Collect Southern Africa
Union Essays and Artwork
Introduction - By Otto Peetoom

Union Philately abounds with Essays and Proofs, many were rejected, Unadopted or modified and this is in fact a vast subject that will require time and effort to put together. To start with Spink in their 9 July 2013 Sale offered 153 A to Z lots of Contemporary Photographs from the Printer's Record Books.

Around 100 pages came from the Printer's daily photographic record books, many being of hand-painted essays and unaccepted designs. Mostly mounted on card/paper - The dates are the entry dates into the archive record books.

Spink were kind enough to send me the scans of the pages before they were cut up into Country lots and what follows has been extracted from the foregoing archive. It included essays from Ascension, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Natal (Entertainment Duty), Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Rhodesia & Nyasaland, St. Helena, South Africa, South West Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Swaziland and Tristan da Cunha.

Before they were cut up, sorting the original pages out was quite a task - For instance page 105 included eight South African essays, dated 28/8/22 at the top, in the middle there were eight items from Iraq, followed by three from Lithuania. Bottom left four designs for Strait Settlements Postage Dues and rounded off at bottom right with another six Union Essays dated 9/1/23.

At the bottom of the Previous page 104, there are four Union essays, also dated 28/8/22 and appear to be part of the eight at the top of page 105, next to each essay is a X with a dot below it, what this signifies is open to debate.

1922 Photographic Bradbury, Wilkinson Essays from their record books dated 28/8/22
This is the date the essays were pasted into the book

Details entered on the ½d design indicate
the Proposed sizes

½d to 1/3
20½ x 24½mm
2/6 to £1
22 x 27mm


½d Prussian Green
1d Vermilion
2d Brown,

3d Light Blue
4d Purple
6d Light Brown,
1/- Hookers Green
1/3 Payne’s Grey
2/6 Burnt Sicuna
5/- Violet
10/- Indigo
£1 Carmine

The colours Hookers Green and
Burnt Sicuna are terms that are
not encountered nowadays

The Designs

½d Springbok

1d Arms of four Provinces

2d Tribesman

3d Ostrich

4d African Warrior

6d Farming

1/- Victoria Falls

1/3 Mining head gear

2/6 Houses of Parliament

5/- Sorting Diamonds

10/- Out Spanning

£1 View over Cape Town

1922 Photographic Bradbury, Wilkinson Essays from their record books dated 9/1/23
Instructions accompanying the Designs up to 2/- and
Including a Postage Due

Postage Size
20½ x 25mm
1922 Photographic Bradbury, Wilkinson Essays dated 19/4/23

The 1d Design above
Dated 9/1/23
Appears to be an initial essay which was replaced by a view across Table Bay as may be seen by the two 1d essays at left, both dated 19/4/23

The 3d Ostrich below is the same as the one in the issue above dated

1927 4d Van Riebeeck Design
This Essay Presents a bit of Mystery
The date above it has been scratched out
but an image below is dated 25/5/27

Was it perhaps a suggested alternative for the
1926 4d Triangle which, at the time,
received a lot of adverse publicity

Web design by Otto Peetoom