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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Bogus Bhutan British Guiana British Honduras Cyprus Egypt Falkland Is. Greece Israel Korea
Bogus Bhutan British Guiana British Honduras Cyprus Egypt Falkland Is. Greece Israel Korea

Malta Mauritius New Zealand Nova Scotia Pakistan Palestine Papua & New Guinea Poland Syria Turkey
Malta Mauritius New Zealand Nova Scotia Pakistan Palestine Papua, New Guinea Poland Syria Turkey



Most countries used a telegraph system at one time or another, but relatively few are mentioned on this site so far.
Largely that is because it has grown out of the book by Steve Hiscocks that used narrowly defined criteria for listing.
It did not include postage stamps used for telegraphic purposes, or even stamps that were intended for both postal and telegraphic purposes.
The media of the internet does not suffer from the same financial constraints of publishing s book, so for some countries I have gradually
widened the scope from Hiscocks' original inclusions.
Here I hope to add information about telegraphy in countries unlisted by Hiscocks for various reasons.
I know that some people will have no interest in this, however I also know that some will be very interested. .



These are 'stamps' that purport to be Telegraph stamps but have been produced privately, presumably for the sole purpose of making money
out of collectors who may believe them to have philatelic value. Some are more persuasive than others, but they all misrepresent themselves.
I am surprised that some of these have not landed the perpetrators in prison, but then perhaps they did.
Similarly I am surprised that the growing number of 'forgeries', 'reproductions' etc., appearing on eBay that
appear to be copies of genuine stamps produced on a home printer.
They are often described as "From my deceased grandfathers' old collection. I know nothing about stamps, please make your own mind up",
or something equally disingenuous. Personally I think more policing is well overdue as collectors are being defrauded.
Anyway, this is my attempt to shed some light.

Bogus Cyprus KGV £2  Bogus Malta QV ½d  Bogus Malta KGV £5  Bogus Malta KGV £10

The above purport to have been produced by existing countries with the authority of the Crown and most with significant face values.
There is no evidence that such stamps were ever legitimately printed or even contemplated. I think they are Illegal stamps.
Hopefully whoever produced these is in prison for a very long time.

The stamps below indicate that they were for use on the Island of Lundy in the mouth of the Bristol Channel of England.

Bogus Lundy 1  Bogus Lundy 2  Bogus Lundy 3  Bogus Lundy 4
Bogus Lundy 5  Bogus Lundy 6
Bogus Lundy 7

This last item is particularly egregious. It purports have been produced in 1898, a time when the Post Office had a monopoly on telegraphs,
by De La Rue & Co. in a quality well below their normal standard, and appears to be signed Gerald King !
Some collectors have paid significant sums of money for these items, believing them to be genuine. Why is this man not in prison ?
Images courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.
Further information and/or examples are invited.


These are supposed to be U.S. Army Franks "For Official Business Only"
I am told that the US army never issued franks for that purpose. Perhaps it was a hint that they should, but I am more
inclined to think that they are simply bogus and intended to milk collectors. Further information welcome.
Army Frank ?
Images courtesy of Todd Parker.


:——————— END OF BOGUS ———————:


The map of Pakistan below shows where Bhutan is.
Bhutan was a late starter. It used the telegraph forms of India (see there for another example). 2Nu60 for 9 chargeable words from Phuntsholing to New Dehli.
Phuntsholing, 1969 - back
The back refers to "... provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951".
Images courtesy of vgstamps2015 on eBay (click an image for listing).


Bhutan was a late starter. It used the telegraph forms of India (see there for another example). 2Nu80 for 24 chargeable words from Phuntsholing to Calcutta.
Phuntsholing, 1969 - back
This was from the Bhutan Govt. Transport Service in Phuntsholing. Transport was a high priority in Bhutan at the time.
Images courtesy of vgstamps2015 on eBay (click an image for listing).


British Guiana

With one exception, all these images come courtesy of Les Bottomley

British Guiana-1


British Guiana-Wiki
This image from Wiki Commons.


Seen from 1946 to 1949.
British Guiana-2British Guiana-3


British Guiana-4


British Guiana-5

Mackenzie or McKenzie is on the Demerara River about 57 miles (91km) south of Georgetown.
A wireless-Telegraph station list for 1910 shows only Georgetown, which itself was not in the 1906 list.



British Honduras

Jeff Turnbull (well known to the Perfin Fraternity) has kindly sent me these images which he says relate to two dies recorded in the World Perfin catalogue.
The description there is "Telegram punch on Postal issues". I may be wrong (it is not unknown) but I take it that these were used as cancels,
perforated through stamps and form together, though the 50c with additional handstamp is a puzzle. The stamps are of 1938 and were used until 1953.
These are fairly high values as you would expect, but there were also $2 and $5 values.

British Honduras perfins
British Honduras perfins-back

British Honduras perfin-3
The perfins are at various angles and I think the usage was similar to that in Eritrea.


A quantity (15) of British Honduras stamps with a range of perfins, kindly provided by Matthew Stevenson.
Eight of them have parts of the perfin shown above.
British Honduras perfins - front

British Honduras perfins - back

Three of them show part or all of this perfin :
British Honduras perfin-2 Image on left rotated and mirrored fro 5c, 1935 issue above.

British Honduras perfin-2

"TEL" probably can mean Telephone or Telegraph.

Three of them show parts of District Commissioner perfins. British Honduras is divided into six districts, each had a District Commissioner.
The $1 and 3c on the top row, and 10c below give examples of "D.C. / CAYO" and "D.C. / BELIZE". They are not telegraphic.
The other districts are Corozal, Toledo, Stann Creek and Orange Walk.

Did you notice the 50c blue in the middle with "13"?
Some, but not all, of the BHPO perfins have an associated date perfin in larger holes about 10½mm above it.

Here are 3 examples, the middle from Jeff Turnbull, the others from above.
British Honduras dated perfins

This is the backs of the outer two with the middle derived from the front of the one above.
British Honduras dated perfins

Interestingly, by rotating each by 4½ degrees, they nicely line up and the distance between the BHPO and date perfins can be measured.
Left to right, 10.25, 10.4 and 10.37mm, which given inherent inaccuracies, is surprisingly consistent.
The date format would seem to be one or two digits for the month, followed by 2 digits for the year, but the last shows there is something before that.
More images needed. - Next up, the other 25c !


Since the 25c figured prominently just above, I looked at the other 25c closely.
British Honduras 25c green - front   British Honduras 25c green - back
Though part of the BHPO perfin can be clearly recognised, there is something else extra at the bottom.
It is clearly not in the large-size holes as the date perfin though.
BH 25c green closeup - front   BH 25c green closeup - extra bits
I have marked in red the extra holes. To me it looks like an incomplete ". M" reading right to left. Perhaps the end of "A. M." or "P. M."
I have no idea why it is incomplete. This could well be an earlier version. - But then, see below :


Re-visiting Jeff Turnbull's images of four stamps above those of Matthews, the first two also have extra perforations.
This is the 1c.
British Honduras 1c green - front   British Honduras 1c green - back
It has an extra "MS" of "TELEGRAMS" reading upwards, so the form was cancelled twice at approximately right-angles.

The 10c shows part of the date above.
British Honduras 10c - front
British Honduras 10c - back rotated

The gap on this is 10.2mm, but the angle is 21.3 degrees, rather than the 4.5 degrees of the others.
Images courtesy of Jeff Turnbull, who says :
"This type of die where one can change the date to suit is known as a Carpet die they are often found on receipts and the like."




These may not be telegraphic, but they are punched high-values and are cancelled with "CANCELLED" in a box.
Cyprus-RL-1955-1   Cyprus-RL-1955-2   Cyprus-RL-1955-3
Images from RL.

Some items of stationery used on Cyprus can be seen on the Eastern Telegraph Co. page.




A Telegram of 1906 printed by McCorquodale & Co. Ltd. of London.
It is printed in English, French and Arabic and used in Suez on 20 May 1906 for a message from Cairo.

Form of 1906

The left-hand panel has standard disclaimers in English.
disclaimer in English

The right-hand panel has the equivalent in French.
disclaimer in French
I see no disclaimers in Arabic, but it may have been at the bottom which appears to have been cropped.
Images courtesy of Vahe of GV PHILATELIAN. (click image for listing).



A Telegram of unclear date, but probably in the 1930's.
It is headed "Arab Republic of Egypt / Telecommunications Organization / International Sector"
Form of 1930's

The back of the pink heading paper has Station addresses and phone numbers in Arabic and English for Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.
Form of 1930's - back


A Telegram of unclear date, but probably 12 August 1942 or 1943. Form G14 ?
It is headed "Egyptian State Telegraphs" in English and Arabic
Form of 1942

There is an imprint at bottom-left suggesting it was printed in 1942.
1942 imprint


Telegram of the Marconi Radio Telegraph Company of Egypt S.A.E., Associated with the Eastern Telegraph Co. Ltd.
This is marked "C18 A" at the top. It is dated 8 January 1943 and was received on the 12th.
Marconi-Eastern 1943 Telegram - a   Marconi-Eastern 1943 Telegram - b
There is also an interesting imprint under the Eastern Telegraph name.

A similar Telegram of the Marconi Radio Telegraph Company of Egypt S.A.E., associated with the Eastern Telegraph Co. Ltd.
This is marked "C18 A" at the top. It is dated 6 March 1944.
Telegram - 1944

There is also an interesting imprint.


An undated Telegram envelope used of Egyptian State Telegraphs, marked "Form G 10" on the right.
This is in English, Arabic and French.
undated envelope - front

undated envelope - back
Image courtesy of AsianStamp - (click for listing).




Falkland Islands

I would have thought that they would have wireless telegraphy from an early date, but a U.S. Navy list of 1912 shows nothing for them.
According to Atlantic-cable.com, A cable was laid from Montevideo to the Falkland Islands for the Admiralty during the 1914-18 war,
but was abandoned afterwards. That suggests that by then they did have wireless communication.
The Dependencies were the first part of Antarctica to be brought under British control and date from 1908.


Unused red "Sent" form
Sent form - short
This has an imprint of "R1725x9/72 50m" at bottom-left, perhaps indicating a printing of September 1972.


Unused dark blue "Received" form with imprint of "P2538 P4776/32/401381 500 11/66 R. Ward 843" at top-left which I think indicates a printing of November 1966.
Received form - short
This is a short form, but appearts to be complete.


Unused dark blue "Received" form with "W. & S. Ltd" at top-left with the Dependencies included.
Received form - long
This is a much longer form.    Image courtesy of Samwells Ltd. click image for eBay listing.




I have seen it claimed that 'dash circles' as the perimeter of a cancel is an indication of telegraphic usage.
I know of British usage where this is certainly not the case, however there may be some truth in the case of Greece.
The first 4 images are courtesy of Les Bottomley who first drew my attention to these. The next two are mine.
For the purposes of interpreting place names and dates, some (upper-case) Greek Letters are similar to English (A, B, E, I, K, M, N, O, T, X, Y, Z)
but some are different (Γ→G, Δ→D , Η→EE, Λ→L , Ξ→KS, Π→P, Ρ→R , Σ→S, Φ→F, Ω→O.

Greece cancel 1
10 Lepta 1911-21
Greece cancel 2
10 Lepta 1917
Greece cancel 3
1 Drachma 1916
Greece cancel 4

1.5 Drachma, 1927

Greece cancel 5
3 Lepta 1912
Greece cancel 6
5 Lepta 1916-17

They start with ΤΗΛ. ΓΡ. which is an abbreviation of ΤΗΛΕΦΩΝΙΚΟ ΓΡΑΦΕΙΟ meaning TELEGRAPH OFFICE, followed by the place name.
According to Les, they were in use from 1900 to as late as 1969, but mostly 1911 to 1935, with 3mm high lettering and 36 dashes in the circle.
I think Les was taking this from another source, but does not say what that source was. He said there were about 136 named cancels.


Greece 1917 Envelope - front Greece 1917 Envelope - back
This would seem to be a delivery envelope for a telegram from SKIATHOS (ΣKIAθOY, 17 July) island to New Port, Rhode Island, USA, via Athens (AθHNAI, 20 July).
There are no arrival marks. The stamps on the back are all overprinted with Crown over ET. This series of stamps was produced both as Litho and Engraved variants. This is the the 1916 issue.
According to stamp-collecting-world.com :
"During World War I, the pro-neutrality government in Athens ordered that all the current postage stamps be overprinted to prevent their use by the pro-Entente provisional government of Eleftherios Venizelos."
It was applied to both variants. The stamps add up to 25 Lepta, so it is a bit strange that a single 25L stamp was not used. Images courtesy of Bram Leeflang.


Greece Registered
At the top is what appears to be a Registered label with the place name in English as XYLOCASTRON.
The 1918 cancel has it in Greek as ΞΥΛΟΚΑΣΤΡΌY. It has a 50 Lepta stamp of the 1916-7 series and a
5 Lepta Red Cross Postal Tax stamp of 1914. This may well have been on a cover delivering a telegram.
Image courtesy of Bram Leeflang.
Greek block
This has a 1925 cancel marked ΓΑΡΓΑΛΙΆΝΟΝ (Gargalianoi in English). It has four
25 Lepta stamps of the 1913-23 series with what is called "Serrate Roulette" perforation.
Image courtesy of Bram Leeflang.


This has a cancel saying ΤΗΛ. ΓΡ. ΛΙMNΗΣ or LEMNOS TELEGRAPH OFFICE. With the punch hole it could easily be thought to be telegraphic.

Greece card piece

The complete item though looks like this. It appears to be a commercial card with two punch holes that are 3.125 inches (80mm) apart, a standard filing guage.

Greece card whole
It bears a 2 Drachma stamp of 1937 and a 10L Postal Tax stamp of 1937. Courtesy of Les Bottomley.

Such cancels may well have been used on stamps on telegraph forms, and even more likely on delivery envelopes, but they were also on other things.

Telegram Seals.

A few are known and shown in the section on seals.




The modern state of Israel was established in 1947. I have no information about telegraphy there.

A telegram dated 21 July 1960 from Zurich Switzerland to Holon. Israel. מברק at the top is Hebrew for Telegram.
Israel 1960 - front

Israel 1960 - back

Images courtesy of Leonid of tegincoin on eBay. Click image for listing.




The GreatNorthern had a submarine cable laid between Fusan, (later Pusan and now Busan, 부산시) in Korea and Tsuschima (対馬, a Japanese Island) around1900-1901.
The Japanese had been growing in influence and took control of Korea in 1910. During the period 1910 to the end of World War II, the Imperial Japanese Telegraphs
used their telegram forms and seals in Korea, though apparently not their telegraph stamps.
Currently, what little information that I have regarding Telegraphy in Korea comes from the Korea Stamp Society (KSS), and I would particularly like to thank Ivo Spanjersberg for his help.

Haiju-1912 telegram Haiju-1917 telegram
Two telegrams with cancels marked 海州 (written right to left). I see it is transliterated as Haiju which is now in North Korea. Confusingly there is also a place called 海州 (Haizhou) in China.
These images come courtesy of KSS \ Robert Finder (chairman).

With the end of WWII, it had been hoped that Korea would become a free country again, but that was not to be. The DPRK in the north appears to have made it difficult to follow what happened with telegraphy there.
The ROK in the south though should be amenable to study and  I would welcome input from those interested.

My list of Japanese Telegraph cancels includes :
Busan, S.Korea = 韓国釜山




This may not be telegraphic, but is a punched high-value similar to Cyprus above.
Malta 1921 10/- front   Malta 1921 10/- back
I normally get permission to use images from eBay, however eBay does not allow contact with the seller, James Gulliver, instead saying :
"We couldn't find an answer. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of messages this seller has received, they are unable to respond to your question right now.
We suggest reviewing the item again to see if your answer is in the seller's listing."
Since I cannot ask, I will fall back on the "fair use" doctrine and show it anyway. This is described as the 1921 issue and the watermark is visible on the back.
Seller stampsbyjamie, click image for listing.

A receipt for £2 paid to register a telegraphic address of "KANEGOODS" for a year on 18 September 1967.
Malta Cable & Wireless 1967 - front
It has a date-stamp of Cable & Wireless, Malta.

The back has a 2d postage stamp to pay a receipt tax (on items from £2 to £100), which has the same C.D.S. on it.
Malta Cable & Wireless 1967 - back
Other 2d (or less) postage stamps are likely to have similar hand-stamps on them for the same purpose.
These images are courtesy of Matthew Axiak, who tells me the rate was 1d before around 1931/32 and 4d from August 1970.
This became 1c7 after decimalisation in May 1972, and it rose to 2c sometime in the early 1980s before being abolished by the late '80s or early '90s.

Additionally, I show a number of items of stationery from Malta under the Eastern Telegraph Co.




The JIBO 10.VI.52. Army Signals cancel of 10 June 1952 indicates a military presence, presumably left over from WWII.
The next day the 2 stamps were cancelled at Port Louis on the Northwest coast.
Army Signals Cancel - JIBO-1952
The image comes courtesy of Anders Uggla from Sweden, who tells me that the King's African Riffles Regiment was there at the time.
The code should either indicate this regiment, or perhaps the location of their camp.


The EIMM 3.XII.54. or possibly ETMM 3.XII.54. Army Signals cancel of 3 December 1954
A 2½d British stamp was added and cancelled the same day, again at Port Louis.
Army Signals Cancel - ETMM-1954   Army Signals Cancel reconstruction
The other side indicates the location of the cabin where this was probably written aboard H. T. 'LANCASHIRE'
formerly HMT Lancashire before the mainmast was removed.
It was returning from the "Far East" back to Britain. The Army Signals cancel was presumably applied aboard the ship and the card handed to the
Mauritius postal authorities on docking. Images courtesy of Anders Uggla.



New Zealand

NZ Stamp Duty 3/- NZ Stamp Duty 5/- NZ Stamp Duty £4 and £10
Image courtesy of Les Bottomley. Image courtesy of tanstamps on Delcampe.
Click image for listing.
Images courtesy of Andrew Higson.

Victorian Stamp Duty Postal Fiscals used 1905, 1908 and 1912 for something related to Telegraphs.
It is by no means certain what exactly. The 3/- and 5/- could have been used to send a telegram,
but the £4 and £10 are perhaps more likely to have been used for accountancy purposses.
Does anyone know more about this usage ?

NZ 2s

This design of 2/- was around from 1898 until it was replaced in 1926.
I presume the year is blanked out for censorship, putting this in the 1914-18 time period.
This was used in Auckland.
NZ 5s

This design is of the same series as the last, but dated in 1910.
It was used in Invercargill. Image courtesy of Bram Leeflang.



NZ 3d NZ Telegraph NZ Telephone
3d Postage & Revenue used for Telegraphs in 1912
Courtesy of Les Bottomley.
2/6 Elizabethan used for Telegraphs
Courtesy of pc-filatelie.
10/- Elizabethan used for Telephones
Courtesy of Les Bottomley.


Cablegram dated 14 December 1945, in conjunction with Cable & Wireless Ltd.
NZ Cablegram 1945 - front
Imprint at bottom-left with "Tel. 139.   1 400 pads/6/43—3382J", which I take to imply that it was printed June 1943.

Back with envelope.
NZ Cablegram 1945 - back with envelope

Envelope front.
NZ Cablegram 1945 - envelope front
1945 Cablegram images courtesy of AsianStamp - (click an image for listing).


16 February 1959 Telegram envelope front and back.
NZ Telegram 1959 - front   NZ Telegram 1959 - back
Telegram envelope of 1959, courtesy of AsianStamp - (click image for listing).


1962 Telegram envelope front and back.
NZ Telegram 1962 - front   NZ Telegram 1962 - back
Telegram envelope of 1962, courtesy of AsianStamp - (click image for listing).


Telegram Seals.

A few are known and shown in the section on seals.



Nova Scotia

The examples I show here pre-date the entry of Nova Scotia into the Dominion of Canada (1867).

NS 1856 cover - front NS 1856 cover - back
NS 1856 cover - detail Described as "Scott 4 on Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Co Emboss Cover
& Diena Cert EX KRAMER"

The top-left corner has circular embossing reading
"Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company / incorporated 1851"

The cover is dated 8 February 1856.
It was mailed from Shelburne and addressed to Rockport, Maine, USA.
it travelled via Yarmouth, Digby and New Brunswick.

Images courtesy of Buystamps on eBay.
click image for listing.


Sale 103 Lot 659
The Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company - incorporated 1851
This is 1858.
Courtesy of Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions. (click on image for listing).




Pakistan was created aa a separate entity on 15 August 1947 when India was divided. Initially, Pakistan was in two parts, West and East.

Pakistan Map
In December 1971, East Pakistan became the independent Bangladesh, with Dhaka (Dacca) as its capital.
Anyone have telegraphic material of Bangladesh ?
Initially Pakistan still needed to rely on facilities that had been created prior to the partitioning, by overprinting.

Overprinted 10Rp stamp 1Rp stamp - P.T.O.
An overprinted 10Rp stamp used in 1948. Pakistani (bilingual)
stamps became available later that year. Courtesy Les Bottomley.
1Rp stamp used in 1969. The cancel is in the
style of India, but now with P.T.O. at the bottom.
Courtesy Les Bottomley.



A selection of Telegraph forms. Courtesy Les Bottomley.
Not sure what the "B. T. B." stands for.
Telegraph form selection

Telegraph form selection Telegraph form selection
The last is the earliest and has a couple of points of interest.
It looks like a Form B of India, but with no Coat of Arms or Logo.

It was printed by Bani Press in Dacca (East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) with the date given as "25-II-47".
The use of "II" suggests Roman numerals for February, rather than 11 for November.
February 1947 is before the official partitioning date though.

The Office stamp is clearly 1947 with "G. T. O." at the bottom.
What is the month though? I can only think it is "NO" for November, but an interesting style.
Then though, it would be 23 November 1947, so the imprint cannot be 25 November 1947.
These have to have been printed in February in preparation.


A Telegraph form used 20 March 1971.
C.-Book. (T&T). This has a large, boxed "SU" which I take to mean "SUKKUR".
1971 Telegraph form
This has an imprint at the bottom reading "PCPPL—32 T&T—11-2-71—10,000 Bks."
1971 imprint


A Telegraph form used 18 January, but I'm not sure if 1971 or 1977 as the Karachi date-stamp is unclear.
C-3. at top-left. Again "SU".
1971 or 77 Telegraph form
This has an imprint at the bottom reading "Nazir Press Karachi.—2,00,000 Pads -" it continues in what I would guess to be Urdu :-
imprint part a
imprint part b




5 different Telegraph receipts
A selection of 5 telegraph receipts (4 different) from Haifa, spanning 1929 headed "Palestine Posts, Telegraphs & Telephones" to 1947 headed "Department of Posts & Telegraphs".
The writing was in Arabic, Hebrew and English, with various imprints at the bottom-right with ""S.O.P.", "G.C.P." or "Com-P". Despite these changes, the form number remained P. T. 13.
Images courtesy of vgstamps2015 on eBay (click image for listing).


A form used in Haifa on 9 August 1943, headed "Palestine Posts, Telegraphs & Telephones" with instructions in 3 languages. Hexagonal Censor mark.

Sending Telegraph - front Sending Telegraph - front
(Displayed half scale)
This has information on the back related to their Express Delivery Services.
"Handed in at" is given as "Sans Origine", French for "Without Origin". To avoid censorship perhaps.
No Form Number.

Images courtesy of Alex at ESAH Worldwide Postal History
(click image to see eBay listing)


An unused sending form P.T. 110. headed "Department of Posts & Telegraphs" of 1946 for "Foreign Telegrams and Radiotelegrams only." Again in 3 languages.
Sending Telegraph - front
The imprint on the right reading (I think) "33338—15000 Rds,—28.1.46—G.C.P.", so presumably 15000 printed by G.C.P. on 28 January 1946.
Sending Telegraph - imprint

Sending Telegraph - back
The back has the conditions of service. Photos courtesy of Aztec Collectables, click on one for the listing.



Papua and New Guinea

The eastern half of a large island just to the north of Australia, the western half being part of Indonesia.

Posts & Telecommunications Telegram envelope dated 30 September 1908.
1908 envelope
It was to Yule Island in Kairuku District.  Image courtesy of Samwells Ltd. click image for eBay listing.




TELEGRAF used at Łuków.
Image courtesy of Les Bottomley.

Telegram Seals.

Seals-pg-45bc Seals-pg-46aa
Poland-13 Poland H6a

A range of seals are known and shown in the section on seals.




Bilingual u nused Posts, Telegraph, Telephone & Radio Form of some kind.
Unused form ?




Like many countries normal postage stamps were often used to pay for telegraphic services. The only way to recognise them is by the cancel.
Arabic numerals
These are the Arabic numerals, 0 to 9 readig left to right.

Arabic dates.
When using cancels on telegrams or stamps to get the dates, there are some complications.
From 1840 to 1926 the Ottoman Empire used the Rumi calendar.
After converting the date from Arabic, add 584 years to get the Gregorian (Western) date.
After 1926, Gregorian dates were used, though sometimes dropping the first '1'.


25K stamp of 1917 First some history. Back in the days of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey used Ottoman Turkish for official purposes.
This was basically written in Arabic, but contained a lot of loan words from Arabic and Persian.
Roll on 1928, as part of the sweeping reforms of Atatürk, Turkey adopted a new modified Latin alphabet.
However it was not just that, many of the loan words were replaced by new Turkish words.
"Telegraph" in Ottoman Turkish had been "Bitlis", written (Persian, right to left) as something like
In modern Turkish it would be "Telegraf" which in Arabic is

Look at the stamp on the left. The Scott catalogue says it is a 1916-18  25 Piastre stamp.
The 25 in Arabic is clear enough, but it doesnt say Piastres (پیاستر), it says Kurush (کوروش), which Scott says
was used from 1926. For those (like me) that rely a lot on machine translation, the Turkish you get is
the modern version. Here's a tip though, try translating as Persian or Arabic.

The stamp is courtesy of Yalcin Kahramanlar (yvc140 on Delcampe, click image for listing)
He describes it as "Bitlis (Telegraph)" Postmark. The postmark could be clearer,
but allowing for it being Ottoman rather than Persian, could be

Something to look out for.

A list of places on Turkish postmarks can be found at :


Similarly to Persia, Money was raised to fund infrastructure by taxation on postal and telegraphic services.
This was done by using Charity stamps that were mandatory on certain days.

1927 2½k Air Post Tax 1932 2½k RA9 Post Tax 1943 3k Child Protection Tax - TELEFON cancel
1927 2½k Air Post Tax Stamp 1932 used 2½k Post Tax Stamp "TELEFON" on 1943 3k Child Protection Tax Stamp
Image courtesy of John Barefoot. Image courtesy of Rodney Cork. Image courtesy of Rodney Cork.

This requires some background since it contradicts information in both the Michel and the Scott catalogues (at least), which also contradict each other.
This was originally brought to my attention by Rodney Cork, a member of ONEPS, by showing me the "TELEFON" example. From there I looked at the Scott comments
for the "Postal Tax Stamps" and the "Postal Tax Air Post Stamps" which indicated that both were obligatory on certain days for certain things,
and stipulated 3k was required for telegrams sent by the latter. Strangely though, there was no 3k value of the Air Post type.
I mentioned this to John Barefoot who pointed out that it was very similar to what the Michel catalogue says, except that said 5k for telegrams.
This prompted John to look at his Turl Pullari Katalogue 1973 (in Turkish), that quoted the laws that instigated these taxes.
It turns out that it was the 2½k for telegrams, to be used on 20 days each year from 1926 (29 June) until 1934.
For the Air Post stamps, there was only a single issue of the 2½k stamps, the one shown, but for the non-air post types, there were a number of issues,
but they could also be used for parcels etc.

Having said that, Michel #17, issued in 1932 was for 2½k. From 1936 to 1938, Michel numbers 37 to 42 were various overprints on Michel #17. Michel #17 was a "Kinderhilfe" (Child aid) issue.
In 1928 there was a "Roter Halbmond"(Red crescent) issue of 2½k, Michel #10. There were further 2½k Red Crescent issues in 1935(#29A), 1938/43(#45I, #45III) with a single overprinting, #24.
To me that says that the Red Crescent 2½k stamps were not affected by the Tax, but the Child Aid 2½k stamps were primarily used for the Tax.

Time - Line :
WhenWhatAccording to
?List of 23 Official holidays given by Adolph Passer as published 14 June 1926 (No. 4/541) with 5p for telegrams.Max Mayo Pg.330
?Law of 16 December 1926 adds preceding day to hollidays. Additional fee on parcels and 'letters of value'.Max Mayo Pg.330
?In 1927 "All the then present day denominations were devalued to 20 paras".Max Mayo Pg.331

According to Pulham, 1973,
Days requiring compulsory Tax from 29 June 1926 :
Qty of days DatesName - EnglishName Turkish
231 December - 1 JanuaryNew Year's Day Yılbaşı Bayramı
2 30 April - 1 May Spring Festival Bahar Bayramı
2 20 - 23 April  Great National Assembly besieged   Büyük Millet Meclisi kuşadı 
2 29 - 30 August Aircraft and Victory Day Tayyare ve Zafer Bayrami
3 28 - 30 October Republic Day Cumhuriyet Bayrami
4  Starting sunset on the last day of Ramadan (March)  Sugar Feast Şeker Bayrami
5  July Sacrifice day (of Abraham) Kurban Bayrami


A Telegram in Arabic and French. Though having a pre-filled year of 188_, this has ١٨٩٤ written on it suggesting use in 1894.
The French-style perforated flap is rather slanted and there is no sign of it, or anything being used as a seal.
Form of January 1894

The only thing printed on the back is on the flap.
188_ flap back
Don't pay for delivery.


A French-style Telegram with pre-filled date of 190_  printed in Arabic and French, inside and outside. Again slanted perforations.

Form of 190? - inside   Form of 190? - outside
The pre-printed year is "190", but as usual has not been completed.    Images courtesy of AsianStamp - (click one for listing).


A Telegram with pre-filled date of 190_, printed in Arabic and French.
It has two sheets pasted togethe, making it quite long. Because of that I am displaying it half size.
For full size, copy it or open in a new tab and use <control>+ to magnify.
Form of 190?
there are a three Ottoman negative seals stamped on this.


A Telegram of January 1910 (date in pencil at top-right), in Arabic and French.
Form of January 1910
Still very long. Image courtesy of AsianStamp - (click for listing).


Here is an example of a Telegram from Sofia to Pera (a europeanized area of Constantinople/Istanbul). Said to be 27 January 1917.
Printed in just Arabic and using strips, it was sent in anglicized Bulgarian

Telegram of July 1927
Now much shorter. Note the imprints at bottom right and left. Photo courtesy of Aztec Collectables, click on it for the listing.


A Telegram of 1 December 1925 printed just in Arabic and using strips. Note the top-central large Arabic "Logo".
Form of December 1925
Note the different imprints at bottom right and left.


A Telegram of 1925 printed just in Arabic and using strips. Note the top-central large Arabic "Logo".
The date-stamp is unclear, but does appear to be 1925 and this does appear to be transitional between the last and the next.
Form of 1925
Changed imprints at the bottom.


A very similar Telegram of 21 October 1926, just in Arabic, but with a different top-central large Arabic "Logo".
Form of October 1926
Different imprints at bottom left at least.


A very different Telegram of unknown date, just in Anglicised Turkish. I put it here since it looks like a forerunner of the following ones.
At the top-left is "DEVLET / Telgraf muhaberatindan / dolayi mes'uliyet kabul etmez." - a Government disclaimer ; Top-centre is "T.C. P.T.T. TELGRAFNAME", and
top-right has "(Nü: 251)" with "Tarik:" and a place fore a date-stamp. That is unstamped, possibly because "Tarik" is a bit confusing.
Form of 1940?
No imprints at bottom.


A Telegram of 8 December 1941, in Anglicised Turkish. This has "T. C. / MÜNAKALÂT VEKÂLETİ / P. T. T. U. M." at the top-left,
with a boxed Government disclaimer underneath. At top-right is "(Őrnek : 251/1)" , the Form number.
"Yol" appears to mean Route.
Form of December 1941
No imprints.


A Telegram of 14 May 1948, quite similar to 1941. This has "T. C. / P. T. T. İ. G. M." at the top-left.
At top-right is now "(Őrnek : B. 1)".
Form of May 1948
There is an imprint at bottom-right reading "( D. D. Basimevi — 4004 - 947 )" which suggests a printing by "Devlet Basımevi" (State Printing House) in 1947.


A Telegram of 24 December 1954. This is mostly in Arabic, with an imprint at top-left which includes ١٩٥٣ suggesting a printing in 1953.
Form of December 1954


10 Paras Tax stamp

A Revenue stamp used in Pera in February 1897.
It is written in French and Arabic, and has a face value
of 10 Paras. The panel on the left has
"Au dessous de 100 piastres" meaning
"Below 100 piastres."
The dual-language and currency receipt on the right uses
this type of stamp. I cannot read where it was used, but
apparently in Turkey and dated 1893.
12 Piastres was chargedf or 7 words, plus 1 Piastre,
10 Paras for presumably the receipt plus tax.

Images courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.
10 Paras Tax stamp


This Ottomam Empire receipt was used in Samatia (Samatya) an area in Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1918. It has a 10 Paras impressed fiscal stamp.
The receipt is in French, but completed in Arabic.
Samatia, 1918
Image courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.


Another Ottomam Empire receipt, this used in Beyrout, then part of Turkey. It has 2 Piastre in Turkish semi-postal stamps of 1916 (Scott B23).

Beyrout, 1916
Image courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.


Telegram Seals.

A range of telegram seals were also used in Turkey, here are some at half scale :

Seals-pg-54ab   Seals-pg-54cc   Seals-pg-54ca   Star & Crescent only.   Railway - CCDD



As always, If anyone can provide further information and/or scans to help with this page, 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 2nd. July 2024

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