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Natal Stamps

Personally I am very much interested in South African stamps (specifically the commonwealth ones) due to its complex philatelical development over the past decades and the various colonies and republics which formed the federation. South Africa became a nation, as opposed to just being a geographical term, with the creation of the Union of South Africa on 31st May 1970. The philatelic history of South Africa continued with the establishment of Republic of South Africa in 1994. The various colonies and republics that form the very rich South African philatelic history are as follows:

1. Cape of Good Hope (British Kaffraria, Mafeking Siege Stamps, Vryburg)
2. Criqualand West
3. Natal
4. New Republic    ... Read More


The Doris Story - A small postal tiff between Colombia and Great Britain in 1867

I made some comments recently on writing philatelic books. But there is nothing like an example!

Whilst researching my book on the history of the British Post Office in Colombia, I was drawn into a tale (which I have called the Doris Story, the “Doris” having been a warship operating in the Caribbean in the nineteenth century). As I was led on, it became clear that this had to become a side-line; it would have taken up too much space in the broader picture. More than a philatelic work, it began to impinge on politics, social history, the military background.

Would you believe it became a detective story? |    ... Read More


El Gran General Tomas Cipriano De Mosquera Takes on Queen Victoria

(A Small Postal Tiff Between Colombia and Great Britain in 1867)

The following article appeared in the 4 April 1867 edition of The Times of London:

“The British Consul at Carthagena (sic) having complained to the Commodore on the station that the letter bags of British residents were opened and detained by the Authorities there, Her Majesty’s ship Doris was dispatched from Port Royal on the 23d (sic) February to inquire into the circumstances, and to demand that the practice be discontinued. The Doris arrived at Carthagena on the 26th and Captain Vesey immediately communicated to the Governor the object of the mission, which was to secure to the British Consul the same advantages in postal matters as were conceded to the French and American consuls at that port. The Governor at first stated that he had not the power to grant the request. The Doris, therefore, sent an armed force on board the Colombian (sic) steamer of war Colombian, and she was seized and held possession of. The Governor was stubborn until these measures were resorted to. After two days’ consideration the Governor found that he had the power to grant the request, and the British Consul assured the captain the difficulty was arranged, and that the British interests would not be interfered with for the future. Affairs having been settled, the of cers of the ship were invited ashore and kindly entertained by the inhabitants. The Colombian was released on the 1st March. The Doris left Carthagena on the 3d (sic), stopped at Santa Martha on the way back to Jamaica, and arrived at Port Royal on Wednesday evening, the 6th last.     ... Read More

The Many Facets of Colombian Philately, from Philip IV to office clippings

Colombia’s first postal issue was in August 1859. Somewhat surprisingly this was a year after the first revenue stamp, and comprised 5 values with the current name of the country, Granadine Confederation (Fig.1). There was a second issues in 1860. This was followed by the issue of 1861 when it had become the United States of New Granada and the 1862 issue for the United States of Colombia. This remained the country’s name until the creation of the Republic of Colombia in 1886. During the period 1899-1903 the country’s longest and bloodiest civil war occurred, the so called War of 1000 Days, prompting the creation of provisional issue in Cartagena, Cúcuta, Tumaco, Bogotá, Barranquilla and Medellín. When normal national stamps reappeared in1904 they left behind the inflationary period where and were based on gold currency. 

In 1637 King Philip IV of Spain introduced Papel Sellado (Stamped Revenue Paper) as a means of collecting taxes. The stamps were printed on large sheets of paper. This was extended to the Spanish American Colonies in 1640 and Fig. 2 shows part of such a document of 1640 used in Colombia in 1644. Stamped Paper continued in use, certainly until the 1990’s. Adhesive revenue stamps first came into being in 1858 and were often used in conjunction with Stamped Paper. Fig. 3 is part of a document with the second issue 1859-60 revenue stamp used on a 1858-59 Stamped Paper of the Sovereign State of Cudinamarca. Adhesive revenue stamps in a wide variety of designs were used continuously until the early 2000’s when they were phased out in favour of meter mark stamps.     ... Read More

British Stamps used in China

I have been collecting and have an interest in British stamps used abroad and as such, over the coming weeks, I will include related articles and information. Let’s start with British stamps used in China. I have started collecting Hong Kong stamps but for this article I will concentrate on British stamps used in the Treaty of Nanking Ports.

The British stamps were used in China during the period of 1842 to 1930 after the signing of the Treaty of Nanking between the Queen and the Emperor of China in August 1842 which brought an end to the First Opium War between Britain and Chinese Qing Dynasty. As a consequence of this Treaty, China granted Britain the right to open consular agencies to provide postal services to the local British community in 5 ports: Amoy, Canton, Foochow, Ningpo and Shanghai, This was then formalised by Hong Kong government in April 1844.

In 1860 with the enactment of Treaty of Peking, British postal offices were extended to other 6 Port: Chefoo, Hankow, Kiungchow (Hoihow), Swatow, Tainan (Anping) and Tientsin.

From October 1864, with the exception of Amoy, it was compulsory for the mail from the remaining Treaty Ports to be carried and cancelled in Hong Kong with “B62” cancellation.       ... Read More