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ZAR Customs Permit stamps


Johan, wonderful! Many thanks for your input, especially the study by Oscar van der Vliet. This will save me and or Bas a trip to SA to do the research. At last, the SAPC is bearing fruit by keeping collectors who have the knowledge in touch with those seeking it. I bought my examples from Paul van Zeyl many years ago. It would be unfair to not remember him here for his contribution to this ZAR thread.

Dear Johan,

Many thanks for this, and, particularly for the copy of Oscar van der Vliet's study;  many thanks also to Alan MacGregor who sent me a copy of a slightly later version.  Thanks to both of you, I'm now in touch with Oscar;  it's good to see that, thanks to Oscar and others, we already know more than I was aware of - apologies for attempting to re-invent wheels.  

As regards the charge levied by these stamps, the relevant Articles of the 1892 and 1894 laws, translated in Oscar's study,  make it clear that this was a charge for certifying that imported goods were free of import duty.  (This has a parallel in the inspection charge levied today by the UK postal/customs authorities on any incoming parcel they choose to inspect even if the contents are duty-free and as declared .... )

The 1892 law (Article 6) set a charge of 5/- for every 5,000 pounds of weight or part thereof, for the registration and issuance of an import permit for goods free of import duties, to be paid at the point of entry.  The 1894 law (Article 14) introduced reduced charges for smaller quantities - e.g. 6d for every 500 lbs. weight or part thereof, and 6d for every 10 animals with the exception of poultry, for which 6d was to be charged whatever the number in any shipment. 

As you say, we know now of three issues of Customs Permit stamps.  But there s some uncertainty about dates of issue.

Issue 1, the 5/- on a uniform crosshatched background:  Oscar has now reported and illustrated examples used in January 1893; as the relevant law (Article 6 of Wet 20, 1892) came into force in 1892, this stamp was presumably issued either at the end of 1892 or in January 1893, not in February 1893 as has previously been reported..

Issue 2, the 6d, 1/- and 5/- with the same design but on  a background showing the arms of the Republic on a lined background:  The earliest date reported by Oscar for the 5/- value is 22 JUL 93 (earlier than the 1894 date of issue given by your catalogue).  However the earliest dates that I'm aware of for the 6d and 1/- are about a year later (examples illustrated earlier in this string by Steve - 6d dated 29 JUN 94, and 1/- dated 20 JUL 94);  these lower values would have had no use before the introduction of the smaller charges by Article 14 of Wet 4, 1894 as detailed above.

Issue 3, 6d - £5 on coloured paper with new text referring to the Law of 1894:  These may have been issued several years later than the 1894 date given by your catalogue.  The earliest dates of use so far recorded by Oscar for stamps of this issue aren't until June 1898;  all the stamps he shows with use dates in 1894-1897 are of stamps of Issue 2.

For those who use Facebook, the latest version of Oscar;'s paper can be consulted through the ZAR and Transvaal Philately Group on Facebook at



Ozzy4emmy has reacted to this post.

Sorting through new buys, I've just found a nice group of Customs Permit stamps with an unreported cachet from the customs crossing at LINDEQUE'S DRIFT; dated 24 FEB 94, this is now the earliest reported date for the 6d and 1/- values.  Scans attached.

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  • 24-FEB-94-LIN-DRI-SP-coll.jpg

 LINDEQUE'S DRIFT - another drift, presumably another Customs House.... near the ZAR / OFS eastern border.

I have just noticed some of these revenues for sale on Kenny Napier's auction tomorrow - 22/05/2021. See below. All are used, one single 6d showing a partial boxed datestamp. I cannot read the inscription on any of them. I thought the estimated prices might be of some small interest within this discussion.

6d green - R300 (£15):
1/- blue - R500 (£25):
5/- pair "in superb condition" - R1500 (£75). 

Frankly, I am surprised at these relatively high prices!

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  • ZAR-Revenues-for-Pricing.jpg

I think the 1/- is Harrismith (see Oscar van der Vliet's paper, p. 34), and the 5/- pair is Koolmyn Drift (same ref., pp. 39-40).   The suggested price for the 5/- pair looks very steep ... it's the commonest  issue and value by some way.