Last week the Government decided to withdraw two definitive postal stamps. Definitive stamps are the ones available at the counters in all post offices. In this digital age where writing letter is almost a forgotten thing, stamps don’t matter much to people. Even among stamp collectors, very few collect definitive stamps. I have definitive stamps of few countries in my collection, but I am more interested in commemorative stamps.
However, the news prompted me to look for definitive stamps in my collection that might have had some significance in the bygone era. Here are the ones that I thought might interest you or raise a curiosity in you.
British India Stamps
You might have seen these British Indian stamps. These are not rare and are quite commonly available with collectors and vendors. Notice the overprint of Indian states (Jind State, Gwalior, and Patiala) over these stamps. Some Indian states got into agreement with the British to use British Indian stamps within their states. Read the wiki page for more information on these stamps.
Portuguese India Stamps
The first stamp is a definitive Portuguese India stamp with ‘REPUBLICA’ overprint. I think the overprint was done to indicate that Portugal had become a republic. The second stamp is interesting because it was used as a template by the Portuguese. You can notice that ‘India’ and stamp face value have been overprinted on the stamp. I have seen similar stamps with the name of another Portuguese colony overprinted.
For a short period between 1937-38, Burma was using British India stamps with the country name overprinted on them. Read the wiki page for more information on these stamps.
Between the end of World War II and the establishment of Malayan Union in 1946, Malaysia was controlled by the British Military Administration (BMA). Notice the ‘BMA Malaya’ overprint on the Malaya stamp.
Gibraltar is in Spain, but it has been under British rule for very long. Notice the ‘NEW CONSTITUTION 1950’ overprint on the stamp. The overprint indicates the adoption of the constitution in 1950 establishing their self-government. Given its strategic location and scenic views, I would want to visit this place atleast once in my life. It is said that on a clear day you would view the African continent from Gibraltar!
Malta was a British colony for very long. Notice the ‘Self-Government 1947’ overprint on these stamps that indicates the restoration of self-government in Malta. Ever since I bought a Malta stamp in Higginbothams during my school days, this country has had by curiosity till date. This small island on the Mediterranean sea has some 2000 years of history. The neolithic temple structures on this island are older than the pyramids. It is said that because of its strategic location, Malta had the most number of bombings during World War II. I have a huge and beautiful collection of Malta stamps that I got through exchanges with a Britisher living in Malta. I hope to visit this beautiful country one day.
During World War I, British troops occupied villages in Iraq. Iraq at the time was part of the Ottaman Empire. Notice the ‘In British Occupation’ imprint of on these Ottaman Empire stamps. You could also notice that even the face value of the stamp were overprinted with ‘1/2 An’ and ‘1 An’, which mean half anna and one anna.
Eritrea in Africa was once a Italian colony. Notice the ‘Colonia Eritrea’ overprint on the Italian stamp. Read the wiki page for more information on this stamp.
Tangier and Morocco Agencies Stamps
Notice the ‘Morocco Agencies’ and ‘Tangier’ overprints on these set of stamps. British post offices in Morocco were called as Morocco Agencies. Notice the face value of Morocco Agencies overprint stamp is in Spanish currency. It was the result of the collapse of Spanish currency due to the Spanish-American war. Morocco was using Spanish currency at that time and the hence the Morocco Agencies overprint was used with Spanish currency. Years later, UK, France, and Spain set up Tangier as an international zone and started using the ‘Tangier’ overprint in their stamps for use in this region. Read the wiki page for more information.
I still have few stamps to write about. Will include those shortly.