Tamsen - The Transvaal Philatelic Society - The
South African Philatelist (1895 - 96)
Prior to the turn of the 20th century it appears that
interest in philately within South Africa was either
sparked by immigrants or overseas personalities who
had a fascination for the stamps of the various territories
within Southern Africa.
enthusiasts included the likes of Bertram Poole and
Africa there are familiar names such as Emil Tamsen,
Mozes Booleman, Sallo Epstein and Saul Klagsbrun.
They were either responsible or instrumental in the
formation of fledgling Philatelic Societies or the
foundation of the first South African Philatelic Journal.
Events such as the 1895 - 96 Jameson raid followed
by the 1899 - 1902 Boer War created a void for philately
wrote an article in The South African Philatelist
(July 1928) entitled The Philatelic
Press in South Africa...Of course one must
remember that stamp collecting in South Africa is
more or less of recent date, broadly speaking since
1900. Before then collectors were few and far between.
I well remember in the early eighties being looked
upon as a crank for collecting stamps and spending
time and money on them...
the years an array of articles, reports and snippets
of information regarding early pioneering philatelists,
dealers, societies, journals and stamp exhibitions
have appeared in The South African Philatelist,
yet no-one appears to have done the entire subject
justice. Pauw Steyl has written several interesting
accounts, however one requires Afrikaans literacy
to appreciate his work.
One such article appeared in the January/February
1992 SAP, being a well researched article on Moses
Emil Tamsen (1861 -
I believe it is fair to say that Emil Tamsen is one
of South Africa’s earliest astute and highly
1921 Tamsen was one of the original signatures
to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in
In 1932 he signed the Roll of
Distinguished Philatelists of Southern Africa.
His Library was purchased by
the Public Library in Johannesburg.
His obituary appeared in the
September 1957 edition of The South African
Philatelist page 132.
Transvaal Philatelic Society
Came into being on 18 April 1894 and Tamsen, Booleman,
Epstein and Klagsbrun were all founder members. The
name was later modified to The Johannesburg Philatelic
In November 1895 The South African
Philatelist 1895 - 96 appeared and edited by
Klagsbrun and Epstein. Typewritten, cost 6d per copy
and enjoyed six issues only. The last edition was
in April 1896. The Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal
- 31 December 1895 edition commented...The work
is certainly an interesting one and much information
will be found in it...
South African Philatelist (1895 - 96)
Tamsen commented in the July 1928 SAP - The contents
are solely South African and there are some good articles...in
their final number the editors noted that ‘philatelists
have not taken advantage of this medium of supplying
them with local news.’ M.Z. Booleman
& Co. (a Johannesburg stamp dealer) was
the only advertiser.
November 1895 the First
Philatelic Journal in South Africa
A contemporary article describing this journal appeared
in the October 1910 edition of The
Stamp Lover. Entitled The Philatelic
Literature of South Africa by Herbert Clark.
The South African Philatelist...The
first number is dated November 1895, and the whole
set consists of six numbers, the last or which is
dated April 1896. The paper was published by M. Z.
Booleman & Co., Philately House, Johannesburg,
South African Republic and edited by Messrs. Klagsbrun
The paper consists of type-written sheets, of
course printed on one side only, and sewn into a blue
cover bearing the title of the paper and the publishers’
address, printed in an ornamented frame. The advertisements
were typed on the front and back pages, and no outside
advertisements were taken.
All six numbers are now scarce, and a complete
set is decidedly rare. From the method of production
it is evident that the number of copies issued must
have been limited. Altogether, the set contains 50
numbered pages and covers.
The chief contents are articles on the stamps
of British Bech-uanaland and Bechuanaland Protectorate,
Natal, Orange Free State and Swaziland, Monthly Chat
on current events in the philatelic world, New Issue
column, and a series on South African Stamp Forgeries.
The paper was evidently appreciated by other
philatelic editors for, turning over the pages of
contemporary papers; one comes across extract after
extract from it.
The articles on forgeries, in particular, were
thus ‘lifted,’ and it is probable they
were considerable service to the philatelic public.
In their valedictory remarks in the last number
the editors are worth quoting. They say:
- ‘This number ends the contract between us
and our subscribers to whom we guaranteed six numbers.
The task has been an arduous one. We had to battle
not only against the discomforts caused by the political
disturbances here, but also the unsympathetic non-support
of philatelists in South Africa. We had literally
to write every syllable contained in the six numbers
This does not say much for the state of philately
in South Africa at the time, and was certainly very
hard on the editors.
With commendable zea1the
latter announced at the same time that they would
issue a two-page paper, to be called the ‘South
African Philatelist Monthly Bulletin’,
but this never appeared.
Booleman and Sallo Epstein
Booleman hailed from
Amsterdam and emigrated to South Africa in October
1892. On the voyage he met Epstein and as a result
of their mutual interest in philately became friends.
In 1893 Booleman initially set up in business dealing
in fancy goods and stamps and by 1896 he was listed
only as a stamp dealer. He had a shop in Pritchard
Street, Johannesburg called Philately House. Booleman
& Co included Epstein and during late 1896 the
firm went into liquidation.
According to Pauw Steyl (January/February 1992 SAP)
- Who wrote a well researched article on Moses Booleman....Epstein
took over and Booleman returned to the Netherlands
and set up a successful Stamp Auction, he passed away
on 3 October 1915. The name of his company continued
until 1964. Epstein operated a branch of his business
in Durban during the Boer War.
On 2 June 1902 he advertised in the Transvaal Leader
as Sallo Epstein, Philately House, Rissik street,
PO Box 520, Johannesburg.
Envelope to Sallo Epstein, Philately
House in Rissik Street
Posted during the Boer War from MOMBASA 20 DE 99.
Transit Zanzibar 26 DE 99 and OPENED UNDER MARTIAL LAW
- STOPPED BY CENSOR - RETURN TO SENDER. Backstamped
DURBAN FE 3 00 and single circle RETURN LETTER OFFICE
NATAL 9 2 00. Finally backstamped ZANZIBAR 12 MR 00
transit and MOMBASA 14 MA 1900 arrival.
Based on Pauw Steyl’s remark that Epstein was
in Durban during the Boer War, the above letter questions
that statement. Yet there is sufficient evidence that
Epstein certainly had a base in Durban after the Boer
Sallo Epstein & Co. Durban
firm produced picture postcards either with letters
in a shield SE/C/D or inscribed Published
by Sallo Epstein & Co. Durban. I have
seen cards posted from 1904 to 1911 that were
either sent from Potchefstroom, Pietermaritzburg
or in the Cape.
View in Capetown Docks
Initialled Postcards are not numbered and
either in colour or in black and white
The above was Published in Southern
Africa Philately No 4 (October
by Sallo Epstein & Co. Durban
- cards, all
Cape Town scenes
|View in Capetown
Docks - In colour
|The Fishing Jetty
- In colour
|The Vestibule Parliament
House - In colour
|New Somerset Hospital
- In colour
|Mansion House Chambers
- In black & white
- In black & white
|South African Museum
- In black & white
In the Docks with
the Clock Tower at right
Adderley Street Central
In the Docks - showing the Custom House
Cape Town scenes -
all in colour
|Adderley Street Central
|The South African College
|In the Docks - showing the
|In the Docks with the
Clock Tower at right
|A General View of Capetown
Epstein Cards with Rhodesia Scenes
|The Allan Wilson Memorial
|Rhodes' Grave in the Matoppos
James Nankivell (1848 - 1909)
The Transvaal Collectors’ Quarterly and
Cape of Good Hope
James Nankivell (1848 - 1909)
Born at Perranzabuloe in North Cornwall on
17 September 1848 and privately educated, mostly in
Ireland. Took up shorthand and drifted into journalism.
to London in 1871 and a member of the editorial
staff of the Central News. Reported Disraeli’s
great speech at Crystal Palace and later moved
to the Pall Mall Gazette.
During his time there he took a report of
Lord Carnarvon’s speech criticizing
the course of Gladstone’s surrender
to Kruger...Nankivell expressed an opinion
there was to be a recurrence of the same trouble.
It is suggested
that the above inspired an interest in the
stamps of Transvaal and he proceeded to gather
together an exceptional collection of the
country. With his skill in journalism he edited
and published a Transvaal journal.
- The Transvaal Collectors’ Quarterly
Published in Croydon by Edward James Nankivell. Two
editions January and April 1899. In his first Editorial
he wrote - We send this Quarterly with a twofold
object - to give and to receive information. Having
collected and studied the adhesive postage stamps
of the Transvaal for the past twenty years, we have
acquired a great deal of information which may be
useful to our fellow collectors. There is
much, however that we desire to have cleared up and
concerning which, especially those in the Transvaal,
may help us our readers. For
some years we have been accumulating material for
an exhaustive work on the ‘Adhesive Postage
Stamps of the Transvaal’, but we have no intention
of venturing upon its publication until we are able
to write more definitely than we can at present as
to the issues of the First Republic...
The first issue was a twenty page
journal, included five adverts from
G. Hamilton-Smith & Co., William S. Lincoln, W.T.
Wilson, W. Hadlow and Stanley Gibbons.
I No 1 January 1899 - Content
Transvaals for Specialising, First
Steps for Specialists, The Defective ‘Zes’,
1866 Mr Fred Jeppe - Postmaster of Potchefstroom,
Occasional Notes, Novelties and Discoveries. Prices
obtained by auctioneers Buhl & Co. on 22 and 23
November 1898 for the Pearce collection of Transvaal.
Concluding with two pages on The Market and advised...The
collector of Transvaal will rarely find any copies
of early issues in the stock of the ordinary dealer,
for the simple reason that the general dealer, not
understanding them, regards them as so much unsalable
I No 2 April 1899 - Content
The second number of the Nankivell’s journal
only had 16 pages and includes 1879 Provisional ‘1
Penny’ on 6d, First Steps for Specialists, British
Occupation, Occasional Notes, Novelties and Discoveries,
Sale of the Pearce Collection - cont. Nankivell concluded
with The Market and reviewed prices in the
‘new’ 1899 catalogue followed by a headline
Auction Prices above Catalogue.
29 April 1899 - Stanley
Gibbons Monthly Journal
They wished his enterprise success, but expressed
doubt of its success, concluding...whether the
object of his devotion is fully worthy of such exclusive
The anticipated July issue did not make an appearance.
Tamsen's Comments on Nankivell's Journal
Tamsen wrote...He asked me to suggest some means
of arousing more interest in his paper, and I suggested
making it The African Philatelist and writing about
‘all’ African States Republics, French,
German and Portuguese Colonies and not confining himself
to British colonies alone. He did not like my idea
and the result was that he had to cease publication
and so it will always be when one caters for a limited
section of the public.
Transvaal collection sold to Stanley Gibbons
Reported in the January 1903 Stanley Gibbons
Assembled over a period of twenty three years in six
volumes, Nankivell asking price was initially £6000
and the collection included four mint and used examples
of each stamp, followed by strips and blocks. There
were pages of varieties, including, Tete-beche, inverted
surcharges and defective lettering. It was on offer
intact for £5,250 and it is rumoured that Nankivell
had accepted £3000 which bought him land and
a house in Kent.
Started in 1881 on the invitation of E.D. Bacon to
join the Philatelic Society of London. Editor of Reporter’s
Magazine, January 1896 Philatelic Record
and Philatelic Journal of India.
Correspondent for American Journal of Philately,
The Captain and The Connoisseur.
In January 1905 to September 1907 was the Editor of
Gibbons Stamp Weekly.
After resigning and moving to the
country Nankivell started the Postage Stamp in
1907 until his sudden death on 18 March 1909 at his
residence in Tunbridge Wells. Fred Melville took over
as editor of the Postage Stamp. Nankivell’s
obituary appeared in Gibbons Stamp Weekly
on 3 April 1909.
Nankivell wrote as Alfred Jingle, Sir Charge Wakatipu,
O. Reginald Gum and
Books by Edward Nankivell
A well known title published in 1902 Stamp
Collecting as a Pastime. He also produced
several booklets, some of them were published after
his death by Fred Melville.
Sudan in 1904, Jamaica
and Cayman Islands in (1908). Cape
of Good Hope (1908) and Oil Rivers and
Niger coast Protectorate (1909) The last three titles
published by Melville who took over as Editor of the
Journal The Postage Stamp
Melville also used Nankivell's nom-de-plume
as Cornelius Wrinkle.
The Transvaal Collectors’
Quarterly No 1
Collectors’ Quarterly No 2
Cape of Good Hope
Published by Fred Melville after the Author's death
William Henry Poole (1880 - 1957)
West-End Philatelist’s Connection with Southern
In 1904 the London Firm of David Field had their premises
at 4 & 5 The Royal Arcade,
Old Bond Street and in March they launched their own
publication, The West-End Philatelist edited
by Bertram W.H. Poole. Poole wrote an article on Stellaland
published during 1908 in the Stanley Gibbons’
Poole's article was reprinted during 1937 in The
South African Philatelist.
It occurred to me that it seemed strange that a man
in the West End of London would have knowledge of
a remote Republic in Southern Africa at the turn of
the twentieth century.
Via a Google search, it transpires that Bertram Poole
was a prominent philatelist of yester-year, not only
that, he was sent to South Africa during the Boer
War to go and source stamps for the British Stamp
Trade. Thus while most people travelled to the Cape
armed with rifles to fight a war, Poole went to South
Africa with a bundle of cash to buy stamps!
Bertram William Henry
Born on 22 March 1880 in England, died in California
on 8 September 1957.
In 1921 Poole was one of the original signatures to
the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists, along with
Emil Tamsen. Dealer, Author and Collector, in 1899
he joined H. L’Estrange Ewen who sent him to
South Africa to obtain war provisionals and in 1901
he wrote a monograph on the subject.
Volume I No 8 - October 1902
In 1902 he launched
his own magazine, Poole’s Monthly
Philatelist and this publication was
‘incorporated’ into The West-End
Philatelist in 1904 when he joined the
staff of David Field. He had also been the
Editor of the Philatelic Journal of Great
From 1912 to
1931 he edited his own publication Philatelic
Opinion and in 1913 he served on the
jury at International Philatelic Exhibition
in New York and shortly afterward took up
residence in the USA. Poole was soon thought
of as an American Philatelist and between
1912 and 1923 he wrote a number of monographs
on European and British colonial postage stamps
which were published in Mekeels Handbook.
He contributed numerous articles to other philatelic
journals and in 1917 he co-authored United States
Virgin Islands with Julius (John) Murray Bartels.
Poole wrote handbooks on Bermuda,
Belgium, British Honduras, Bulgaria, Cook Islands,
Crete, Denmark, Dominica, Falkland Islands, German
States, Germany & Colonies, Gold Coast, Hong Kong,
Mexico, New Brunswick, Newfoundland (with HE Huber),
Nova Scotia, Sarawak, Seychelles, Sierra Leone and
Zululand. Poole was the Co-author with W.O. Wylie,
of The Standard Philatelic Dictionary (1922).
Poole was also a collector and he was regarded as
a specialist of Haiti and Latin America. During the
last year of his life his final publication was Pioneer
Stamps of the British Empire (1957).
South African War Provisionals
(1901) by Bertram Poole
Published in London, this little booklet includes
56 pages and was an important contribution to South
African Philately at the start of the twentieth century.
First Pre-Union Stamp Exhibitions held in South
2 & 5 December 1903 Pretoria
- First Stamp Exhibition in Transvaal
6 August 1906 Durban
- First Stamp Exhibition in Natal
15 & 16 December 1906
Pretoria - A Second Exhibition in Transvaal
My initial intention was to document,
as best I can, the early South African philatelic journals.
By necessity it includes the personalities involved
and that in turn draws attention to the attempts to
establish Philatelic societies.
All the foregoing in a vast country that included four
provinces that were, at the time, far from ‘United’.
Prior to the infancy of organized philately an ancillary
activity to the above were fledgling stamp exhibitions
which were non-competitive. They were more than likely
low key events arranged by a small number of enthusiasts
who sought public support for their venture.
Locating accurate information
on such events can be difficult as there were no current
philatelic journals in South Africa at that time.
Thus any contemporary report is either in the local
press or may be found in a British philatelic journal.
Certain reports conflict and were noted by individuals
who relied on recall rather than fact. For instance
in 1916 a writer initmates that the 1903 Pretoria
was held a year later in 1904...there is proof that
in 1904 the Pretoria Philatelic Society was
in fact defunct.
& 5 December 1903
First Stamp Exhibition in Transvaal
Stanley Gibbons Monthly
Journal 30 January 1904
A Factual report submitted by the Pretoria Philatelic
An Exhibition of Stamps was held,
under the auspices of the Pretoria Society, in the
Pretoria Museum, on the 2nd and 5th December 1903.
This was the first Exhibition of Stamps
held in Pretoria and it was well supported by collectors
both of Pretoria and outside towns.
The exhibition was a success in every way and the
interest shown was very gratifying to the promoters.
The exhibits were too numerous to
be described in detail, but the following may be mentioned:
- Mr H.P. de Boom
- A complete set of Vryburg in blocks
of four (used) and several nice varieties in Pietersburg
Mr J. Clark -
A specialised collection of surcharged stamps of the
later issues of Transvaal, including a complete set
with VRI inverted (used). Also a complete set of Rustenburg,
Mafeking and Schweizer Renecke (used).
As may be anticipated many of the collections
included stamps of the four colonies plus the Boer
Mr A. Faure -
A very nice lot of Ceylon and Persia.
E.H.L. Gorges -
A really superb show of triangular Capes. Very strong
in Wood blocks, including a block of four 1d red on
entire and several pairs of the 4d blue.
Mr J.J. Haupt - A very fine
collection of the First Transvaal Republic, used,
unused and on entire; also a very fine show, almost
complete, of all the varieties of the later surcharges.
Mr Otto Koch – A complete set
of unused Pietersburg, showing all varieties; also
some very fine specimens of Transvaal, including some
The feature of this exhibit was undoubtedly the show
of the stamps of the New Republic, which included
blocks of several values Tête-Bêche and
a couple of pairs in the same condition.
Mr M.L. Levitt -
A specialized collection of British South Africa Company,
showing many minor varieties and shades; also a very
nice lot of Egyptian stamps, including the early issues.
Mr C.C. Maynard - Full sheets of Transvaal
of the later issues.
Mr W.E. Oldfield - Showed complete
panes of ‘V.R.I.’, Orange River Colony,
all values; also a block of nine of the 6d pink, the
centre stamp showing the error ‘figure omitted’.
The 1s brown and 6d blue also appeared in the same
Mr K.H. Rentes - The feature of this
exhibit was that the specimens shown were all in mint
blocks of four and included the earlier issues of
Transvaal and Orange Free State; amongst the best
of the former being a block of four ‘Halve penny’
on 1s green, Tête-Bêche mint and a pair
of the 2½ pence on 1s green, inverted surcharge
showing the error ‘2½d’ for ‘2½’.
This exhibit also included a very nice lot of triangular
Capes, used, unused and in pairs. Also very interesting
were the reconstructed sheets of the Pietersburg issue,
only a few of the values being incomplete.
Mr V. Yorke-Hart - A really fine
lot of picked specimens of Swazieland, showing the
double surcharge on ½d grey (pair), errors
‘Swazielan’ on ½d and 2d and a
unique pair ½d grey overprinted in red, one
stamp showing surcharge omitted (used).
Dr J.W.B. Gunning - A really interesting
and remarkably complete collection of British Colonials,
dating from 1900 up to the present date. All were
in mint condition and made a very nice show.
The report singled out Emil Tamsen,
who had travelled down from Nylstroom...and brought
with him what was, no doubt, one of the finest lots
shown, representing as they did too many rarities
to give in detail. The following may be specially
Transvaal - 1s green ‘V.R.
TRANSVAAL’ in red, no dot (mint)
A complete set of QV 1 penny on 6d with both black
and red surcharges
A nice block of four Queen’s Head ‘Halve
penny’ in red on 6d (mint)
Zululand - 5s (mint) and £1
and £5 (used) in splendid condition.
Swazieland - 10s (mint) and several of the
rare inverted surcharges, including the error ‘Swazielan’
on 2d inverted (unused)
The foregoing has been published in
Philately No's 2 on
page 82, the Stanley
Journal report on
the 1903 Pretoria Exhibition has been expanded and
quoted in full.
Reports on the 1903 Pretoria Exhibition
The Postage Stamp
- 5 November 1910 (A British Stamp
In an article entitled Philately in South Africa by
‘Afrikander’ - the author
wrote...A philatelic society was formed in Pretoria...This
society held a highly successful exhibition on December
2nd and 5th, 1903, but since then it has been dormant.
(Wednesday and Saturday)
The South African Stamp Collector November
1916 page 157
Pretoria, 2 December 1904 (A year later on
a Friday) staged under the auspices of the Pretoria
Philatelic Society, held in the (then) local
The foregoing report re-appeared in The
South African Philatelist in its October
1970 edition on page 236
RSA 1971 First Day Cover - A repetition of the 'Historical
FDC Bi-lingual Inset
6 August 1906 Durban - First Stamp Exhibition in Natal
Published in the Stanley Gibbons Monthly
29 September 1906 and is a report from The
Natal Mercury (7 August 1906)
The first ever promoted in the Colony was held yesterday,
in the YMCA Buildings, under the auspices of the Durban
and District Society and was attended by a very considerable
measure of success, and, considering that it was the
first attempt that has been made in this direction,
the Committee and the members of the Society are to
be congratulated on the fact that such a fine lot of
stamps were got together, although they came from collections
of comparatively few collectors...
...The Exhibition was opened yesterday by His
Excellency Sir Henry McCallum, who it may be mentioned,
is a collector himself... Much of the report
is the speech by Sir Henry. What surprises me is that
this exhibition was held on a Monday.
December 1906 Pretoria
- A second Exhibition in Transvaal
Stated as held in Hotel Imperial on 15 and 16 December
1 being Saturday and Sunday. The 16th appears to me
as a strange day for a stamp exhibition in Pretoria,
in a highly religious city on a Sunday that includes
The Pretoria Philatelic Society report for
1906 appeared in Stanley Gibbons Monthly
Journal 28 February 1907 and there is no mention of
the above exhibition.
Comment on the Pre-Union
These isolated ‘Stamp shows’ appear to
have lacked ‘National’ publicity. Given
that there were no South African journals in circulation,
unless these exhibitions received a ‘plug’
in the British journals, the remembrance that they
actually took place soon faded. I make these remarks
on the strength of a comment made by Tamsen in 1913.
South African Letter
by Emil Tamsen, was effectively a
‘current philatelic affairs’ letter that
appeared in Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal
from time to time. In 1913 letters appeared in the
January and August and for obvious reasons much was
said about the June/July 1913 Durban Exhibition.
In his August missive Tamsen wrote...This South
African Philatelic Exhibition is the second of its
kind held in South Africa; the first was held in Pretoria
in 1903, and was but a small affair compared with
the one now held in Durban.
Thus Tamsen remembered 1903,
because he attended, but omits the 1906 Durban and
Pretoria affairs...the later requires further research,
as current detail remains sketchy.
Vol I No 2 March 1904
The South African Philatelist
Issue No 3 (January 1911)
Transvaal KEVII Revenues 2/6
& 5/- with Inverted Centres
KEVII 5s with Inverted Centre
Philatelist Volume 1
No 2 April 1904, on page 28 under
The Publisher’s Corner by D. Field, he
This month I am able
to illustrate a 5s Transvaal stamp, which...has the
King’s head inverted. This stamp is unique as
being the first on which his Majesty’s portrait
has been shown upside down, and it is not very likely
that any similar errors will occur.
As my readers know, Messrs. De la Rue & Co., the
printers of this and other Colonial stamps, exercise
the greatest care in producing them, and before leaving
their premises each sheet of stamps is carefully scrutinized,
and any that are not perfect are immediately removed
It is, therefore, fairly evident that the chances
are very much against more than one sheet of the error
escaping the eagle eyes of the gentlemen who examine
the sheets of stamps; indeed, the wonder is that this
one was not detected.
This error was discovered by a Johannesburg
solicitor, who bought two copies from the post office
there in the ordinary course of business. Directly
he noticed the mistake he went to try and buy the
remainder of the sheet, but in the meantime the authorities
had also seen the error and withdrew the balance from
sale, and to get the solicitor to return the specimens
he already had. This he refused to do, but sent them
to a friend in England, from whom I purchased them,
and I think there can be little doubt that these are
the only two copies of the error in existence.
Sheets of the Transvaal
2s 6d and 5s 1902 KEVII Revenues with an inverted
centre were printed in two panes of sixty.
The West-End Philatelist report may suggest
that the 2s 6d KEVII revenue was possibly discovered
at a later date. Given the numbers known today, it
proves that the remainder of the 5s sheet was not
destroyed and at some stage found its way onto the
As the 2s 6d inverted centre is encountered
more often, the general consensus of opinion was,
that there were perhaps two sheets of the 2s 6d value
and only one of the 5s. See The Edwardian Stamps
of the South African Colonies by Brian Trotter
David Field’s 1904 explanation
as to how the 5s inverted centre was discovered is
important. It points to an unknown number of examples
having been sold over the counter prior to the time
that the Johannesburg solicitor noticed them. It is
likely that the counter staff acquired the balance
of the 5s inverted centre
news of 5s error would more than likely trigger off
a search in the Johannesburg post office, as well
as in various other offices, to see whether or not
their Revenue stock included inverted centres. It
may be feasible that the 2s 6d inverted centre was
possibly still intact when it was discovered.
The foregoing may be a good explanation why the 2s
6d inverted centre is more common than its 5s counterpart.
Transvaal KEVII 2/6
and 5s with Inverted Centre
The South African Philatelist
Issue No 3 (January 1911)
The West-End Philatelist April
1904 reported the circumstances how the KEVII 5/- Revenue
with inverted centre was first discovered.
M.P. Vallentine was a Johannesburg Stamp dealer trading
from Pretoria Buildings, corner of Bree and Smal streets.
He advertised in the 1910-1912 editions of The
South African Philatelist and in issue No 3 (January
1911) there is this note
...Mr Vallentine reports
that he has just seen in Johannesburg a pane of the
Transvaal Revenue 2/6 ‘with centre inverted’.
The 1904 UK and 1911 South
Africa Reports place
on recorded how both these two major varieties came
to be. All the foregoing has been published in Southern
Africa Philately No's 1 and 2,
pages 41 and 78.