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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.  
CheckList         Setup
    philamundi on eBay.
    Robert Poposki on eBay.
RL   - Rolf Lamprecht
    Spink and Son.



Steve Hiscocks wrote:
On 23 December 1845 the Belgian Government authorized the setting up of a telegraph line along the railway between Brussels and Anvers by the
British company Wheatstone and Cooke. This line, with telegraph offices at Brussels, Malines and Anvers, was opened on 9 September 1846. In 1850
the Government bought the line and extended the system to link up with the Berlin and Paris systems and, by 1853, with Great Britain by submarine
cable. Up to 1865 telegrams were apparently prepaid in cash with no stamps of any sort, the administration of the telegraphs being separate
from that of postage. On 1 December 1865 a telegraph form incorporating an embossed 50c stamp for 20 words was introduced. The two first
adhesives, 50c and 1F, were introduced on 7 January 1866 and use of either these on a form lacking the embossed stamp or use of the embossed form
was allowed until 8 August 1876. After that date only telegraph stamps could be used until they were abandoned on 1 March 1911. Thereafter
postage stamps were used.

My note:
Anvers may be better known to some as Antwerp. Malines is also known as Mechelen.
Belgium uses the languages of French and Flemish. Place names and official notices are generally given in both languages.
Additionally English names for places may be different to both the French and Flemish names.
Can anyone supply an image of this embossed 50c stamp ?


1866 (7 January) Leopold I. White wove un-watermarked paper. Perf. 13½

Steve Hiscocks noted (see below) that there were a number of reprints of these, and that there were problems distinguishing them.
I have recently been given information on the differences (see below), but it depends on shade and paper thickness.
Specimens and used examples are more likely to be originals than unused examples.
I am providing many images, in the hope that a pattern may emerge.

H1 Used H2 Used
Type 1     50c - H1 Used Type 1     1F - H2 Used

H1 Used - 1 H2 Used - 1 H2 Used - 2 H2 Used - 3
Type 1     50c - H1 Used - from RL Type 1     1F - H2 Used - from RL Type 1     1F - H2 Used - from RL Type 1     1F - H2 Used - from RL

H1 Reprint ? 50c - H1 H2 Reprint ? 1F - H2
Type 1     50c - H1 Reprint ? (see below) Type 1     50c - H1 courtesy of philamundi on eBay. Type 1A    1F - H2 Reprint ? (see below) Type 1A     1F - H2 courtesy of philamundi on eBay.

H1 H1 Imperf. H2 Imperf.
Type 1     50c - H1a - From RL Type 1    50c - H1b - From RL Type 1    1F - H2b - From RL

H1 Specimen in red H1 Specimen in blue H2 Specimen in red H2 Specimen
Type 1    50c - H1 Specimen in red Type 1     50c - H1 Specimen in blue from RL Type 1     50c - H2 Specimen in red from RL Type 1     50c - H2 Another specimen in red (mine)


For what it is worth, here are some 1200 dpi closeups of some of mine shown above.

H1 50c Reprint ? H1 50c Specimen H1 50c Used
1200dpi closeup    50c - H1 Reprint ? 1200dpi closeup    50c - H1 Specimen in red 1200dpi closeup    50c - H1 Used

H2 1Fr Reprint ? H2 1Fr Specimen H2 1Fr Used
1200dpi closeup    1Fr - H2 Reprint ? 1200dpi closeup    1Fr - H2 Specimen in red 1200dpi closeup    1Fr - H2 Used


Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
H1 1 50c grey 125.00 75.00
H1a 1         grey-black 140.00 100.00
H1b 1         imperf. 60.00 -
H1c 1         on thick paper 140.00 100.00
H2 1A 1F green 175.00 110.00
H2a 1A         yellow-green 190.00 120.00
H2b 1A         imperf. 60.00 -
H2c 1A         on thick paper 180.00 120.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Reprints from the original blocks are also found. These would seem to be imperf.
                and are listed as 'cut out' and 'in sheet' — priced £12 and £30 respectively
                for either value. How these are distinguished from original imperf. varieties
                when cut to shape is not clear.         [1982 prices]

There is a stamp catalogue produced in Belgium that lists the telegraph stamps. I have been sent a scan of part of it.
It is listed in French and Flemish. I am not sure of the date, but fairly recent with prices given in Euros.
It lists Specimens with overprint in black, blue or red on 50c grey and 1Fr green.
Then, surprisingly considering Hiscocks list,
for 1865 it lists imperforate 50c grey and 1Fr green on thin smooth paper.
This is followed for 1870-71 another printing on thick paper of 50c dark grey and 1Fr yellow green.
It then lists two reprints as being normally perforated, though I am told they also exist imperforate:
1897, large sheets (150 x 75 mm) pricing for cut-outs or for complete sheet - 50c brown grey and 1Fr green
1902, small sheets (90 x 55 mm) pricing for cut-outs or for complete sheet - 50c grey and 1Fr yellow green
For these last, I have no idea how many stamps there were on each sheet, but the pricing suggests only one or two.

? I bought an example of each described as "Reprinted on Glazed Paper".
The paper seems to be glazed about the same as the used example and the later set.

The Specimen though appears to be on unglazed paper and is a poorer quality
impression as a result. The 50c described as a reprint is on thinner paper,

An item described more fully below.
The image is unclear compared to the genuine ones.

Repro - 1

A 1200 dpi scan.
This looks like photogravure to my inexpert eye.

Repro - 1 at 1200dpi

Reprints ?

appears to be a reprint or 'souvenir sheet', though clearly perforated with smaller holes having a  guage of about 14. Image at 120dpi.
The 50c is black rather than grey. The 1F is a darker, bluer green. There is no gum. There is nothing printed on the back and the back has no markings,
though the paper seems to be lightly embossed with a dimpled pattern. Below is an enhanced image of the back.
I don't know if this results from part of the manufacturing process, bad storage, or is perhaps a deliberate distinguishing feature.
The complete miniature sheet measures 208 x 72mm.

Reprints ?
Anyone have any information on this ?

1966 Centenary issue.
French and Flemish without perforations - from RL.

Centenary - French  Centenary - Flemish
These are half my normal scale. They measure about 97 x 60mm.

Centenary - Closeup  Centenary - Magnified

These appear to have been printed by photogravure, with the dots clearly visible


1871 (1 June) Leopold II. White wove un-watermarked paper. Perf. 13½

H3a H3c H3b H4d H4 Specimen
Type 2   H3 - 10c Type 2   H3a - 10c Type 2   H3c - 10c Type 2   H4 - 25c 25c specimen, courtesy of AsianStamp - (click for listing).


H4a H4b H4c H5
Type 2   H4a - 25c Type 2   H4b - 25c Type 2   H4c - 25c Type 3   H5 - 50c


H5a H6 H6b H7
Type 3   H5b - 50c Type 4   H6 - 1Fr Type 4   H6b - 1Fr Type 5   H7 - 5Fr


Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
H3 2 10c mauve (1.5.78) 10.00 2.00
H3a           reddish violet 12.00 2.00
H3b           No. 3(a) on chalky paper (1896) 100.00 10.00
H3c           slate lilac 10.00 2.00
H4 2 25c dull blue-green (1.7.72) 12.00 2.00
H4a           myrtle green 20.00 2.50
H4b           pale bluish green 12.00 2.00
H4c           yellow green 12.00 2.00
H5 3 50c ochre 15.00 2.00
H5a           imperf. 75.00 -
H5b           brown 20.00 2.00
H5c           orange 200.00 100.00
H6 4 1F rose 30.00 2.00
H6a           deep rose (aniline) 45.00 3.00
H6b           carmine-rose 35.00 2.00
H6c           lilac-rose 30.00 2.00
H6d           lilac-rose imperf. 75.00 -
H7 5 5F ultramarine (1.5.78) 250.00 2.00
H7a           imperf 500.00 -
H7b           Prussian blue 350.00 20.00
H7c           Prussian blue imperf. 350.00 50.00



1879 (1 October). New value and design. White wove un-watermarked paper. Perf. 13½

Belgium-H8 Belgium-H8a Specimen Belgium-H9
Type 6   H8 - 5c H8a Specimen courtesy of AlphaOmegaPhilately on eBay.
(Click on image for listing)
Type 6   H9 - 5c


Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
H8 6 5c grey 20.00 5.00
H8a           dark grey 25.00 6.00
H9 6 5c brownish orange (9.3.91) 25.00 4.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Recent Belgian catalogues give the date of No. 9 as 1.3.93 but the change, with reference
                to an official notice of 9.3.91, is reported in the American Philatelist' of June 1891.

My note: H9 mint seems much harder to get than H8 mint.
The Michel Catalogue gives the date for this as 1/3/1893.


1889 (1 January). New type and format in sheets of 5 x 5. White wove un-watermarked paper. Perf. 14½ x 15½ or 14.

Belgium type 7   H10 punched 1890   H10 punched 1910
Type 7.   one of mine, and two from RL of 1890 and 1910 with different sized punch holes.

Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
H10 7 25F green and rose. (Perf. 14½ x 15½)   300.00 40.00
H10a           perf. 14 30.00 18.00
H10b           imperf. (proof ) 50.00 -

The used price above is for hand-stamp cancelled copies.
Punched cancellations sell for about 15%.

John Barefoot points out that forgeries of these are reported. They are said to have an uneven pink security background.
Further information on them, ideally with an image, would be very welcome.


1888 (1 September) Leopold II in new design (lined background). White wove un-watermarked paper. Perf. 13½
Interestingly, these and later stamps have a capital 'R' on the beard. The engraver perhaps ?

Belgium-H11 Belgium-H11a Belgium-H12 Belgium-H13
Type 8   H11 - 10c Type 8   H11a - 10c Type 8   H12 - 25c Type 8   H13 - 50c


Belgium-H14 Belgium-H14c Belgium-H15 Belgium-H15 - R in beard
Type 8   H14 - 60c Type 8   H14c ? - 60c Type (8)   H15 - 80c ' R ' in beard.


Belgium-H16 Belgium-H17
Type 9   H16 - 1Fr Type 9   H17 - 5Fr


Belgium hex-block
A block of the 5Fr Type 9 (H17). Some are reasonably well centred, others are not.
Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
H11 8 10c reddish purple (1899) 4.00 3.00
H11a           grey-lilac 20.00 6.00
H12 8 25c yellow-green (1899) 3.50 2.00
H12a           bluish green 5.00 2.50
H13 8 50c bistre (1899) 0.60 0.50
H13a           brown-bistre 0.75 0.50
H14 8 60c olive-green 1.00 0.50
H14a           imperf. 35.00 -
H14b           dark olive-green 1.00 0.50
H14c           grey green (on chalky paper) 25.00 10.00
H15 (8) 80c grey (1.4.97) 2.50 2.00
H15a           grey-black 2.50 2.00
H16 9 1F bright rose(1899) 1.00 1.00
H17 9 5F blue (1899) 1.25 1.20

Whilst there are many shades of this series and the 1871 series, most can
be put down to poor quality control rather than deliberate intention.
H11a is however an exception, being clearly distinct without
intermediate colours.


A strip of 6 x 5Fr stamps on a piece of form used in Saventhem (Zaventem) 17 September 1906 (Shown half size).
Belgium hex-block - Saventhem-1906

Belgium hex-block - Antoing-1907
Another piece with 5 x 5Fr and 5 x 1Fr used in Antoing 4 October 1907 (again half size).
I am not sure how often 30 Francs was needed on these forms, but perhaps it is surprising that there was no 10 Franc value.


Hiscocks added the following 2 notes:

Note 1. The value on No. 15 is in white on black.
Note 2. The use of telegraph stamps ended on 1 March 1911.



Many of this series are known perfined.
Belgium 60c with CN perfin
This is C.N. used by Comptoir National D'Escompte, Antwerp.
Note that Antwerp is known as Antwerpen in Flemish and Anvers in French.
More examples are shown on my Belgian Perfins page.


Telegraph Receipt Stamp.

This is actually a revenue stamp to pay for the receipt, rather than paying to send a telegram.

1897 (1 April). Issued in books with ten in horizontal strip, each attached to counterfoil as shown.
White wove un-watermarked paper. Perf. 11½ .

10c - H18   10c - H18 used 1890
Type 10   -   According to Hiscocks, Michel and Yvert et Tellier, these date from 1897, but the used example from RL is dated '90.
Presumably a date-stamp error, perhaps '06' inverted or '09' reversed.

Hisc. Type Description With counterfoil Without counterfoil
Mint Used Mint Used
H18 10 10c black 50.00 60.00 20.00 20.00


Type 10 with counterfoil (half size).

10c - with counterfoil


Telegraph stamps were withdrawn at the beginning of March 1911.



Telephone Stamps 1 January 1891

H5a H8
H5a - only perforated between. H8 - perforated all around.

These were engraved by A. Duns, whose initials appear in the frame just above the left-hand value. Images courtesy of Spink and Son.
A 30c example can be seen on Wikimedia Commons. The counterfoils are in the same colours as the stamps.

H1 H2 H3 H4
H1 - 25c H2 - 30c H3 - 50c H4 - 90c


H5 H6 H7 H8
H5 - 1Fr H6 - 2Fr H7 - 3Fr H8 - 3F75


Type 11. H1 to H8. Issued in books of 5, each with an attached counterfoil.
White wove paper Perf. 11½. No Watermark.


Values in second colour.

Hisc. Type Description Mint + Cfl. Mint Used
H1 11 25c purple-brown (black) 25.00 1.00 2.00
H1a           perf. only between stamp and label 80.00 - -
H2 11 30c pale brown-olive (black) (1.4.92) 25.00 1.00 2.00
H3 11 50c dull green (black) 25.00 1.00 2.00
H3a           perf. only between stamp and label 80.00 - -
H4   90c brownish yellow (black) (1.4.92) 28.00 1.00 2.00
H5 11 1F blue (carmine) 25.00 1.00 2.00
H5a           perf. only between stamp and label 80.00 - -
H6 11 2F Indian red (black) (1.1.96) 32.00 1.00 2.00
H7 11 3F carmine (blue) 32.00 1.00 3.00
H7a           perf. only between stamp and label 80.00 - -
H8   3.75F brown (blue) (1.5.99) 550.00 2.00 3.00

Hiscocks added the following 3 notes:

Note 1. The three price columns are respectively unused with counterfoil, unused without counterfoil,
                and used (always without counterfoil). The stamps were printed in vertical strips of five with a
                second strip, inverted, attached at the stamp side. It is therefore possible to find tête-bêche
                pairs of the whole set and these sell for about £5 for each pair.
Note 2. Use of these stamps ended on 11 July 1903 so the 3.75F was in use for a relatively short time.
                It seems likely that all outstanding stock was sold off without counterfoils when their use was
                abandoned resulting in the relative scarcity of those with counterfoils which could only have
                been purchased earlier.
Note 3. The first stamps, issued on 1 January 1891, were only perforated between stamp and counterfoil
                and were otherwise imperforate. This variety is not found in those values introduced later.
                This would suggest that used copies imperforate on two or three sides should have existed but
                I have not seen them reported and they may all have been destroyed.

Hiscocks does not price used counterfoils, but they appear to be on the market.
3Fr Telephone counterfoil
The image above is taken from Wikimedia Commons.

3Fr Telephone counterfoil   3Fr75 Telephone counterfoil
Two more examples from RL.


The tête-bêche pairs mentioned in Hiscocks' Note.1 look like this.
Telephone tête-bêche pair  Telephone tête-bêche pair
The (half-size) back shows that the gum appears to have been applied by brush leaving the gutter un-gummed.


These are also known imperforate. They differ from the issued stamps in that the values are written differently.
These are perhaps proofs or colour trials.

30c Imperf 3F Imperf 3F75c Imperf
30c Issued 3F Issued 3F75c Issued
H2 proof ? Compared to issued H7 proof ? Compared to issued H8 proof ? Compared to issued


Again, these are also available as tête-bêche pairs (without gum), with or without values.

30c Telephone tête-bêche proof pair

50c Telephone tête-bêche proof pair

3F75c Telephone tête-bêche proof pair



Télégraphie Sans Fil.

Head Office (Siège Social) at 13, Rue Bréderode, Bruxelles.

Apparently set up in 1913, and important in World War 1. "Sans Fil" means literally "without wires", or wireless.

Cadiz-1916 - frontCadiz-1916 - back

Cadiz-1916 - contents
This was sent by radio on 12 August 1916 from the Steam Ship "Reina Victoria Eugenia", and received at Cadiz, Spain. It was sent by Registered mail on 18 August via Madrid on the 19th, to Paris where it arrived on the 22nd.



Telegram Seals.

Belgium used a large quantity of similar, but different seals over the years.

Belgian Seal
Belgian State.

Belgian Congo Seal

Belgian Congo, courtesy of Robert Poposki.


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 the latest page for Belgium .


Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.


Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 30th. October 2023

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