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Steve Hiscocks wrote his book entitled 'Telegraph & Telephone Stamps of the World' in 1982 as
'a priced and annotated catalogue'. It has come to be a widely quoted reference work, though the prices are out of date and new discoveries have been made. Steve Hiscocks fully intended to collect further information for a future second edition, but sadly that was not to be.Steve Hiscocks later produced a book on Telegram seals of the world which was much less complete and similarly did not see the planned second edition.
The terms of copyright make the continuation of his work in a publication for sale impossible, but since I am retired and need a hobby, I have decided to take up the challenge. There are differences though, this is internet based rather than a printed book. That allows me to use larger colour images than the originals, as well as adding language traslation and selectable currencies. It also makes it freely available to anyone on the internet.

Many people still collect postage stamps, though perhaps not as many as there once were due to the proliferation of alternative past-times.
Generally they soon find a popular stamp magazine that introduces them to the preferred stamp catalogue for their country. Most such catalogues, whilst adequate for postage stamps tend to ignore telegraph stamps, or perhaps refer to them rather distainfully in passing. This is rather unfortunate, since there is a vast and proud, not to mention interesting wealth of history behind them. Though telegraphy is a much newer inovation than the postal service, it has been instrumental in shaping the modern world. The improvement in communications afforded by telegraphy revolutionised business, access to world news and warfare. It was also the first step on the ladder to the modern electronics industry.

Telegram seals often look like stamps and are sometimes of a high quality, but have no face value. They were originally intended as a security feature but sometimes became simply etiquettes. Tey are normally treated as Cindarellas. There is a catalogue of Official seals of the world, but I am not aware of another book specific to Telegram Seals. The distinction between the two is not always clear since some countries combine the functions of Posts & Telegraphs and some do not. I think it is reasonable to consider Telegram seals to be stationery items, just like the telegraph form and telegrams, indeed some telegram seals are marked with form numbers. I have extended this work in a separate section for reasons of copyright initially, but have now started cross-linking it with the Telegraph stamps.

Hiscocks' books were highly constrained in scope to only include things that were specifically telegraphic. Being internet based, this work is free to extend coverage to the telegraphic use of other items, either stamps specifically intended for postage and telegraphs, or for stamps intended for postal use that were pressed into service for telegraphs anyway. I have also included some information on stationery used.

Resulting from the relative inattention given to Telegraph stamps, there are still new discoveries to be made, and rare items can be purchased relatively cheaply.

Being from Britain, I have a particular interest in the earliest Telegraphs stamps of Britain. This site was initially only about British precancels, but some statements made in the book by Langmead & Huggins made me add an offshoot to it to refute some of the statements in it. This gradually expanded to encompass all of the Private Telegraph Stamps of Britain. To my surprise, this offshoot attracted more interest than the 'main' site and has gradually been increasing in scope ever since.

My main interest though is still in the early Private Telegraphs. Due to the unwelcome Government takeover of most of these, much of the original company documentation was destroyed. This has led to a lot of guesswork and a few false assumptions regarding them, one of which appears to have been started by Steve Hiscocks writing on the English & Irish Telegraph Company, stating that "The vertical spacing of the stamps in the sheet was very close and top and bottom margins are very small or absent." This started me on a quest that now has 5 large web-pages for this Company alone, but I think, or at least hope that I can put an end to that myth. The real truth appears to be much more interesting, but I hope I'm not starting another myth.

Image of Name, to avoid translation
December, 2017



Last updated 7th. March 2023

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