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first issues > countries > madagascar, british consular mail


British Consular Mail

1st March 1884

- see also French Madagascar

  British Offices Abroad 2

Mad SG8
Mad SG14
Mad SG22
Design 1, Letter
Design 1, Postal Packet
Design 2, seal 1
Design 2, seal 2
  1884 Sc5 SG1 1884 Sc4 SG8a 1886 Sc26 SG14 1886 Sc46 SG22

There are two basic designs of stamp with variations of colour, detail and handstamped seal.

On Design 1, the basic distinction is the inscription "LETTER" or "POSTAL PACKET"

On Design 2, both Gibbons [1] and Scott [2] identify three Types based on the printing of the word "POSTAGE" and the amount:

  POSTAGE Amount
Type I
29.5mm long and followed by a full stop (period) Full stop
Type II
29.5mm long without a full stop No full stop
Type III
24.5mm long without a full stop Full stop

There are two versions of the handstamp seals,
The Design 1 stamps use the first seal, while Design 2 stamps can have either. The handstamps can be in black, violet or red or can be missing, although Scott notes, "some students … doubt that the 1886 seal omitted varieties were regularly issued".

The Feldman article referenced below [3], notes that there are, "two distinct types of rouletting found on the second issue" and that this is not mentioned in the catalogues, it continues, "[a]fter all, if the stamps of Finland or Thurn & Taxis or Wurttemberg are distinguished by type and/or frequency of the roulettes, why shouldn't the stamps of Madagascar be treated likewise?"

The Gibbons ordering of these issues is necessarily complex but more sensible than Scott's and so the listing below is based on Gibbons. Perhaps surprisingly, the two catalogues match very closely on the details of the stamps, but (less surprisingly) vary greatly on the sequencing.

Description   Scott SG Mi Y&T  
1884 Design 1, "LETTER"
6 pence (½ ounce) magenta   5 1      
6d (½ oz) violet handstamp   13 1a      
1 shilling (1 oz) magenta   6 2      
1/6 (1½oz)   7 3      
2/- (2 oz) magenta   8 4      
1884 Design 1, "POSTAL PACKET"
1d (1 oz) magenta   1 5      
1d (1 oz) without handstamp   1b 5a      
2d (2 oz) magenta   2 6      
3d (3 oz) magenta   3 7      
4d (1oz amended in ms to "4oz") magenta   4a 8      
4d without manuscript amendment   4 8a      
4d violet handstamp   12 8ab      
4d without handstamp   4b 8ac      
1886 oddments
1d on 1/- manuscript on SG2   9 9      
4½d on 1/- manuscript on SG2   10 10      
6 pence (½ ounce) rose red, SG1 colour change   11 11      
4d (1oz) magenta as SG8, black handstamp   14 12      
4d (1oz) magenta as SG8, violet handstamp   15 12a      
there is no SG13
1886 Design 2, Type I, Seal 1 in b(lack) or v(iolet)
1d rose b 26 14      
1½d rose b 27 15      
2d rose b 28 16      
3d rose b 29 17      
4½d rose b 30 18      
8d rose b 31 19      
9d rose b 32 20      
1d rose v 16 14a      
1½d rose v 17 15a      
2d rose v 18 16a      
3d rose v 19 17a      
4½d rose v 21 18a      
8d rose v 23 19a      
9d rose v 24 20a      
1886 Design 2, Type I, Seal 2 in black, red or violet
1d rose b 45 21      
1½d rose b 46 22      
2d rose b 47 23      
3d rose b 48 24      
4½d rose b 50 25      
8d rose b 52 26      
9d rose b 53 27      
3d rose r 57 24a      
4½d rose r 58 25a      
8d rose v 40a 26a      
9d rose, without handstamp - 53a 27a      
9d rose v 41 27b      
1886 Design 2, Type II, Seal 1 in violet
1d rose v 16a 28      
1½d rose v 17a 29      
3d rose v 19a 30      
4½d rose v 21a 31      
6d rose v 22 32      
1886 Design 2, Type II, Seal 2 in black or violet (or none)
1d rose b 45a 33      
1½d rose b 46a 34      
2d rose b 47a 35      
3d rose b 48a 36      
4½d rose b 50a 37      
6d rose b 51 38      
1d rose, without handstamp - 45b 33a      
1½d rose, without handstamp - 46b 34a      
3d rose, without handstamp - 48b 36a      
4½d rose, without handstamp - 50b 37a      
6d rose, without handstamp - 51a 38a      
1d rose v 33 33b      
1½d rose v 34 34b      
2d rose v 35 35b      
3d rose v 36 36b      
4½d rose v 38 37b      
6d rose v 39 38b      
1886 Design 2, Type III, Seal 1 in violet or black
4d rose v 20 39      
8d rose v 23a 40      
1/- rose v 24A 40a      
1/6 rose v 24B 41      
2/- rose v 25 42      
2/- rose b 32A 42      
1886 Design 2, Type III, Seal 2 in black or violet (or none)
4d rose b 49 43      
8d rose b 52a 44      
1/- rose b 54 45      
1/6 rose b 55 46      
2/- rose b 56 47      
4d rose, without handstamp - 49a 43a      
8d rose, without handstamp - 52b 44a      
1/- rose, without handstamp - 54a 45a      
1/6 rose, without handstamp - 55a 46a      
2/- rose, without handstamp - 56a 47a      
4d rose v 37 43b      
8d rose v 40 44b      
1/- rose v 42 45b      
1/6 rose v 43 46b      
2/- rose v 44 47b      

Paraphrasing Scott, the British Consulate in Madagascar issued stamps for a short period until claims to this territory in favor of France in return for French recognition of British claims in Zanzibar.

The stamps were only gummed in one corner and so while all the issue list for hundreds or thousands of pounds, an example with a torn corner can sometimes be found relatively cheaply. Feldman notes that the stamps "were affixed to the envelopes only until they reached Tamatave, where the British consular agent removed them prior to turning the mail over to the French for onward transmission".

Finally, it should be noted that these stamps are amongst the largest of the #1s.

The Feldman site has a long article on the subject with many illustrations, arising from a 2010 auction.

Sources: ScS [2], SGP1 [1], Feldman [3].

Image from StampAuctionNetwork, Feldman.

FI ref: 221 Page credit: NB

Page created 23 Sep 2016 Page updated 16-Jun-2017