Bechuanaland and Botswana Philately

Bechuanaland Protectorate Stamps
Collect Bechuanaland Protectorate
This Page displays stamp issues and varieties
Bechuanaland Protectorate
1888 Protectorate Overprints
SG 40 Variety
½d Several letters in Protectorate doubled
This is not SG 40a

SG 41
1d Overprint
SG 42
2d Overprint
SG 44
4d Overprint

SG 45
6d Overprint

SG 46s
SG 47
2/- Overprint
SG 49
5/- Overprint

1889 - 1890 Great Britain Overprints
1897 C.O.G.H. Overprint
SG 53s
SG 54a
Overprint Inverted
SG 55
Overprint 19mm long
SG 56
½d Lines 13mm apart
SG 57
½d Lines 13½mm apart

SG 56
½d Ink flaw at foot of
in BRITISH creates
Spelling as BBITISH

1897 - 1902 Great Britain Queen Victoria Overprints
SG 59 - 65


SG 59 - 65

1904 - 1913 Great Britain KEVII Overprints
SG 66
½d Blue-green
SG 67
½d Yellow-green
SG 68
1d Scarlet
SG 69
2½d Ultramarine
SG 70
1s Deep green & scarlet
SG 71
1s Green & carmine

1912 - 1914 Great Britain KGV 1d Downey Overprint
1d SG 72 Scarlet
Controls B11 and B12
Perforation Up and Down

SG 72b Aniline scarlet
SG 72a

No Cross on Crown

1913 - 1924 Great Britain KGV Overprints
Watermark Multiple Cypher
SG 73
½d Green
SG 74
1d Scarlet
SG 77
1½d Red brown
SG 76
2d Reddish-orange
SG 78
2½d Cobalt blue
SG 79
3d Bluish violet
SG 80
4d Grey green
SG 81
6d Reddish purple
SG 82
1s Bistre
SG 82s
1s Overprinted SPECIMEN
1914 - 1923 Great Britain KGV Seahorse Overprints
1914 - 1915 Waterlow Printings
1914 Specimens
SG 83s - 84s

2/6 & 5/-
Waterlow Printings
Overprinted SPECIMEN
SG 83
2/6 Deep sepia brown
SG 84
5/- Rose carmine
SG 84
5/- Rose carmine
1916-19 De La Rue Printings
SG 85
2/6 Pale brown

SG 87 - BEC 12
5/- Marginal block with Printers mark on selvedge

SG 87
5/- Bright carmine
1920 - 23 Bradbury Wilkinson Printings
SG 88 - Series I
2/6 Chocolate brown
SG 88 - Series I
2/6 Red brown with Re-entries on R3/5
SG 88 - Series II
2/6 Chocolate brown
SG 88 - Series II
2/6 Pale brown
SG 89
5/- Rose red
SG 89
5/- Pale rose red
1925 - 27 KGV Block Cypher Watermark
SG 91
½d Green
SG 92
1d Scarlet
SG 93
2d Orange
SG 94
3d Violet
SG 95
4d Grey green
SG 96
6d Reddish purple
SG 97
6d Purple
SG 98
1s Bistre brown
SG 98w
1s Bistre brown
Watermark Inverted
Rare Multiple
Since 1885 the Postage stamps of Bechuanaland consisted of stamps from other Countries suitably overprinted for use in the Territory. Initially they utilized Cape of Good Hope stamps, then the Unappropriated Dies of Great Britain. They were followed by the 1887 Queen Victoria Jubilee issue and the KEVII and KGV definitives.

Finally in 1932 the Protectorate had its own distinctive issue printed by Waterlow and Sons. The chosen design of the Baobab tree and cattle drinking water is said to be based on a photograph taken by the Resident Commissioner in Ngamiland. The tree represents a typical part of the country’s flora and the cattle are an important part of the economy. This design was carried forward during the Reign of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II and lasted until 1961.
1932 KGV Baobab and Cattle Definitives
12 December 1932 - SG 99 - 110
Prior to the issue of the KGVI definitives on 1 April 1938, all the overprinted issue were demonetised on 8 February 1938 by the following notice

In view of the issue of a new series of combined postage and revenue stamps for the Bechuanaland Protectorate on the 12th December, 1932, His Excellency the High Commissioner has been pleased in terms of section one of Proclamation No. 55 of 1933, to make the following regulations providing for the demonetisation of the old series of overprinted Bechuanaland Protectorate British postage stamps:

(a) All overprinted postage stamps of each denomination of the old series shall be demonetised with effect from the date of publication of this notice;
(b) For a period of three months from the date of demonetisation stamps of the old series will be valid for postal purposes, but after that period postal matter bearing such stamps will be subject to surcharge.

By Command of His Excellency the High Commissioner.
H.E. PRIESTMAN, Administrative Secretary
High Commissioner’s Office, Cape Town, 8th February, 1938

The Overprinted Issues enjoyed a period of three months grace, thus use of these stamps for Postage ceased on 7 May 1938
1938 KGVI Baobab and Cattle Definitives
½d Green
½d Light yellowish green
½d Yellowish green
½d Deep green
1d Scarlet
1½d Dull blue
The KGVI Definitives enjoyed an extended period of use because the QEII definitives were only finally issued on 3 January 1955
1½d Light blue
2d Chocolate brown
3d Deep Ultramarine
4d Orange
6d Reddish purple
6d Purple
Black & brown olive
Grey black & olive green
Black & scarlet
Black & deep ultramarine
5/- Grey black &
deep ultramarine
Black & red brown

There were many Printings of the KGVI definitives and there are far more variations than the Stanley Gibbons catalogue suggests
A summary of Printings is
½d Seven, 1d Seven, 1½d Six, 2d Ten, 3d Five, 4d Four, 6d Eight, 1/- Five, 2/6 Four, 5/- Five and 10/- Three

My own experience in studying KGVI Waterlow Definitives from other colonies is that the initial 1938 Printings were invariably on thicker paper with yellow gum. The types of gum on subsequent reprints and the thickness
of paper vary and by early 1950 much thinner paper with white gum was used by Waterlow.

1955 - 58 QEII Baobab and Cattle Definitives
A set of eleven values was issued on 3 January 1955, a 4d was added on 1 December 1958
1961 QEII Decimal Overprinted Definitives
Issued 14 February
1c Type I
1c Type II
2c on 2d
2½c Type I
2½c Type II
2½c on 3d
3½c Type I
3½c Type I Wide
3½c Type II
3½c Type II Wide
3½c Type III
5c Type I
5c Type II
10c on 1/-
12½c on 1/3
25c on 2/6
50c on 5/-
R1 Type I used
R1 Type II Bottom left
R1 Type II Central
3½c Types I and II occur on the same sheet, as well as the wider overprint on both types.
On a sheet of sixty there are Type I (33) - Type II (18) - Type I Wide (5) - Type II Wide (3) plus a type II with a thick c ex R9/3

Overprint Varieties
Two impressive versions are known, a dramatic downward shift on a
2½c Type II omits the overprint on row 1 and an example from the last row of the same sheet includes an overprint at the top of each stamp plus an overprint in the lower margin.

A sheet of the 10c with a major shift to the left places the overprint of the first stamp in the margin and omits it from stamp six
It is believed that prior to its discovery, part of the sheet had already been broken up and that up to seven rows may have survived. Currently I am able to account for at least six strips of SG 163a, see images below.

R1 Type I - SG 167

The First Setting of this Surcharge was produced on the original 1955 Printing of the 10/- value. Only thirty sheets (1,800 stamps were overprinted) According to Holmes in his 1971 Publication between 400 and 500 Type I were sent to Berne for UPU distribution.

700 copies are believed to have been used on First Day Covers. Thus a mere ten sheets, 600 stamps were available in mint condition and blocks of four or larger multiples were considered as rarities.
I sold a block of four in my 10 September 2004 Bechuanaland Postal Auction as lot 96.

From an impeccable source I have been informed that there ought to be five complete sheets of the R1 Type I in the Botswana archives.

R1 Type I
Overprint central
R1 Type I
Overprint off Centre
and low
Another very reliable source who has seen the five sheets in the Botswana Postal Archive informed me - One of the complete sheets in the Botswana Post archive has the surcharge very low thus. I wonder if it's still complete?

In recent years several blocks have appeared in a variety of auctions and Murray Payne in their 29 July 2014 Auction in lot 189 offered a R1 Type I in a Cylinder - Imprint block of eight, estimated at £2000, it sold for £4300.
Recently a previously unknown Type I with the Overprint at foot was brought to my attention. Enquiries made in the United Kingdom and South Africa suggest that an individual of Indian descent had at least three or more intact sheets of which one has the R1 Type I in the lower Country tablet as illustrated above. A reliable source in South Africa informed me that the person concerned previously resided in Botswana and now lives in Johannesburg. My source states that he gained sight of one intact sheet and had been offered an example of the overprint at foot.

It has also been suggested that Stanley Gibbons purchased a quantity of the R1 from a man of Indian descent during the 2010 Johannesburg International.
Another UK dealer informed me that he saw two bottom rows of SG 167 at that particular show. The same man is also selling Imerforate proofs of Botswana Issues and thus far I have seen odd values in imperforate blocks of four for 1982 and 1985 Christmas plus 1988 Early Cultivation.
Several individuals are speculating that the back door at the archives may have developed a faulty hinge or perhaps the lock is broken?

On occasion a full sheet of a scarce stamp may suddenly come to light, after fifty years, more than one seems strange, but a complete sheet with an overprint in a different position appears to be too good to be true. Philatelic research can only be effective if the owner of the material reveals his source of acquisition.
An unsubstantiated suggestion is that the R1 at foot might be from a proof sheet, on the other hand it could be a rejected sheet that was returned by the Government Printer in Pretoria to the Bechuanaland Postal Authority in 1961.
Pat Bullivant in his 1962 Shelly Catalogue states - Type I was limited to 30 Sheets of 60, of which some 400 are said to have been destroyed whilst a considerable proportion were used up on specially prepared First Day Covers.
If a quantity of the R1 type I had to be destroyed, was it perhaps because the overprint was situated in position where it was difficult to see?
Should Bullivant's observation be correct, it suggests that the recent flood of SG 167 onto the market more or less doubles the number of known mint copies and effectively devalues a mint R1 Type I considerably.

The Question remains How did all this material come into the possession of a man who is peddling his wares quite openly?
1961 10 Cent on 1/- with Overprint shift to the Left SG 163a
Normal Ex Row 5
SG 163a Ex Row 5
Photograph of the Original lower half of the sheet Rows 6 to 10
Note - On Rows 6, 8 and 10 the 1 in 10c in the margin is omitted and on row 6 the 0 in 10c is broken
SG 163a Ex Row 6 - Argyll Etkin Auction - 24 September 2003
SG 163a Ex Row 7 - Spink Auction - 3 October 2007 - Ex Inglefield Watson
2 October 1961 QEII Pictorial Definitives
Golden Oriole
African Hoopoe
Scarlet-chested sunbird
Cape widow bird
Swallow-tailed bee-eater
Grey Hornbill

The 1961 Pictorial Definitives - Printed by Harrison in Photogravure

In January 1959 the Crown Agents invited artists to submit designs for a new definitive
and the invitation was met with an enthusiast response

Eighty artists submitted 435 designs, of the fourteen chosen; eight designs featured birds
and was the work of PBD Jones from Salisbury in Rhodesia

The remaining six designs were executed by a team being
A. Larkins, R. Turrell, and Max Thoma

Red-headed weaver
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Woman Musician
Baobab Tree
Grinding Maize
Bechuana Ox
Police Camel Patrol
Bechuanaland Commemorative Issues 1935 - 1966

The Bechuanaland Protectorate

Their stamp issuing policy was essentially under the control of the Crown Agents who included Bechuanaland in the various Commonwealth Omnibus issues starting with the 1935 King George V Silver Jubilee.

During the Reign of King George VI it included the 1937 Coronation, 1945 Victory (Not the standard Crown Colonies design, but overprinted on the South African issue), 1948 Royal Silver Wedding and 1949 75th Anniversary of the Universal Postal Union.

In addition Bechuanaland issued a set of four stamps to commemorate the 1947 Royal Visit and used the same designs adopted by Basutoland and Swaziland. South Africa produced its own designs and the stamps were overprinted S.W.A. for use in South West Africa.

Starting with the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II the country issued the various Crown Agent Omnibus stamps which are the 1953 Coronation, 1963 Freedom from Hunger, 1963 Red Cross Centenary, 1964 400th Birth Anniversary of William Shakespeare, 1965 I.T.U. Centenary, 1965 International Co-Operative Year and the 1966 Churchill Commemoration.

Bechuanaland’s first exclusive commemorative stamps was a single design in a set of three values issued on 21 January 1960 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Bechuanaland Protectorate that came into being in 1885.
Before Independence, two further commemorative issues followed, a set of four using a common design for the New Constitution on 1 March 1965. Finally four different designs honouring the men who fought in World War II as the Bechuanaland Royal Pioneer Corps, issued on 1 June 1966.

4 May 1935 King George V Silver Jubilee - SG 111 - 114
King George VI Commemoratives
12 May 1937

SG 115 - 117
3 December 1945 - Victory - Overprints on South Africa Issue
Overprint Omitted on top Stamp
SG 129 -131
Overprint Variety - SG 131a
A downward shift of the overprint - Omission on the
upper stamp & Bechuanaland in the lower margin

Argyll Etkin Auction 24 September 2003
Lots 1343 and 1344

17 February 1947
Royal Visit
SG 132 - 135

1 December 1948
Royal Silver Wedding

SG 136 - 137
Plus Illustrated First Day Cover
10 October 1949 - 75th Anniversary of Universal Postal Union - SG 138 - 141
QEII Commemoratives
3 June 1953

SG 142

Designed by
Bradbury Wilkinson

Printed by De La Rue

21 January 1960
75th Anniversary of Bechuanaland Protectorate
SG 154 - 156

4 June 1963
Freedom from Hunger

SG 182
2 September 1963
Red Cross Centenary

SG 183 - 184
23 April 1964
400th Anniversary of
William Shakespeare
- SG 185
1 March 1965
New Constitution

SG 186 - 189
17 May 1965
I.T.U. Centenary

SG 190 - 191
25 October 1965
International Co-operation Year

SG 192 -193
24 January 1966
Churchill Commemoration

SG 194 - 197
1 June 1966
Bechuanaland Royal Marine Corps

SG 198 - 201
Illustrations courtesy Alan MacGregor and Otto Peetoom

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