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Comment here on December's King's Head Displays.

This Forum topic is back to front in as much as  the posts below came in before I concluded this introduction which I had left open. The reason for my doing so was to be able to say that the 'King's Head Postmarks and Cachet Display as Used in SA and SWA' has been updated based on the information received below. So, if you want to know how the display reached the point it is currently at, read on..... has reacted to this post.

Dear Steve,

I really enjoyed this display. Congratulations to you and Robert Hill. The SWA section ha some real gems!!!

Some comments that might help:

The following is not correct and is based on claims often repeated though debunked many years ago (definitively by Chris Board)   

"their period of use runs from 19th August 1910 to 31st August 1913, whereafter twelve
new Union of South Africa definitives, the first King’s Heads, came out on 1st September 1913

The stamps of the ORC, Transvaal, Cape and Natal (except those that had been demonetized) were valid in the Union from 31 may 1910 to 31 December 1937. The Gazette Notice of 19 August 1910 was (a) issued by the Treasury not the Post Office and (b) validated the interprovincial usage of REVENUE stamps. That it has been misinterpreted for so many years is due to the fact that the gazette heading (Treasury - Department of Finance" was omitted in all the handbooks.

I have mail from Fort Napier (where internees were held until Versailles in June 1919) censored in June 1919. So I think your view that censorship continued until the formal end of the War.

The 1920 rate change for a domestic letter  (the increase from 1d to 1½d ) was for the increased first  step weight from 1/2 oz to 1 oz..
The UK & Empire rate was increased on the same date (10 may 1920) to 1 1/2d per ounce. This 1 1 /2d rate only lasted for just over a year and the UK & Empire rate was set at 2d per ounce on 1 June 1921. The foreign (UPU) letter rate was increased from 2 1/2 d  per 1/2 ounce to 3d for the 1st ounce and 1 1/2d per additional ounce (or part thereof) on 1 January 1922 and remined in force until 31 March 1950!.

You state:" In 1925, a new definitive issue of three iconic London Pictorials, a ½d black & green Springbok, a 1d
black & carmine Ship and a 6d green & orange Orange Tree were issued."in fact these were issued on 1 Jan 1926.

Then on the SWA section you have: 

1917. Cover cancelled WALDAU '2 FEB 17' to WINDHOEK. Local Mail. PC B / 100.
The rate paid for the letter is ½d, the standard SA rate for a domestic letter.

This was in fact the 1/2d printed matter or book post rate form items up to 2 oz.

Best wishes


Dear Phil,

A magnificent kings Heads display; i much enjoyed it, especially the section on the coils!


We all make mistakes but that is what we are here for - to learn.  Thank you Hugh.

Dear Hugh,

Thank you very much for your reply. I really appreciate your advice. The reason for my slow response is that I have been editing the King's Head postmark display most of this morning as a result of emails from various Members supplying corrections. You will be pleased to know that none of their corrections cover the comments you have made. So, thank you. Between you and them I am finally going to be able to round this display off with some expert advice. This is exactly the sort of interaction that I hoped we would have on the SAPC Forum.   However, I must stress that I am ashamed to have made so many errors. As stated I put that display together is some three weeks when I thought that maybe the December 'issue' might be a bit thin. My intentions were good but my rushed implementation flawed.

One of the Members emailed the following. I was really pleased to receive his advice  as it showed that at last someone was reading this website and getting a bit passionate about some of the things being said and errors beiing made.

"Congratulations on the two great PDFs on Kings Heads! Really enjoyed them and learnt a lot more about these interesting stamps.
In your 'Odds and Ends' section in the Postmark PDF you show the telegraphic counter numbers of the Johannesburg Post Office and say 'The jury is presently out ….. new research suggests that they are taken from parcel receipts.' Not sure about which jury you are referring to but thats a lot of bollocks. It is confirmed contemporaneously and confirmed in your first PDF that they are counter clerk cancels - from the Johannesburg Post Office. Where there is some debate is the five pointed star punch / defacer as shown in the first pdf. The smaller version of this punch (there are two versions, the smaller one with evidence of use in old ZAR around 1890) was definitely used on parcel receipts, although we have not seen evidence of the larger five star pointed punch / defacer having been seen used in the same way. In fact, even this five star punch has been clearly used on telegraphically cancelled stamps but may have had wider usage - without any further evidence we cannot say definitively that it was only used telegraphically. 
But the counter clerk numbers, hell no - definitely not parcels.  Anyway, minor quibble - the PDFs are great - more strength to your arm! I'll try to send you some scans that show the other five star punch / defacer."
Okay, I hold my hands up. I got that one completely wrong.  I confused it with something else while writing in haste without checking my facts. (This usually happens when you think you know what you are talking about!) And it's not a minor quibble. It is serious error I should not have made. I was referring to the large hole perfins that make up the word 'CANCELLED' - if you can find a sheet of them.
Second, Prof Alex Visser made some comments which are worth sharing:
"Dear Steve

I paged through your KGV postmarks which I should not do as I have to complete my tax returns!! Greatly enjoyed it.

Thanks for sharing it. A couple of comments:

On the PFSA website there is a full listing of postage rates internally as well as externally. That should take out some question marks.

Note that Cape postmarks have the date on two or three lines. Later Union date stamps have a single line date even though they may have a cross enclosed by curved bars. There is one exception, see my Phun column in the Dec 2020 SAPhilatelist.

With kind regards


Tony Howgrave-Graham also offered advice which I have used in this display, as well as sent in a scan of an Interprovincial cover at short notice to help me with fill a space. Wow! What a beauty.  I woke up in the middle of the night thinking "I must include it! It's an absolutely perfect fit!" Okay, it's now Christmas Eve. Two new versions have been posted in three days. This display still has 'issues' so keep your comments coming. Many thanks everyone. I never thought I would say this but as it is the King's Heads - "Unity is Strength - Eenheid maakt Magt".

The following was emailed to me by Roger Porter:
"Afternoon Steve Hannath
I can answer two of your questions as follows:
1). Page 22 - cover at 13d - why the extra 1d stamp?
The cover was posted on a Saturday (12 AU 16) at 2:45 PM. The overseas mail bags had closed at the official advertised time for closing, but a bag was kept open for late mail to catch the mail ship before it sailed from Cape Town to Southampton. The postage  'LATE FEE' charge of 1d indicates that the Postmaster accepted the item and placed it in the overseas bag.  So therefore the postage paid to USA was 5 x 2.5 d + 1d late fee = total 13d. The PM did not endorse the cover 'Late Fee", although some correspondents did so to alert PM that the letter was not to be delayed but to be placed in the overseas bag before the mail boat sailed.
2). Page 40 - 41 - what is the small triangle enclosing '47'?
This is an Inspector mark. The inspector examined the letter to ascertain  whether it conformed to the Regulations governing mail carried at postage rates other than the normal. It was applied in the UK - possibly in London.
The Ladysmith / Natal postmark is as you correctly say to avoid confusion with the Cape province town of the same name. There is another Natal postmark that also has Natal at the bottom to avoid that confusion. It is Richmond / Natal - making a special pair.
Should you possibly re-structure the display at some future time, i have e few suggestions for your consideration:
1). Separate the machine cancellations from the circular manually applied postmarks,
2) IMV, the distinction between pre and post WW1 does not work for the postmark types but from a postal history point of view that distinction needs to be made. Suggest you separate the Postmark Types from the Postal History so that these two aspects are clear and different. e.g. SA Type 1 - examples of pieces and covers with the type - this to be then followed by a section of covers having interesting postal treatment, rates, registered mail, etc.
3) Need to include the rail associated postmarks (i) SAR types (ii) dc Rail / Junction / Station types. Therefore extend the display.....
Kind regards,
Roger Porter."

Hi there Steve, Phil, Robert and others - great contribution to SA philately and the study of this iconic stamp in all its forms and usage. I hope that this is a 'living' set of documents to which we could add pages over time. Research on the telegraphic usage of these stamps has progressed quite considerably - I can commit to adding a couple of pages if you feel that it is of interest. Regards, Ian

Yes, Telegraphic Usage - a Good Idea and a Bad Omission!!

Please contribute pages on the telegraphic use of the King's Heads. There are many lovely telegraphic counter postmarks.  (Actually, that is not true. Despite being used in the Dept of Post and Telegraphs they are strictly speaking NOT post marks ie. marks on mail, hence above reference to then as telegraphic 'counter clerk cancels') However, IMO, their inclusion in this display is warranted and welcomed. So, yes please, let's have them.

Roger Porter has sent me material showing SAR&H Railway usage and also examples of  Parcel Datestamps.  These have already been entered as category headings into the Contents section of the King's Head Postmark and Cachet Display on Page 3. My intention is to update this SOON! At the time I thought to add a Telegraphic section but forgot. I will correct this. Sorry, I know how passionate you are about Telegraph Counter datestamps, as used in the PO! If anyone has further suggestions, please let me have them along with  some examples for inclusion in the display. Thanks. Right now, I need a few days to recover from the January issue.  I will soon make these changes and then post a revised display in the February issue. ETA 13/02/2021. It's already sounding good!