The 1901 issue - King Carlos I - giraffes and camels

In 1901 the Nyassa Company sought, and received, permission from King Carlos I of Portugal to issue its own stamps, rather than rely on overprinting of Mozambique's stamps. A decree of 12 June 1901 stated that the existing stamps would continue in circulation alongside the new issue (which was placed on sale on 1 August 1901) until 31 August, and could be exchanged for the new stamps until 30 September 1902 to allow for a transitional period.

There are thirteen stamps in all, designed by Robert Edgcumbe. The lower seven values feature a giraffe eating a palm tree in front of some hills, and the higher six values feature a pair of camels, one seated one standing. Pictures are to the right - to see the entire issue in one picture please click here.

There were, in total, seven different printings of the stamps between 1901 and 1922, although only a few of these were sent to Nyassa for use in post offices - the remainder were issued direct to the philatelic market in London by Waterlows.

The 10r value is mentioned, in passing, in the novel Molloy by the author Samuel Becket, when the narrator says "I put down the tray and looked for a few stamps at random. The Togo one mark carmine with the pretty boat, the Nyassa 1901 ten reis, and several others. I was very fond of the Nyassa. It was green and showed a giraffe grazing at the top of a palm-tree.".

Errors, misprints, inverts, forgeries, etc...

In one of the many reprints, undertaken in 1903, it would appear that through a genuine error one sheet (50 stamps) of each value was printed with an inverted center (as the stamps were bi-coloured, the black border was printed first, then the coloured center printed subsequently) and was released to the Nyassa postal market. Demand was so high for these amongst collectors that to take advantage of it Waterlows subsequently, in 1922, printed 20 sheets (1,000 stamps) of each value with inverted centers solely for the philatelic market. An overwhelming proportion of inverted examples on the market today were therefore printed as a result of this "deliberate error", and as it is possible, through careful examination, to tell the difference between the 1903 printing and the 1922 printing, it is possible to determine whether an inverted center is the result of a genuine, or deliberate, error.

Inverted centers catalogue for £30.00 - £70.00 per stamp, mint, depending on whose prices you believe.

Catalogue details

Afinsa nos. 27 to 39.
Scott nos. 26 to 38.
Stanley Gibbons nos. 27 to 39.
Michel nos. 27 to 39.
Yvert nos. 27 to 39.

Rough catalogue values are around £1.30 mint for each of the giraffe values, and between £1.50 and £1.70 for each of the camel values.

The 1901 2½r value
The 1901 2½r value
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The 1901 10r value

The 1901 10r value
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The 1901 20r value

The 1901 20r value
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The 1901 50r value

The 1901 50r value
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The 1901 5r value
The 1901 5r value
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The 1901 15r value

The 1901 15r value
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The 1901 25r value

The 1901 25r value
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The 1901 75r value

The 1901 75r value
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The 1901 80r value
The 1901 80r value
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The 1901 80r value
The 1901 100r value
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The 1901 150r value
The 1901 150r value
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The 1901 200r value
The 1901 200r value
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The 1901 300r value
The 1901 300r value
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