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New Country – Emergency Stamps

The Wonderful Bangladesh Forerunners.

New countries rarely occur – and they are always the product of massive upheaval.

The organs of state often falter, departments may not know who they answer to, parliaments are being formed, maps redrawn, currencies created, embassies closed and reopened, the list goes on…

Exciting times for stamp collectors!

When, in 1971 East Pakistan broke away from West Pakistan and gained its independence as BANGLADESH no new stamps existed, and it was impossible to gather all existing stocks of Pakistani stamps from the 2,000+ post offices for overprinting at a single site, so the Post Office Department ordered each office to devise its own overprints. From 20 December 1971 local postmasters began overprinting their existing stocks of Pakistan stamps for use in the new country - these remained legitimate until 30 April 1973. During this time a vast and varied range of local handstamps on Pakistan definitive and commemorative issues occurred.

Collectors will often group these fascinating issues thus:

  • Overprints in black, violet or red

  • Overprints in BENGALI only

  • Overprints in ENGLISH only (with BANGLA DESH as one or two words, in Upper or Lower Case)

  • Overprints in BOTH LANGUAGES (with English or Bengali first)

  • Also Framed/boxed overprints, overprints with Bars, round overprints and overprints covering a pair of stamps.

  • This huge variety of handstamp types provides a fascinating field for collection/study, which can be extended by including overprinted Postal Stationery items or even covers where the postmarks and handstamps can be easily matched.

    Much help is available in identifying the wide array of overprint types with their originating Post Office, the collection we offer in our current sale includes many useful notes and more help is available on the Internet. Bangladesh is a beautiful place but its citizenry is young and her economy has a long way to grow – this has kept the prices of these fascinating ‘forerunner’ issues comparatively low and still a great new area for collecting and research!


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