For the Commonwealth collector, flapping through the SG Part 1 catalogue can reveal certain “avoid” areas that appear overly difficult looking (ones that come to mind are Jammu and Kashmir, Victoria and Transvaal), and those that have a mass of complex looking overprints (New Guinea, GRI, Malayan States, and Turks Islands), then there are those that just baffle many of us, especially if they are not written in English !
The overprinted issues of Transjordan tick all the boxes for the scientific and methodical approach to philately. Studying the few pages in the catalogue of this short lived period of history, we see a wide range of Arabic overprints, applied to the issues of Palestine and Saudi Arabia. The first issue of November 1920 in inscribed “East of Jordan”, and further surcharged from the Egyptian to Turkish currency for the local people to understand better. The son of the King of Hejaz, Abdullah was made Emir of Transjordan in 1921, and in 1922 stamps were overprinted “Arab Government of the East April 1921”, and then various other surcharges and overprints incl. 1923 Commemoration of Independence, 1924 “Commemorating the coming of His Majesty the King of the Arabs”.
A basic understanding of Arabic is essential in sorting out these stamps, overprints placed sideways can be found reading up or down, and because these issues were quickly prepared, numerous varieties occur, including double and inverted impressions, different coloured inks and so on.
Many of these issues are extremely scarce to rare, with numbers printed being very low. It is certainly a most rewarding and interesting area to collect. The Hunters sale 7216 of 16th July, has a splendid section of these overprinted issues, with many single stamps and a fabulous balance collection assembled over many years.