Stamps, Postal Stationery, and many other uses of overprints
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:
- commercial overprints for security, later used postally when stamp duty was abolished,
- overprints for official non-postal use, such as telegraphs, or Medicine revenue duty,
- GB revenue stamps overprinted for use in other countries,
- Post Office School training stamps - postage stamps (and other materials) used for post office training; these were never available to the general public and have escaped the Post Office security net.
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....)
54 registered envelopes
14 newspaper wrappers
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.
page last updated: 4 August 2006
gbos: GB Overprints Society