11/09/2012 General, South Africa
The Orange Free State, one of the constituents of the Union of South Africa from 1910 to 1961, first issued Telegraph stamps somewhere around 1885, with the regular "Tree" design postage stamps being overprinted "TELE-GRAAF." or simply just "TF". Following the British take-over in 1901 similar stamps with values to 5s were also overprinted with "V.R.I." (Victoria Regina Imperator") and "AT" for Army Telegraph use.
For the Army Telegraph higher values, existing Fiscal stamps were also put into use with the "V.R.I./AT" overprint for the 10s orange, £1 claret, and £4 rose values. All of the Army Telegraph stamps show a similar range of the overprint varieties to those that appear on the Postage and Fiscal issues, for example "Thick V", "No stop after V", etc.
The high value Fiscal stamps were originally issued between 1878 and 1882 and are with an attractive design showing The Orange Free State Coat of Arms.
The Orange Free State was a Boer Republic which was first settled in 1836 and then attached to the Cape Colony from 1848 till 1854, it was fully independent until the Boer War of 1900-01.
Today the area in the Republic of South Africa between the Orange and Vaal rivers is known as the "Free State" province with it's capital at Bloemfontein, a city with a population of over 300,000 people.