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The Republic of Stellaland founded in January 1883 issued a single set of stamps in February 1884.
In September 1885, a British expeditionary force abolished the Republic and annexed it to British Bechuanaland whose stamps were then used.
Perforated 11½, (forgeries generally 13, 13.5) no watermark, lithographed on bluish to white paper. Printed by Van der Sandt, de Villiers & Co., Cape Town. Period catalogs note that about 1000 sheets of each stamp were printed.
1 penny red
3 pence orange
4 pence gray
6 pence lilac
1 shilling green
2 pence on 4 pence gray overprinted “Twee”. This stamp is disputed as being a genuine issue. The ‘Twee’ overprint may have been created by the postmaster of Vrijburg. It is noted that only 384 were printed.
Catalogs note that the 6 pence die was produced in a horizontal strip of 9.
The final stone had 13 rows (117 stamps per sheet).
The other denominations were of 8 by 12 sheets (96 stamps).
Many variations exist.
Imperforates exist and may be proofs or original faked by cutting the perforations.
Stellaland apparently did not have a device for cancelling their stamps. Instructions were given to the Postmaster to cancel all stamps on letters with pen and ink.
Ferdinand Hartzenberg – 1884 – 11 June 1885 was the postmaster whose initials: “FH” appear on most used stamps. “F.C.L” found on a few rare ones is that of Frans Coenraad Dekker and pre-dates “FH”.
Francis Alexander Eaton was the last postmaster who may have only used pen strokes to cancel stamps.
Initially they were cancelled with the date only and later with the date and the postmaster’s initials.
Postmarks found on stamps cancelled in transit or by the receiving offices are found with a target and the numeral 8 & 3, Hoopstad OFS (numeral 27) and Barkly West CC (BONC 232).
The stamps were very popular with collectors and given their simple one colour design and lack of watermark, they were simple for forgers to imitate.
Forgeries were already reported as early as 1887. One theory is that a fired employee of the printer (de Villiers) took a printing stone and made forgeries through a third party. The American Philatelists notes only 1000 of each stamp was printed. This however, does not explain the differences in design.
Fournier is a known forger as is Imperato
Modern computer generated Hialeah forgeries probably exist.
1. The first E is larger
2. A wide space here
3. 2 lines protrude in the star with the top one longer
4. Another wide space
5. Curved leg of the N
6. The E is slanted backwards
7. 2 tiny colour dots
8. The tips do not touch the ribbon except on the far right one
9. Knob of colour on the R
10. All the E’s have a longer lower leg
11. A dot of colour below the E
12. Narrow space between the I & E
13. Thickened ends on the legs of the E
Note all may not apply to every genuine stamp
The value tablet was not part of the stone.
With forgeries, the measurement used for the value tablets was based on the length of the ZES PENCE.
As a result the value tablets of the other four values are slightly shorter than
on the genuine stamps.
Value Genuine/mm Forgery/mm
EEN PENNY 13.5 12.5
DRIE PENCE 14.5 13.5
VIER PENCE 15 13.5
ZES PENCE 17 17
EEN SHILLING 17 15
Onderzoeken van Stellaland, Jonkers, G.H. 1999.
Postal markings on Stellaland stamps. The Transvaal Philatelist, Drysdall, A.R. 2003.
A Postal History of Stellaland. London Philatelist, Drysdall, A.R. 1992.
Africa South & Central Michel.2012
American Philatelist 1888-1922
London Philatelist 1892-1920
Stamps Catalog CD2 – Evert Klaseboer