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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Correios e telégrafos Cancels Azores Macao / Timor Portuguese Africa Mozambique 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.


Correios e telégrafos


Star-Punched-3 Star-Punched-4 Star-Punched-5
Type CT1 Type CT2 Type CT3
These, with the ones below, are all part of the same series, 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 Star-Punched-10
Type CT4 Type CT5 Type CT6 Type CT7
(I have seen one punched)
These, with the ones above are all part of the same series, first issued 1882-87 and reprinted in 1885, 1893 and 1905
Paper: plain, ribbed or enamel surfaced, Perforated 11½, 12½ or 13½.


RH # Type Description Mint Postally used Telegraphically used
CT1 CT1 2r black (1884) 24.00 17.50 ?
CT2 CT2 5r black (1883) 32.50 3.50 ?
CT3 CT3 10r green (1884) 35.00 4.00 ?
CT4 CT4 25r brown 29.00 2.40 ?
CT5 CT5 50r blue 45.00 3.00 ?
CT6 CT6 500r black (1884) 500.00 300.00 ?
CT7 CT6 500r violet (1887) 275.00 52.50 ?
CT8 CT7 25r violet 27.00 3.00 ?
CT9 CT7 25r lilac-rose 27.00 3.00 ?


In 1892 and 1893 'PROVISORIO' overprints were applied to the stamps above.

Overprint A Overprint B Overprint C Overprint D Overprint E
Overprint A. Overprint B. Overprint C. Overprint D. Overprint E.


RH # Type Overprint Description Mint Postally used Telegraphically used
CT10 CT2 A 5r black 16.00 8.75 ?
CT11 CT2 C 5r black 13.50 6.75 ?
CT12 CT2 D 5r black 26.00 22.50 ?
CT13 CT3 B 10r green 16.00 8.75 ?
CT14 CT3 C 10r green 16.00 7.25 ?
CT15 CT3 D 10r green 24.00 20.00 ?
CT16 CT7 C 25r lilac-rose 14.50 5.25 ?
CT17 CT7 E 20r on 25r lilac-rose 52.00 47.00 ?
CT18 CT7 D 25r lilac-rose 110.00 100.00 ?
CT19 CT5 C 50r blue 77.00 62.00 ?
CT20 CT5 D 50r blue 110.00 110.00 ?



Both before and after the Correios e telégrafos stamps above, normal postage stamps were used to pay for sending telegrams.
Telegraphically used stamps generally have some variant of a circular or hexagonal cancel with CORREIOS E TELEGRAFOS abbreviated or in full,
though there were a few special oval ones like this used in the early days :

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 to believe that this is not simply a guess, though not all examples 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
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.

Star-Punched-9a Star-Punched-9b Star-Punched-11
Type 3 Type 3 Type 4
First issued 1892-3 and reprinted in 1905 (Perf. 13½)
Paper: two types, Perforated 11½, 12½ or 13½.
Type 3 is part of a series 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 Postally Used Telegraphically Used
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 Postally Used Telegraphically Used
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 ?
S24 3 20r rose 17.00 ?
S25 3,C 20r rose overprinted type C 22.50 ?
S26 3,D 20r rose overprinted type D 32.50 ?

RH# Type Description Postally Used Telegraphically Used
S27 4 5r orange 2.00 ?
S28 4 10r reddish violet 5.25 ?
S29 4 15r chocolate 6.00 ?
S30 4 20r lavender 8.75 ?
S31 4 25r dark green 2.00 ?
S32 4 50r blue 9.25 ?
S33 4 75r carmine (1893) 8.00 ?
S34 4 80r yellow-green 42.50 ?
S35 4 100r brown on buff (1893) 6.25 ?
S36 4 150r carmine on rose (1893) 42.50 ?
S37 4 200r dark blue on blue (1893) 35.00 ?
S38 4 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. *H6 of Portugal but overprinted 'AÇORES' in black.

Azores H5 ?

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

* Steve Hiscocks said H7 of Portugal overprinted with 'AÇORES', but that appears to be wrong
I have corrected it.


Note that Ponta Delgada, consisting of the islands of Sao Miguel and Santa Maria in the Azores had their own stamps issued 1892 to 1905 which may conceivably seen telegraphic use.
They were superceded by stamps of the Azores.


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


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



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
As in 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]


Mozambique War-Tax stamp of 1916 used in Lourenço Marques
A Mozambique 1c War-Tax stamp of 1916 used in Lourenço Marques. This has a typical hexagonal Correios e telégrafos cancel.
Image courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.



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.
The Scott catalogue says that the 2E50 was for telegrams and do not list it for postal use. They do list a 30c, 50c and 1E00 for postal tax use.
The 2E50 stamp shown has a 1974 CTT ("Correios, Telégrafos e Telefones") cancel, the 50c has a normal postal cancel.


2E50 appears to have been a reduction, for the sake of interest, here is a telegram from 8 August 1963.
Lisbon to Inhambane, Mozambique.

Mozambique 1963   Mozambique 1963 - 5E Fiscal Stamp

That had a 5E Fiscal Stamp affixed.



Other Portuguese possessions with a telegraph service are likely to have ways to pay for it with stamps.
I will illustrate what I come across. The following are places that may have had such:
Portuguese Congo which was the northern tip of Angola but had its own stamps until they were replaced by stamps of Angola.
Cape Verde Islands, 460 kilometers off the coast of Senegal, Africa.
Lourenço Marques, the southern part of Mozambique, issued its own stamps 1895 to 1921.
São Tomé & Príncipe in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa.

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

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.

As with Ceylon, Indian Telegraph Stamps were extensively used.
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.




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.


Last updated 8th. February 2021

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/20/21 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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