GB Overprints Society

Stamps, Postal Stationery, and many other uses of overprints

The Stamps

The definition of "overprint" on postage stamps of Great Britain is that it applies when a stamp which was originally issued for postal use has been overprinted for a further official use, for example to identify a territory such as "Kuwait", a set of post offices such as "Morocco Agencies", security eg "Army official", or surcharged to amend or qualify the monetary value.

All overprinted stamps were issued in sheets, except for Irish coils, some "School Specimen" stamps and the Egypt Army seals, the latter being only issued in booklets. There was a proposal to issue Somalia stamps in booklets, and at least one George 6 unofficial Tangier booklet exists.

There are some other areas which are also acceptable within the broad definitions adopted by members:

Postal Stationery

Another aspect of overprinting is the overprinting of British postal stationery. Examples can be found for many of the areas where stamps were overprinted and some where they were not, such as the Gold Coast [Ghana]. Mint postal stationery is often more common as it was widely collected in earlier times, and some used items are very rare and command high prices; hitherto unknown overprinted postal stationery items are still turning up.


A significantly under-researched area is the use of British revenue stamps overprinted for fiscal use outside the UK.

Another peripheral area, outside the scope of postage, covers overprints on Telegraph and Telegram forms, and on postal orders, the latter being used, for example, in South Africa and New Zealand right up to the 1960s.

Of some interest also are various private, whimsical items such as the "Tristan da Cunha" George V Silver Jubilee overprints. But less so are the distinctly bogus items such as "Republic of Somaliland", "Ajman", "Umm al Qaiwain" and "Fujairah", or the equally bogus "War Tax" and "V V" overprints.


These pages cover (at the time of writing this....)

1237 stamps

54 registered envelopes

26 airletters

14 newspaper wrappers

41 postcards

367 Revenues

27 Telegraphs

5 Other (MAP, Tidal Testing)

= 1771 legitimate items in all

That excludes the postal orders, for which there exists no comprehensive list or count.

It also excludes all the bogus items, private propaganda, Liquidation of Empire etc etc.

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page last updated: 4 August 2006

gbos: GB Overprints Society