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Written by G. A. Higlett   
Thursday, 02 April 2009 14:22

TURKEY, Random Notes, 1926, G. A. Higlett, Harris Publications Limited

Section III

Original book contains two pages with images. These images have been moved to the list for easy identification and recent color copies of some overprints have been added.

When postage stamps were first introduced in 1863 special stamps were issued for denoting tax on unpaid letters, and such stamps have been continued ever since. For many years they were similar to the ordinary postage stamps, but printed in special colours. It may be seen by the catalogues that while several values were provided in the issues of 1863 to 1901, from 1901 to 1913 only the two values of 1 piastre and 2 piastres were issued. Why was this?

I can only suggest that large printings may have been made of other values, sufficient to supply the needs of most offices for many years, and only these two values most in use were really wanted in quantities during the years mentioned. It must be borne in mind that we are dealing with a country having a large number of illiterates and much less correspondence by letter than we have had here. The places having large postal business would naturally be the capital and its surroundings, and the great centres of trade. These, or some of them, would be the most likely to exhaust their supplies of other values.

The 1 piastre and 2 piastres values issued between 1901 and 1913 did not fill the requirements of the post offices at such places, and other values were provided by overprinting, or hand-stamping, ordinary postage stamps of the required values with the letter T, to convert them into postage due stamps. Each office using these provisional stamps appears to have had its own type of overprint, and I am able to present illustrations of the ten different types known to me, with identification and some other particulars, dealing only with those which are found in my own collection. Whether there are others or not, I do not know.

I give the office of use for each of the above numbers, and the stamps on which I have this overprint:


Type 1

No. 1. Stamboul, head office.

1909 issue, 5 pa., 10 pa., 20 pa.

Type 2

No. 2. Stamboul, head office.

1909 issue, 10 pa.

Type 3Type 3 Sample

No. 3. Galata.

1905 issue, 5 pa., 20 pa.

(Editor's note: The overprint on the original image is indistinguishable at places from the stamp. The color sample may not be the same as the original.)

Type 4Type 4 Sample

No. 4. Galata.

1905 issue, 10 pa., 1 pi.

1908 issue, 10 pa., 1 pi., 2 pi.

Type 5Type 5 Sample

No. 5. Galata.

1909 issue, 5 pa., 10 pa., 20 pa.

Type 6Type 6 Sample

No. 6. Fatih (adjoining Stamboul).

1909 issue, 5 pa., 10 pa., 20 pa.

1913 issue, 10 pa., 20 pa.

Type 7

No. 7. Kadikeui (opposite Stamboul, in Asia).

1909 issue, 5 pa., 10 pa., 20 pa.

Type 8Type 8 Sample

No. 8. Pera (foreign quarter of Stamboul).

1909 issue, 5 pa., 10 pa., 20 pa.

Type 9

No. 9. Taxim (adjoining Pera).

1909 issue, 5 pa., 10 pa., 20 pa.

Type 10Type 10 Sample

No. 10. Beyrouth.

1905 issue, 5 pa., 20 pa.

The Beyrouth type resembles one of the Galata types rather closely (Editor's note: The Galata type is Type 3). The specimen illustrated shows part of a Smyrna postmark, presumably from a letter addressed to Smyrna where it was postmarked, as Smyrna itself never made use of these provisional stamps (Editor's note: The specimen in question here is the Type 3 specimen).

Recently I have obtained stamps in current use having new types of such overprints, and I am in­formed that they are probably from Angora, where such provisionals have recently been in use, but as yet I have not sufficient information for publication of any details. Generally speaking, since 1913, the post offices have been well supplied, and there has been no need for these provisionals, except perhaps for this recent use at Angora.

It will be seen that these overprinted stamps are worth including in collections, and have more claim to be there than many others which have obtained catalogue rank.

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Comments (1)
1Saturday, 23 May 2009 19:07
Peter Michalove
Since Higlett’s 1926 article on the T-overprinted stamps, there have been at least two important further publications on the subject. One, by Ian McQueen, appeared in the OPAL Journal no. 160 for December 1985. I don’t have the page nos. for that article, but it was reprinted in the Tughra Times vol. 7, no. 4 for October/November 1986, pp. 4-7.

McQueen makes several observations that add to Higlett’s original article. First, he indicates that the T-overprint does not occur on the 1901 issue, and the practice began with the 1905 issue. Further, McQueen is dubious that they were used on the 1913 Post Office issue; he argues that the 10-para and 20-para values of the 1913 postage due stamps were unissued and apparently sold in bulk to a stamp dealer. The use of the T overprints on this issue would thus be a purely speculative issue. Therefore, McQueen considers the practice of overprinting with the T to apply to the 1905 through 1909 issues.

He also points out that we must distinguish between stamps overprinted with a T to be used as postage due stamps; and unoverprinted stamps affixed to letters with insufficient postage and then tied to the cover with a T handstamp. McQueen concludes with a table of handstamps, indicating where each handstamp was used, or appears to have been used, and the issues and denominations on which they appeared. McQueen adds to Higlett’s list usages from Ankara (possibly), Tribizond, and Samsoun (possibly). He also suggests that Smyrna (Izmir) is likely to have used the T-overprints as well, although no conclusive examples were available to him.

The second article adding to this topic is by John Garton in the first OPAL ~ Tughra Times joint issue of 1986, pp. 38-42. Garton concludes that the use of the T overprint can be divided into three periods.

First, the period 1907-1910/11. (Is the beginning date of 1907 a typo for 1905?). In this period the overprinted stamps were used (a) as fractional postage due when the postage due charge exceeded the issued stamps, and (b) as a supplement when no postage due stamps were available.

Garton records a second period from 1914-1922 when postage due stamps from Bradbury and Wilkinson were unavailable, and later during the chaos after the First World War.

Garton’s third period is 1920-1923 (thus overlapping with the second period) when no postage dues were available to the Republican Army.

Garton adds to McQueen’s list of places Alvalik, Alexandrette, and Izmir (apparently definite now) for the first period. For the third period, he shows the T overprint used on stamps of 1917 as well as earlier issues.
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