Southern Africa Philately
South Africa the Ten Rarest Stamps

A Question that may stop most Philatelists in their tracks
is to nominate the ten rarest and/or
elusive Union stamps along with ten RSA rarities
I had a dream

Inverted Centre
Another Dream

Inverted Frame
Introduction to South African Philatelic Rarities
By Otto Peetoom

Introduction to a Rarities Project
The late Wilhelm Grütter (then editor) mentioned this subject in the December 1991 edition of The South African Philatelist and wrote...
A request was recently received from the publishers of an intended ‘The South African Book of lists’ to nominate the ten most valuable South African stamps, as well as the ten rarest moderns of South Africa...

The above reminds me of a time when I started my research of the Union’s major varieties and I asked an array of people to nominate the rarest Union varieties. My question certainly stopped most people in their tracks and in those days there was a preconceived idea that the rarest Union variety was the ½d Kings head with a double print (SG 3a).
For more detail on the above follow this link to another page on this website

Grütter’s Top Ten
Having consulted a few knowledgeable philatelists Wilhelm noted as follows:
1913 - 24 King’s Head
½d double print (SG 3a) - 2d dark plum (SACC 5c)
5/- inverted watermark (SG 15w), 1½d coil inverted watermark (SG 20w) - 1½d booklet stamp - sideways watermark (SG 5a)

1925 Airs 3d imperforate at left to margin (SACC 26a)

London Printing
1d booklet stamp with sideways watermark (SG 31e)
10/- with inverted vignette (SG 39a)

Rotogravure issues
2d Tête-Bêche (SG 44e) and 1/- missing frame (SG 62a)

Continued in next column


Comment on the foregoing
At the time the following items were not listed in the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth catalogue SG 5a, 15w, 20w and 31e. The above list is not in order of preference, i.e. which item is regarded as No 1 and through to No 10. Eight items are varieties; the 2d dark plum may be regarded as controversial shade. A Tête-Bêche is not a variety as it was intended for booklet production and its release into circulation unfortunate.

Also what was not taken into account are the ‘forgotten’ varieties listed in the early Union Handbooks such as ½d Springbok double print and the 3d Groote Schuur with centre or frame omitted SG 30d, 45e and 45f.

What is also relevant today are subsequent ‘unlisted’ varieties that came to light such as ½d Springbok watermark sideways SG 30f, 4½d Merino Ram yellow omitted SG 146a and 1/- Official SG 010b plus the ‘Stop’ variety SG 010ba.

Rarity versus Value
Rarity is determined by the number known to exist, but that may not be reflected in its value. At auction a major rarity may be unsold for a variety of reasons. One of lesser value may fetch a ridiculous price because there are two bidders on the day who are both ‘hell bent’ on buying it.

Another factor lies in visual appeal, for instance watermark varieties look no different from the front than the ‘normal’.

Missing colours - Some are more spectacular than others, should the omitted part represent most of the design...they immediately introduce a ‘wow factor’. Whereas a colour that forms a minor part of the design maybe easily overlooked.

Union of South Africa Rarities - A Matter of Opinion
Union Rarities under Consideration
A practical approach to a subject that is appears more complex that it seems, it is perhaps a good idea to create catagories such as Postage stamps (including booklets), Postage Dues and Officials.

Stamps from the four Provinces being Cape, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal continued in general use from 31 May 1910. From 19 August 1910, the stamps of the various provinces could be used throught the Union and continued to do so until the first definitive appeared on 1 September 1913.
The stamps themself are of course not considered as rarities, however certain usage might fall in the catagory as ‘rare’. I doubt if any such item would make it into the ‘top ten’, but they ought to feature in the debate!

Postage Stamps
A way forward is to give consideration to each issue and also look at the different types of errors such as watermark and perforation varieties, double prints plus missing colours. Stamp Booklets are also part of this category as they are responsible for the creation of tête-bêche pairs and some of the rare watermark varieties originate from the booklets.

Postage Dues
A much smaller field than the above, there are certainly items in this field that are worth attention.

1914 1/- D7 used on cover (the only known example)

Most of the rarities stem from the overprints plus certain varieties found on the overprint.

What we ought to consider and take into account
Whilst many of the rarest South African items are invariably varieties other factors are also worthy of note such as ‘normal stamps’ that may be relatively common in mint condition but extremely elusive in used name a few from the Union period.

Elusive used Union Stamps
2d Union Buildings Hyphenated SG 58a, the last 1950 large format 2d Union Buildings
SG 116 and the 1948 ½d Springbok (Economy printing) SG 126.

Among the Officials there is the 1950 2d medium format Union Buildings SG O35, rare as a used single and the great rarity in a pair either vertical or horizontal.
Contributions from the Interested Parties
From Dimitrios Dounis...To be fair the categories should be 3 - normal stamps. normal officials, varieties (and let us not forget booklets!)
Otherwise the varieties would take all the 10 top spots what with inverted centres, missing frames or centres, inverted watermarks, wrong or double overprints etc. In normal stamps I would put first the 2d issue 7a (low in value but high in scarcity) In normal officials the 1s SG O10b.
In varieties the 10s with inverted centre

Continued in next column

This Page made its debut on Thursday 5 October 2017 and will expand during the next few weeks.

Union Rarities
by the late Wilhelm Grütter - See Introduction above.

Union Rarities by John Shaw
Recent Communication with Roy Ross Editor of The Springbok
Roy informed me that he had received some notes from John Shaw for inclusion in the November 2017 edition of The Springbok and relates to discussion on the subject of rarity.

John Shaw writes...The group would often discuss matters of rarity and two I remember especially were ‘What are the rarest ten Union stamps and what are the rarest ten officials?’ and it was a recent article by Otto that reminded me of this. The discussions would always exclude items such as missing colours, double print and inscriptional and control pieces; there was considerable discussion on the officials and I do not want to dwell on these at present, so I shall give you what I recollect as our joint top ten rarest Union stamps which are:

KG V 5/- inverted watermark
KG V 10/- inverted watermark
4d Recess inverted watermark
2d unhyphenated tête-bêche
2d Recess inverted watermark
Pretoria typo 6d official inverted watermark
2/6d unhyphenated official inverted watermark
6d official unhyphenated upright watermark
½d typo tête-bêche
1d typo tête-bêche
Although John said he did not wish to dwell on the Officials, he includes three Officials in his
‘Top Ten Rarest Union’ stamps!

Now note that proofs, essays and the likes of the missing centres and frames, and the KG V ½d KG V double print are excluded from the list, albeit some are scarcer than some quoted above.
My three favourite (Union) discoveries by Simon Peetoom
10s King’s Head, watermark inverted, used.
Found it in 2000 while working at Enfield Stamp Centre. Opened my eyes to what you could find if you ‘keep your eyes peeled’.

2. 1s Official with ‘Official Official’ overprint, SG O25 variety, mint.
Found in an ordinary mint collection, not identified on the page by the collector, indeed, I almost missed spotting it, only when taking a second look at what I’d extracted from the collection did I see it. When the collection of the variety’s buyer was sold, the variety suffered the very same fate, once again ignored and dismissed by the auction company!

SG O25 OFFICIAL - OFFICIAL (ex Brian Coote collection)
3. 1s Official with ‘Stop’ variety, mint, SG O10ba
Spotted the extra full stop after ‘Official’ easily enough, but upon closer inspection did I see the wider, 21mm spacing. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I’d found what could well be a unique variety, a contender for the rarest Union Official.

SG O10ba Stop after OFFICIAL (ex Brian Coote collection)
Comments from other Parties
Please Note
- Comments and/or Participation is open to anyone and it is not restricted to the members of the SACS.

On Wednesday 11 October 2017 I sent a collective email to all the members of the South African Collectors Society making them aware of this new page on the will be interesting to see how much response is forthcoming. Prior to my email Roy Ross, the editor of The Springbok submitted an opinion which has been noted further down the page under RSA.

A Question that has been asked is ‘Why do you want to know?’...
Raising the profile of Southern African Philately on the Internet requires the subjects in question to become searchable via Google.

The aim is to be at the top of ‘Page one as No1’.
For instance, this page has not been on the internet for very long and is already on ‘Page one as No 2’, a few days ago it was No 4 and
I am confident that it will soon feature as ‘No 1’!

Other Comments to date are
Thank you for the information and for the initiative.

Continued in next column

(2) I have noted that you are developing a webpage on SA varieties. It will be difficult to list ten as there are so many that could make the list.

This is a challenge. I take it that you want answers only between 1910 and the present. I also assume you would rule out colonial stamps used in the Interprovincial period.

You also say stamps - which excludes postal stationery? Most of us will have an idea of the rarest stamp for our special interest(s). I guess you want all the information you can get - and more.

From my perspective, I should say that the rarest stamp is SG1 of Union used before 4 November 1910. If we are talking of groups of stamps I imagine that almost any of those used in Mobile post Offices would be rare. Or, there must be really rare postage due stamps. Chris Board

(4) I don't know about rare stamps in the way that you want but how about a column 'Difficult stamps to find on cover (say five) Robert Johnson

(5) What a wonderful idea! Doreen Royan

A Review of the Union of South Africa Stamps
1910 (4 November) Opening of Union Parliament SG 1/2
This stamp was produced in an enormous quantity and a substantial portion of remainders was destroyed. The stamp, whether mint or used, is common. Although unusual for the period, a large number of stamps are known used on the first day, on or off cover.

An individual has ventured an opinion that SG 1 rates as a rarity used prior to its date of issue. One may also intimate that it is rare on cover posted to unusual destinations...even addressed to Captain Scott in the Antarctic.
SG 1 was also valid for use in Basutoland, South West Africa and Swaziland. Such uses are looked upon as rare.

In my opinion none of the above ‘rarity options’ would make it into the ‘Union top Ten’...this website offers a good selection of Union SG 1.

Interprovincials 31.5.1910 - 31.8.1913
Rare Interprovincial Use

Desirable Dates
Desirable and/or rare dates ought to be
31 May 1910 (Illustrated at left)

4 November 1910
(Illustrated below)

31 August 1913.

Rare usage - An item that stands out in my mind is a Natal 1d KEVII stamp from a 1907 2/6 booklet. One stamp in the booklet is overprinted ‘NOT FOR USE’ (SG 147a).
I have seen two covers using a pair, one stamp with the ‘NOT FOR USE’ overprint. One cover is dated DURBAN AU 1 07 and the other cancelled during the Interprovincial period. The message on the latter card indicates that after ‘Union’ the 1d premium for the booklet was no longer in force, thus the Natal 2/6 booklet cost 2s 5d.

The AU 1 07 cover is illustrated in the book The Edwardian Stamps of the South African Colonies (2004) by Brian Trotter on page 110.
Also illustrated in colour on the back of the dust jacket.

1913 - 1924 King’s Heads
The Union’s first Definitive issue was not well received by the public in as much that pictorial essays had been submitted and approved, only to be swept aside with an issue featuring the head of KGV.
There are several categories that fall in the range of being rare.

First Day of Issue
In the first instance use on the first day of issue, 1 September 1913 is extremely rare, the only known example with 8 out of 11 values, excluding 1d, 2d and 1s. Ex Len van de Kar colllection.
Sold Stephan Welz (Johannesburg) 20 September 1995 as lot 467.
First day cancels on individual stamps are also extremely rare and very few examples are known.

First Day Cover QUEENSTOWN SP 1 13
Rare Shades - There are two shades considered as rare, the ½d Mossy Green and the 2d deep plum...neither of the foregoing is included in the SG Commonwealth catalogue.
The Mossy green would not be in the top ten contest.

2d dark plum (SACC 5c)
Perhaps a controversial shade.

Over the years I have handled several examples that may be deemed to be ‘dark plum’.

Should one submit it to the PFSA expert committee, they have a reference copy, if it matches its ‘good’ otherwise thumbs down.

I recall visiting Montagu and having a conversation with Michael Wigmore about this shade and he showed me their reference copy that decides the outcome of any submission.
Watermark Varieties
Virtually all values are known with an inverted watermark except the 2/6 and £1. On the low values the 2½d blue is the rarest inverted watermark and on the higher values the 5/- comes out at the top. There is a mint and used copy known. The mint example has numerous blunt/missing perforations which devalues its potential worth by around 90%.

SG 15w mint

SG 16w mint

SG 16w used

Unfortunately it currently belongs to a South African dealer who has attempted to manipulate its value to a ridiculous level. It is being hailed as the Union’s rarest variety...which, in my opinion, it is not...even if it was, its condition is against such a claim. As I remarked in the introduction, a watermark variety looks exactly the same from the front as its normal counterpart.

Continued in next column

1913 - 1924 King’s Heads Continued

The 10/- Inverted watermark is certainly outside the top ten, over the years used examples have come out of the woodwork at a steady pace, The vast majority of 10/- inverts have a PORT ELIZABETH cancel, but a 2008 Welz copy is cancelled OUDTSHOORN SP 12 13 (Very early use). There is at least one mint example that suffers a short perforation.

1½d Coil stamp with Inverted Watermark

Recorded used listed in 2017 as SG 20w value £3500

1½d Sideways Watermark Ex Booklet
Listed by SG as 5c used £1800. An example of this stamp was included in the Len van de Kar sale at Welz (20.9.1995) in lot 404 and the description notes...apparently the only recorded copy...

Other King’s Head Varieties

1½d Tête-Bêche -
The first Union tête-bêche stamps from uncut sheets produced for the 1921 3/- booklet went into general circulation.
Large quantities of 1½d tête-bêche were issued and it is a very common.

½d Printed on the gummed side SG 3d £1500

½d Partial double print SG 3a
This variety was subject to an article in Southern Africa Philately No 5 . Five examples from a vertical strip of six is recorded, stamp six is normal.
Initially the strip of six was split into three pairs. By 1930 top pair was in the collection of J. Ritchie and ended up with Thys Rall. The Rall pair was sold by Stephan Welz in July 1992. It was split into two singles and the top stamp, regarded as the ‘best’ example with 70% doubling, has a 4mm tear.

The doubling of the frame varies from 70% on the top stamp down to 10% on the 5th stamp.

The middle pair was allegedly in an‘Overseas collection’ (1930) but had been split into two singles by 1921 and one example appeared in an advertisement placed by Tom Allan. The 3rd stamp is said to be ex Naylor, then to Len van der Kar and to a Cape Town collector (via Des Hyland) who has since passed away.

The lower pair belonged to Proffesor J.J. Smith in Stellenbosch, he passed away in 1949, but the pair remained in the family until September 2000.

There is another example of a ½d that is said to have a double print, it is considered to be of a dubious nature and suspected as a fake.

The past doyens of South African Philately pumped its rarity and value up and at one time it was allegedly the Union’s ‘rarest and most valuable’ variety...which it is not...whether it will make it into the top ten remains to be seen.

I gain the impression that the ‘Top’ collectors of Union were promoting the items they possessed and forgot to mention the rarer items that they were missing...more of this later...

1926 - 27 Typographed Definitives SG 30 - 32

½d Springbok, 1d Ship and 6d Orange Tree - First printed by Waterlow in England and then in 1927 by the Government Printer in Pretoria.

Surprisingly the ½d and 1d both have a fair number of listed varieties that are worthy of note. Again sheets with tête-bêche stamps (Intended for booklets) were on sale. Listed as SG 30ea (½d) and SG 31da (1d) both priced at £1500 and neither of them are contenders for the top ten.

½d Springbok Varieties
SG 30a Missing ‘1’ in ‘½’ priced at £2750. There is an account of ‘how and when’ this variety was discovered and published in issues of the SAP.
February 1971 page 29...repeated in August 1989 page 196. At least six mint and one used. Discovered by George Hockey who received a letter from Wolmarandsstad with an example used as postage circa January 1927.

Spink’s (Bloom) sale (24 October 2013) included a block of six with the variety on one stamp in lot 2071.

SG 30a

Missing ‘1’ in ‘½’

SG 30b Centre Omitted priced at £3500

SG 30d Frame Printed double priced at £22,000
This variety is certainly more impressive than the ½d Kings head, more detail may be viewed elsewhere on this website
In my opinion this could feature in the top ten.

SG 30f Watermark Sideways used priced at £3250
This is from a booklet and in a vertical pair (the only known example)
For more detail follow this link to another page on this website
This item is certainly one of the rarest Union watermark varieties.

½d Imperforate at left to margin, being beyond the scope of the catalogue, it is not listed by SG and features in the SACC. A top left corner marginal block of four in the Spink (Bloom) sale as lot 2018.

SG 31b Imperfotate on 3 sides
SG 31da - Tête-bêche

1d Ship Varieties
SG 31a
Imperforate and SG 31b Imperfotate on 3 sides... note both the foregoing come from the same sheet. For more detail follow this link to another page on this website

SG 31e Watermark sideways priced mint £2750 used £2500

1927 - 30 London Definitives SG 34 - 39
This issue includes two inverted watermarks and South Africa’s only example of an inverted centre. The latter was found in the ‘Nissen Stock’ bought by Stanley Gibbons in October 1977.

SG 34aw 2d Watermark Inverted priced £900 mint £950 used

SG 35cw
4d Watermark Inverted priced £1000 mint £950 used

Spink (Bloom) Sale included mint blocks of four of the 2d and 4d in lots 2095 and 2096.

SG 39a
Valued at £22,000
as a single, making it
South Africa’s highest
priced variety

SG 39a 10/- Centre Inverted, two vertical pairs and a marginal single known
For more detail follow this link to another page on this website

Another scarce item in this issue, worthy of note is the 10/-
Aniline Blue
For more detail follow this link to another page on this website
Comment on the value of the 10/- Inverted centre
The theme of collecting stamps, either with their centre or frame inverted, is popular in America and perhaps has its origins due to the famous ‘Inverted Jenny’. When the two vertical pairs and single example were initially offered in South Africa, there were no takers. However they soon found a home with the ‘Inverted USA Boys’. The single example was for sale by an American dealer at ‘Pacific 97’ and Alan MacGregor and I made a joint purchase of this item...subsequently sold to a Cape Town collector.

One of the vertical pairs was in the ‘Invert Collection’ of the late Mr Robert Cunliffe. Given its sale price of $50,000 I feel certain that it is more than likely that the buyer is another collector of inverts rather than a Union collector. Thus its price is not linked to the South African collector’s purse strings, but to ‘Big Bucks in America’.

1925 Airmail Stamps SG 26 - 29
Imperforate Varieties
1d Imperforate
to left margin

One sheet
12 Pieces
1d Imperforate from waste sheet (12 pieces)
3d Imperforate to left margin

Two sheets (24 Pieces Possible)
9d Imperforate to left margin

Six sheets 72 Pieces possible
More Information
9d (at foot) Three sheets 30 Pieces possible

9d Imperforate at foot
9d Imperforate to left margin - Also known used 1) On piece in a horizontal pair with normal cancelled CAPE TOWN
2) There are three examples on piece (block of four plus a pair) cancelled CAPE TOWN 13 JUN 25
1930 - 44 Unhyphenated Definitives SG 42 - 49
Several Illustrations are courtsey of Spink
This issue abounds with an array of rare items and some of the Union’s rarest varieties feature in this issue that spanned some 15 years.
The following are worthy of note:

½d (SG 42b) Also known seperated by an interpanneau margin.
To appreciate the layout of the sheet, see illustration above.
1d (SG 43a) and 2d (SG 44a) The latter is considered as one of the rarest Union items. The Spink (Bloom) Sale included example of all the foregoing.

SG 44a

Ex Bloom

Lower margin reduced on illustration
Frame or Centre Omitted - The SG policy, when the frame is omitted, is to list it as a ‘single’, the reason being that the stamps are inscribed in English and Afrikaans. Should the frame be omitted, in theory, it may be uncertain which language it ought to be.

Frame Omitted
1d (SG 43b) - Illustration ex Bloom (Spink sale)

SG 44c in marginal pair with Normal ex rows 17 & 18 stamp 1 (Grosvenor Auction May 2011 lot 2794)
2d (SG 44c) Watermark upright
From the known pieces it appears that there is a partial omission on row 13, frame omitted on rows 14, 15 & 16. On row 17, the first stamp is total and stamps 2 to 6 are partial making 19 single omissions possible (18 mint and one used).

The frame omitted on R17/1 along with a normal ex R18/1. This marginal vertical pair is on a piece cancelled Johannesburg 21 XI 34. The rest of the sheet was split into various units. There is a left marginal single known, sold by Harmers 18.12.1996 as lot 2151. I have on record two vertical strips of five with two normal at the top, the middle stamp has a partial omission and the lower two stamps with the frame omitted.

Vertical strips from the bottom of the sheet are also known...I have a half arrow strip of five ex Rows 16 - 20 stamp 4. Total - almost total plus three normal See illustration

The late Patrick Williams had an irregular corner marginal block of seven ex rows 16 - 20, one stamp with frame omitted (ex R16/2) one almost totally omitted (ex R 17/2) The remaining five stamps are normal.

In August 2006 Patrick sent this item to me for inspection/study, in the his letter he wrote...I bought this in the 1970's at a Cavendish auction in Leeds...John Shaw knows I have this as he was at the auction. No one else does - except you...

2d (SG 44cwa) Watermark inverted
Reported in the August 1931 SAP stating...sold over the counter of a small South African P.O. It was not noticed by the P.O. Clerk and went to a non collector who got in touch with philatelists...

September 1931 SAP - An Illustration of a right lower marginal block of 18 ex Rows 15 to 20, stamps 2 to 16 appeared...

The SAP report stated that there are 18 total omissions which is not correct. Row 15 & 20 are normal.
On row 16 frame omitted on stamps 1, 2 & 3. Partial omission on stamps 4, 5 & 6. Rows 17 and 18 total omission. Row 19 all partial omissions, thus there are 15 stamps with a total omission.

Illustrated SG 44cwa with ‘arrow’ at foot (stamp 4) ex Bloom collection.

Continued in next column

3d Frame Omitted
SG 45f
valued at £16,000 (single stamp)

One block of eight known with five total and three partial omissions.
This item was in the Proffesor J.J. Smith collection and remained with his family after his death (1949) and sold by Stephan Welz in 2000.

The SG listing is on the basis of this block.

Other partial omissions are known which originate from different sheets.

Other 1d Varieties
SG 43cwa
Centre omitted

Blurred frame Not listed by SG as it is beyond their scope. The blurring starts on the bottom part of the stamps on
row 4 and extends across rows 5, 6 & 7. On row 8 the blurring stops about two thirds of the way down. I had this variety in a top left corner marginal block of 40 stamps (4 x 10) along with a letter dated 7 July 1933 addressed to Mr Gilbert stating that that part of the sheet was sold over the counter in Pretoria. See The Springbok (Jan/Mar 2012)
One of the Union’s Rarest Varieties

The block of six with the unique pair was issued with an October 1997 B.P.A. certificate number 48,134 and on the strength of this it was listed in the 1999 Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth Catalogue as SG 45e

SG 45e Centre omitted valued at £32,000 for a pair.
A sheet from the September 1937 fourth printing, with upright watermark, had three rows of stamps with their centres either partly or totally missing. Only three stamps on the left of the sheet have a total omission, the remaining portions on the other stamps vary in severity from left to right.

On each row the first stamp has more of the centre missing than the last one on the row. Rows 4 to 10 from sheet No 8482 (figures in blue) were split into six units and rows four to six into blocks of six and rows seven to ten into blocks of eight. Positive identification of the rows is confirmed by the presence of the marginal arrows on row ten and a constant variety, being a break in the frame under POSTAGE, found on R5/1.

Miscellaneous Varieties on the Unhyphenated Definitives
Paper Joins
These occur on all the values and some are scarcer than others
SG 49aw 2/6 green and brown with inverted watermark. Priced as
Mint £225 Used £275

In my opinion this item is much scarcer than its catalogue value suggests
Republic of South Africa Rarities - A Matter of Opinion
Republic (RSA) Rarities under Consideration
The Union of South Africa covers the period from 1910 to 1961 and given the conservative issuing policy compared to later years the challenge is different to the Republic era that started in 1961 and continues to this day.

A Republic of South Africa used Rarity
1987 40c Bible stamp
Several examples are known used on FDC or on a maxi card...but how many geniunely commercially used examples are in circulation?

During one of my trips to South Africa, about a year or so after it was issued,

I bought three used copies on two pieces (cut from registered envelopes) being a single and a pair. Used at HOLDINGS 17 XI 87. Two days prior to its ‘Official’ issue.

The SACC rates the used Bible stamp at the same price as the mint...I think not!

Republic of South Africa top Rarities by Roy Ross

Submitted on 7 October 2017

1972 R1 missing orange, bottom of sheet
1975 15c Tourism control block of six, with colours missing.
1987 Bible stamp FDC with 40c
1979 Xmas stamp, missing gold letters
1963 Red Cross, red cross missing
1964 Nursing stamp, missing gold
1963 Transkei Legislative Assemble, missing green
1975 Tourism FDC orange and yellow missing (Addressed)
1990 National Stamp Day 21c Natal, missing silver
1961 12½c Protea, missing Red

Continued in next column
Southern Africa Philately Issue No 4 (October 2016)
This journal includes a four page article by Otto Peetoom covering RSA varieties up to 1990 entitled RSA - Major Commemorative Varieties.

Updates on the foregoing are included in subsequent editions
No 5 (February 2017) 1992 - 93 Commemorative Varieties
No 6
(June 2017) 1979 4c Christmas Fund Missing Gold Variety
No 8
(Due out in February 2018) an update on the 1964 12½c Nursing, missing Gold SG 257a.

RSA - Major Commemorative Varieties

The listing in the above publication includes the following items
up to 1993
There are no varieties noted from 1994 to 2004 and close to ten items are worthy of note from 2005 to 2014.

Commemorative Varieties
2½c Kirstenbosch - Red omitted
12½c Red Cross omitted
± 25
2½c Transkei - Green Omitted
12½c Nursing - Gold omitted
3c Verwoerd - Brown omitted
4c Broadcasting - Black omitted
15c Tourism (se-tennant block) - Orange & yellow omitted
10 x 4
Above known on FDC plus cylinder A & B blocks (6) mint (2 of each)
9c Baines - Imperforate
15c Bowls Champion - Gold omitted
4c Erich Mayer - Imperforate
10c Ocean Mail - Imperforate on three sides
  10c Ocean Mail - Totally Imperforate
  10c Ocean Mail - Imperforate at top
15c Walvis Bay - Totally Imperforate
4c Dr Murray - Three sides Imperforate
4c Christmas Fund - Gold omitted
    Also known on Illustrated FDC (Only one found to date)
5c National Gallery - Three sides Imperforate
20c State Theatre - Imperforate to margin
State Theatre MS Imperf - Gold & brown omitted
50c Cape Parliamentary Buildings - Black omitted
12c Donate Blood - Black omitted
15c strip of 5 National Stamp Day - Silver Omitted
5 x 5
35c Cape Funiture sheetlet - Imperforate at right
35c Sport Imperforate - Several sheets known
See note
    35c Sport Imperforate on three sides
35c SA Harbours - Imperforate at foot
No Commemorative Varieties Noted 1994 - 2004
Standard Postage Prevent Blindness - Embossing omitted
Also Imperforate or three sides imperforate
75 Years SAA one sheetlet - Imperforate
Digital Divide sheetlet - Imperforate
FIFA SAPOA sheetlet - Imperforate
  Also Imperforate & colour printing omitted
Mandela sheetlet - Imperforate
Ukuthunga to sew - Embossing omitted
1 only
A Review of the Republic of South Africa Stamps
March 1963 - 50th Anniversary of Kirstenbosch
2½c Red omitted SG 224a or SACC 223a, not reported in the SAP.
Listed in 1971 SG Part I (un-priced)
1984 SG Elizabethan catalogue
priced at £750
By 2008 SG Commonwealth catalogue also priced used at £750

To date I am not able to locate anyone who has any information on this variety, nor has anyone seen an example.
August 1963 - Red Cross Centenary
12½c with Red Cross omitted SG 226a or SACC 225a

A tentative report of this variety only appeared in the August 1965 SAP and suggests that omissions were found on a sheet bought in Pretoria and that another sheet found its way to England. A dealer in the UK stated 22 copies of which one is damaged. The debate in South Africa felt there were more.
Most examples are single stamps, but it does exist in a vertical pair with normal. Lamont Smith included a top right corner marginal example proving it came from row 1.
Used examples - I am aware of two copies; one with a wavy line machine cancel. Welz 12.11.1987 lot 643 - later sold by Stephan Walter and acquired by Brian Coote.
Recently sold by Stanley Gibbons auction 1.12.2015 as lot 1103.

Partial omissions of the Red Cross also occur.

December 1963 - First meeting of Transkei Assembly
2½c Light green omitted SG 237a or SACC 244a

June 1964 SAP...characteristic extends over the 5th to 9th horizontal partly absent on the stamps of the 5th row and completely so on those of the other four rows.
Purchased over the counter at Pretoria. The above report is not quite correct as the stamps on row 9 retain a residue of green. Lamont Smith included a corner marginal strip of six. Lamont Smith strip - On R5/1 an almost total omission and the stamp ex R6/1 with missing green.

S. Welz offered a vertical pair and the stamp ex R9/1 described as ‘virtually completely omitted’ - Sale 30.3.1994 lot 424 and in Sale 25.3.1992 lot 470 -
a strip of 12 from the last vertical row and the stamp ex R9/5 is described as having the green 99% missing. Thus partial omissions are found on rows 5 and 9 and totalling missing on rows 6, 7 and 8 (15 stamps).

October 1964 - 50th Anniversary of South African Nursing
12½c Gold omitted SG 257a or SACC 249a
The South African Philatelist
(April 1974) includes an illustration of a top right marginal block of 14. It states that the pane in question was discovered in the UK and omissions occur on rows 2 to 6. Rows 1 and 7 being normal thus there are 25 possible omissions and varieties from rows 2 and 6 are likely to be in a pair with normal.
The variety occurred on Pane ‘A’ as there are minor flaws on R1/5 being a blue dot above left of the nurse’s bosom plus another on her forehead.
The 1974 report notes that 17 examples found their way to South Africa and the balance sold overseas.

Recently sold by Spink 26 January 2017 as lot 1918 ex Freddie Herzberg’s collection a top right corner marginal block of four which originates from the piece illustrated in the SAP.
Estimated at £3000 - 4000 its hammer price was £7000 + (29%) = £9030
1966 RSA Anniversary 7½c
A Paper Join
S. Welz on 26.10.1994 as lot 397 offered a 7½c in a right bottom marginal strip of eight with a paper join across three stamps.
They are unusual during the RSA period.
December 1966 - Verwoerd Commemoration
3c Brown omitted SG 267a or SACC 259a. This variety is not mentioned in the SAP and I believe two sheets were split up. Offered in S. Welz 11.5.93 as lots 381 and 382.
Sheet 1 Total omission on stamp 11 and partial on 7 to 10 plus stamp 12.

Sheet 2 Partial omissions on stamps 1 to 5.
Lamont Smith included a top left corner marginal block of twelve from rows 1 and 2 with partial omissions from this sheet (S. Welz 14 June 1989)

Two pieces from Sheet 1 at auction

(1) Welz 30.3.1994 lot 425 in a horizontal strip of five. The first two stamps normal followed by a progressive partial omission across the remaining three stamps.

Harmers 3 July 1996 lot 1755 a pair with a total and partial omission.
At the time it was valued at R18,000 in the SACC and estimated at £1,700

Continued in next column

July 1974 - 50th Anniversary of Broadcasting in SA
Black Omitted

4c Black inscriptions omitted
SG 345a or SACC 356a.
This error occurs in the bottom two rows of the sheet making ten examples possible.
Note The stamp on row 8 has the ‘R’ in ‘RSA’ omitted .

Lamont Smith included a bottom marginal single.

A positional strip of six was offered by S. Welz on 26.10.1994 as lot 397.
In the description it mentions that a photograph of the original multiple was taken prior to splitting it.

The same multiple was sold in the Spink (Pierron) sale on 8.12.2009 as lot 1680.

The October 1994 S. Welz sale included a host of RSA varieties and also included.

1976 15c Bowls Champion
Double Print
Lot 400 offered a with a double print of Gold - SACC 400a.

November 1975 SA Tourism - Four 15c se-tenant designs
Orange and yellow omitted -
SG 388ab or SACC 393a - 396a
This is a variety that is difficult to see unless one compares it to a ‘normal’.
Colour on ‘RSA’ and ‘15c’ omitted.

Normal se-tenant Block

There is a footnote in SG...At least two sheets, one...used to prepare official first day covers at Pretoria...

Sheet format - Cylinder A & B with forty stamps on each pane producing twenty se-tenant blocks of four.

Missing Colours Cylinder Blocks - Both A & B were offered as blocks of six in Welz on 11.5.1993 in lots 402 and 403 with a note...only 1 other ‘A/B’ block known to exist....The foregoing suggests that two of each cylinder has survived and contradicts the SG footnote which states ‘the other sheet’ was broken up for use on FDCs.

A more likely explanation If two sets of cylinder blocks survive, it is reasonable to assume that they originate from two sheets and may have been accepted as ‘normal’ until news of the colour omissions became known.

The Philatelic Bureau in preparing First Day covers would remove the selvedge from the sheets, split the stamps into blocks of four before proceeding.

Cylinder blocks at Auction
Harmers 2.09.2004 lots 1041 & 1042
Spink (Pierron) sale on 8.12.2009 as lots 1683 (cyl A) & 1684 (cyl B).

SA Tourism - Missing Colour on FDC
An example was offered by Stephan Welz on 14.8.2007 as lot 761.
Another FDC featured in the Spink (Pierron) sale on 8.12.2009 as lot 1685.

FDC - Orange and yellow omitted - Colour on ‘RSA’ and ‘15c’ omitted
June 1975 Thomas Baines Centenary - 9c Imperforate
Unlisted by SG (390 variation) - SACC 385a.
A top marginal pair was offered by Welz on 11.5.1993 as lot 401.

S. Welz 24.11.1993 - lot 473 & 30.3.1994 - lot 430

This variety is the first RSA commemorative imperforate and three others followed during 1976 and in 1978.
April 1976 - 15c World Bowls Champions Gold overprint omitted
Partial on stamp four and completely on stamp 5 & 6. Not listed by SG and SACC 400c. Illustration at foot of page.

Welz 11.5.1993 as lot 404 top corner marginal strip of six and re-offered again on 30.3.1994 as lot 431.

April 1976 - Erich Mayer Centenary - 4c Imperforate
SG 399a or SACC 401a.
In keeping with many of the above varieties I have found no reference to them in the SAP. S. Welz offered a right marginal pair in their 11.5.1993 sale as lot 406 and a top marginal pair on 26.10.1994.

The illustrated imperforate block of four featured on 19.3.1997 as lot 501 and incorrectly described as being from the 1975 Thomas Baines issue.
October 1976 - Ocean Mail Centenary
10c Imperforate SG 409a or SACC 411a
Also Imperforate on three sides or imperforate at top.

The item on the right is probably one of the most interesting RSA imperforates. The top two strips were offered by Welz as lot 395 on 23.3.1988 with a tentative description.

All four rows subsequently appeared in their 24.11.1993 sale as lot 463 stating a P.O. clerk had roughly separated the above units.

In addition lot 464 offered another two pairs from the top two rows. Welz on 3.7.2002 once again offers the above rows in lot 607 and the description informs us...originally severed horizontally by tearing along a ruler by P.O. clerk...

Imperforate on three sides
When I initially saw the two top rows in the 1998 sale I could not resolve what the purpose was to separate the stamps in the way it was done. However it appears that a diligent clerk was intent in splitting up his stamps to the best of his ability.
March 1978 - Walvis Bay Centenary SG 439
15c Imperforate - Not listed by SG and SACC 443a.
Again no information about this variety in the SAP. Printed in sheets of 25, the cylinder strip of 5 from the 1st vertical row is intact and offered by Welz on 24.11.1993 as lot 475.
The remaining twenty stamps make another ten pairs possible.
The foregoing sale also included a lower marginal pair in lot 413.
Welz 11.5.1993 offered a top right corner marginal block of four plus a pair in lots 424/425.

May 1978 - Tribute to Dr Murray
4c last stamp on each row imperforate on three sides.
The variety is beyond the scope of the SG catalogue and listed in the SACC as 444a. This item has been offered in several Stephan Welz sales either as a full sheet or in strips of five. At least 2 sheets were found (10 strips of 5)

Sheet 1 - Offered as a full sheet at Welz 12.11.1987 in lot 658 and described as having a light crease on the top right hand stamp and there is a faint ‘3’ in pencil in the top right margin. The sheet was offered in April 2000 and again in their 21.7.2004 sale as lot 566.

Sheet 2 - Ex Lamont Smith Top marginal strip offered twice at Welz. 12.10.1991, lot 335 and 18.4.2000 as lot 537.

Welz 21.7.2004 - lot 566
The above sheet is accompanied by an 14 July 1897 original letter
written by Dr Andrew Murray at King Williams Town.

Two different strips of 5 on 11.5.1993, lot 426 and 24.11.1993, lot 474.
The lattter offered again on 30.3.1994 as lot 435.

Bottom marginal cylinder strip of 5, Welz 26.10.1994, lot 414.

Continued in next column

Please Note
This page is nowhere near completion, information and illustrations will be added on a regular basis. RSA Commemoratives will be completed first, followed by the Definitives.

November 1980 National Art Gallery
5c Three sides Imperforate

This variety is beyond the scope of the SG catalogue and listed in the SACC as 485a (SG 481 variety)

First offered by Welz in Lamont Smith sale, then on 28.3.1990 as lot 630 and again on 19.3.1997, lot 505. Re-appeared once more 18.4.2000 in lot 538.

I believe it is the same strip of five and I do not know whether it is the only known example.

May 1981 State Theatre
20c Right margin Imperforate

Another variety beyond the scope of the SG catalogue and listed in the SACC as 494a. I have only traced this item once in a Welz auction on 18.4.2000 as lot 539.

1981 State Theatre Miniature Sheet No 9 (SG MS 492)
Imperforate with Gold & brown omitted

When Welz was still known as Sotheby’s Johannesburg, I first encountered this item in a 5 July 1983 sale as lot 447, described with a horizontal crease and said to be one of three recorded. Probably ex Lamont Smith.

I purchased an example for a client in 1989 and was informed that most of the known examples suffer a horizontal machine crease.

A copy described without a crease was on offer by Welz in lot 428 on 11.5.93. Another (without comment) on 26.10.94 in lot 415 and once more on 18.4.2000, lot 540.

During 2012, in June and November, the same example was offered in two Welz sales and described as of only two non-creased m/sheets...
If one can believe the foregoing it does imply that there ought to be more than three examples as suggested in 1983.

RSA 1979 4c Christmas Fund Missing Gold Variety - SG 464a

This variety was subject to a seperate article in Southern Africa Philately
No 6 (June 2017) I had not seen an example before, but fortunately the owner of a cylinder strip of five made contact with me and provided the circumstances of its discovery.

The ‘Missing’ Colour discovery
The owner wrote...My mother bought all the new issues from Isando post office for us. The company that my mother worked for was Girlock. They bought full sheets and she then bought the control blocks or cylinder blocks from the company’s postal department. The rest of that sheet was used for sending accounts etc. to customers. At some stage afterwards I took over my brother’s stamps, early 1980s and with the sorting I found this strip without the gold. As we belonged to Kempton Park Philatelic Society in those days I showed it to them as well. In 1986 I took it to Glen and Velda Carpendale to send to the Philatelic Federation of Southern Africa Expert Committee for assessment. As you can see on their certificate (No 8568) dated 1 Nov 1986, that it is genuine in their opinion...

Following the PFSA certificate it was recorded and illustrated, in black and white, in the RSA Stamp Study Group Newsletter No 33 (December 1986).

Top left Cylinder strip with Gold omitted
Lower left ‘Normal’ with cylinder ‘1225’ in Gold

The owner continues...I then sent the information to, if I remember correctly, International Philatelic Services in Johannesburg which arranged to be published in the SACC catalogue. November 1996 I sent the info to Stanley Gibbons...which decided that they will list it in their catalogue.

Stanley Gibbons Correspondence - The owner wrote to SG on 20 November 1996 and received a reply on 7 January 1997 from the Catalogue Editor David Aggersberg who wrote....I have not previously heard of this missing colour error...I can certainly confirm that the missing gold error will be listed in the next edition of the Part I (British Commonwealth) catalogue as no 464a.

The variety is listed for the first time in the SG 1998 Part I Volume 2 edition. Other than the RSA study group, as far as I am aware this variety has not previously been chronicled or recorded in the Philatelic press.

Possible Valuation - This 4c commemorative was printed in sheets of 25; in panes of four and the first question to mind is what the fate of the other copies was. I pointed out that it is not an obvious error and may easily be overlooked. If there were other sheets, it may be possible that ‘missing gold’ examples are included in collections which are regarded as ‘normal’.

The variety lacks visual appeal and it is similar to the missing colours on the RSA 1985 Cape Parliament 50c (missing black) and 1986 Donate blood 12c black inscription omitted. In my opinion both these varieties, along with the missing gold lack a ‘wow’ factor. Keen collectors’ of RSA varieties would love to include such an item in their holding of errors.

It is normal practise to leave the likes of this ‘missing gold’ un-priced in a catalogue as it has no trading or auction history...thus, currently its actual value remains somewhat academic.

Missing Gold SG 464a on FDC
I was informed recently that this variety is also known on First Day covers. Given that the gold lettering is difficult to see...such a variety can easily be missed. It was sold in a Stephan Welz sale.

Continued in next column

A lack of new material (1981 - 1985)
RSA Varieties took a back-seat for several years and nothing of note appeared until 1985, an omission of a black inscription and a similar variation followed a year later. Both these varieties are not very striking and I assume that they occurred in a full sheet.

May 1985 Inauguration of Cape Parliamentary Buildings
50c Black omitted
SG 585a or SACC 591a
A horizontal pair was offered by Welz on 26.10.1994 in lot 428.
I bought a copy for a client in 1989 and that example,
ex Coote was sold by Stanley Gibbons Auctions on 1 December 2015 as
lot 1121.

February 1986 Donate Blood Campaign
12c Black Omitted - Inscriptions below design, SG 594a or SACC 600a

A Fair number of these varieties appeared in Welz starting with a single on 11.5.1993 in lot 437.
A lower right corner marginal block of four featured in lot 429 on 26.10.1994,
ex Lamont Smith
A bottom marginal strip of three was offered on 8.8.2006 in lot 688.
Brian Coote’s collection included an example, sold by SG as lot 1122 on 1.12.2015.

An RSA Rarity
I recently had a telephone conversation with a Stamp dealer I am acquainted with and he informed me that he was in the process of tearing up a quantity of miniature sheets SG MS 2111 (about 60) to use as postage.

This MS is 2014 ‘Ukuthunga to sew’ - SG MS 2111 or SACC 2264.
A footnote in SG states...‘had raised silk screen ink applied to the inscriptions and stamp design’...

It is similar to the embossed dots present on the 2005 ‘Prevention of Blindness’ stamp SG 1570 or SACC 1753.

Ukuthunga to sew

Embossing omitted

Is this the
Rarest RSA stamp?
After having taken the stamps from the miniature sheets, the person concerned noticed that the embossing was absent from one stamp.
It was the only example he had, the 2017-18 SACC includes the following footnote...a single is known with raised printing omitted..

Continued in next column


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