Friday, 1 June 2012

Marcophily - The Study of Postmarks - Part 2

When The Postmark Makes ALL The Difference - GB Used Abroad

The postmark on a stamp usually indicates where the mail originated from, and is typically found on a stamp of the relevant country.

When the stamp and the postmark don't originate from the same country, the stamp is known as a "used abroad".

British colonialisation presented a multitude of reasons why stamps were used abroad, including the establishment of British postal agencies in foreign countries by means of a commercial treaty, satisfying the postal needs of colonies with no local stamps yet produced, and carrying military mail during foreign military campaigns.

These stamps are in my collection, and, again, all were found in bulk lots and not purchased for what they are.

This stamp is Great Britain SG94 4d vermilion Plate 12, issued in 1870. It bears a part duplex A25 of Malta. Although Malta issued stamps in 1860, Great Britain was responsible for the external posts until 1884, hence the use of British stamps until that time

The British Postal Agency in Chile operated from 1846 to 1881. British stamps were used from 1865. This is GB SG150 1/- green Plate 12, issued in 1875. It bears a part duplex C30 of Valparaiso. The catalogue value for the stamp used in GB is £100. Oddly, this much scarcer usage has a catalogue value of "from" £65!

British post offices were established in the Turkish Empire in 1857, first at Constantinople, however five offices were opened in all, including Smyrna in 1872. This is GB SG211 1/- dull green Jubilee issued in 1887. It bears the circular date stamp of Smyrna dated SP 7 95.

The office at Constantinople was closed in 1923. This is GB SG368 2d orange, postmarked at Constantinople on 26 AU 20

The Boer War (1899-1902) lead to heavy usage of British stamps by the British Army Field Offices. A number of different postmarks are recorded.

The stamps on the left are GB SG200 2d grey-green and carmine, postmarked with one of the five Travelling Post Office (Railway Post Office) cancels employed during the conflict. The stamp on the right is the ubiquitous SG172 1d lilac, postmarked by Army P.O. 53

This 1d lilac carries the "normal" postmark, numbered Z1 in Gibbons

The used abroad stamps of Great Britain make a fascinating study, and although many are exceedingly rare, they do turn up in general collections very frequently (as proved by the stamps in this article).

I would really appreciate feedback regarding similar items that you may have in your collections!


  1. Definitely need to get into my collection more than I have in the past.
    This topic of cancellations gets a person further into locations and time.
    Thanks for the information.

  2. Thanks for your post RWMDRON. Marcophily is a bridge between stamps and postal history, and a fascinating area of study. Enjoy!

  3. von der letzten habe ich drei Stück (Lila)