Typewriters and Stamps

4/03/2016     General, Tonga, Thailand

In March 2016 we were delighted to feature on the front cover of our Sandafayre catalogue a genuine example of the rare Thailand 10atts provisional surcharge applied in 1902 to a 12atts stamp by the Postmaster at Battambang in Siam.

This is a very unusual provisional surcharge, it’s method of production was nearly unique as the Postmaster had used a typewriter with violet ribbon rather than some form of handstamp or locally produced plate. In fact a brief poll of the stamp team could only come up with a few examples of typewriter- applied surcharges on regular stamps.

It appears that the Postmaster wrestled some 710 stamps through his typewriter, he initially attempted to produce alternate 2a and 10a surcharges on the same sheet but he soon gave up and altered them all to 2a surcharges! As the shortage of 2a and 10a values was acute (and presumably the underlying 3a and 12a stamps plentiful) authority was granted by the local Governor to surcharge them however the postal authorities quickly suppressed the surcharge and the stamps became renowned rarities.

So what other surcharges involved the use of typewriters? Here are a few:

LONG ISLAND 1916 Turkish Fiscal stamps with typed overprint “G.R.I. Postage / ½ penny”

NICARAGUA 1929 Air Post Official stamps with typed overprint “Correo / Aero”

TONGA 1896 “Half- / penny” typed surcharges on 1½d and 7½d stamps.

Do you know of any more? Please let us know!

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