The 1903 issue - Provisorio overprints and three new values

The 15r local overprint
The 15r local overprint
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The 25r local overprint

The 25r local overprint
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The 80r local surcharge

The 80r local surcharge
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The 150r local surcharge

The 150r local surcharge
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The 300r local surcharge

The 300r local surcharge
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In 1903 a move was made to standardise postage rates and stamp colours - in order to accommodate this an order was placed for five new stamps, and as an interim measure until the arrival of this new order (which never came), existing stamps were amended by overprinting or surcharging.

The first two stamps to be amended were the 15r and 25r giraffe value from the 1901 issue, which were overprinted with the word "Provisorio", presumably meant to indicate the provisional or temporary nature of the stamps until the new order arrived.

The other three stamps to be amended were the 80r, 150r and 300r camel values from the 1901 issue - they were each surcharged with a new value, respectively 65r (the new rate for a foreign letter), 115r (the new rate for a registered foreign letter) and 130r (the new rate for a double foreign letter).

Initially this overprinting was carried out in Nyassa itself using existing stocks - pictures can be seen to the left, but in short the 15r and 25r giraffe values were overprinted with the word "Provisorio" in small capitals (where all the letters are capitals but the initial "P" is larger than the other letters) running vertically up the stamp, whilst the 80r, 150r and 300r camel values were surcharged with their new values in numbers and words, with the word "réis" in lower case.

Because of limited numbers of stamps available in Nyassa to be overprinted, and because the method of local overprinting was not particularly distinctive, these local overprints were insufficient, and an order was placed for Waterlow and Sons to print further supplies. This was duly done in London and shipped out to Nyassa - these "London" overprints and surcharges can be seen to the right, and can be easily distinguished because of the style of the text used. The 15r and 25r giraffe values have the overprint "PROVISORIO" in all capitals, where each letter is the same height, running horizontally across the stamp. The 80r, 150r and 300r camel values have the surcharges in numbers and words, with the word "REIS" also in all capitals, as opposed to lower case on the local printings.

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

As a result of their scarcity, the local overprints are considerably more expensive than the London overprints. In consequence there are a large number of forgeries floating around in the market place - the most guaranteed way to identify a genuine stamp is to determine that it comes from the first printing of the 1901 issue. This was the only printing which was sent to Nyassa for postal usage, and thus the only printing which would have been available in Nyassa to be overprinted with the word "Provisorio". Used examples can only have been genuinely used for postal purposes if the postmark falls between April 1903 (when the local overprints started to be made) and October 1903 (when the London overprints arrived in Nyassa and were issued to post offices.

The typography of the overprintings of the forgeries do differ from the originals - click here to see the original and two types of forgery of the giraffe overprints, and here to see the original and two types of forgery of the camel surcharges. In both cases the original is the top line of text, the forgeries are the bottom two lines.

Catalogue details (Local overprints)

Afinsa nos. 48 and 49 (giraffes) and 45, 46 and 47 (camels).
Scott nos. 47 and 48 (giraffes) and 44, 45 and 46 (camels).
Stanley Gibbons nos. 48 and 49 (giraffes) and 45, 46 and 47 (camels).
Michel nos. 40 and 41 (giraffes) and 42, 43 and 44 (camels).
Yvert nos. 48 and 49 (giraffes) and 43, 44 and 45 (camels).

Rough catalogue value for a complete set of five is around £200.00.

Catalogue details (London overprints)

Afinsa nos. 43 and 44 (giraffes) and 40, 41 and 42 (camels).
Scott nos. 42 and 43 (giraffes) and 39, 40 and 41 (camels).
Stanley Gibbons nos. nos. 43 and 44 (giraffes) and 40, 41 and 42 (camels).
Michel nos. 45 and 46 (giraffes) and 47, 48 and 49 (camels).
Yvert nos. 46 and 47 (giraffes) and 40, 41 and 42 (camels).

Rough catalogue value for a complete set of five is around £5.00.

The 15r London overprint
The 15r London overprint
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The 25r London overprint

The 25r London overprint
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The 80r London surcharge

The 80r London surcharge
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The 150r London surcharge

The 150r London surcharge
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The 300r London surcharge

The 300r London surcharge
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