PO Telegraph 3d

Telegraph stamps of the World

I started with just British Private Telegraph stamps, but I have decided to
attempt to update more of Hiscocks' book.

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  I have re-numbered these in the light of new information,
though leaving references to the original designations.  

 The new designations have 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) to avoid confusion. 
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Shortcuts to different sections:
Italy Sardinia Stationery Eritrea



Steve Hiscocks wrote:
So far as I have been able to discover no telegraph stamps were ever issued or used in Italy. The issue of telegraph stamps was however apparently
considered at one time since two designs of essay are known — one value of each in a variety of colours. Little is known about them. They are listed
below as an aid to collectors who may come across them from time to time. The illustrations are taken from a 19th Century publication and are unfortunately very poor.

My note:
I have added a few more essays, plus some apparently for Sardinia.


Only essays and proofs are known. 1862?     Imperf.
I have tried to arrange these into what I think is the likely sequence. (I could be wrong)

Italian proof Italian H3 Italian proof
Type 1. (H1) Embossed bi-colour Ll.20 Telegraph essay ?
head of King Victor Emanuel II.
Type 2. (H3)   New design.
80cts. Head of King Victor Emanuel II.  Proof ?
Type 3. (H4) Similar design with Arms, described as:
"Undated Ll.20 Telegraph proof in black on thin card (49 x 58mm.),
fine and scarce. Hiscocks 1. Ex Lee. - courtesy Grosvenor Auctions 

Types 1 and 2, courtesy of Andrew Higson appears to be previously un-described.
I am not sure of the dates for any of these except that Victor Emanuel (known as the Duke of Savoy) became king of Sardinia in 1849,
then on 17 March 1861 he assumed the title King of Italy. He died 9 January 1878.

Italian H2 Italian H2
Type 2. (H2) On pink paper.
Proof of embossing ?
Type 2. (H2a) A pair of the embossed heads on white paper,


Italian Type 3 Italian Type 3 Orange
Type 3. Courtesy of Fabrizio Ferrari. Type 3. in orange, courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

According to Rolf Lamprecht, these are known in carmine, red-purple, bronze-green, yellow and orange.


RH # Type Was Description Mint Used
RH1 1 - 1.20 Lire. Red and yellow on embossed paper. Head of King Victor Emanuel II.   - -
RH2 2 - 1.20 Lire. Embossing only on pink paper. Head of King Victor Emanuel II. - -
RH2a 2 -         on white paper. - -
RH3 2 - 0.80 Lire. Slate-grey on white paper. Head of King Victor Emanuel II. - -
RH4 3 - 1.20 Lire. Black on white. Arms. - -
RH4a 1         carmine - -
RH4b 1         red-lilac - -
RH4c 1         bronze-green - -
RH4d 1         yellow - -
RH4e 1         orange - -


These two items were advertised as essays of Telegram Seals of this same period.

Italian seal-essay-1 Italian seal-essay-2
Though they are of the same style, they contain no reference to 'Telegrafni', so I would think they were intended as general seals.
The square one though does have some resemblance to a later type used as a Telegram seal (see below).



1864?   Hummel essays   Imperf.

Italian Type 4
Type 4. Courtesy of Fabrizio Ferrari.
The range of colours described, suggest colour trials.


RH # Type Was Description Mint Used
H5 4 2 2 Lire. grey-black. - -
H5a 2         purple - -
H5b 2         lilac - -
H5c 2         blue - -
H5d 2         greenish-blue - -
H5e 2         ultramarine - -
H5f 2         green - -
H5g 2         yellow-green - -
H5h 2         olive-green - -
H5i 2         olive-bistre - -
H5j 2         orange - -
H5k 2         carmine-lake - -
H5l 2         rose-carmine - -
H5m 2         red - -
H5n 2         red-brown - -
H5o 2         brown - -


Italian H2
Courtesy Philippo Elia (romablusplendid on eBay).   ("SEGNA TASSE" means Postage Due, so not telegraphic but part of the same eBay lot)

The certificate from Caffaz Perito Filatelico says in Italian:

ITALIA 1864: saggi "H... (Torino)" di francobollo per telegrafo non adottati, in colori diversi: 2L. nero,
2L. azzurro oltremare, 2L. rosso mattone, 2L. rosso carminio, 2L. bruno, 2L. violetto, 2L. verde giallo
e 2L. verde scuro "FATTORINO ENTRO CORNICE CON SCRITTE AI LATI", stampa litografica,
emessi in foglietti di 8 esemplari su carta spessa giallognola, non dentellati, senza gomma. (Bol. encicl. S XV)
(*) Non si è in grado di fornire il nominativo del tipografo (probabilmente torinese) che allesti questi saggi.
Nelle documentazioni esaminate viene sempre e solo citato come Signor "H" - [hand-written Hummel]

A mio parere le prove qui fotograficamente riprodotte sono originali e sono perfette. Le ho firmate "Caffaz".

In English, this translates (with the help of Yahoo) as:

ITALY 1864 essays "H. .. (Turin)" unadopted telegraph stamp in different colors: 2L. Black,
2L. ultramarine, 2L. red brick, 2L. carmine, 2L. brown, 2L. violet, 2L. yellow-green
and 2L. dark green "BELLBOY IN FRAME WITH WRITING AT THE SIDES", lithographic printing,
issued in sheets of 8 copies on thick yellowish paper, imperf, without gum. (Bol. Encyc. S XV)
(*) It was not possible to provide the name of the printer (probably in Turin) who prepared these essays.
In the documents examined is only ever referred to as Mr. "H" - [hand-written Hummel]

In my opinion the evidence photographically reproduced here, are original and are perfect. Signed "Caffaz".

I would like to hear from any Italian speakers that can confirm or correct my translation.

Images courtesy Philippo Elia (romablusplendid on eBay). Click on image to see listing.
Italian H2


Three more shades, courtesy of Andrew Higson.

Italian Trio



Kingdom of Sardinia.

The Kingdom included a large area between Northern Italy and France, as well as the Island.
All images in this section are courtesy of Andrew Higson.

Only essays/proofs/trials are known. 1857?
Numerals and script in either black, grey-black, red or gold on various coloured papers and backgrounds, with or without embossing.
Some of the papers are thick, bordering on cardboard, but the majority are thin. The embossing is the same as that used for postage stamps of the 1850's.
See the warning at the bottom before spending money on these.

Plain coloured paper.

Sardinia-Red Plain 1

Sardinia-Red Plain 2

Sardinia-Black Plain


Sardinia-Black Embossed-1
Numerals and script in black or grey-black.

Sardinia-Black Embossed-2
Numerals and script in black or grey-black. Note that the last has a smaller 'overprint'.

Sardinia-Red Embossed  Sardinia-Gold Embossed
Numerals and script in red or gold.


The embossing on these appears to be the same as the 1850's stamps of the Kingdom of Sardinia produced by Françoise Matraire (Turin) -

Sardinian Postage stamp 1   Sardinian Postage stamp 2

The embossing includes the face values at the bottom. On the left is a 40c (Quarenta), on the right a 20c (Venti).
The King of Sardinia became the King of Italy
on 17 March 1861. See above.



It should be noted that the new owners of Françoise Matraire's business sold off its archives in the early 1900's.
This included printer’s waste and un-embossed sheets.
See in particular this Forum.
Further information is needed on the status of these.





A telegram of 1882 (quarter size)
Italian Telegram-1882

Telegram Seals.

For about 30 years, Italy used seals to close telegrams.
Then, like a number of other countries, they used telegrams with built-in gummed flaps.
Italian Seal
Steve Hiscocks made a start on cataloguing seals of the world in a book he published
in 2007. It was his hope to update it later, but unfortunately that was not to be.
You can view my attempt at an update here : Latest page for Italy.


In 1925, Italcable completed a Cable from the U.S.A. to Italy via the Azores and Malaga.
This telegram was received at Milan on 13 May 1953 from England
Form number "MOD. 45 - Ord. 2281/55 - SAV . Napoli"
ItalCable - 1953
Courtesy of Les Bottomley


A telegraph Form used 1958 in Verni Lucca (Tuscany). Front and back, quarter size, courtesy of Andrew Higson.
Form number at top-right: MOD. 25 (Ediz. 1955)
Italian Form 25 - 1955, front Italian Form 25 - 1955, back

As with telegraph forms in a lot of countries, a lot of stamps were needed.
The L200 was the highest face value from December 1954. In 1957 L500 and L1000 stamps were released.
Easy to guess why.

Here is a similar unused one from 1975:
Italian Form 25 - 1975
Courtesy of Les Bottomley.


A more recent unused multilingual State Telegram of 1991. It has instructions in Italian, English, French and German.
Form number "MOD. 25 - CODICE 088100 - EDIZ. 1991". Ignore the seal from the 1880's, just added for decoration.
State Telegram - 1991,
Courtesy of Les Bottomley






British Administration 1941-1952.
For background information/history see wikipedia.org

BMA Eritrea Telegraphs BMA Eritrea Telegraph cancel
'Asmara Telegraph Acceptance' cancels of 1951. Asmara had been the main Italian town.
These Telegraph forms are in Italian and the stamps are additionally punched
with the Italian word for 'PAID'.

It looks like the Italian Telegraph procedure was still in use.
Only the stamps had changed.

Presumably there are similar examples with Italian stamps,
unless perhaps the Italian authorities had been more dedicated to destroying used forms.

Images courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.
Telegraph 'PAID' perfin


Here is both sides of a complete form (Mod. 25 Ediz) used 16 November 1951:
Eritrea Telegraph form - front
Eritrea Telegraph form - back
It is from Assab, a port to the south of Eritrea to someone called Besse in Aden across the Red Sea from there.
The 'Urgency' is not filled in and the 'Text' is rather cryptic. Perhaps these account for the survival of the complete form.
Notice 'U547/150,000/11-50 - Govt. Press, Eritrea' at the bottom, 150,000 printed November 1950 apparently.

Images courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.


Not all forms were the same. A collection of postmarks on receipts (Ricevuta) of 1952 shows these:

Acordat Receipt 1-5-1952 Acordat cancel 1-5-1952 Asmara-Vaglia Receipt 2-4-1952 Asmara-Vaglia cancel 2-4-1952
Adi Quala Receipt 5-4-1952 Adi Quala cancel 5-4-1952 Cheren Receipt 12-7-1952 Cheren cancel 12-7-1952
Adi Ugri Receipt 9-3-1952 Adi Ugri cancel 9-3-1952 Nacfa Receipt 12-7-1952 Nacfa cancel 12-7-1952

The receipts (Ricevuta) appear to be parts cut from the form, but they are not parts of the form above.
Stamps other than receipt tax stamps, are normally on the form, not on receipts. They are to allow auditors to check on the officials.
The receipts are marked 'Serie A - N. 27', 'Serie A - N. 39' and 'Serie A - N. 42' where not covered by stamps.
I am not sure of the significance of the number. The forms may have come from a booklet with matching numbered stubs.
These images are courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.


Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.

Contact:     Emale

Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 25th. March 2022

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