Thursday, November 17, 2011

Straits Settlements Stamps - Stamps of India Overprinted

The Straits Settlements was actually a group of territories in Southeast Asia established in 1826 under the British East India Company.  In 1867, it became a crown colony and came under direct British control.  While Indian stamps were used prior to 1867, with the status of it becoming a crown colony, new stamps had to be issued.  In the interim however, stamps of India overprinted with a crown and the stamp value of "cents" instead of "annas" was used. In a sense, these can be considered the first official postage stamps that were distinctively "created" for the Straits Settlements (since the previous stamps used were stamps from India) by overprinting it with the new values.

The set contained a total of 9 stamps with  values of 1 1/2cents, 2 cents, 3 cents, 4 cents, 6 cents, 8 cents, 12 cents, 24 cents and 32 cents).  However, only 5 different Indian stamps were used.  These 5 stamps were the 1/2 anna, 1 anna, 2 annas, 4 annas and 8 annas stamp.  The stamps were differentiated by different coloured ink overprints as well as different values:

  •  1/2 anna blue was used for the 1 1/2 cents.
  • 1 anna brown was used for the 2 cents, 3 cents and 4 cents
  • 2 annas yellow was used for the 6 cents, 8 cents and 32 cents
  • 4 annas green was used for the 12 cents
  • 8 annas rose was used for the 24 cents 

For the overprints, the colors used were as follows:

  • Red for 1 1/2 cents, 2 cents and 12 cents
  • Blue for 3 cents and 24 cents
  • Black for 4 cents and 32 cents
  • Purple for 6 cents
  • Green for 8 cents
An example of one of the stamps that I have bought off Ebay showing the 1 1/2 cents stamp(with the overprints in red depicting the crown that sits on Queen Victoria's head and the three half cents value of the stamp) is shown below:
1867 Stamp of India, Overprinted (Perforation 14 and Elephant's Head watermark)

As this overprinting on Indian stamps  was really an interim measure (the new stamps were printed by the end of 1867), not many of these stamps were produced.  An estimate of the printed quantity for the various stamps is shown below:
  • 1 1/2 cents - 40,000
  • 2 cents - 96,000
  • 3 cents - 96,000
  • 4 cents - 32,000
  • 6 cents - 24,000
  • 8 cents - 144,000
  • 12 cents - 24,000
  • 24 cents - 80,000
  • 32 cents - 64,000
The 12 cents and 6 cents are considered rarer and are harder to find.  

It is also not always true that the mint stamp is more expensive than the used stamp.  For example, the 1 1/2 cent stamp was hardly used at all so the used stamp is much more expensive than a mint stamp.  This is one of the reasons that there were actually some amendments made to the 1 1/2 cents during the period of 1867 onwards where the "THREE HALF" was deleted with a "2" written above it.  In the subsequent set of stamps issued, there was also no 1 1/2 cents value stamp anymore.


register website domain said...

I used to think that mint stamp is more expensive than the used stamp most of the time..Thanks for sharing..

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Picke Mates said...


sgfinancialfreedom said...

Yes. That was what I used to think too. But some stamps are rarer when used I guess.


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