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Telegraph stamps of the World

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- - Paul & Les Bottomley.
RL - Rolf Lamprecht.
Stephen Roche of LatinAmericanPhilatelics.com.
Victor Gugliano of Saa-Philatelic.

  I have brought these prices up to date and added currency selection.

I have made an addition and used 'RH' (Revised Hiscocks) numbers to
preserve the original Hiscocks numbers.  
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Steve Hiscocks wrote:
The stamps used for telegraphic purposes in Peru are themselves fairly straight-forward with two series of specifically telegraph stamps separated
by a series of overprinted postage stamps and a pair of overprinted postage due stamps. The use of postage due stamps is unusual. There is some
uncertainty however over the 'overprints' of 'PERU' and the name of a town in capitals on two lines commonly found on all but (in my experience) the
first (1876-96) series. Walter Morley, in a series of notes in his journal during 1901, regards these as town overprints applied before sale and lists
dozens of them on various values in various colours. An examination of those that have come my way suggest that these were not overprints but
were the standard form of cancellation from around 1896 onwards. All those I have found without such a cancellation have been clearly mint and
possessed of their original gum while all those bearing the PERU / Town cancellations have no gum and no sign of other cancellation. Subject to
correction I therefore conclude that the standard form of cancellation after about 1896 was a neat hand stamp of PERU / Name of town in black,
blue-black, purple, blue, green, magenta, or red, fairly centrally placed, although at random orientation, on each stamp. Those reported with
additions from my own collection, are listed below. No doubt there are many more to be added.

CHANCAY (purple) CONCEPCION (black) HUARAL (purple) PAITA (black, blue-black) TARMA (blue-black, red, blue)
CHIMBOTE (blue-black)FERRENAFE (blue-black)HUARMEY (blue-black, black)PAMPAS (magenta)TRUJILLO(?) (magenta)
CHIMBQUE (purple)FERRO do RAS...(?) (blue-black)LAMBAYEQUE (black)SALAVERRY (blue-black)VILLALTA (blue-black)
CHINCHA (magenta)HUANUCO (green)LIMA (black, purple, magenta)SAN PEDRO (black)YCA (ICA?) (black, blue-black, green, purple)

Additionally, Casma (Purple) and Chiclayo (blue, see near bottom).
Can anyone add more to this list ?

My note:
I have added images of telegraphic items before the telegraph stamps were issued,
as well as some fake overprints that have come to light.
The catalogue of John Barefoot, illustrates a couple of stamps having cancels not on the list above. These are:
PERU / PISCO (blue-black?) and, interestingly, LIMA / NORTE (purple), on this, 'LIMA' is smaller than usual.


Timeline (with a lot of help from this article):
The earliest references to the telegraph in Peru is the Decree of March 6, 1857, which granted Augusto Goné exclusive rights for the construction of the lines from Lima to Callao and from Lima to Cerro de Pasco (a rich silver mining area). This privilege ceased after ten years since only the lines from Lima to Callao were built. It was Nationalized on June 25, 1867, putting the administration of the service to public auction. September of the same year, it was decided it would be more economical if the telegraphic service passed into private administration, it was delivered to Carlos Paz Soldán, who is considered the introducer of the telegraph in Peru and founded in the same year of 1867 the National Telegraphy Company.
On April 27, 1875 the Government of D. Manuel Prado decided to take back ownership of all the lines built by the National Telegraph Company, since it had not fulfilled its commitment to establish communications throughout the Republic. However, since the expenses were enormous for a poor national budget, it produced ever increasing deficits. The government again gave the administration to Mr. Paz Soldán, in 1877, for the term of eight years, forcing it to contract to cover the budget and make the improvements it deemed convenient, which would remain the benefit of the State. However, the concession was short lived, because in 1878 the telegraphic service was declared national, and would be administered in the same way as the mail. At the time the State assumed control of the telegraph lines, they extended for 2,525 km. There were 53 offices and 65 apparatuses using the Morse system.

About 1876, THE WEST COAST OF AMERICA TELEGRAPH COMPANY had a cable laid between Valparaiso (Chile) and Lima by CS Dacia with landings at La Serena, Caldera, Antofogasta, Iquique, Arico and Mollendo.

In 1881, a contract was signed between the Central and South American Telegraph Co., and The India Rubber Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Co. of London, to lay cables connecting much of South America to Panama and hence to Mexico and the rest of the world. This included a link to Payta and Chorillos via Colombia(Buenaventura) and Ecuador(Santa Elena Bay). It was completed in 1882.

An additional cable was laid by the CS FARADAY from Chorillos to Iquique (then Chile) and Valparaiso in 1906 and in 1920 another from Chorillos to Santa Elena (Salinas, Ecuador).

During the War of the Pacific (1879-83), the Directorate of Telegraphs became very active. New lines had to be built, the existing ones were inspected in their entirety to ensure fast communication. In addition, free schools were established for the teaching of the required skills, so that there would be no lack of service operators. Chile gained Arica and Iquique from Peru and Antofogasta from Bolivia in this war.

At the end of the war, Mr. Paz Soldán left the administration. His successor, Melitón Carvajal, had to redo the lines destroyed during the war, renew the material and repair the damaged telegraph offices. The old personnel had almost totally disappeared, another reason why a School of Telegraphists was needed. In 1895 Carvajal merged the post office with the telegraph service and in 1921, Government of the President Augusto B. Leguía delivered the administration of the telegraph service, along with the post office, to the English firm of The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. According to the signed contract, the company would receive 50% of the net profits, in addition to 5% of the annual gross product.
The sectors of the opposition criticized the contract, but supporters of the Government pointed out benefits derived from it, the reorganization of the services, the modernization and development of the systems and the profits obtained by the State. Finally, in April 1935, the Government of President Benavides signed a new contract with Marconi. Several years later, President José Luis Bustamante y Rivero promulgated the General Regulations of Telecommunications, giving provisions that included bringing the telegraph service back under state administration. In 1968, under the Government of Mr. Juan Velasco Alvarado, legal provisions were issued regarding the telegraphy service, in the General Telecommunications Law and in compliance therewith, the services were assumed by ENTEL PERU on December 22, 1976.
This is here to get consistent results on different browsers.
Peru Map



At times (or locations ?) when special Telegraph stamps were not in use, payments for Telegraph services appear to have been made with normal postage stamps that received the 'Bullseye' cancel as in Costa Rica.
Many of these same stamps were later overprinted for telegraphic use, though with a new special cancel.

Peru 1874-2c Peru 1886-5c Peru 1886-10c Peru 1886-50c Peru 1886-1s
1874 - 2c courtesy of Victor Gugliano 1886 - 5c 1886 - 10c 1886 - 50c 1886 - 1s


Peru 1897-2c Peru 1897-5c Peru 1899-5c
1897 - 2c (Posts & Telegraph building) 1897 - 5c 1899 - 5c

Note: This type of cancel is often seen on fake Pacific Steam Navigation Company (PSNC) stamps, it is not known on genuine examples.
For an overview of the PSNC reprints and fakes, see this writeup.


Unlike many Hispanic countries, Peru did not create "Correos y Telegrafos" issues.


1876 Engraved by the American Bank Note Co. White wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12.

Peru H1 Peru H2 Peru H3 Peru H3 used
H1 H2 H3 H3 - used with rather odd cancel.


Peru H1 Peru H2 Peru H3 Peru H1
H1 - Proof on thick paper. H2 - Proof ? H3 - Proof ? H3 - used
Images courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.


Peru RH3A
RH3A Courtesy of Stephen Roche
of LatinAmericanPhilatelics.com
(Click image for listing)
Used at Ayabaca near the border with Ecuador.
Perhaps they had a shortage of H1 ?
Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H1 1 5c chalky blue 2.50 5.00
H1a           imperf. 25.00 -
H2 2 20c deep blue-green 4.00 10.00
H2a           imperf. 25.00 -
H2b           bisected on piece. - 50.00
H3 3 50c deep brown 1.50 5.00
H3a           imperf. 25.00 -

1895? Postage stamp of 1886 (5c) with presumably a provisional overprint.
Above can be seen one with a bullseye cancel, so presumably they were needed,
but the 1896 issue and subsequent issues included 4c but no 5c.
Perhaps there was a tariff change. I am calling this RH3A to avoid re-numbering everything.

RH # Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
RH3A - 1a 5c orange - -

I would really like to hear from anyone with more examples with this overprint.


1896-1898 Postage stamps of 1866 (10c & 20c) and 1874-95 overprinted 'TELEGRAFOS' as type 4.
White wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12.

Peru H4 Peru H4 Peru H5 Peru H6
Type 4 H4 H5 H6


Peru H7 Peru H8 Peru H9
H7 H8 H9


Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H4 5, 4 1c vermilion (SG24) 3.50 3.00
H5 6, 4 2c lake (SG25) 4.00 2.50
H6 7, 4 10c orange (SG18) 3.00 2.00
H7 8, 4 20c blue (SG282) 10.00 7.50
H8 9, 4 50c dull vermilion (SG283) 20.00 10.00
H9 10, 4 1s grey-brown (SG284) 40.00 25.00
H9a           overprint double 250.00 -

The un-overprinted stamps of this series included extra values and in some cases the same values in different colours. These comprise:
1c dull violet(later vermilion), 2c green(later dark ultramarine), 5c orange, 10c slate, 20c red-brown, 50c red and 1s brown.

The top two of these (without overprint), I have seen used with the bullseye cancel that in some places at least (i.e. Costa Rica) is associated with Telegraphic usage.
Most of the Peruvian stamps that I have seen with a bullseye cancel have been 5c stamps (3 different ones) which makes it rather strange that no 5c stamps were overprinted.
The 10c orange can be darkened by sulpher in the atmosphere.

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. The postally used version of the 2c value on which No. 5 is based is reddish violet.
                The lake variety was not issued without overprint.


1896? Postage due stamps of 1874-9 (SG D31 and D34) overprinted as before.
White wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12.

Peru H10 Peru H11 Forgery Forgery
Type 11 (H10) Type 12 (H11) Forged Overprints  -  Wider letters, particularly the 'A'.
The 10c is an 1874 postage due stamp. The 5c is an 1886 postage stamp.
Images courtesy of Paul & Les Bottomley.

Forged Overprints The ones illustrated are a bit blatant since the genuine overprint is unknown on these stamps.
The same collection has this overprint also on H8, H9 and H10, so be very careful before parting with a lot of money.
This forged overprint has wider, slimmer letters. The 'A' is particularly different.
Another give-away on the 5c is the postal cancellation.


Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H10 11, 4 1c light brown (SG D31) 5.00 4.50
H11 12, 4 20c blue (SG D34) 15.00 7.50


1897 New designs. Engraved by the American Bank Note Co. on white wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12.

Peru H12 Peru H13 Peru H14 Peru H3
Type 13  -  H12 Type 14  -  H13  -  from RL Type 15  -  H14  -  from RL Type 16, but read note below.

H12b colour trial? pair 1   H12b colour trial? pair 2
H14b pair
H12b pairs and H14b pair - from RL.


Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H12 13 4c dark blue 3.50 2.50
H12a           overprinted with an anchor as type 16 (1898) 15.00 10.00
H12b           Imperf. on card (proof ?) 15.00 -
H13 14 40c rose 20.00 10.00
H13a           overprinted as type 16 (1898) 40.00 30.00
H13b           Imperf. (proof ?) 40.00 -
H14 15 1s green 75.00 50.00
H14a           overprinted as type 16 (1898) 150.00 100.00
H14b           Imperf. (proof ?) 150.00 -

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. A Peruvian catalogue of 1957 claims to have found no evidence for the existence
                of the anchor overprints and wonders whether they were actually a cancellation.
                I have, however, an example of No. 12(a) which appears to be genuine.
                The illustration above has been altered slightly to discourage forgery.

On the Right is a 4 cent stamp with an Anchor. It is from the same collection as the forgeries described above.
However the same collection also contains many genuine rarities. I do not know if this is genuine.
The illustration of Steve Hiscocks appears to be virtually identical to the one in the Yvert et Tellier catalogue.
H12a or Forgery ?
Courtesy of Paul & Les Bottomley.

H12a or Forgery ?  H12a or Forgery ?  H12a or Forgery ?
Three more examples from RL. The one with the Casma cancel is interesting, the anchor suggests a naval connection, but John Barefoot suggests
that the anchor may indicate use of the international (submarine) cable service.
Casma is on the coast.

H12 Specimen  H13 Specimen  H14 Specimen
Three Specimens from RL.


1904 As above but overprinted 'TELEGRAFO' as type 17 in black.

Overprint 17 Peru H15 Peru H16 Peru H17
Overprint 17 4c   -   H15 40c   -   H16 1s   -   H17


Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H15 13, 17 4c dark blue 4.50 3.00
H16 14, 17 40c rose 3.50 2.50
H17 15, 17 1s green 100.00 70.00


Chiclayo cancels.

Peru Chiclayo cancel on H9 Peru Chiclayo cancel on H16 Peru Chiclayo cancel on H17
H9 with black ornate circular cancel. H16 with blue normal plus ornate cancels. H17 with blue normal plus ornate cancels,
courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

These are the only ones I have seen cancelled in Chiclayo, which considering that it is now the fourth largest city in Peru, is perhaps surprising.
Chiclayo, the 'City of Friendship' became a city in 1835. It is 13km inland from the coast in the north of the country.
If the ornate cancel is normal for Chiclayo, perhaps they have all been 'snapped up' by local collectors.


No further Telegraph stamps were issued, and it appears that postage stamps were again used, at least some being punched.

A punched 1 Sol postage stamp of 1924-6.
Peru - punched Scott 249
Image courtesy of Jose Villa Flores (Viflor on eBay).
Click image for listing.



A State Telegram of 1913.

telegram of 1913


A Central & South American Telegraph Co. telegraph receipt of 1917.
Central & South American Telegraph Co. Receipt
10 words to Boston for $14. Courtesy of Les Bottomley.


More stamp images can be seen at stampsperu.com.



Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.


Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 15th. May 2023

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