no way of telling which it is.


"General" includes articles on the geography, history and culture of the area (not all are philatelic), as well as articles which are not mentioned under subheadings.

"Cachets" excludes labels, but usually includes handstamped registration marks and instructional marks.

"Postmarks" are indexed where they appear to the compiler to be of interest; naturally almost all pictures of covers will show postmarks, and not all have been indexed separately under "postmarks"; readers are advised to consult all illustrations (ie all bold page references) for further postmarks.

"Post box" is only indexed if there is a mention of it in the article; there could well be other post boxes in illustrations of post offices and streets.

"Post office" includes the building, location, staffing, salaries, equipment, opening hours, guides etc

"Registered mail", "airmail", "censorship" includes any references or pictures of such matters, even if not the topic of the article; post office registered envelopes are also indexed under "stationery" as well as here.

"Revenue" includes regular stamps used on receipts as well as separately designed revenue stamps.

"Stationery" includes PO ephemera, telegram forms, "Found open" stickers, as well as regular "postal stationery". Airletter forms have not always been indexed also as "stationery". NB "postcard" could mean either a picture postcard or a postal stationery item.

Editor started issues pages
Sgt J M Ward June 1970 2 3
P G Furnari Sept 1970 22 98
G Bater May 1974 27 781
M Nicholson et al 1/81 1 20
M Nicholson 2/81 2 51
F Kiddle 4/81 7 409
M Gellatly, D Stotter, A Wilde 1/84 2 83
M Gellatly, A Wilde 3/84 5 269
A Wilde 1/86 2 56
A Wilde, D Stotter 1/87 2 66
D Stotter 3/87 10 502
R Peters 3-4/1990 60 1780*

* as at issue 4/05


2/77 Picture scanner: pictorial cover, better illustrations etc

3/77 Photocopier bought

3/77 Metal plate printing

3/78 Offset-litho front page introduced

1/84 first entirely offset-litho issue

4/84 access to word processor

3/89 colour photo stuck on front

3/89 3rd lady member

2/91 A3 fold-over form

1/95 email addresses start

4/96 first bicoloured cover

4/98 full use of word processor

1/00 full colour edition

1/05 regular use of colour

1/13 "page 5000" 

Interesting statistics (1970-2005 inclusive)

142 issues

4125 pages

268 named contributors

3473 indexable items

This index was compiled by Dr John M Gledhill, and is updated periodically.

The index is copyright GB Overprints Society, 2006

A considerably augmented and more detailed index, including titles, authors and brief summary of the article contents, is available in Excel spreadsheet on request from the compiler (see contacts page).

Recommended Bibliography

For general information covering the areas indexed above:

147 pages loose-leaf (punched or unpunched on request); PO Box 4586, Portland, OR 97208, USA

All the overprinted stamps as listed in Gibbons and Scott, packed with masses of supplementary description on the geographical, political and social context of each issue. Also includes postal stationery. A "must" especially for the generalist. Price (2003), £13 to UK including postage.

A compilation of all the information on cylinders, controls, quantities, perforations to be found in The Overprinter and catalogues and from members of the GBOS, plus details of many bogus/phantom issues. This information is not available in any other single source. Price on request (at cost) email copies free, disk copies at cost.

Note: because of copyright restrictions by the major catalogues, the above are sold "at cost" and are not available for retail sale for profit. Please check on current cost and availability before ordering.

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date page last updated: 23 June 2006

gbos: GB Overprints Society