Victoria: Colonial - 1854-1900.
Telegraph stamps.

Victoria considered introducing a special stamp for pre-payment of telegraphic charges in the early 1870s. Little is known of the developments of such a stamp except that it would be prepared in advance of the introduction of new legislation on 1 July 1873 to allow the use of stamps to pre-pay telegram charges.

One aspect now unknown was whether it was the intention to have a separate stamp marked TELEGRAPH - like that for New South Wales. History shows that the final decision was to have an embossed stamp image on a Victorian transmission form (VC-TO-6). Preparations for that image began with a preliminary essay.

The first Essay

Little is known about this image which is considered to be a "crude essay" either for a separate stamp or for the possible embossed image. The design did not however proceed. It was probably made sometime during 1872 or early 1873.

The stamp used was the 1870 De La Rue 2d mauve and is it endorsed "Telegraph/One Shilling".

The Provenance is interesting. It was found in the papers of Rundell in a glassine envelope on which was written "Proposed stamp for Telegrams". Notes from Purves on his album page are also attached.

Prestige Philately March 2007 Lot 344.

Annotation by Purves is "Envelope in Mr. Rundell's writing from
which the above "essay" was taken".
Purves card
Annotation is: "Ex Rundell: the first suggestion for a Telegraph stamp: NOT used the EMBOSSED 1/- blue being used".

The embossed image.

The embossed image used on the 1873 transmission form (VC-TO-6) was adapted from the 2d De La Rue design. Clearly there were major changes to the design especially in the surrounding oval. No Essay or die proof is recorded.

The die used to emboss the image was engraved by Charles Jackson.

Part of one of the forms is shown below (see elsewhere for more details):

Form 12
Part of the transmission form with the number 12 showing the only recorded black Specimen overprint.

Note that the embossed image:

  • at the left is above the full-stop after VICTORIA.
  • at the base is about level with the base of the letters in the heading.

Details of the four recorded SPECIMEN overprints are summarised below:

Detail of the only recorded black SPECIMEN overprint.
On Form # 12 of the August printing.

Upper and lower case font 1.2 mm high. Type 9.

Blue spec
Detail of the only recorded blue SPECIMEN overprint.
On Form # 15 of the August printing.

Upper and lower case font 1.2 mm high. Type 9.

Provenance: Dave Elsmore who kindly provided the scan.

Embossed cutout
Detail of the first of the two SPECIMEN
overprints in red.
Cut-out (possibly a proof).

Upper case font 1.6 mm high with
leading S at 2.5 mm high.

VC-TO-6 Spec on form
Detail of the second of the two SPECIMEN
overprints in red.
On form # 7 of the August printing (see above).

Upper case font 2.0 mm high with all letters of the same height.

The type 6 SPECIMEN overprint was used between 1871 and 1873 which would imply the above overprint was the first to be applied and was applied at the time of printing.