first issues > countries > orange river colony, or orange free state

Orange River Colony
or Orange Free State

1st January 1868

South African State 3

  Orange Free State SG1  

perf 14, no watermark, typographed
Printed by De La Rue, London

Description Date issued Scott# SG# Mi# Y&T# Notes
½ penny red brown 1883 1 48      
½d orange 1897 2 84, 85      
1d brown 1868 3 1, 2, 3     Gibbons: pale brown, red-brown, deep brown
1d violet 1894 4 68      
2d violet 1883 5 49, 50     SG49 pale mauve; SG50 bight mauve
3d ultra 1883 6 51      
4d ultra 1878 7 18      
6d carmine rose 1890 8 6     SG5 6d rose (1871)
6d rose 1868 8a 4     SG7 6d bright carmine (1894)
6d ultra 1900 8b       only issued with a surcharge
1 shilling orange 1868 10 9      
1s orange buff 1868 10a 8      
1s brown 1897 11 87      
5s green 1878 12 20      

As suggested by the catalogue numbers, Gibbons' granularity greatly exceeds Scott's.

While from 1852 until 1902 Orange Free State was an independent sovereign state, its proximity to Cape Colony resulted in considerable British influence, more so than the Boer republic of Transvaal and thus OFS turned to London for their stamps. From 1856 a series of hand-struck stamps inscribed 'BETAALD' (paid) were used at post offices, but when adhesive stamps were considered, De La Rue were asked to quote in 1865 and again two years later. Initially, 1 and 6 penny and 1 shilling stamps were introduced featuring an orange tree, the emblem of the state. The design remained in use until 1903 when, after the Boer War, the state was redesignated the Orange River Colony.

[Adapted from JM1 [1].]

Changes of Administration

British occupation
Crown Colony, CoGH o/p
Crown Colony
double overprint variant
1900 Sc44h SG101h
1900 Sc55 SG135 1903 Sc62 SG140

The stamps were overprinted 'V.R.I.' during the 1900 British occupation and, later that year, as a crown colony, Cape of Good Hope stamps overprinted 'ORANGE RIVER COLONY'. In 1903, the first dedicated Orange River Colony set was issued showing Edward VII, a springbok and a gnu.

Sources: JM1 [1], ScC, SGP1.

Images from ebay.

FI ref: 149 Page credit: NB

Page created 26 Jan 2016 Page updated 22 Mar 2016