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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Azores Macao / Timor Mozambique Portuguese Africa Portuguese India Telegram Seals



In 1982, for Portugal and Colonies, Steve Hiscocks wrote:
The telegraph stamps of Portugal, the Azores for which they were overprinted, and the Portuguese Colonies fall just within the scope of this
catalogue in that they were essentially compulsory charity stamps which had to be used if one wished to send a telegram on certain days of the year.
They are thus analogous to those of Iran and some of those of Spain, Puerto Rico, etc. There is in fact much uncertainty and disagreement over which,
especially among the more recent issues, were intended for telegraphic use as distinct from postal, parcel and fiscal uses. A fairly conservative view has
been taken and most of the more recent charity stamps, whose telegraphic status is in some doubt, have been excluded. I am however, open to correction.

My note:
Not being a printed book, my scope can be less restrictive. I have started to include postage stamps used telegraphically, but there are probably more to add.
I have also added stamps of India used in Portuguese India.
I am also always open to correction, additional information/images, suggestions and criticism, etc.


1911 (4 October) Postage stamp of 1910 overprinted 'REPUBLICA' in green and 'ASSISTENTIA' in black. White wove paper.
No watermark. Perf. 14 x 15. (Steve Hiscocks actually illustrated the Açores H1 in place of this.)

Portugal H1


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H1 20r carmine 8.00 6.00



1912 (4 October). Postage stamp of 1912 overprinted diagonally with 'ASSISTENTIA' in black.
Chalk surfaced white wove paper (variable thickness) without watermark. Perf. 15 x 14.

Portugal H2


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H2 2c carmine 6.00 3.00



1913 (8 June). Lisbon Festival stamp. Lithographed on white wove paper without watermark. Perf. 12 x 11½.

Portugal H3


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H3 2c reddish brown 6.00 5.00



1915 (4 October). Typographed on white wove paper without watermark. Perf. 12.

Portugal H4
H4 and H4a. (to raise money for the poor)


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H4 2c brown-lilac 4.00 1.35
H4a         dull brown-rose 1.75 2.75



1922 (4 October). New design. Slightly yellowish wove paper without watermark. Perf. 11½ x 12.

Portugal H5 Portugal H5-BES Portugal H5-BES
H5. Converted for postal use and perfined BES.
Courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.
Banco Espirito Santo E Commercial
de Lisboa.

Anyone have this, or another perfin on the Telegraph version?


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H5 5c red-brown 4.00 0.50


1924 (4 October). As No. 4a but surcharged 30c in black.

Portugal H6

Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H6 30c on 2c dull brown-rose 6.00 5.50


1925 (4 October). As No. 4 but new value. Perf 12½.

Portugal H7
Two shades of H7 (30c to raise money for the poor)


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H7 30c brown-rose (shades) 6.25 5.50


Here is an interesting puzzle:
Portugal Fraud ?
This appears to be a bisected 5 Reis stamp on a small piece of telegram cancelled with a Post & Telegraph cancel of 2 May 1912.
But if you look closely, there is another cancel on the stamp that is not tied to the piece.
Another telegraph office fraud ? Whilst the cancel is incomplete, the piece carries an advert for
Vidago, a town in the municipality of Chaves.

Used stamps generally have some variant of the abbreviated, circular one above, or hexagonal ones with CORREIOS E TELEGRAFOS in full,
though there are a few special elliptical ones like this:

Portugal Cancel 1

(S. JULIAO is also known)
on an 1881 issue stamp, courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.
It should be noted that this series was reprinted in 1885 and 1905, as were the later issues.

Portugal Cancel 2     Portugal Cancel 3     Portugal Cancel 4

Three similar examples courtesy of Les Bottomley.

I have seen quite a few Portuguese stamps with small star-shaped punch holes. I have also seen different opinions as to the significance of them.
One theory is that these were used on Official stamps, but the Official overprint when it came out in 1938 only needed one denomination.
A search did turn up a comment by Carlos Kullberg, author of Selos de Portugal Álbum 1 (1853/1910) (under 1884):
É interessante notar, que os selos destinados aos portes telegráficos, eram inutilizados com uma perfuração em estrela de cinco bicos,
depois terem levado a marca do dia! Foram assim inutilizados, selos das emissões de 1870 a 1893.
Which translates roughly to:
It is interesting to note that the stamps for telegraphic charges, were devalued with a five-point star punch,
then they got the date stamp! Thus, stamps of the issues of 1870 to 1893 were canceled.

This seems fairly explicit, and the writer would seem to be reputable enough believe that this is not simply a guess, though not examples all have the date stamp.
I would be interested to hear from someone that has one of these on piece or with gum though.

Rolf Lamprecht has kindly provided me with scans of a number of examples of punched Portuguese stamps, so I will make a start on listing them.
This is complicated by several factors, many of these were produced with a variety of perforations, some were on normal or glazed paper,
and in 1885 and 1905 reprints were done of earlier issues. I will thus list types I have seen punched,
in order of the first appearence of the basic design and provide notes where I can.

Star-Punched-1 Star-Punched-2 Star-Punched-3 Star-Punched-4 Star-Punched-5
Type 1, issued 1870-84, 1885 and 1905
Paper: plain, ribbed or enamel surfaced.
Perforated 11, 12½, 13½ or 14½.
Two types of 15r, 20r and 80r differing in the
distances between the figures of the value.
Type 2, issued 1880-81, 1885 and 1905
Perforated 12 or 13½.
I have not seen any of these punched as yet,
but if Carlos Kullberg is correct,
then they should exist.
Type 3 Type 4 Type 5
Types 3 - 8 are all part of the same set, first issued 1882-87 and reprinted in 1885, 1893 and 1905
Paper: plain, ribbed or enamel surfaced, Perforated 11½, 12½ or 13½.

Star-Punched-6 Star-Punched-7 Star-Punched-8
Type 6 Type 7 Type 8
Types 3 - 8 are all part of the same set, first issued 1882-87 and reprinted in 1885, 1893 and 1905
Paper: plain, ribbed or enamel surfaced, Perforated 11½, 12½ or 13½.

Star-Punched-9a Star-Punched-9b Star-Punched-10 Star-Punched-11
Types 9 Types 9 Type 10
(this is a stand-in, I have seen one punched)
Type 11
First issued 1892-3 and reprinted in 1905 (Perf. 13½)
Paper: two types, Perforated 11½, 12½ or 13½.
Types 9 & 10 are part of the same set, first issued 1882-87 and reprinted in 1885, 1893 and 1905
Paper: plain, ribbed or enamel surfaced, Perforated 11½, 12½ or 13½.

I have shown two examples of type 9 here to highlight the fact that there are different star-punches.
That on type 11 is different again. I presume they were used at different locations an/or different times.


The table below is adapted from Scott which uses the cheapest price for postally used where several varieties are include in an entry.
I have yet to add values for stamps with star-punch-holes, but they will not be higher than the postally used price.

Compared to the Spanish punched stamps, these have a value that is a significantly higher proportion of the postally used values.
This is because a smaller area of the stamp is lost, the star itself has some aesthetic appeal and they are much scarcer than their Spanish counterpart.

RH# Type Description Post Tele
S1 1 5r black 5.25 ?
S2 1 10r yellow (1871) 27.50 ?
S3 1 10r blue-green (1879) 175.00 ?
S4 1 10r yellow-green (1880) 24.00 ?
S5 1 15r lilac-brown 29.00 ?
S6 1 20r bistre 25.00 ?
S7 1 20r rose (1884) 55.00 ?
S8 1 25r rose 3.75 ?
S9 1 50r pale green 37.50 ?
S10 1 50r blue (1879) 50.00 ?
S11 1 80r orange 19.00 ?
S12 1 100r pale-lilac (1871) 12.00 ?
S13 1 120r blue, perf 12½ (1871) 62.50 ?
S14 1 150r pale blue (1876) 110.00 ?
S15 1 150r yellow (1880) 13.50 ?
S16 1 240r pale violet (1873) 1050.00 ?
S17 1 300r dull violet (1876) 27.50 ?
S18 1 1000r black (1884) 77.50 ?
RH# Type Description Post Tele
S19 2 5r black 4.00 ?
S20 2 25r bluish grey 29.00 ?
S21 2 25r grey 3.50 ?
S22 2 25r brown-violet (1881) 3.50 ?
S23 2 50r blue (1881) 15.00 ?

RH# Type Description Post Tele
S24 3 2r black (1884) 17.50 ?
S25 4 5r black (1883) 3.50 ?
S26 5 10r green (1884) 4.00 ?
S27 6 25r brown 2.40 ?
S28 7 50r blue 3.00 ?
S29 8 500r black (1884) 300.00 ?
S30 8 500r violet (1887) 52.50 ?
RH# Type Description Post Tele
S31 9 20r rose 17.00 ?
S32 10 25r violet 3.00 ?
S33 10 25r lilac-rose 3.00 ?

RH# Type Description Post Tele
S34 11 5r orange 2.00 ?
S35 11 10r reddish violet 5.25 ?
S36 11 15r chocolate 6.00 ?
S37 11 20r lavender 8.75 ?
S38 11 25r dark green 2.00 ?
S39 11 50r blue 9.25 ?
S40 11 75r carmine (1893) 8.00 ?
S41 11 80r yellow-green 42.50 ?
S42 11 100r brown on buff (1893) 6.25 ?
S43 11 150r carmine on rose (1893) 42.50 ?
S44 11 200r dark blue on blue (1893) 35.00 ?
S45 11 300r dark blue on salmon (1893) 57.50 ?



Portuguese Colonies


Portugal H4
Azores H1 and H2.

1911 (4 October). Postage stamp of 1910 (SG194) overprinted 'ASSISTENCIA' in black.
White wove paper without watermark. Perf 14 x 15.

Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H1 20r carmine 10.00 6.00


1912 (4 October). As No. 2 of Portugal but further overprinted 'AÇORES' in black.

Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H2 2c carmine 7.50 4.00


1915 (4 October). As No. 4 of Portugal but further overprinted 'AÇORES' in black.

Azores H3
H3 (to raise money for the poor)     and *H3a.


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H3 2c brown-lilac 5.00 1.50
*H3a         dull brown-rose 2.00 3.00

* Added due to example shown.


1922 (4 October). As No. 5 of Portugal but overprinted 'AÇORES' in black.

Portugal-Acores H4


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H4 5c red-brown 5.00 3.00


1925 (4 October). As No. *7 of Portugal but overprinted 'AÇORES' in black.

Azores H5 ?

Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H5 *30c on 2c brown-lilac 7.50 6.00

* Nobody appears to have seen H7 of Portugal overprinted with 'AÇORES' so I illustrate H6 so overprinted that does exist.
If an H7 overprinted turns up, I will add it as Azores H6.


Macao (& Timor)

100 Avos (a) = 1 Pataca

1919 (1 July). Revenue stamp overprinted 'TAXA DE GUERRA' in red.
White wove paper without watermark. Perf 15 x 14.
Hiscocks Book page 251
Type 10 Courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

Hisc. Type Desc. Mint Used
H1 10 9a deep blue-green 5.00 5.00



1916 (8 July). War tax stamp. White wove paper without watermark. Rouletted.
Hiscocks Book page 251
As in Hiscocks Book, page 251.

Hisc. Type Desc. Mint Used
H1 11 5c carmine (shades) 2.50 1.50
H1a 11         imperf. 5.00 5.00
H1b 11         on horizontally laid paper 50.00 20.00


1918 (February). Similar to the above but with frame solid rather than shaded. Perf. 11.
Hiscocks Book page 251
Taken from Hiscocks Book, page 251.

Hisc. Type Desc. Mint Used
H2 12 5c carmine (shades) 3.75 2.50


1918 (1 October). As above. Perf. 11½.

Hisc. Type Desc. Mint Used
H3 12 5c red (marked shades) 3.75 2.50
H3a 12         error '1910' for '1916' 15.00 10.00
H3b 12         error 'PETRIA' for 'PATRIA' 7.50 5.00
H3c 12         error 'PEPUBLICA' 7.50 5.00
H3d 12         error 'TELFGRAFO' 7.50 5.00
H3e 12         imperf. 15.00 10.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. The four errors 3a—3d are also found imperforate as type 3e. About £15 each mint or used. [1988 prices]


1965 White wove paper without watermark. Perf. 14½.

Hiscocks Type 13 Hiscocks Type 13
Hiscocks Book page 252

Taken from Hiscocks Book, page 252.


Hisc. Type Desc. Mint Used
H4 13 2E50 black, salmon and pale blue 5.00 2.00
H4a 13         chalky paper 5.00 2.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. While No. 4 was apparently intended for use on telegrams, it has been questioned
                whether this was in practice its major use.

My note: John Barefoot lists type 13 saying this value was specifically intended for telegraph tax.
The (slightly stained) stamp on the right with a face value of 0E50, together with a 1E00 value were used on mail to raise money for telecommunications.


Portuguese Colonies in Africa

(Mozambique and Angola mostly)

(1919 As for Macao. Perf. 15 x 14.

Hiscocks Book page 252 Hiscocks Book page 252
Type 14  Perf. 15 x 14,  -  H1 Type 14  Perf. 12 x 11½,  -  H1b

The colour of the overprint also seems different on these two.

Hisc. Type Desc. Mint Used
H1 14 4c deep blue-green 5.00 4.00
H1a 14         perf. 12 x 11½ 5.00 4.00
H1b 14         as H1a but smooth cream paper with less marked 'wove' pattern   6.00 6.00


Angola     Cape Verde Is.
Other stamps used telegraphically may only be identified by their cancellation.
A 15c Angola on the left used for a Radio Telegram and
a 2 Escudo with a cancel indicating posts & telegraphs, but the high face value suggests the latter. Values went from ½c to 20E.
Cape Verde are a group of islands off the northwest coast of Africa. Telegraphy was probably very important there.
Images courtesy of Les Bottomley.


Portuguese India

(Goa and Damaun)

12 Reis = 1 Tanga
16 Tangas = 1 Rupia

As with Ceylon, the first stamps used for the telegraphs were Indian Telegraph Stamps.
two types of 'GOA' in-line cancels are known, a narrow setting (Type 1) with flat sides to 'O' seen on 1 Rupee stamps and
a wider setting with rounded 'O' seen on 8 Anna stamps.

Later normal postage stamps were used with the round 'Bullseye' Telegraphic cancels inscribed 'NOVA GOA'.
Nova Goa on
This one of 1916 is courtesy of Deepak Jaiswal APS, PTS.

Damaun is also reported to have had a Telegraph Office, but I have not seen evidence of usage,
unless it was perhaps called Damun at the time ?

Damun ?
Folkert (see below) tells me though that there is a place called Ootacamund
and perhaps others containing this string of letters.

I am indebted to Folkert Bruining of the Netherlands for bringing my attention to these.
Further information and images would be greatly appreciated.


1919 As for Macao. Perf. 15 x 14.
Hiscocks Book page 252
As in Hiscocks Book, page 252. Courtesy of Paul & Les Bottomley.

Hisc. Type Desc. Mint Used
H1 15 0:01:09,94 deep blue-green 5.00 5.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. It is not certain that this stamp was for telegraphic use. Used copies have normal postal cancellations.



Telegraph Seals.

A range of similar but different seals were used on Portuguese telegrams at different times. All featuring the number 38!

This half sized image shows a sample of them.
Portuguese Seals

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.
His original book can be viewed at Telegraph Seals: A World Catalogue. There are links from the pages to my updates.

Alternatively you can view the latest page for Portugal.

If anyone can provide scans to help with this, I am happy to give appropriate credit.


Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.

Contact:     Emale

Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Alternatively Yahoo Group Yahoo-Group is a forum.


Last updated 20th. Nov. 2018

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16/17/18 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.


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