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Telegraph stamps of the World

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  Hiscocks did not list these,  so I am giving them 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) to avoid confusion.
I have added up to date prices and currency selection.
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RL - Rolf Lamprecht.



According to wiki :
The Principality of Bulgaria (BulgarianКняжество България, Knyazhestvo Balgariya) was a de facto independent,
and de jure vassal state under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. It was established by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.
Bulgaria became a Kingdom in 1909.

Scott #37
This is the top value stamp (1 Leva) of 1889, used until 1901, with a telegraph cancel  -  from RL.
The cancel is of the negative type, typical of the Ottoman Empire.


Telegraph Receipts

A range of receipts, all from RL.

Receipt of Sophia 1898
Sophia, August 1898. Note, the '10 cm' at bottom right is lower-case Cyrillic for 10 st, short for 10 stotinki.

Receipt of Varna 1898
Varna, on the Black Sea, to Constantinople, 1898.
Note the form number in the bottom -right corner, these were probably printed in 1897.

Receipt of Dupnitsa 1910
Dupnitsa, 15 April 1910. The left edge is like the early French type with an inscription up a vertical strip.


Telephone tickets

These are illustrated at half my normal size:
50 Stotinki Telephone ticket
50 Stotinki green for 'Градски телефони', Urban telephone of 5 minutes.
The form number at bottom-right, suggests that this was printed in 1893.

1Leva Telephone ticket
1 Leva pink for 'междуградски телефони', Intercity telephone of 5 minutes.


RH# Description Mint Used Stub
RH-TP1 50 St green, for 5 minutes Urban - - -
RH-TP1 1 L. pink, for 5 minutes Intercity - - -



PCP (Pour Certificat Postal)

Rolf Lamprecht has shown me an article written in German by Thomas Hitzler and Nikolay Penev, participants of
INTERNATIONAL PHILATELIC SALON “SOFIA 2013”, that goes into some detail about these items.
He also provided the images for this. I have not seen a description of these in English, so I offer my translation of parts taken from this:

"The PCP stamps were used for acknowledgment of receipt of telegrams.
The sender Of the telegram paid for this service in advance.
The telegraph office of the recipient in Bulgaria handed over the telegram and sent an
acknowledgment of receipt by registered letter to the Telegraph office of the sender.

Initially the envelopes were given a 50 Stotinki stamp (international postage 25 Stotinki up
to 15gm + Registration fee of 25 Stotinki). Later on, only the registration fee was
added to the return envelope.
During this period, we also find "franked" forms, which were put into free service letters."

Bulgaria PCP cover
This is the third cover I have seen similar to this, all Registered, with the same type of stamp and cover printed entirely in French except for the Cyrillic form number.
This one, courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht, is dated April 1908. Another is dated 1905 and the last, with a capital 'P' in 'Poste', looks like 1909.
They are all from Sofia to Berlin. This is the only one with 'de poste' crossed out, but they all have a variation of Central Telegraphs written underneath,
the last having H. T. A (Haupt Telegraphen Amt) and the left end slit open and re-sealed with a Berlin postal seal.

Since writing the above I have seen more examples, most of which have 'de poste' crossed out. I have also seen scans of a couple of the
bilingual 'Извѣстие за получаване / Avis de reception's that were sent in these envelopes.
John Barefoot tells me that in the Capital (Sophia), the 'de poste' is deleted because there was an office there dedicated to telegrams only.

Bulgaria PCP piece   Bulgaria PCP piece

The one on the left appears to be from a similar cover dated 1914.
On the right is a different stamp with 'PCP' and different cancel, dated November 1917 on what looks like a different cover.
The difference may relate to the fact that France and Bulgaria were on different sides in World War I at that time.
These two images and the four below showing a range of the stamps bearing this overprint, come courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

Bulgaria PCP overprint Bulgaria PCP overprint Bulgaria PCP overprint Bulgaria PCP overprint
1905   -   50st (Mi# 58) 1907   -   25st (Mi# 56) 1909   -   25st (Mi# 70a) 1911   -   25st (Mi# 84)

I was surprised at the French influence displayed on these. I have Bulgarian telegrams from 1908 and 1912 which are entirely in Cyrillic characters,
so when I first saw 'PCP' I assumed that was Cyrillic too, but clearly not. The influence may be due to the aid provided by France in improving education in Bulgaria.

Table of stamp quantities overprinted 'PCP'.

RH# Michel # Denomination Issue Date Production Qty Mint Used On Doc.
RH-PCP1 56 25 Stot. 1901 400 from 1906 onwards 100.00 - 480.00
RH-PCP2 58 50 Stot. 1901 100 from 1906 onwards 100.00 - 500.00
RH-PCP3 70a 25 on 30 Stot. 1909 100 200.00 - -
RH-PCP3a 70b 200.00 - -
RH-PCP4 84 25 Stot. 1911 400 100.00 - 600.00
RH-PCP5 105 25 Stot. 1915 600 100.00 - 600.00
RH-PCP6 114 25 Stot. 1917 400 50.00 - -
The Michel numbers were taken from the 1956 catalogue, but they match my 2007 edition.
Quantities are taken from the handbook by Rolf Weinbrecht. For 1901 issue it is incomplete.
Michel# 70a has a red surcharge, Michel# 70b has a carmine surcharge.
The 1911 series has a small monogram at the bottom-right of the King. The 1915 issue does not.   
Bulgaria monogram


Table of envelopes and forms that I have seen scans of.

Date Type Denomination Issue Michel # From To Source Notes
Aug. 1905 Envelope 50 Stot. 1901 58 Sophia Berlin N. Penev 'de poste' crossed out.
Sept. 1905 Envelope 50 Stot. 1901 58 Sophia Berlin eBay 'de poste' not crossed out.
1908 Envelope 50 Stot. 1901 58 Sophia Berlin R. Lamprecht 'de poste' crossed out. 'accuse de reception / telegraphique central'
1909 Envelope 50 Stot. 1901 58 Sophia Berlin Gaertnerauk 'de Poste' not crossed out. 'H. T. A' + German seal
13 Nov. 1911 Envelope 25Stot. 1901 56 Sophia Berlin N. Penev 'de Poste' crossed out. 'Avis de réception / Telegraphique'
25 Feb. 1913 Envelope 25 Stot. 1911 84 Sophia Berlin D. Feldman 'poste' crossed out. 'Avis de réception / Telegraphique'
1 Aug. 1916 Form 25 Stot. 1911 84 Sophia Bucharest eBay For 'Legation de Roumanie'
5 Aug. 1916 Form 25 Stot. 1915 105 Sophia ? eBay Part form

All of these envelopes went to Berlin (they were collected in East Germany). Considering the French influence, it would be surprising if none were sent to Paris.
Perhaps there are quantities there yet to be discovered.


Problems with authentication.

Whilst examples on a complete document would seem to be beyond suspicion, loose stamps, or even on small piece are not.
The overprint is applied with a rubber hand-stamp that leaves no trace on the back as with a metal stamp. A cancel can also be forged.
Mint stamps are a particular counterfeit risk. According to Nikolay Penev "there is currently no competent auditor for these overprints worldwide".
He trusts only Herm Karaivanoff. Having said all that, I bought one that was being offered on an auction site.
I show it here compared to the one above on a small piece:

Bulgaria PCP from piece Bulgaria PCP mint



Sanatorium Fund

According to the Scott Catalogue (under Postal Tax stamps), their numbers RA1 to RA18 were 'compulsory on letters etc., to be delivered on Sundays and holidays.
The money received from their sale was used toward maintaining a sanatorium for employees of the post, telegraph and telephone services.'
They do not explicitly say about telegraphs. This sounds similar to Iran so I will accordingly list them, though it may be that some were only used postally.
The Michel catalogue says "Sonntags zu bestellende Postsachen mußten diese Marken tragen." - "Postal goods to be ordered on Sundays had to carry these stamps."
This presumably would include the delivery of telegrams. As always it is for the collector to decide what to collect.

They are all inscribed 'ФОНДЪ САНАТОРИУМЪ' (Sanatorium Fund).

1925-29 Typo. No watermark. Perf. 11½.

Bulgaria H1 Bulgaria H2 Bulgaria H3
Type 1 H1 - View of Sanatorium Type 1 H2 - View of Sanatorium Type 1 H3 - View of Sanatorium


Bulgaria H4 Bulgaria H5 Bulgaria H6
Type 1 H4 - View of Sanatorium Type 1 H5 - View of Sanatorium Type 1 H6 - Sanatorium Peshtera


Bulgaria H7 Bulgaria H8 Bulgaria H9
Type 2 H7 - Sanatorium Peshtera Type 2 H8 - Sanatorium Peshtera Type 2 H9 - Sanatorium Peshtera


RH# Type. Description Mint Used
RH1 1 1 l. black, greenish black 2.75 0.20
RH2 1 1 l. chocolate (1926) 2.75 0.20
RH3 1 1 l. orange (1927) 3.00 0.20
RH4 1 1 l. pink (1928) 4.50 0.20
RH5 1 1 l. violet, pinkish (1929) 4.25 0.20
RH6 2 2 l. blue green 0.35 0.20
RH7 2 2 l. violet (1927) 0.35 0.20
RH8 2 5 l. deep blue 3.00 0.80
RH9 2 5 l. rose (1927) 3.75 0.40


1930-33 Typo. No watermark. Perf. 11½.

Bulgaria H10 Bulgaria H11 Bulgaria H12
Type 3 - St. Constantine Sanatorium - H10 Type 3 - St. Constantine Sanatorium - H11 Type 3 - St. Constantine Sanatorium - H12


# Type. Description Mint Used
RH10 3 1 l. red-brown and olive-green 4.00 0.20
RH11 3 1 l. olive-green and yellow 0.50 0.20
RH12 3 1 l. red-violet and olive-brown 0.50 0.20RH


1935 Typo. No watermark. Perf. 11½.

Bulgaria H13 Bulgaria H14 Bulgaria H15
Type 4 , Trojan Rest Home H13 Type 4 , Trojan Rest Home H14 Type 5 , Sanatorium H15


RH# Type. Description Mint Used
RH13 4 1 l. chocolate and red-orange 0.30 0.20
RH13a 4 Perf. 11 0.30 0.20
RH14 4 1 l. emerald and indigo 0.30 0.20
RH14a 4 Perf. 11 0.30 0.20
RH15 5 5 l. red-brown and indigo 1.40 0.35
RH15a 5 Perf. 11 1.40 0.35


1941 Photo. No watermark. Perf. 13.

Bulgaria H16 Bulgaria H17 Bulgaria H18
Type 6   1 l. - St. Constantine Sanatorium. Type 6   2 l. - Children at the seashore. Type 6   5 l. - Rest home.


RH# Type. Description Mint Used
RH16 6 1 l. dark olive-green 0.20 0.20
RH17 6 2 l. red-orange 0.20 0.20
RH18 6 5 l. deep blue 0.30 0.20


According to Scott, the same design, though smaller was also used for normal postage stamps (702-705).
They are valued similarly to the ones above.

1950 Typo. (Michel Nr. 19-22). Perf. 11½

Bulgaria H19 Bulgaria H20 Bulgaria H21 Bulgaria H22
1 l. - St. Constantine Sanatorium. 2 l. - Children at the seashore. 5 l. - Rest home. 10 l. - Children at the seashore.


1 l. blue-green
2 l. red
5 l. orange
10 l. blue



Telegram Seals.

Type 1   Type 2
I have only seen two types. The first dates from 1884 or earlier and is quite rare, I only know of this trimmed one.
The other is only scarce and I have seen examples in the range 1888 to 1900.


If anyone can provide scans to help with this, I am happy to give appropriate credit.



Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.


Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 24th. April 2019

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