Rare items in Stamp Club spotlight

AN EXTENSIVE 64-sheet specialized study of the overprinted stamps of the Orange Free State was presented to Stamp Club members by Victor Lord Denovan, vice-president of the local society. Following two Boer Wars, the territory was incorporated into South Africa in 1908.

Though only eight basic values were issued in the period 1887-1902, the overprints provide philatelists with a wealth of items for ample study and research through rate changes, lack of supplies and, in particular, varieties and errors in the typeface settings; these being done using loose type. It was in this last category that the collection excelled with many items classed as rare, as some of the printed panes of 60 stamps only included one particular error. In one item, only three existed, until one was lost in a farmhouse, leaving one in the Royal Collection and the other shown to local philatelists.

Lord Denovan then put up 60 display pages of United States revenue stamped paper. These were introduced by Congress in 1862 as the Civil War was lasting longer and costing more than anticipated. A tax was introduced on virtually everything, including cheques, money orders, bank drafts, all forms of certificates, even railway tickets. These tax stamps, which carried on until 1883, were in various designs, every one except two being shown. When the American-Spanish war started in 1898, the tax was reintroduced and carried on until 1902.