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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Argentina Bolivia Chile Columbia Costa Rica Cuba Dominican Rep. Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala Honduras
Argentina Bolivia Chile Colombia Costa Rica Cuba Dominican Rep. Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala Honduras
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Mexico Morocco Guinea Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Philippines Puerto Rico Uruguay Venezuela
Mexico Morocco Guinea Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Philippines Puerto Rico Uruguay Venezuela


  I have brought these prices up to date and added currency selection.  
  I have made an addition and, to avoid confusion,  
I have given this an RH number (Revised Hiscocks).

'RH' numbers are the same as 'H' numbers otherwise 
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According to Historia de Santiago de Chile :
"In 1851 the first telegraph system was established that connected the capital with the port of Valparaíso.
Later, during the government of Benjamín Vicuña Mackena a new urban development of Santiago was undertaken.
In 1857 Santiago received the first railway in the Central Station and the streets were already paved and conditioned for the circulation of private vehicles and trams."

According to 'La conquista del desierto' about 3/4 the way down.
"In 1871, the Transandino Telegraph Company - Transandine Telegraph Company - built the international telegraph line between Villanueva (province of Córdoba) and Valparaíso (Chile). In 1891 the Transandino Telegraph Company was acquired by The Central & South American Telegraph Company, and the respective contract was transferred to it. The construction was in charge of Mateo and Juan Clark who also built the Transandino Railroad. On July 26, 1872, the international telegraph line that connected Valparaíso with Buenos Aires was opened, at which opportunity authorities of both countries exchanged greetings."

About 1876, THE WEST COAST OF AMERICA TELEGRAPH COMPANY had a cable laid between Valparaiso and Lima (Peru) with landings at La Serena, Caldera, Antofogasta, Iquique, Arica and Mollendo.   At the time Antofogasta was Bolivian, while Iquique and Arica belonged to Peru. After the War of the Pacific (1879-83) they all belonged to Chile. When the Central & South was granted an extension to Valparaiso, the West Coast moved its southern terminus to Concepción.

An additional cable was laid by the CS FARADAY in 1906 from Chorillos to Iquique (then Chile) and Valparaiso.
A list of 1906 for wireless-Telegraph stations lists a projected Marconi station for the Magellan Strait.
A similar list for 1910 shows Government installations at Playa Ancha, Las Salinas and the Naval school,
with projected installations for Punta Arenas, Juan Fernandez and Valparaiso.

A detailed map (14.8MB) of 1914 showing Submarine cables, Telegraph routes and railways for Argentina and Chile can be found at Wiki Commons.

This is here to get consistent results on different browsers.


Prior to the advent of special Telegraph Stamps, like most countries, Chile used postage stamps for the purpose.
These can be identified by their Telegraphic cancel.

Chile 1877 2c Chile 1877 20c
1881, 2c, 1877, 20c

Images courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

Chile Map


1883 (1 July) Wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12 (Slightly variable).
Printed by the American Bank Note Co. in sheets of 100 (10x10) - imprint in the middle of each side.
(The Ostrich feather on these is higher on the right-hand side, unlike the next type.


Chile type H1 Chile type H2 Chile type H3 Chile type H3a
Type 1, 2c, H1 Type 1, 10c, H2 Type 1, 20c, H3 Type 1, 20c, H3a with imprint


Chile type H3a with top edge Chile type H4 Chile type H5 Chile type H6
Type 1, 20c, H3a with wide top margin.
Courtesy of Bram Leeflang.
Type 1, 1P, H4 Type 1, 5P, H5 Type 1, 10P, H6


Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H1 1 2c light brown 6.00 1.50
H2 1 10c brown olive to yellow olive 3.00 1.00
H3 1 20c deep blue 6.00 0.60
H3a           on blue surfaced paper 10.00 3.00
H4 1 1P deep brown 2.50 3.00
H5 1 5P dull scarlet 8.00 6.00
H6 1 10P deep bluish green 20.00 15.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Nos. 1-4 were used for postal purposes in 1891. The above prices refer to telegraphically used stamps.
                The usual telegraphic cancellation was a 17mm circle with a star in the centre and 'Telegraphos del Estado, Chile'
                within the rim — found in blue, black, red, etc.


The usual types of cancel, in blue, are shown above, but there are sometimes other types as shown below.

Chile type H1 with black segmented star Chile type H2 with black cancel Chile type H2 with large star in blue cancel
2c, H1 with segmented star in black.
Courtesy of Bram Leeflang.
10c, H2 with normal cancel, but in black.
Courtesy of Bram Leeflang.
10c, H2 with just a large blue solid star.
Courtesy of Bram Leeflang.


From 1891 Telegraph stamps could also be used postally. Here is a postally used example:

Chile type H2 Postally used.
The large 'T' printed on this, has nothing to do with telegraphy, as in a lot of countries
it stands for 'Taxe' indicating underpayment and postage due.


Later, from about 1894, the 'Telegraphos del Estado' was abbreviated to 'T. DEL E.' See the 5c below.


1894 Wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 14.
Hiscocks Type 2, smaller and narrower, noticeable in the value tablets and the Ostrich feather is higher on the left-hand side.
The cancel on the 5c is 'T. DEL E.' standing for Telegrafo Del Estado., introduced about 1894.

Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H7 2 2c light brown 2.00 1.00
H8 2 5c red 12.00 6.00
H9 2 10c olive 3.00 1.00
H10 2 20c deep blue 3.00 1.20
H11 2 1P deep brown 5.00 1.50


1901-1902 Pedro de Valdiva. Wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 14-15.

Chile type H12 Chile type H13 Chile type H14 Chile type H15
Type 3, 5c, H12 Type 3, 10c, H13 Type 3, 20c, H14 Type 4 (larger head), 20c, H15


Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H12 3 5c carmine 8.00 2.50
H13 3 10c olive green 6.00 1.20
H14 3 20c blue 60.00 10.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Nos. 11, 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18 were overprinted for postal use in 1904 (SG 94-103).


1902 As above but new die (larger head). White wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12.

Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H15 4 20c ultramarine 12.00 3.00


1902 New design. White wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12.

Chile type H16 Chile type H17 Chile type H18
Type 5, 2c, H16 Type 5, 5c, H17 Type 5, 10c, H18


RH # Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
RH16 H16 5 2c light brown 10.00 3.00
RH16a - 5         imperforate - -
RH17 H17 5 5c red 6.00 2.00
RH18 H18 5 10c olive green 15.00 2.50

Hiscocks added the following 2 notes:

Note 1. Nos. 16-18 differ from Nos. 1-6 in that the heraldic horse of Nos. 1-6 has been turned into a 'Huemul' or mountain deer
                by the removal of the mane and tail. The ornamentation below the centre shield also differs.
Note 2. It is not clear whether the above stamps remained in use until the issue of the next ones in 1927 (in which case I would
                expect them to be much more common than in fact they are) or whether the use of telegraph stamps lapsed
                for some twenty years.

My note on this: The 'heraldic horse' was supposed to have been engraved as a Huemul in the first place.
Unfortunately the foreign engraver knew nothing of Huemuls and 'corrected' the Coat of arms to have a horse !
It took nearly 20 years to correct this embarrassing and high-profile mistake on their Coat of Arms !

Chile type H16

An imperforate example, RH16a, courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.


1927 White wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 14 x 14½.
These were a surtax on telegraphs to raise money for victims of the 6th July Alpatacal Railway disaster.

Chile-H19 Chile-H20
#6 H19 #6 H20

Hiscocks types 6 and 7.
The *40c was listed by Hiscocks as 20c so I have corrected it below.

Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H19 6 10c red and black 7.00 5.00
H19a           damaged 'I' and 'L' in 'CHILE' 50.00 40.00
H19b           closed 'E' in 'DE' 12.00 10.00
H19c           closed 'E' in 'CHILE' 12.00 10.00
H20 6 *40c blue and black 15.00 12.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Nos. 19 and 20 were issued to raise money for the victims of the Alpatacal railway disaster.
                It is not clear whether it is a true telegraph stamp or a charity stamp and, if the latter,
                whether its use was compulsory.


1929 White wove paper. Perf. 14 x 14½. Watermark W1, multiple star in shield, sideways.

Chile-H21 Chile-W1
#7 H21 W1 (from back)

These are inscribed "DERECHO DE TASA FIJA" meaning "Fixed Rate Law".
According to John Barefoot, they were a Revenue tax on telegraph receipts.

Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H21 7 20c blue 15.00 3.00



Telegraph Seals.



Steve Hiscocks made a start on cataloguing seals of the world in a book he published in 2007.
It was his hope to update it later, but unfortunately that was not to be.
His original book can be viewed at Telegraph Seals: A World Catalogue. There are links from the pages to my updates.

Alternatively you can view my latest page for the telegram seals Chile.


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 28th. December 2023

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/20/21/22/23 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.


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