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Liberia

Stamps issued: 1860-PRESENT

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10-cent Gabon Viper stamp, Liberia

Liberia was the first African country to issue pictorial stamps, many of which were cancelled to order and sold to collectors. Waterlow and Sons, Ltd., London, made a 1-dollar issue available on September 1, 1862. The issue depicted a pygmy hippopotamus. It was printed in sheets of ten (2x5) as part of a set of twelve and then, eventually, seventeen. Because the U.P.U. letter rate from Liberia was only five-cents, it is unlikely that many of these stamps saw postal service. A quantity of these stamps was overprinted in London with ‘Official’ and sent to Monrovia, along with other stamps in the set, for use as government mail (Scott O10). Two years later, postal authorities asked Waterlow and Sons, Ltd., to send another shipment of official stamps, this time overprinted ‘O S’ (Scott O23).

The need for a 75-cent stamp arose in 1902. Because the 1-dollar stamp had seen little postal use, adequate supplies of that denomination remained for a local printer to surcharge sheets of the 1-dollar with ‘75c’ in red and a bar that obliterated the words ‘one dollar’. Postal officials supplied the stock to be overprinted. They included sheets of the two official stamps. There was probably only a single sheet of each official, and it is unknown if this was in error or not. Therefore, in addition to the regular stamp (Scott 91), two varieties were created—the surcharge on the 1892 official stamp (Scott 92) and the surcharge on the 1894 official stamp (Scott 93).

Reference:

  • von Saleski, Lothar. LIBERIA Specialized Stamp Catalogue.
  • Scott 2006 Classic Specialized.

Nicholas G. Carter

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3-cent Open Globe Projection single
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75-cent on $1.00 Hippopotamus top left margin single
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50-cent surcharge on 1-cent airmail single
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50-cent surcharge on 20-cent airmail single

 

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