Notes from the Past

Cheque Stamps

The only example of a cheque stamp pressed into service for postage occurred in Nyassaland (then known as British Central Africa) in 1898.  An acute shortage of the 1d. stamp developed when further supplies expected from England failed to arrive.  A provisional 1d. surcharge on the 3s. value did not last long, and the cheque stamp (on which in those days the duty was only 1d.) was adapted to its new role by surrounding it with rectangular frame lines and applying the overprint 'Internal Postage'.  There were not sold direct to the public but were affixed to letters by the postal clerks in exchange for cash; they are therefore practically unknown mint.  At first the postmaster authenticated each copy with his initials; later, control numbers or letters were printed on the back.  The cheque stamps were in use for about eight months before fresh supplies of the normal 1d. stamp arrived, and altogether, about 30,000 were issued.
- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia
Published 1966
Posted March 29, 2000

Editor's Note:  See Scott numbers 57, 58, and 59 to learn more about these stamps.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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