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Telegraph & Telephone Stamps of the World

Though some people collect telegrams, and or telegram seals, more commonly people collect telegraph stamps and or telephone stamps. There are though few catalogues available that relate specifically to them. Steve Hiscocks recognised the need for such a catalogue and made a good start in providing one. His book though is now rather outdated and not easy to find, John Barefoot has produced an updated version that I would recommend as a good introduction, but it is necessarily a simplified work as books are expensive to produce, particularly for limited distribution.

Hiscocks original book is a standard reference and often quoted, but I need to be able to integrate additional items as they are discovered. I therefor intend to leave the original numbering scheme intact, such that if a stamp is generally referred to as H20, it can still be referred to as H20, but where I need to renumber, I will use an 'RH' number, standing for 'Revised Hiscocks' so that H20 may also be RH30, with an additional 10 extra numbers before it. I hope that makes sense. In some cases, like Cuba, Hiscocks' numbering has remained unchanged, or nearly so; in other cases like Colombia, virtually a complete re-write has been needed. I have extended the scope of the work to include stamps intended for both postage and telegraphic usage, as well as stamps intended for postal use that were used telegraphically anyway.

Hiscocks wrote a later book about Telegram seals and I have also extended that work in a different section of the website, though with much cross-linking. I have added some information to it about telegram forms in some instances, particularly China.

Something that I recently started adding is a series of checklists for telegraph and telephone stamps. I did this because I found that I needed a handy reference to what I had and what I needed. I have added links to these at the top of pages that have them.

This is still a work in progress, and I appeal to anyone that has further information, or examples of new items that they can supply scans of, to please get in contact with me. I also welcome feedback, comments or suggestions.

Image of Name, to avoid translation
December, 2017


Explanatory Points

1. Colours.
I have found that descriptions of the same colour can vary widely between individuals. I will try to use colours that people will generally agree on but rely on illustrations wherever possible, though the final perception of a colour is complicated by many factors, the scanner, and screen wiil play an imortant part, but 'toning' of the paper and/or gum of a stamp also changes the percieved colour since the ink is not opaque.
2. Prices.
Prices are always a problem, even more so with items that are not often seen. Supply and demand usually brings about a concensus over time, but anyone familiar with the Stanley Gibbons catalogue knows that prices can be artificially manipulated. I try to quote prices that I think are reasonable, though I am obviously guided by prices quoted by others wher I have no personal experience of them. I buy examples of these stamps myself where I can so that helps. Telegraph stamps usually sell much more cheaply than postage stamps of the same rarity, simply because the demand is less. Take for example a G.B. Penny Black of 1840. Stanley Gibbons quotes GB£275 as the minimum for a good 4-margin example as in my 2008 catalogue. On Ebay it might fetch GB£100. This is not even a scarce stamp by telegraphic standards, on any one day on Ebay you can probably see 100 of them ! For comparison I bought a couple of South Eastern Railway Telegraph stamps from Stanley Gibbons in 2015 for GB£250 and GB£275. Langmead & Huggins list these as Rarity 3, implying that "Probaly 10-50 copies exist" in the world. This puts them on a par with the VR Official that they catalogue at GB£25000 each. I have added currency selection, though I must admit the exchange rates are a bit out of date.
3. Illustrations.
I have replaced the original illustrations where possible with colour ones at 300dpi as standard. In some cases I have used 600dpi where more detail needs to be shown. In other cases I may not know the actual size, since the image has been supplied to me by another. I would ask that anyone supplying images to me use 600 dpi if at all possible, or at least let me know what the resolution is. Knowledge of the scale is needed for such things as determining the guage of perforation used.




Last updated 8th. March 2023

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012-2023 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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