In this section we offer the stamps and cancellations of the Oil Rivers Protectorate, the Niger Coast Protectorate and the Niger Company Territories. This is a wonderful area for philatelists who can begin their stamp collections with the stamps of Victorian Britain variously postmarked at the post offices at Benin, Benin River, Bonny, Bonny River, Brass River, Forcados River, Old Calibar River, Opobo River and at the British Vice-Consulate at Old Calibar between 1892 – 1899.
The first stamps of the Oil Rivers were issued on 20 July 1892 with overprints on GB stamps, the currency remaining British. At the end of 1893 a drop in the postage rate with the UK caused a shortage of the lower values so a number of different handstamped ½d surcharges were applied to GB stamps at Old Calabar, at the same time 1s, 5s, 10s & 20s surcharges were also applied but the reasons for this are unclear, the best explanation is that they were created to cover the accounting deficit of all the stamps reduced in value by the ½d surcharges! The rarest stamp of the Niger Coast is an inverted 20s on 1s value which is currently catalogued at £180,000.
Beautiful stamps inscribed “Niger Coast Protectorate” were printed by Waterlow & Sons and issued between 1894 and 1898, philatelists enjoy collecting the many different perforation combinations, also proofs, “Specimen” overprints and imperf errors are known as well as the wide range of postmarks which can be found.
This area of our sales listings also includes the stamps of Great Britain & unstamped covers & pieces cancelled by a number of different larger oval and oblong datestamps applied throughout the Niger Company Territories, stamps with these postmarks are listed in the excellent Stanley Gibbons catalogue immediately after the 1897-98 Protectorate stamps.