NO MORE UNION ‘OFFICIALS’
We have been officially informed by the P.M.G. that when
the existing stocks of Union stamps overprinted ‘Official/Offisieel’
are used up no more will be made. These stamps were originally
made for the use of Government Departments on letters going
outside the Union. It was at the request of philatelists that
they were made available also for the public, although they
had to be pur-chased through Pretoria only.
Philatelists have gradually come to the conclusion that they
amounted practically to a duplication of Union stamps and
that they could well be abolished altogether. A request to
this effect was forwarded to the P.M.G. from the Durban Congress
The Government also would appear to have decided that their
Departmental use was unnecessary,
Hence the decision ‘away with them ‘Few,
if any, will mourn their decease.
February 1955 S.A.P.
of Union ‘Official’ Stamps
The official bulletin received from the Publicity Officer,
Post Office Publicity Branch, G.P.O., Pretoria.
UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
DEPARTMENT OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS
POSTAGE STAMPS OVERPRINTED
It has been decided that postage stamps
for use by government departments on official correspondence
and issued by the Postal Administration of the Union of South
Africa will no longer be overprinted with the words ‘Official
- Offisieel’. Existing stocks of the overprinted stamps
will continue to be sold until they have been exhausted.
The words ‘Official - Offisieel’
have not been overprinted on any of the denominations of the
third definitive (Animal) series.
2d Official Reading Up SG 035 - UHB 096a
(1952 - 1955)
A brief summary of events - 1951 The
South African Philatelist - The first a small format
2d overprinted OFFICIAL with a UHB Type II overprint was reported
in the January issue, followed by another comment in December
and then more of it in June 1952.
The 1952 Union handbook listed
it as 096a 2d Small size Cylinder 6927/50 - Overprint Type
II 16½mm reading up.
With a note: - This stamp exists in used condition,
but not sufficient of its origin is known -
Priced at 5/- for a used pair. In the 1955 UHB on page 167
a tentative note reads:
has been left undisturbed as no information has been made
available, as yet, concerning its identity.
The November 1956 S.A.P.
included another chapter on this official, it did not enjoy
a listing or any comment in the 1960 & 1979 handbooks
and finally in the 1986 UHB under Set 23 on page 226 the follow
comment was forthcoming:
A small quantity of the 2d stamps in the reduced size
was overprinted clandestinely, but as it was not a legitimate
emission, it is not listed here.
An in depth account of SG 035 January 1951 S.A.P.
- Mr. Robertson also furnishes the interesting information
that prior to the use of the new process block - a stereotype
- for the current 2d ‘Officials’, about a dozen
or so sheets were overprinted from the old forme previously
employed for 1½d ‘Officials’. These, it
was subsequently learned, were part of a consignment requisitioned
by the Department of Transport and in the normal course of
events were used up on official business.
The first knowledge of the matter came from overseas when
a used specimen was sent back with an enquiry as to when they
were issued and the answer is contained in these notes. As
far as is known there are no mint copies and quite probably
not many of the used variety.
December 1951 S.A.P.
Small 2d ‘Official’-
Overprint Variety - We are indebted to Mr. C. E.
Sherwood of Manchester, England for the loan of a copy of
the Small 2d stamp (21½ x 17½ mm) overprinted
OFFICIAL - OFFISIEEL with type similar to that used for the
‘Small Mine’ 1½d ‘Officials’.
As recorded in our January ‘Notes’ of this year,
some of these stamps turned up on mail matter addressed to
England and following enquiries into their origin it was learned
that several sheets of the ‘Small’ 2d stamps had
been overprinted for official use from the old forme instead
of from the new stereotype process blocks which had been prepared
for the ‘Officials’. They had subsequently been
used up by one of the Government Departments in Pretoria in
the normal course of official business and there is no record
of any mint copies being in existence. Mr Sherwood mentions
in his letter that the copy in his possession, which we illustrate
here, was discovered in England by Mr H.J. Burkin.
The Burkin Pair is illustrated in black
& white below
Small 2d ‘Official’- Overprint
Variety - Following the note and illustration in our December
1951 issue of a single Small 2d ‘Official’ bearing
the old type of overprint, we received a letter from Mr. H.J.
Burkin, England, enclosing a photograph of a used vertical
pair of these stamps, which we reproduce herewith.
Mr. Burkin states that the postmark is
not very distinct, but he thinks it is in the region of November
or December 1950, and that the item illustrated is just as
he received it with the exception of the lower right edges,
which he trimmed very slightly. The last paragraph of his
letter reads as follows:
I bought it with a lot of used S.A. mostly
Officials, not knowing what was there, and you can imagine
my surprise when I found it; I could hardly believe my eyes.’
Mr. C. E. Sherwood of Manchester, England
who loaned us the copy we wrote about in December, has now
written appealing for the assistance of readers in tracking
down further copies of these stamps. So far he has learnt
of eight and if any readers know of others he would welcome
their information along the lines of:
Mint or used - Horizontal or vertical
pairs or singles and if the latter, which language.
If on cover, Postmark - Source of origin
- with a view to ascertaining the distribution, Mr. Sherwood’s
conclusions will be published in due course so that the information
he may obtain will be available to all.
November 1956 S.A.P.
Small 2d -‘Official’
- Overprint Variety - Further
to our Notes of December 1951 and June 1952, wherein the advent
of the above stamp was reported, and an appeal for assistance
in determining it was made, our attention has been drawn to
an overseas offer for sale of a mint pair at £22 (twenty
two pounds). This stamp is catalogued by Gibbons as 035 but
un-priced and by the Union Handbook as 096a and priced at
5/- a used pair.
When the appearance of this
stamp was reported from overseas, and upon enquiring into
its origin, we were informed that several sheets of the ‘small’
2d stamps had been overprinted for official use from the old
forme instead of from the stereotype process blocks which
had been prepared for the ‘Officials’; that they
had subsequently been used up by one of the Government Departments
in Pretoria in the normal course of official business, and
there is no record of any mint copies being in existence.
To our knowledge, no copies,
except those which were received on loan from overseas, have
been viewed by collectors in South Africa, nor are any housed
in collections in this country.
It would be very interesting to receive further information
concerning the origin of this stamp.
1960 London Exhibition
- During 1984, Alan Leverton of Bridger & Kay informed
that a full sheet of SG 035 was jointly purchased by his Company
and Stanley Gibbons.
Authenticity of the Small Format 2d Official
Reading Up, SG 035 - Former UHB 096a
Eric Sherwood remained completely
convinced that 035’s are 100% genuine and I agree with
Who would carry out a clandestine overprint that was to be
used on official overseas mail, the remnants of which ended
up, either in a bin or became part of cheap kiloware? Used
examples whether single or pairs, either vertical or horizontal,
are and will always be great rarities. In some thirty five
years of trading I have had the privilege of handling one
used horizontal pair on part of an OHMS envelope, at the time
I had five people on a wants list who where all desperate
to own a used pair.
During the late 1980’s at a London Stampex Exhibition,
I recall the late Alec Page showing me a commercial envelope
with a 035 on it; unfortunately I cannot recall whether it
was a single or a vertical pair, someone somewhere must be
the proud owner of it.
I find it difficult to understand that the doyens of Union
philately could be so short sighted by completely ousting
its listing in the Union handbook.
It seemed to be the attitude, that unless these stamps resided
in South Africa, they were obviously fakes or attached to
some suspicious circumstance.
London has always been the stamp capital of the world and
probably paid better prices for rarities than any other country.
No matter from which Commonwealth country an item originated,
it invariably ended up with the London stamp trade. In 1951
there was the Festival of Britain and I imagine many South
Africans made the trip over.
If you had some worthwhile stamps to sell, it presented the
perfect solution to fund ones overseas spending money.
Mint sheets of 035 had to be printed before they could be
used for postage and whilst it was the opinion that no unused
examples survived, it may not necessarily be the case. There
is of course the possibility that someone could have run off
a few extra sheets at a later stage, but is such evidence
available for inspection? It seems to me that it maybe the
usual philatelic trait; if you can’t explain it, then
035 Used Single