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GB Overprints Society

British adhesive Revenue stamps overprinted for use outside England, Wales and Scotland, and postage stamps overprinted for revenue use


Stamped revenue stationery sheets (ie not adhesive stamps) also exists overprinted for use in other countries; these are outside the scope of this page, but here are two examples from Cyprus cut from the corner of old documents:

Cyprus embossed revenues 200

Two sizes: 23*4.5mm (1878), and 18*3mm (1879) images courtesy of Tony Stanford ex Christopher Podger.


Many GB revenues exist with overprints to change their use within the UK. (See catalogues by Barefoot or Booth).

Some GB revenues appear to have overprints, but the wording (eg "CUSTOMS") was actually printed on the paper before the embossed general purpose stamp image was impressed on top, presumably because the embossing would have made overprinting difficult if done afterwards. So they are underprints not overprints.

A different study can be formed on British stamps overprinted with the names of companies, utilities, charities etc, as a means of prevention of petty theft of low-value stamps needed to show that excise duty had been paid on receipts and other legal documents. See "Commercial Security Overprints"


The following listings are based mostly on listings in the Barefoot or Booth catalogues. However the numbering system below was drawn up by the Society for the website, and may not be used without permission.


references:

Barefoot J, Great Britain Revenues, 1989, York

Barefoot J & Hall A, British Commonwealth Revenues, 2002, York

Booth R, Revenue stamps of the UK, 1990 (3rd edition)


Additional Medicine Duty

 

Medicine duty label (with stamp) 150

(original 111 * 23 mm; illustration courtesy of Elder Revenues)

 

Medicine duty was collected in various values according to the price of the medicine. To prevent fraud the label was in a long thin format designed to be stuck over the bottle stopper and down each side; as some example are expressly engraved this was "so that it is destroyed in removing contents". Almost all examples are therefore torn in half, like this example.


The duty on medicines was doubled as a war time measure. The 1½d duty was doubled to 3d for medicines up to 1 shilling, 3d duty was doubled to 6d for medicines in the next price range up to 2s6d. Overprinting postage stamps was deemed to be the easiest way of implementing it quickly, by adding the appropriate one of these stamps (hence the word "Additional"). These stamps were affixed to the existing label already on the bottle so it saved having to remove them to be replaced by new ones. The labels were replaced later in the year (1915) by revised inscriptions on the normal labels. The stamps are occasionally found used for postage, despite being clearly overprinted "not available for postage". Very few appear to have survived still stuck on the labels, though it is obviously very easy to fake them as the stamps were widely collected at the time.


Mackennal Head, Script watermark issue

20 October 1915

Additional Medicine Duty 200


1 1½d, quantity printed 2,000,000

2 3d, quantity printed 1,000,000


Normal medicine duty labels with revised inscriptions were issued towards the end of the year.


Barbados


British fiscal stamps overprinted "BARBADOS"

Embossed adhesives, "arms" or "Minerva" (for pound values)

Barbados revenue 200

No.5 or No. 10


Watermark Multiple Crown CA, 1916

1-14 3d, 6d, 1s, 2s, 2/6d, 3s, 5s, 10s, £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, £100


Watermark Multiple Script CA, 1923

15-27 3d, 6d, 1s, 2s, 2/6d, 5s, 10s, £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, £100


Modified design (crown above value), 1934


28-29 5s, 10s


British Solomon Islands


British fiscal stamps overprinted "BRITISH SOLOMON ISLANDS" in 3 lines

Solomon Island 1s revenue overprint

(image courtesy of the Revenue Society)

King George V head, ca 1920


1 1s


Queen Elizabeth head, ca 1968


2-4 £5, £10, £50


Consular Service


All "Consular Service" stamps were by definition for use outside the UK. This section lists only those stamps with an additional overprint for particular territories. Other sets were issued without the surcharges for general use in consulates overseas.

a) British Consular Service: decimal currency

Stamps overprinted in cents and dollars for use in British Embassies and the like in China and Japan.


1885 'Dollars & Cents'

Consular service dollars forerunner 96

(image courtesy of Elder Revenues)

This set is only known with "Specimen" overprint. They are not technically "overprints" as the currency overprints are on a basic undenominated design also used for overprinting in Sterling for use in other countries. But the overprinting of the Chinese currency makes them precursors for the sets below. The background design is an oval coat of arms with side tablets, on a white background.


Queen Victoria, 1887

Consular Service dollars 200

(selection from the set)

1-18 25c on 3d, 25c on 4d, 50c on 6d, 75c on 8d, $1 on 1s, $1½ on 1/6d, bisected (for 75c), $2 on 2s, $2½ on 2s, $3 on 2/6d, $4½ on 5s, $5 on £1, $6 on £2, $10 on £3, $20 on £5, $50 on £6, $100 on £10, $250 on £20


Edward VII, 1902

19-30 25c on 3d, 50c on 6d, $1 on 1s, $2 on 2s, $2½ on 2s, $5 on £1, $6 on £2, $10 on £3, $20 on £5, $50 on £5, $100 on £10, $250 on £20


b) British Consular Service: Indian currency


Stamps overprinted in annas and rupees for use in British Embassies and the like in areas which used Indian currency; the most likely place for this is reported to be Zanzibar which was a newly acquired territory (partly in exchange for Heligoland in 1890) and therefore under British control as a "Protectorate" but not a colony.


Queen Victoria, 1899

Consular Service rupees 200

(2 values from the set)

1-10 4 annas on 3d, 8 annas on 6d, 1 rupee on 1s, 2 rupees on 2s, 3 rupees on 2/6d, 4 rupees on 5s, 5 rupees on 10s, 10 rupees on £1, 20 rupees on £2, 30 rupees on £3


Edward VII, 1906

11-21 4 annas on 3d, 8 annas on 6d, 1 rupee on 1s, 2 rupees on 2s, 3 rupees on 2/6d, 4 rupees on 5s, 5 rupees on 10s, 10 rupees on £1, 20 rupees on £2, 30 rupees on £3, 100 rupees on £10


George V, 1921

22-30 8 annas on 6d, 1 rupee on 1s, 2 rupees on 2s, 3 rupees on 2/6d, 4 rupees on 5s, 5 rupees on 10s, 10 rupees on £1, 30 rupees on £3, 50 rupees on £5


c) Similar overprints in sterling (14 value from 1d to £5) were for use in Europe, Africa and North & South America from 1886. Other revenue stamps used in the UK were also overprinted with their face value: for example Companies Winding Up 1896, Contract Note 1888, District Audit 1896 etc (see Barefoot). The purpose of the overprints was to make it easy to distinguish between the values, which were all printed in the same range of fugitive inks (ie the same reason as the GB postage stamps overprinted "3d" and "6d" in 1883).

Eritrea, Somalia, Tripolitania (British Occupation)

Although not issuing overprinted GB revenues, the revenue issues during the occupation are of interest to GBOS collectors.

These territories, under British occupation, continued much of their complex Italian-style bureaucracy, which expected the use of revenue adhesives. The normal range of BMA/BA stamps, being inscribed "Postage & Revenue" could be used on things like telephone and telegram receipts (notably in Eritrea).

Eritrea and Somalia issued inscribed stamps during the British occupation, for Inland Revenue use, for example:

Eritrea revenues 96

(images from unidentified Ebay auction)

Most of those illustrated above are in East Africa shillings, but one is in Ethiopian currency as used when responsibility was handed back to Ethiopia. This selection also shows an Italian revenue stamp for Eritrea overrprinted in English, for comparison; more information is in Barefoot.

When used on telegram forms the stamps received a large perfin "PAGATO" (Italian for "paid"):

Eritrea telegram form

(image courtesy of Sergio Salvaggio, Ebay)

The perfin "T" of "PAGATO" can be seen inverted between the first "E" of "Eritrea" and the "SH" of "Shilling"; the inverted perfin "A" can be made out alongside, but the other letters are more difficult to discern.

Similarly for Somalia:

Somalia revenues 96

(images from unidentified Ebay auction)

Tripolitania also overprinted some of the Italian revenues in a remarkable variety of forrmats, mostly including "BMA" ("British Military Administration") and local currency (see Tripolitania about the currency).

Tripolitania revenues 200

(see also The Overprinter 2/2003, p.47)


Ireland

A. Issues as part of the United Kingdom

a) Admiralty


Imperf embossed stamp overprinted "ADMIRALTY IRELAND" in 2 lines, 1858

1 6d


Admiralty issues overprinted "IRELAND", perf 16 or 14 (all values), watermark flags and anchor, blue overprint, 1858

2-6 1s, 2/6d, 5s, 10s, £1

The 5s also exists watermark inverted


Watermark changed to scales of justice (1868)

7-12 6d, 1s, 2/6d, 5s, 10s, £1

"Specimens" exist with an orbs watermark (1881).


b) Chancery court


Overprinted "IRELAND FEE FUND" in red, watermark maces upright (most values also exist with watermark inverted), 1867

Ireland chancery 4d 200
(image courtesy of Jerry Burkhart)

13-33 3d, 4d, 6d, 8d, 1s, 1/4d, 1/6d, 1/8d, 2s, 2/4d, 2/6d, 2/8d, 3s, 3/6d, 4s (overprint in brown), 5s, 7s, 8s, 10s, 14s, £1

The 3s also exists overprint inverted


c) Judicature


Overprinted "IRELAND" in red, 1880

Ireland Judicature Queen Victoria


34-35 4d wmk scales, 4d wmk orbs


d) Petty Sessions


Overprinted "IRELAND PETTY SESSIONS", imperf, 1858

Petty Sessions Queen Victoria


36-37 6d red, 6d green


e) Dog Licence


Overprint "SOUTHERN IRELAND" 1921


38 4s green (dog)

 

B. Issues during independence


a) Contract Note


Overprint "Rialtas Sealadaċ na hEireann", similar to the postage stamps first issue but no date included, 1922.


King George V head except as stated

39-50 3d, 6d, 1s, 2s (Edward VII head), 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 8s, 10s, £1


Overprint "Saorstát Éireann", similar to the corresponding postage stamps but no date included, 1922.


King Edward VII head

51-54 2s, 3s, 4s, 6s


King George V head

Ireland contract note 200

55-61 6d purple & black, 6d purple & blue, 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 6s


b) Excise Revenue (enterainment tax on entry to public events)

Excise Revenue 3d


Overprint "Rialtas Sealadaċ na hEireann 1922", similar to first issue postage stamps

62-77 ½d, 1d, 1½d , 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 9d, 1s, 1/6d, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 8s, 10s


Overprint "Saorstát Éireann" similar to corresponding postage stamps but no date included.

78-82 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d


British excise duty stamps also exist as trials with a "SOUTHERN IRELAND" overprint.


c) Foreign Bill

Foreign Bill (image courtesy of Mike Bending)


Overprint "Rialtas Sealadaċ na hEireann 1922", similar to first issue postage stamps but no date included.

83-96 1d, 2d, 3d, 6d, 9d, 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 10s, 15s, £1, £5


Overprint "Saorstát Éireann" similar to corresponding postage stamps but no date included, 1922.

97 1s


d) Health and Pensions


Overprint "Rialtas Sealadaċ na hEireann 1922", similar to first issue postage stamps but no date included.

98-105 8d, 9d, 10d, 3/2d, 3/4d, 12/8d, 16/3d, 20/7d


e) National Insurance

National Health Insurance 7d


Overprint "Rialtas Sealadaċ na hEireann", similar to first issue postage stamps, but no date included, 1922.

106-110 4d, 7d, 8d, 1s, 8/8d


Overprint "Saorstát Éireann" similar to corresponding postage stamps but no date included, 1922.

111-117 4d, 5d, 7d, 8d, 1/7d, 7/7d, 8/8d


f) Public Records


Overprint "Saorstát Éireann" similar to corresponding postage stamps but no date included, 1922.

118 1s


g) Unemployment

Unemployment Insurance


Overprint "Rialtas Sealadaċ na hEireann 1922", similar to first issue postage stamps

119-124 8d, 8½d, 9½d, 10d, 1/3d, 1/7d


Overprint "Saorstát Éireann" similar to corresponding postage stamps, 1922

125-126 1/3d, 1/7d

Other Irish revenues received similar overprints, but as these were on revenue stamps already inscribed "Ireland" or "Southern Ireland" (albeit whilst part of GB), they fall outside the scope of this page.

Examples:

Ireland revenues 200


Jamaica


British "rose"-shaped (various designs) embossed fiscal stamps overprinted "JAMAICA"


a) Embossed duty stamps of Great Britain, large format (40*45 mm), 1899

Jamaica grey revenues large format 200

No. 2


1-26 3d , 6d, 9d, 1s, 1/6d, 2s, 2/6d, 3s, 4s, 4/6d, 5s, 6s, 7/6d, 10s, 15s, £1, £2, £4, £5, £10, £15, £20, £30, £50, £100, £300


b) as above, but smaller format, 35mm * 35mm

Jamaica grey revenues low vals 200Jamaica grey revenues 200

A selection in grey

Jamaica blue revenues 200

And a selection in blue

27-44 3d, 6d, 9d, 1s, 1/3d, 1/6d, 2s, 2/6d, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7/6d, 10s, 15s, £1, £2, £10


c) King George 6 head, 1946

45-59 6d , 9d, 1/6d, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 10s, 15s, £1, £2, £3, £4, £5


Northern Ireland

Issues as part of the United Kingdom whilst it still contained the whole of Ireland


a) Dog Licence stamps, 1921


60 6d Petty Sessions stamp overprinted "FOR DOG LICENCE"

61 1s Petty Sessions stamp overprinted "FOR DOG LICENCE"

62 4s Dog design overprinted "NORTHERN IRELAND"


b) Excise duty

Overprinted "NORTHERN IRELAND" 1921


63-78 ½d , 1d, 1½d , 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 9d, 1s, 1/6, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 8s, 10s


c) Foreign Bill

UK Foreign Bill unappropriated stamps further overprinted "Northern Ireland" (Edward VII head), 1921


79-92 1d , 2d, 3d, 6d, 9d, 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 10s, 15s, £1, £1/10/-


Palestine

Mackennal Head, Script watermark issue, 1918

(further details)

Palestine OPDA 1pt 200

1 1d red overprinted "5 mills"

2 1d red overprinted "1 p.t." (ie 1 piastre)

Somalia (see Eritrea)


Trinidad and Tobago

British fiscal stamps overprinted "TRINIDAD & TOBAGO" in 3 lines


Embossed duty stamps of Great Britain, watermark multiple crown CA, Edward VII head, 1908

1-14 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 9s, 10s, £1, £5


Embossed duty stamps of Great Britain, watermark multiple script CA, George V head, ca 1920

15 6d

Tripolitania (see Eritrea)


Trucial States

British Court Fees fiscal stamps overprinted in Indian currency only, for use in the Trucial States 1948 onwards.

Trucial States 8A


Watermark multiple orb IR, perf 15*14 (20R upwards perf 14*15), 1950

1948 except 50 Rupees (1950)

King George V head

1-3 100 RUPEES on £5, 200 RUPEES on £10, 400 RUPEES on £20


King George 6 head

4-17 1 ANNA on 1d, 2 ANNAS on 2d, 4 ANNAS on 4d, 8 ANNAS on 8d, 1 RUPEE on 1s, 2 RUPEES on 2s, 3 RUPEES on 3s, 4 RUPEES on 4s, 5 RUPEES on 5s, 6 RUPEES on 8s, 10 RUPEES on 10s, 15 RUPEES on 15s, 20 RUPEES on £1, 50 RUPEES on £2/10/-


Decimal currency and higher values, 1957-

perfs and watermark as above


King George 6 head, 1957

18-22 25 np on 3d , 50 np on 6d , 100 RUPEES on £5 , 200 RUPEES on £10 , 400 RUPEES on £20


Queen Elizabeth head, 1959 except as noted

23-34 25 np on 3d, 50 np on 6d, 1 RUPEE on 1s, 2 RUPEES on 2s, 5 RUPEES on 5s, 10 RUPEES on 10s, 15 RUPEES on 15s, 20 RUPEES on £1, 50 RUPEES on £2/10/-, 100 RUPEES on £5, 200 RUPEES on £10 (1967), 400 RUPEES on £20 (1967)

revised inscription ("naye" dropped), 1962

35-37 6 paise on 1d, 12 paise on 2d, 25 paise on 3d


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page last updated: 2 September 2006, 4 March 2013, 10 September 2014, 20 December 2014 

This page is pending a complete rewrite.

gbos: GB Overprints Society