Postage stamps and postal history of the Orange Free State

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A stamp of the Orange Free State overprinted V.R.I. in 1900 during the British occupation.

The first Orange Free State stamps were issued in 1868.

The O.F.S. was formally annexed to the British Crown and renamed the Orange River Colony on the 28th of May 1900.

In 1910 this colony along with Cape of Good Hope, Natal and Transvaal formed the Union of South Africa.

Postage stamps[edit]

The sole design used was an orange tree, with the inscription "Oranje Vrij Staat" in the margin. The stamps were typographed by De La Rue and Company, and came in denominations from one penny to five shillings, in various colours. Periodic shortages forced the use of overprints, in 1877, 1881, 1882, 1888, 1890, 1892, 1896, and 1897. The stamps of the republic are generally common today, but some of the overprints are scarce. Many kinds of overprint errors are known (inverted, double, etc.), and some of them command high prices.

In 1900, the Republic fell into British occupation and the previous stamps were overprinted "V.R.I." and the same value of the original stamps. The colony was renamed in August 1900 and used Cape of Good Hope stamps overprinted with the new name "ORANGE/RIVER/COLONY.". In 1902 a single 6d stamp was overprinted as the original occupation issues but with "E.R.I." instead of "V.R.I.". In 1903 a set was issued portraying King Edward VII, a springbok and a gnu. This set was printed again in 1905-09, and is the last set of the colony.

Revenue stamps[edit]

A used £1 1903 Orange River Colony revenue stamp.

A variety of revenue stamps were issued both as the Orange Free State and the Orange River Colony. The Orange Free State revenues were also postally used.

Further reading[edit]

  • The history of the postage stamps of the Orange Free State and Orange River Colony from their origin to 1906 by Léon de Raay, 1907.
  • More about the postmarks of the Orange Free State and the Orange River Colony, 1868-1910 by Archibald George Mount Batten, 1973.
  • Orange Free State : postal and other markings, 1868-1910, an original study by A Cecil Fenn, 1956.
  • The Postal Stationery of South Africa. Part 1. Cape of Good Hope, Natal, New Republic, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Zululand by W J Quik and Dr G H Jonkers, 1998.
  • The Postmarks of the Orange Free State and the Orange River Colony 1868-1910 by Archibald George Mount Batten, 1972.
  • Revenue Stamps of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, Transvaal and the Union of South Africa by Dodd, 1958.
  • The Stamps of the Orange Free State: Part 1, The Republican Era 1854–1900 by G D Buckley and W B Marriott, 1966.

External links[edit]