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|General Telegraph||Electric Telegraph||Submarine||British Telegraph||English & Irish||British & Irish||London District||UK Electric||S.E.R.||L.C. & D.R.|
|Bonelli's||Universal Tel.||National Telephone||Army Telegraphs 1||Army Telegraphs 2||Railway||Post Office||Unusual||Unexpected||Contributions|
Initially the prices quoted were Hiscocks' original 1982 prices in British Currency (£).
| A recent (April 2015) Auction of the Conrad Graham collection, together with ebay prices,
has enabled me
to update these prices. Prices are for 'average' condition in a selectable currency,
with British Currency (£) being the default. These are intended to be actual 'street prices'.
|Rest of World|
|1||Books are expensive, especially if they have limited appeal.|
|2||Books have most illustrations in glorious monochrome.|
|3||Books have illustrations in Halftone so you cannot see details.|
|4||Books are frozen in time, they do not update.|
|5||Books cannot use online translation.|
|There is a book 'TELEGRAPH and TELEPHONE Stamps of the World, a Priced and Annotated Catalogue' by S.E.R Hiscocks (1982)
that I have used for information and catalogue designations, copies are in short supply.
If you want it, try the link above and if none are available at a reasonable price, try the link "Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle"
if enough people do it might be made available electronically.
I have also recently been shown a book by Philbrick & Westoby (1881) called "The Postage and Telegraph Stamps of Great Britain"
which seems to be a source of much information, though be warned, perforations seem to be rounded to the nearest whole number.
It is available from philatelicsannex.org under 'P'.
Other useful early works can be obtained on CD from J-and-H-Books
Hiscocks explicitly allows his designations to be used by others, so I quote them here.
In some areas though, new discoveries require an extension of his work.
I have no authority or inclination to 'revise' his system, so I have introduced a compatible system based on it that can be
dynamically extended. Please see my Policy Statement for further details.
The index at the top of each page shows the sections that the Telegraph part of my website is divided into.
Though history has never been one of my strong points, I feel a bit of background is warranted regarding these different companies.
The early days of the telegraphs is a time of fierce competition between companies as they sought to extend their reach and market share.
New companies formed, companies merged and companies disappeared.
Not all of them used stamps for accounting purposes, indeed some companies only provided the 'hardware'
leaving other companies to make use of them for profit. Here I will only try to show a brief family tree,
for a more in-depth treatment by someone much better equipped than I to do it, I recommend Distant Writing by (the late) Steven Roberts.
Another site worth a look is Atlantic-Cable.com.
|John Barefoot has recently published "TELEGRAPH STAMPS of the WORLD", an update to Hiscock's book.|
Price:£30.00 + postage. He says:
"In the catalogue, virtually all items are illustrated in full colour, some sections much expanded since Hiscocks,
with up-to-date pricing for mint and for used. 140 pages. ISBN 0-906845-70-X"
Telegraph Stamps of the World
A good friend of mine has obtained a copy and provided some feedback. Main points are:
Very dissappointing on the GB Telegraphs. Though the prices appear to be 'updated' there are few updates otherwise.
Hopefully future updates will be serious UPDATES rather than re-hashes. Wait for a revision.
Since I am now adding foreign telegraph stamps to this website, I obtained a copy of this book for myself.
On the foreign telegraph stamps, this book fares much better as it has significant updates to Hiscocks book and I am having to play catch-up.
The book is intended to be non-specialised, which is why it is not very helpful for the GB telegraphs.
I am now able to bring you some important images from the Langmead & Huggins book.
This is courtesy of the Great Britain Philatelic Society. A special thanks to Mike Jackson.
Take a break.
I spend many hours at the computer. Occasionally I come across things that I would like to share.
I thought I would add a small box giving some non-stamp links that some people may find a welcome diversion:
Calendars for years from 1700
|Oct. 5th||General Telegraph - Another image, now 6 examples.|
|Oct. 20th||Railway - With help from friends, the table at the top now has a link to a page with a list of Railway Telegraph numbers that is sortable and searchable.|
|Oct.6-8||Updates from the Langmead & Huggins book to British & Irish, English & Irish, Electric Telegraph, Bonelli's, S. E. R., UK Electric, B. T. C. & PO.|
|Oct. 5th||General Telegraph - More updates, now 5 examples.|
|Oct. 5th||London District - Images added from the Langmead & Huggins book, courtesy of the Great Britain Philatelic Society. Updates to manuscript control info.|
|September||English & Irish - Many updates including a new discovery, division into 3 groups and a start on plating.|
|June. 22nd||London, Chatham and Dover Railway - Significant updates including a new image of a yellow 1s added.|
|June||Current prices have now been added with selectable currencies.|
|Jan. 14th||PO-Perfins - 22 new items added, a correction and improvement. There is now stamp quantity as well as 'item quantity'.|
|Dec. 18th||Railway - More images added (mostly Irish, but a block of 16 x Scottish 73 also), and the Irish section rearranged.|
|Nov. 14th||London District - Major revisions and corrections. The page is now split with overview and supporting evidence pages making it easier to follow.|
|Oct. 9th||London District - Major revision to later 6d type abandoning booklet theory. Sheet plating now at 100% for 6d and 97.5% for 3d.|
|Aug. 19th||Railway - A block of 4 x 3d Irish numeral 25 image added.|
|May 11th||Unexpected - 3 Stock-Exchange forgery images added.|
|May 11th||Electric Telegraph - Some new images added including three New Huish Directors' Message stamps.|
|Apr. 18th||Bonelli's - Images added for lowest known 3d green and shilling, plus highest known 6d perf.12.|
|Mar. 31st||Army Telegraphs 2 - Illustrations and information about genuine Sudan overprints added.|
|Feb. 25th||PO - Information about watermark orientation increased and clarified, comparing SG, Stoneham and L&H information.|
|Feb. 19th||National Telephone - 1d sheetlet added, showing imperf-between on the 4 right-hand pairs.|
|Feb. 15th||British & Irish - More images added to 6d, 1s and 1/6d. Another forgery example added.|
|Feb. 10th||British Telegraph - Three new images including a pair added. It now looks like only 4 different stamps per sheet.|
|Jan. 24th||PO - Three perfined Edwardian Telegraph Forms added.|
|Jan. 24rd||Unexpected - A couple of examples of perfins used in combination with Telegraph cancels added.|
|Jan. 3rd||British & Irish - Another Form added for 1864 showing additional stations and Corn Markets.|
|Dec. 24th||Army Telegraphs 1 - Another halfpenny orange forgery (inverted), and Bechuanaland 'Telegraphs' over 'Military' error images added.|
|Dec. 16th||Universal Private Tel. - A new constant variety (1s #36) added plus quantity updates.|
|Oct. 21st||English & Irish - Near the bottom of the page I have added a contention that the serialized stamps were NOT closely spaced, together with reasons.|
|Oct. 8th||South Eastern Railway - I added a 'widgit' in the form of a perforation-guage. Click on a stamp on the page to use it.|
|Oct. 8th||British Telegraph, National Telephone, PO and Submarine companies - More examples of stationery added.|
|Oct. 2nd||UK Electric - Major updates, new images added, and some stationery.|
|Aug. 17th||Submarine - Major updates added.|
|Aug. 16th||General Telegraph - Another example added, producing some surprises!|
|June 30th||This Page - Added link to a section being built to cover the rest of the world. (This was actually started before I knew about John Barefoot's book)|
|Apr. 21st||Unusual - More information on the Truro Crown and Glasgow Postal cancellations added.|
|Dec. 1st||Yahoo Group GB_Telegraph_StampGroup started.|
Click on images to go to web-page.
Partly this is because the Nationalisation of these companies was often met with hostility to the extent of destroying all records.
In some cases facts were distorted, or perhaps evidence created to make companies appear deserving of greater compensation. A lot of money was at stake.
Another problem is that priorities and preconceptions have changed over the years.
A far more extensive family tree of companies, regardless of stamp issuance, can be seen at The BT family tree.
BT plc currently holds many documents relating to the early history of the Telegraph Companies.
An overview of their archives can be seen in this pdf document.
In putting these pages together I have often encountered differences of opinion, contradictions and other anomalies. I try to put these right where I can,
Or simply state the discrepancy where I cannot. In many areas, direct evidence is scarce or non-existant and indirect evidence has to be resorted to.
I have been lucky enough to have now found a number of people who are interested in the subject and both willing and able to supply scans and information.
My heartfelt thanks go out to those people, and more contributions are always welcome.
| Presentation card 190 x 240mm dated January 28th 1895, detailing 25 years of progress.
Image, courtesy of Mike-Holt.com
In comparing the work of different authors one discrepancy I find over and over again is the perforation guage used.
Part of the reason is that material is scarce and writers often just copy information that they are not in a position to check.
Early writers may have seen a few examples and assumed they were all the same. But there is also the point that in the early days it was not considered important.
Langmead & Huggins (Page 8) Referring to the first perforator used on Electric Telegraph Company stamps in 1860 say :-
"The line of perforating pins on the machine was 23 in. long, and owing to the unequal spacing of the pins there can be between 14 and 15½ perforations per 2 cm depending on where the measurement is taken."
The number of perforations per 2 cm is the definition of the units used when quoting the gauge of perforations used for a stamp.
Under circumstances like these it is understandable that an author examining one example may quote Perf. 14 and another with a different example Perf.15
More enlightened later authors may give a range or just an average as their unwritten expectation is that the reader knows it to be highly variable.
Times change, machines improved and the new expectation became accurate quotation of the perforation. The old books, though scarce, are easier to obtain than the stamps.
The first perforating machines were what we call today 'line perf.', that is they simply had one line of perforations so that the sheet of stamps went through the machine twice,
once for the horizontal rows and once for the vertical columns. At the intersecton holes did not line up.
GB Postage stamps on the other hand used "Comb-Perf" where instead of a straight line of holes, the perforator was shaped rather like a comb :
with this, only one pass was needed through the perforator.
and the holes lined up.
Luckily 2cm is the width of the early GB postage stamps, so you don't need a perforation guage to distinguish between Perf. 16 and Perf. 14, just count them !
More on perforations.
The horizontal guage does not have to be the same as the vertical guage, you can get a "compound perf" of say 14 x 15.
The prepration of the paper for printing can make it rather abrasive. Perforator pins are subject to a lot of wear and can eventually produce some very ragged perforations.
Pins can also break, giving what are called "blind perfs", see the Bonelli block below. Maintenance can be expensive and also reduces production.
Have a look at the stamps of South Eastern Railway for example, the perforations range from nicely clean-cut on low control-number examples,
to little better than a tear on stamps with a high control-number. Guaging can be problematic.
In the early days this may have been nothing, a paper-makers imprint in a corner somewhere or the company name, once covering a sheet.
Many authors may describe a stamp issue as without watermark, whilst another having an example with part watermark will give a different opinion.
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Last updated 23th. Sept. 2016
©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.