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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Up a level Not my site, but
a good reference:
Post Office Telegraphs Ceylon Telegraphs HongKong Telegraphs India Telegraphs Jamaica Telegraphs Orange Free State Telegraphs Orange Free State Telegraphs Australia
GB Ceylon Hong Kong India Jamaica Natal OFS Australia and states
Up a level by Dave Elsmore.
Matabeleland Telegraphs Sarawack Telegraphs Sudan Telegraphs Transvaal Telegraphs Uganda Railway NSW Telegraphs Western Australia Telegraphs Western Australia Telegraphs
Other Africa Sarawak Sudan Transvaal Uganda New South Wales Western Australia Other Australia


  I have brought these prices up to date and added currency selection.  
 New designations have 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) to avoid confusion. 

CheckList         Setup


Andrew Higson.
Ian Paterson.
R. Timothy Bartshe.
Mark Taylor.
 Deverell & Macgregor.
 Roger de Lacy-Spencer.
RL - Rolf Lamprecht.



Steve Hiscocks wrote:
The 'definitive' telegraph stamps of 1881 are quite straightforward although most values are by no means common. The final printing was
made in 1901 and there was expectation in Natal that these would be followed by a King Edward VII series. The King Edward VII series did not
materialize however and provisionals based on revenue stamps were prepared to fill the gap. These show many varieties and are of considerable
interest. The use of these provisionals was presumably followed by the use of postage stamps.
Cancellations are noted below. The circular date stamps used were mainly those used for postage stamps but special telegraphic cancellations were
used in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.


1881 - Watermark Crown over CA sideways, perf 14.
Typographed by De La Rue.

Natal 1d Natal 3d Natal 3d
1d   H1 3d   H2 - two shades

Natal 6d Natal 6d Natal 1s Natal 2s
6d   H3 - two shades 1s   H4 - from RL. 2s   H5 - Used.

Natal 5s Natal 10s Natal £1 Natal £5
5s   H6 - Used. 10s   H7 - from RL. £1   H8 - Used. £5   H9 courtesy of Andrew Higson.

The printing seems to have been in two operations with the value added later.
The positioning of the value within the frame is variable.
The 6d in the illustration below suggests the colour may also not always match.


RH # Hisc. Description Mint Used
RH1 H1 1d red-brown. 10.00 10.00
RH2 H2 3d rose-carmine. 15.00 20.00
RH3 H3 6d brown-olive (shades).   12.50 10.00
RH4 H4 1s deep blue-green. 15.00 25.00
RH4a H4a         imperf. 125.00 -
RH5 H5 2s purple. 30.00 40.00
RH6 H6 5s blue. 40.00 50.00
RH7 H7 10s slate. 125.00 150.00
RH7a H7a         imperf. 250.00 -
RH8 H8 £1 chocolate. 500.00 500.00
RH9 H9 £5 orange. 1250.00 1250.00

Hiscocks added the following 3 notes:

Note 1. Used copies are sometimes cancelled with a large violet box cancellation including 'NATAL' and other
                words in 7mm block capitals but circular date stamp cancellations in black are the most common .
Note 2. The £5, No. 9, is very rare. It is more often found overprinted 'SPECIMEN' — price about £150.
                Specimens of all values exist and price as for mint for lower values.
Note 3. There was a final issue of the above series in early 1901 and these are said to have been in
                lighter, brighter shades than the 1881 issue. The £5 value was no longer available for a
                presentation set in January 1902 so it is not certain that this value was included in the last printing.
Natal H4a
Block of four of RH4a courtesy of  Deverell & Macgregor - click image for listing.



Natal H1 to H8
All but the £5 as Specimens, courtesy of  Roger de Lacy-Spencer.


Natal £5 Specimen  Natal £5 Specimen

Two more £5 Specimen Types (2x size) courtesy of Mark Taylor. ( Trading in stamps via Natal £5 Specimen ).

Note the differences in these. I am told the last is a unique unlisted type ex Marcus Samuel.



1888 Provisional.

Natal 6d - RH10 Natal 6d - RH10c
6d   H10
Courtesy of  Deverell & Macgregor.
6d   H10a - Ex. Andrew Higson.
Image courtesy of Spink & Son.

Hiscocks describes this as an 1888 provisional listed by Morley and Robson Lowe but unconfirmed.
The first example I have seen was sold by Andrew Higson at Spink in London. It has a double overprint.
There was also said to be an illustration in a 1942 article by A.E. Basden, “South African telegraph stamps” in
The South African Philatelist Vol.18, No.12, p.136. I have not seen it.
I have though now been shown the other example above, sold in 2007 (thanks Alan).

RH # Hisc. Description Mint Used
RH10 H10 6d dull mauve. - -
RH10a - overprint doubled. 2500.00 -


1902 Provisionals.

It was anticipated that a King Edward version would replace The Queen Victoria series.
That did not happen however and provisionals were produced with various overprints on Revenue stamps of 1886-91.


Natal-H11 Natal-H11a Natal-H12 Natal-H13
3d on 4d   H11 (1.8mm) - from RL. 3d on 4d   H11a (1.2mm gap) 3d on 4d   H12 (same-height capitals) 3d on 4d   H13 (lower case)

Natal-H14 Natal-H14a Natal-H15 Natal-H15a Natal-H15b
6d on 9d   H14 (1.8mm gap) 6d on 9d   H14a (1.2mm gap) 1s on 9s H15 (1.8mm gap, narrow 'LL') 1s on 9s H15a (1.2mm) - from RL. 1s on 9s H15b (1.2mm gap, wide 'LL')

Natal-H16 Natal-H17a Natal-H17b Natal-H18
1s on 9s H16 - from RL. 1s on £1   H17a (1.2mm, narrow 'LL') 1s on £1  H17b (1.2mm, wide 'LL') 1s on £1   H18 - from RL.

Natal-H19a Natal-H19b Natal-H20
1s on £1.10s   H19a - from RL. 1s on £1.10s   H19b (wide 'LL') 1s on £1.10s   H20 - from RL.


RH # Hisc. Description Mint Used
RH11 H11 3d on 4d dull mauve (1.8mm gap between 'TELEGRAPH' and upper bar). 30.00 35.00
RH11a H11a         1.2mm gap. 20.00 25.00
RH11b H11b         error — 'THREE PENCE' (small 'P') 150.00 175.00
RH12 H12 3d on 4d dull mauve (1.2mm gap between 'TELEGRAPH' and upper bar). 20.00 25.00
RH13 H13 3d on 4d dull mauve (lower case). 30.00 35.00
RH13a H13a         error — antique 'e' in 'Three'. 150.00 175.00
RH14 H14 6d on 9d dull mauve (1.8mm gap between 'TELEGRAPH' and upper bar). 50.00 60.00
RH14a H14a         1.2mm gap. 25.00 30.00
RH14b H14b         error — printed on reverse (displaced upwards. Both types). - -
RH15 H15 1s on 9s dull mauve and carmine (9.3mm 'SHILLING' and 1.8mm gap). 50.00 60.00
RH15a H15a         1.2mm gap. 20.00 25.00
RH15b H15b         9.7mm 'SHILLING' and 1.2mm gap 50.00 60.00
RH16 H16 1s on 9s dull mauve and carmine (1.2mm gap). 200.00 225.00
RH17 H17 1s on £1 dull blue-green (9.3mm 'SHILLING' and 1.8mm gap). 50.00 60.00
RH17a H17a         1.2mm gap. 20.00 25.00
RH17b H17b         9.7mm 'SHILLING' and 1.2mm gap 50.00 60.00
RH18 H18 1s on £1 dull blue-green (1.2mm gap) - All equally large capitals like H20.   200.00 225.00
RH19 H19 1s on £1.10s dull mauve and blue (9.3mm 'SHILLING' and 1.8mm gap). 75.00 90.00
RH19a H19a         1.2mm gap. 30.00 35.00
RH19b H19b         9.7mm 'SHILLING' and 1.2mm gap 75.00 90.00
RH20 H20 1s on £1.10s dull mauve and blue (1.2mm gap, letters of 'SHILLING' same height). 300.00 325.00


Hiscocks added the following 4 notes:

Note 1. For all the 1902 provisionals the overprints were set up in 5 rows of 6 stamps.
                Eight of these blocks of 30 made up the complete sheet of 240.
                For each basic type (3d on 4d, 6d on 9d, 1s on 9s, 1s on £1 and 1s on £1.10s) there was only the one
                setting and all the different types occurred within the basic blocks of 30.
                The 'TELEGRAPH' and bars over 'REVENUE' and the value tablet at the bottom remained the same.
                throughout and the 1.8mm gap between 'TELEGRAPH' and the upper bar (over 'REVENUE') variety.
                occurs in the top row of six stamps of each block of 30 and thus affects only those varieties found at.
                the top of the block. The lengths of the bars at top and bottom vary considerably in no obvious pattern.
                They could probably be used for plating but seem to be of no other significance and have not therefore.
                been regarded as varieties.
Note 2. For the 3d on 4d provisionals the setting is as follows:
No. 11No. 11No. 11 No. 11No. 11No. 11
No. 11(a)No. 11(a)No. 11(a)No. 11(b)No. 11(a)No. 11(a)
No. 11(a)No. 11(a)No. 11(a)No. 11(a)No. 12No. 12
No. 12No. 12No. 12No. 12No. 12No. 12
No. 13No. 13No. 13No. 13No. 13No. 13(a)

There are thus 6 of No.11, 9 of No.11(a), 1 of No.11(b), 8 of No.12, 5 of No.13 and 1 of No.13(a).
Note 3. Apart from the 1.8mm vs 1.2mm gap variation, no systematic varieties have been reported for the
                6d or 9d provisionals. A broken 'E' on the last stamp of the second row of the block of 30 has been
                reported but it appears to have been an individual error.
Note 4. The 1s varieties are the same on all three stamps (i.e. on 9s, £1 or £1.10s). The wider 'SHILLING' derives
                from a slightly larger 'LL' in some cases. The setting is as follows:
No. 15No. 15No. 15 No. 15No. 15No. 15
No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)
No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)
No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)No. 15(a)
No. 15(b)No. 15(b)No. 15(b)No. 15(b)No. 15(b)No. 16
         Settings for Nos. 17, 17(a), 17(b) and 18 and for Nos. 19, 19(a), 19(b) and 20 are analogous.
         There are thus 6 of No. 15, 18 of No. 15(a), 5 of No. 15(b) and 1 of No. 16, and similarly for Nos. 17-20.
         These figures multiply by eight to give numbers in sheets. It is not known how the numbers of 1s provisionals  
         on 9s, £1 and £1.10s compare and, for pricing purposes, it has been assumed that equal numbers were
         printed on 9s and £1 and rather less on £1.10s.



On the right is an example showing the different 3d overprints on 4d stamps.
Image courtesy of Mark Taylor trading in stamps via Natal £5 Specimen
Natal 3d overprints on 4d Natal 3d overprints on 4d

A different strip of three,
courtesy of  Deverell & Macgregor
click image for listing.
Natal 3d overprints on 4d

A block of four with the top pair different to the bottom pair,
courtesy of  Deverell & Macgregor
click image for listing.



A British Post Office Circular(PDF) of 1 July 1878, states :
"Notice has been received that Telegraphic communication has been extended to Natal, and that Telegraph Offices have been opened at the following places :—
Pietermaritzburg, Durban, and The Point.
The rate to these places from Cape Town is 5s. for 20 words including the addresses, and 1s. for every additional 10 words."


A Telegraph Sending Form T/1 of 1896, used at the Point, Durban with 1/6d worth of stamps.
Natal - Durban 1896 Natal - Durban 1896
The back lists the charges, but it is unclear what / whether names and/or addresses are included.
Images courtesy of R. Timothy Bartshe.

A Telegraph Sending Form T.1 of the Anglo-Boer war period.
Natal - Glencoe Camp 1899
The Office Stamp is very similar to ones used in the earlier Bechuanaland Expedition 1884-85, except for the date.
At that time, the code GC meant Groot Choing, but I'm told that on this it refers to Glencoe Camp. The Boers occupied Glencoe on 25th October 1899.
This is presumably 18 October 1899. Image courtesy of Ian Paterson.


A Telegram of the Natal Government Telegraphs. Form T. 4. / CA
Sent from Pietermaritzburg (PMBurg) and received by the Natal Field Force 1 at Frere on 2 December 1899.
Natal 3d overprints on 4d
Censorship was clearly a serious concern. Lives were at stake. Image courtesy of Ian Paterson.



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Last updated 16th May 2023

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