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Telegraph stamps of the World

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  I have brought these prices up to date and added currency selection.  
  I have also made some additions and used 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) for them.  
The original Hiscocks numbers are preserved.

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Steve Hiscocks wrote in 1982:
The stamps used for telegraphic purposes in Nepal have not to my knowledge been included in any previous listing of telegraph stamps. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that they should be included.

From 1881 to 1907 the postage stamps of Nepal were produced from locally made plates, occasionally on European wove paper but usually on local handmade papers of varying qualities. They were ungummed and imperforate. In 1907 new and much better quality postage stamps produced by Perkins, Bacon & Co. of London were introduced. The locally printed stamps went out of use and the few remaining stocks were withdrawn and stored.

The telegraph/telephone system was introduced in Nepal in 1917. In fact all messages were transmitted by telephone and the system must have been rather like that used in Patiala State (India). It was decided that prepayment would be made by stamps to be cancelled with specific telegraph / telephone cancellations (see Note below No. 12). From the beginning only the old type postage stamps were used (presumably because they were much cheaper than the imported engraved postage stamps).

Telegraph stamps were used in large quantities (although relatively few were preserved after use) and the original withdrawn old-types postage stamps would have been used up very quickly: large blocks or even full sheets of these low value stamps were regularly used. Thereafter new printings were made — initially from the old plates, the condition of which deteriorated considerably, later from recuts and finally from a completely new die which is easily distinguishable. In many cases these printings for telegraphic use can be unambiguously distinguished from the earlier printings for postal use by die or colour and in these cases prices are given for mint as well as used. In cases where confusion is possible prices are only given for those bearing the distinctive telegraphic cancellations. It should be stressed that the use of these stamps for postal purposes in the 1917 to 1930 period was not permitted except on one or two exceptional occasions when such use was essential because of a temporary dearth of 'proper' postage stamps. They are thus true telegraph/telephone stamps. In 1930 the production of these 'special' stamps ceased and ordinary postage stamps came into use although with the same or even more weird and wonderful cancellations.

My notes:
1917 to 1930 Printed by Chapakhana Press, Kathmandu, in sheets, usually of rough native paper of variable thickness and hardness.
These were printed from the plates of old postage stamps (superseded in 1907) for telegraphic purposes, and the impressions are poor to very poor.
Initially the old stocks were used up, then new printings were made from the old plates.
Later the plates were 'recut' and later still the new 1 Anna die was produced.

These old plates were made with individual clichés for each stamp (originally 64 stamps).
These clichés could occasionally fall off, needing to be replaced. They were occasionally replaced upside-down leading to tête-bêche pairs.
In the case of H5, a 4 Anna cliché was replaced by a 1 Anna cliché (upside-down) at the top right corner of the sheet.
The new 1 Anna die did not have individual clichés and hence did not produce tête-bêche pairs

In use, messages were written on a form and the price calculated at 3/4 Annas per word. Stamps were glued to the back and cancelled.
The message was sent verbally by telephone and the receiving office transcribed them for delivery.

Hiscocks only priced the unused stamps in cases where they can be 'unambiguously distinguished' from the earlier postal use by shade or die.
I have added prices for the other mint stamps as well (marking them in red), but it is for the collector to decide what to collect.
Prices for used stamps, are for those with telegraph cancels. Be aware that some shades of these stamps were only used for the earlier postal purposes.

There are many forgeries about, particularly of H2,   -   I will try to get details of these.
According to nepalstamps.com, there are at most about 122 genuine mint copies of H2 and less than 400 used (H&V setting 6).
Nepalstamps.com have a specialised section of their website on the Nepalese telegraph stamps.

No watermark, no gum. Imperf.

Nepal Type 1 Nepal Blister flaw Nepal Type 2
½ Anna, Hiscocks Type 1 (H1a)   -   Position 57/58 tête-bêche pair ½ Anna, Hiscocks Type 1 (H1a)
Position 42 'Double blister flaw'.
½ Anna, Hiscocks Type 1 (H2)
I'm told this is a forgery.


Nepal Type 2 Nepal Type 2 recut Nepal Type 2 recut
1 Anna, postally used 1 Anna worn, Hiscocks Type 2 1 Anna recut, Hiscocks Type 2 - H3d


Nepal 2A Nepal 2A Nepal 2A Nepal 2A
2 Anna shades, Hiscocks Type 3


Nepal 2A Nepal 2A Nepal 2A Nepal 2A
2 Anna shades, Hiscocks Type 3


Nepal 2A shade Nepal 2A shade Nepal 2A shade
Examples of 2 Anna shades   -   courtesy Max of Tilford stamps.


Nepal Type 4 Nepal 4A Nepal 4A
4 Anna shades, Hiscocks Type 4
Early European paper, courtesy Raj
Sukhani of Sukhanistamps. Postage only.
A couple of mine on native paper, telegraphically used.

Nepal Type H5a
An example of the 1A green (H5/H5a) at the top right corner surrounded by 4A stamps (H11f).


The shades are very variable, particularly the 2As and not a good guide to the face value.
The value is at the top of the right-hand panel, and bottom of the left panel, though it is not always clear and is also a bit variable.

Nepal 1 Anna
1 Anna (Type 2)
Nepal 1 Anna
1 Anna (Type 5)
Nepal 2 Anna
2 Annas
Nepal 2 Anna
2 Annas
Nepal 2 Anna
2 Annas
Nepal 4 Anna
4 Annas
Nepalese 1 Nepalese 2 Nepalese 4


RH # Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
RH1 H1 1 ½A black (1917-1928) 20.00 1.00
RH1a H1a           tête-bêche (pair) 70.00 4.00
RH1b H1b           grey 20.00 1.00
RH1c H1c           grey tête-bêche (pair) 70.00 5.00
RH1d H1d           grey-black (1929-1930) 7.00 -
RH1e H1e           tête-bêche (pair) 30.00 -
RH2 H2 1 ½A orange-vermilion (1917) 1000.00 180.00
RH2a H2a           tête-bêche (pair) - 1000.00
RH3 H3 2 1A blue (shades) 12.00 2.00
RH3a H3a           tête-bêche (pair) 50.00 8.00
RH3b H3b           deep blue 15.00 2.50
RH3c H3c           deep blue tête-bêche (pair) 60.00 10.00
*RH3d -           deep blue re-cut 12.00 2.00
*RH3e -           re-cut tête-bêche (pair) 50.00 8.00
RH4 H4 2 1A pale emerald (error) (1917) - 100.00
RH4a H4a           tête-bêche (pair) - 400.00
RH4b H4b           deep emerald - 150.00
RH4c H4c           tête-bêche (pair) - 600.00
RH5 H5 2 1A yellow green (shades) (error) (1930) 300.00 -
RH5a H5a           se-tenant with No. 11f (pair) [see note]   450.00 -
RH6 H6 3 2A aniline carmine 17.50 7.00
RH6a H6a           tête-bêche (pair) 60.00 24.00
RH6b H6b           brown-red (shades) 15.00 6.00
RH6c H6c           tête-bêche (pair) 45.00 18.00
RH6d H6d           venetian red 17.50 7.00
RH6e H6e           tête-bêche (pair) 60.00 24.00
RH7 H7 3 2A lavender 15.00 6.00
RH7a H7a           tête-bêche (pair) 45.00 18.00
RH7b H7b           lilac (shades) 15.00 6.00
RH7c H7c          tête-bêche (pair) 45.00 18.00
RH7d ƒH7d           grey-blue (shades) 38.00 15.00
RH7e H7e          tête-bêche (pair) 115.00 45.00
RH8 H8 3 2A rose-mauve (shades) 18.00 7.00
RH8a H8a           tête-bêche (pair) 50.00 20.00
RH8b H8b           red-purple (shades) 18.00 7.00
RH8c H8c           tête-bêche (pair) 50.00 20.00
RH8d H8d           claret 15.00 6.00
RH8e H8e           tête-bêche (pair) 45.00 18.00
RH8f H8f           magenta (shades) 18.00 7.00
RH8g H8g           tête-bêche (pair) 50.00 20.00
RH9 H9 3 2A maroon 10.00 4.00
RH9a H9a           tête-bêche (pair) 30.00 12.00
RH9b H9b           brown-purple (shades) 10.00 4.00
RH9c H9c           tête-bêche (pair) 30.00 12.00
RH9d H9d           chocolate 18.00 7.00
RH9e H9e           tête-bêche (pair) 54.00 30.00
RH9f H9f           brown (shades) 18.00 7.00
RH9g H9g           tête-bêche (pair) 54.00 30.00
RH10 H10 3 2A sepia (1929-1930) 12.00 4.00
RH10a H10a           tête-bêche (pair) 45.00 15.00
RH10b H10b           red-brown (shades) (1929-1930) 9.00 3.00
RH10c H10c           tête-bêche (pair) 30.00 10.00
RH10d H10d           chestnut (1929-1930) 9.00 3.00
RH10e H10e           tête-bêche (pair) 27.00 10.00
RH10f H10f           orange-brown (shades) (1929-1930) 9.00 3.00
RH10g H10g           tête-bêche (pair) 27.00 10.00
RH11 H11 4 4A green (shades) 10.00 4.00
RH11a H11a           tête-bêche (pair) 70.00 28.00
RH11b H11b           blue-green (shades) 15.00 6.00
RH11c H11c           tête-bêche (pair) 105.00 42.00
RH11d H11d           bright emerald (shades) 25.00 10.00
RH11e H11e           tête-bêche (pair) 175.00 70.00
RH11f H11f           yellow-green (1929-1930) 10.00 4.00
RH11g H11g           tête-bêche (pair) 70.00 28.00
RH11h H11h           deep green (1929-1930) 15.00 6.00
RH11i H11i           tête-bêche (pair) 105.00 42.00

My Notes: The Scott catalogue (2007) gives the same illustration (the 1 Anna) for the 1A, 2A and 4A leaving people to judge the value by the shade.
Given the range of shades, this has led to mistakes of identification being made, typically bluish 2A stamps described as 1A stamps.

*I have added H3d and H3e since, though Hiscocks mentions the re-cut 1A stamps, he did not list them as such. I thought them worth adding.

H4 is only known used and H5 (a 1A cliché in a 4A plate) is only known unused.

ƒH7d was originally 'grey-black (shades)' - I have never seen any, or any described as such. There are however grey-blue shades so I assumed it was a typo.

Steve Hiscocks only priced the unused stamps in cases where they can be 'unambiguously distinguished' from the earlier postal use by shade or die.
I have added prices for the other mint stamps as well (marking them in red), but it is for the collector to decide what to collect.


Hiscocks added the following 2 notes:

Note 1. No. 2 is probably an error of colour, it is in fact in the colour which was used for the
                impressed post-card stamp.
Note 2. No. 5a occurs because a single 1A cliché was inserted in error into the 4A plate
                (position 8). It was inverted, so se-tenant pairs of the 1A & 4A are always tête-bêche.


1928 to 1930 New die (type 5) with smaller lettering and larger centre (8 x 10½mm compared with 6¾ x 9mm).
The corners are very distinctive. Other details as before.

Nepal Type 5 Nepal Type 5 Nepal Type 5
1 Anna, Hiscocks Type 5, H12 1 Anna, Hiscocks Type 5, H12a 1 Anna, Hiscocks Type 5, H12b


RH # Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
RH12 H12 5 1A greyish blue (shades) 10.00 2.50
RH12a H12a           deep blue (shades) 10.00 2.50
RH12b H12b           indigo 12.00 3.00
RH12c H12c           ultramarine (shades) 15.00 5.00

The Scott catalogue illustrates this upside-down.

Hiscocks added the cancel illustrations below and the following 3 notes:

Nepal stamps - page 198
Further information can be found at nepalstamps.com.

Note 1. All the above stamps were issued imperforate. Spurious 'pin-perforated' copies are
                occasionally found.
Note 2. The used prices above are for good copies cancelled with the telegraph/telephone
                cancellations illustrated (6,7,8,9). Of these:
                Type 6 was used at Kathmandu at the Head Office throughout the 1917 to 1930 period.
                Type 7 at the Chisapani Sub-Office and
                Type 8 and similar at the Birganj Sub-Office throughout the period.
                Type 9 was used at Amlekhganj from 1927 to 1930.
                A very few of these stamps were used postally. The postal cancellations are mostly circular and are
                very rare on telegraph stamps.
Note 3. Mint prices are only given when the mint stamp can be distinguished by colour or otherwise from the earlier
                postage stamps of the same type.

My note: I read a reference to "trial pin-perforations mentioned by E.A.Smythies (Vignola collection)."
He was the person that found a number of sheets left over in the Kathmandu Treasury and first discovered H5.
The Scott catalogue lists them with a modest premium.
A premium of about 50% would seem reasonable, since they are fairly scarce but have uncertain status.

Where Hiscocks gives the use of these cancels up to 1930, they actually continued in use up to at least 1959 for telegraphic use of postage stamps.
See below for some examples.

Nepal stamps - page 198
Map of the four offices courtesy of Edward Gosnell.




half Anna with and without perfs.
Half Anna imperf. and pin-perf., courtesy Max of Tilford stamps


Nepal H3 TB block Nepal 2As tête-bêche pair Nepal 2As tête-bêche pair Nepal 4As tête-bêche pair
1 Anna re-cut, Hiscocks H3d/e 2 Annas tête-bêche pair 2 Annas tête-bêche pair - pin-perf. 4 Annas tête-bêche pair (annotated!)
One of mine - spot the inverted cliché Courtesy Raj Sukhani of Sukhanistamps A couple of mine.

A note about the pin-perforations: The first postage stamps of 1881 were on gummed paper and perforated.
It is unlikely that any of these would have been in storage in 1917 when the telegraph line was established.
However from 1898 to 1901 pin-perforated stamps were available upon request. It is a matter of conjecture as to whether any would be in storage.
The stored stamps were used up very quickly and new stamps were printed. The Telegraph offices had no need for perforated stamps, and they were still valid for postage.
The 2 Anna pair shown above has a Amlekhganj cancel, that office did not open until 1927. It is likely that the perforations were added later.


Nepal H7 strip of 4
This is a strip of 2 Anna stamps. Anyone using a Scott catalogue would probably call it 1 Anna because of the colour !   (courtesy Raj Sukhani of Sukhanistamps)


Nepal 2A tête-bêche pair Nepal 4A shade
A 2 Annas tête-bêche pair   and a 4 Anna   -   courtesy Max of Tilford stamps.


As mentioned, the original plates were made up of individual clichés that occasionally became detached and had to be re-attached.
The fact that they were sometimes put back inverted, and the fact of occasional damage gave rise to
different settings of stamps and sometimes different states of the same 'H&V' setting.
Early work on this subject was produced (in Italian) by Wolfgang C. Hellrigl and Frank Vignola and
published by the 'Nepal and Tibet Philatelic Study Circle' (1 May 1984) as "The classic stamps of Nepal" (215 pages), ASIN: B0000ECG89

The sheets were originally of 64 stamps in 8 rows of 8.
For the purposes of identifying individual stamps, position 1 is at the top-left corner,
position 8 at the top-right and so on down the sheet to 64 at bottom-right.

The first printings of the half Anna were in the rare Orange-Vermilion shade with H&V setting 6.
Setting 7 has positions 1, 6, 7, 8, and 57 inverted.
Setting 8 has positions 6, 7, 8, and 57 inverted.
Setting 9 has positions ? Flattened base cliché posion 6.
Setting 10 has positions 6, 7, 8, 25 and 57 inverted. Flattened base cliche moved from position 6 to position 1.
Setting 12 has positions 1, 6, 7, 8, and 57 inverted and developed 'double blister' flaw on position 42.
Setting 13 has positions 1, 6, 7, 8, 25 and 57 inverted (with 'double blister' flaw).
Setting 14 has positions 1, 6, 7, 8 and 25 inverted. 57-64 removed. bottom of 50 damaged (with 'double blister' flaw).

Given the variability of shades in these, I am uncertain
how the black, grey and grey-black printings may be distinguished. A single sheet appears to contain a range of shades.
Sometimes a single stamp will too.

Nepal half Anna sheet
This sheet (courtesy Raj Sukhani of Sukhanistamps) has inverted clichés at positions 1, 6, 7, 8, 25 and 57. This is [presumably] Setting 11.

Nepal half Anna sheet
This sheet (courtesy Raj Sukhani of Sukhanistamps) has inverted clichés at positions 1, 6, 7, 8, 25 and 57. This is [presumably] Setting 11.

Nepal half Anna sheet
This sheet (courtesy Raj Sukhani of Sukhanistamps) has inverted clichés at positions 1, 6, 7, 8, 25 and 57 and also has the 'double blister' flaw.
This is Setting 13.

Nepal half Anna sheet
A closeup of row 6 starting at H&V position 41 shows the 'double blister' flaw on 42 and associated flaws on 44 and 45. Setting 13 and 14.

Nepal half 'blister' block
This block of 12 (courtesy Raj Sukhani of Sukhanistamps) again shows the 'double blister' flaw on 42 and associated flaws on 44 and 45.


2A block of 12 from top-left corner, with 4 tête-bêche pairs. Kathmandu cancels.
(showing inverted clichés at positions 1, 8, 13 and 14)

Nepal 2A block of 12


2A setting 29, block of 52(nearly) from a sheet of 56 (half size), with 6 tête-bêche pairs. Birganj Sub-Office cancels.
(showing inverted clichés at positions 8, 14, 15, 18, 19 and 48, with 1 and 9 missing.)

Nepal 2A block of 52(nearly)



Here is a typical form of the period, half-size, courtesy of Richard Frajola :

Nepal 2A block of 52(nearly)
Richard says "A typical example of a telegraph form, here bearing the Chisapani cancellation.
The stamps were glued to the backs of such forms, and cancelled."
Nepali numerals

The numerals are a bit variable, but here is a cross-reference
courtesy of Richard Frajola.

Nepal used a lunar calendar. The 12 months varied between 28 and 32 days,
with each Sambat year beginning around 13th/14th April and almost 57 years
ahead of the Gregorian calendar.
To convert (approximately), subtract 56 years, 8 months and 17 days.
The form on the left is dated 2000/11/11 (Year/Month/Day) which makes it
24 February 1944. This would have used the (gummed) stamps shown below.


See also Richards' Nepal Calling, 1917 to 1930 PDF document.


According to Hiscocks: "In 1930 the production of these 'special' stamps ceased and ordinary postage stamps came into use
although with the same or even more weird and wonderful cancellations."

Nepal block of 10, 4As stamps
This is a half-size block of 10, 4As stamps of the 1929 set courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.
Nepal a 4As single from the block
There was a set of four values (2p, 4p, 8p, 16p) in 1907 similar to this, but with only 5 characters in the bottom panel reading "Gurkha Sirkar" with a date of 1964 (local calendar) in the bottom corners.
This 1929 issue has 7 characters reading "Nepal Sirkar" and is dated 1986. This set has 6 values of this size with additions of 24p and 32p, together with larger 1R and 5R values.
There is a later 1935 issue (perf.14) with the date changed to 1992 and just the 6 low values. Then 1941-46 another series to 1R, redrawn and with perforations in the range 11 to 12.

An interesting note, the original Perkins, Bacon & Co (London) sheets were 10x10 sheets. During World War II supplies ran out in Nepal, and 4-wide sheets of 28, 36 or 40
were made by producing copper plates from photographs of original sheets. these were then line perforated. These were of very variable quality.


Here is a later form using Official stamps.
telegram with 1959 series Official stamps
I'm not sure of the date of this, but it bears 2R58p in Official stamps of 1959. The set of these has small stamps of 2p, 4p, 6p, 8p and 12p, and large stamps of 16p, 24p, 32p, 50p, 1R and 2R.
This is also used in Chisapani. The stamps bear the Arms of Nepal and there is also a similar cachet. Image courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

3 x 50p Official stamps
Another three of these stamps courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht. I was unsure of the cancel, but Richard Frajola did some investigating and told me it is described as :
"Drawing of previously unrecorded Okhaldunga tel/tel cancel" in 1988 Congress book article on Nepal Telephone / Telegraph stamps by Lester Michel. http://fuchs-online.com/ntpsc

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 17th. June 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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