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Tuesday, January 29, 1895

- Offices, Occupation Issues
and Independence

Africa 2

  Ethiopia #1  

Perforated 14 x 13½, no watermark, typograped.
Printed at the Govt. Printing Works, Paris.

January 29, 1895. Only valid locally and in Djibouti.
Description # printed # issued Scott SG Mi Y&T
¼ guerche green
320,700 135,000? 1 1    
½ guerche red
307,500 135,000? 2 2    
1 guerche blue
300,000 135,000? 3 3    
2 guerche dark brown
309,000 135,000? 4 4    
4 guerche lilac brown
211,500 135,000? 5 5    
8 guerche violet
220,650 135,000? 6 6    
16 guerche black
219,000 135,000? 7 7    


November 1, 1908. Valid for international mail. Surcharged with same value as stamp, but in piastre.
Description     Scott SG Mi Y&T
¼ guerche green
    80 133    
½ guerche red
    81 134    
1 guerche blue
    82 135    
2 guerche dark brown
    83 136    
4 guerche lilac brown
    84 137    
8 guerche violet
    85 138    
16 guerche black
    86 139    

All issue quantities are approximate.

The January 29 date is the earliest known use date. Until November 1, 1908, when Ethiopia joined the U.P.U., stamps of Obock, Somali Coast and Somaliland had to be used for mail to other countries.

Although the issue numbers above only add up to 1,888,350, it has been stated that of the "total of 2,816,860 stamps printed", only 135,000 sets, or 945,000 stamps, were brought to Ethiopia. The rest was sold to collectors via stamp dealers in Paris.

You should visit Doig's Ethiopia Stamp Catalogue if you want more information.

Offices, Occupation Issues and Independence

French Offices
Italian Occupation
GB Middle East Forces
1906 Sc29 SG25 1936 Sc-N1 SG322a 1942 Sc1 SG-M1

France operated three the Post Offices in Ethiopia in the early 1900s. They used the stamps of French colonies, Obock, Djibouti and French Somali Coast, but Gibbons [1] also notes that three stamps "although inscribed "LEVANT" have face values in French instead of Turkish currency and were issued specifically for use in Ethiopia". The offices closed in 1908 when Ethiopia joined the UPU. Gibbons numbers them SG25-27 and they have been removed from the main listing under French Post Offices in the Turkish Empire in Part 6 [2].
Scott lists the three stamps under French Offices in the Turkish Empire (Sc29, 32-33) with a note that they were used in Ethiopia.

1942 Sc247 SG323

Italy invaded Ethiopia in October 1935 and annexed the country in May 1936, proclaiming the King of Italy as emperor. In June 1936 Ethiopia was incorporated with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland as Italian East Africa. In WW2, British and Commonwealth forces entered Ethiopia in March 1941, when the Middle East Forces (M.E.F.) GB overprints were used (see Libya for more details). Full sovereignty was restored in December 1944.

The first set of three stamps after Independence (Sc247-249, SG323-325) was issued in March 1942. Between June 1942 and April 1943, an extended set of eight values was issued in which the denomination is capitalised, i.e. "CENTIMES" rather than "Centimes" in the earlier set of three.

Sources: ScS [3], SGP6 [2], SGP12 [1].

Images from Battle of, ebay.

FI ref: 312, 390a, 592 Page credit: JA/NB

Page created 19 Feb 2014 Page updated 03-Aug-2017