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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Andrew Higson -
Folkert Bruining -
- - Spink and Son
Rupert - Strathspey Philatelics.
Pierre Paquot - on Delcampe
Pierre Paquot - on Delcampe
RL - Rolf Lamprecht.



Shortcuts to other sections
France Telephone Stamps Pneumatic Post Monaco French India



1943 Postage stamps of 1936 overprinted "E.F.M." and surcharged "30frs". Perf. 13¼
There are a surprising number of interpretations of exactly what these were used for and what the letters "E. F. M." actually stand for.
Since these were provided by the French, it seems reasonable to suppose that they stand for something in French. In that regard,
The suggestion of "Expédition Français Militaire" would thus sound reasonable.
The Scott catalog says that these were to pay cable tolls and for use by US and Canadian servicemen and that the letters stood for "Emergency Field Message".
John Barefoot says they were for a service "mainly using radio telkegraphy, provided by the Free French for American forces",
the letters standing for "Expeditionary Force Message". Another suggestion is that it means "European Forces Mail".
H.M.S. Hannibal of the Mediterranean Fleet is also listed as based there from June 1943 to June 1944(at least).
The letters "E. F. M." also appeared on French Telegrams used there, so I'm inclined to believe that the "F" stood for "Français"
and that other opinions were offered to avoid giving offence to the badly needed foreign forces.

H1 H2
Algeria H1 Algeria H2

Sheets contain 10 rows of 5 stamps.

Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H1 30F on 5c deep magenta 2.50 5.00
H1a         overprint inverted 50.00 -
H2 30F on 1F.75 deep brownish red   * 2.50 5.00
H2a           overprint inverted 50.00 -
H2b           overprint in vermilion 80.00 -
H2c           overprint in vermilion and inverted 120.00 -

* Hiscocks lists this as 1F instead of 1F.75

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. The overprints were often over-inked resulting in filled in '3's, 'F's, etc. These can be found together with
                normals in the same blocks and should not , in my view, be regarded as separate varieties.



1868 (1 January) Typographed on off-white wove paper, no watermark, imperf.

France-H1 France-H2 France-H3 France-H4 France-H4a
France H1   courtesy Patrice Robin France H2 France H3 France H4 France H4a   courtesy Pierre Paquot


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
f H1 25c rose carmine 300.00 150.00
H2 50c dull yellowish green 300.00 120.00
H3 1F orange-yellow   * 500.00 150.00
f H4 2F reddish lilac 500.00 100.00
H4a           deep reddish lilac 600.00 110.00

* Hiscocks lists only 'salmon' as a colour for the 1F. I have not yet seen 'salmon' ones, only the colour shown above.

Hiscocks added the following 2 notes:

Note 1. Nos. 1, 3 and 4 are known as specimens ("ÉPREUVE") - prices about 1.5 x used.
Note 2. Cancellations are usually a wavy or simple octagonal date stamp in black or blue.

f A note of mine: Fournier is known to have produced forgeries of the 25c and 2F at least



He also forged postmarks and telegraphic cancels:

France-faux-2F Molsheim   France-faux-CAEN

MOLSHEIM and CAEN, both Juin 69.
Note that these stamps are overprinted 'FAUX' (False).
This was not done by François Fournier but by the Union Philatelique de Genève who bought the
remaining stocks in 1927 (10 years after the death of Fournier) and
prepared 480 albums for sale with stamps marked with the words Faux and/or Facsimile.
The stamps sold by François Fournier were not marked in any way to identify them.

Compare the letters of the word 'FRANCAIS' between genuine and Fournier,
particularly 'F', 'C' and 'S' which are more 'closed' on the original and 'open' on the Fourniers.
Fournier stamp illustrations courtesy of Andrew Higson.

Having verified that yours is not a Fournier forgery, there is still something you need to be careful about.
The perforated ones below are sometimes trimmed and passed off as imperforate stamps.
If they are clearly cancelled before 14 January 1868 you should be safe. If not, it may simply be late usage, but you might want to check the size of the stamp.
Look again at the stamps above, which ones would you check ?



1868 (14 January) As above, perf. 11½ x 12½, 12, 12½, 12½ x 12, 12 x 12½ (see note 3 below).
I think a lot of this is down to uneven pin-spacing.

France-25c France-50c France-1F France-2F
France H5   Perf. 12.2 Blue cancel
Courtesy of Andrew Higson.
France H6   Perf. 12.2
Seen on 2 x 50c, the other dated 28 Feb 71.
France H7a   Perf. 12.3 x 12.0
Seen on 2 x 1F, the other dated Dec 69.
France H8b   Perf. 12.7
Seen on 2 x 2F, the other dated 18 Nov 68.


France-25c France-50c France-2F imperf?
A tall 25c A tall 50c A questionable 2F. Imperf ?
Could it have been trimmed ?   Check it.

Some of the stamps are taller than others, but the width seems to be fairly constant.
Could the 2 Franc be a trimmed perforated stamp ?


Hisc. Desc. Mint Used
H5 25c rose carmine 400.00 40.00
H5a           rose 400.00 40.00
H6 50c dull yellowish green 150.00 10.00
H6a           bright green 150.00 10.00
H7 1F salmon 150.00 20.00
H7a           yellow-orange 160.00 15.00
H7b           pale orange 160.00 15.00
H8 2F reddish lilac 200.00 20.00
H8a           reddish purple 200.00 24.00
H8b           pale reddish lilac 200.00 20.00

These were withdrawn in 1871. The latest cancel I have seen being 23 March.

Hiscocks added the following 3 notes:

Note 1. Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are known as specimens: prices about £25 each. [say £50 now]
Note 2. Cancellations as for Nos. 1-4.
Note 3. It is not at present clear which perforations exist for which values.
                Perf. 12 is said to be the most common.


Telephone Stamps.

Issued without gum and not known used on piece.
Cancellation by date stamp, pen, cut-off corners or punch-holes (sometimes in combination).


1880 - Typographed on thin manila paper. No watermark or gum.
Imperf all round but perforated between label and counterfoil. Control numbers in black.

This illustration is of Type 1, taken from Hiscocks book, page 115.
Hiscocks Book Page-115
Spink - H2
Y & T Pg 415

France-H1 and H2
The bottom pair shows the 25c and 50c courtesy of Patrice Robin.
The 50c numbered 364 is courtesy of Spink and Son.

The variations of these images suggest that these were printed in vertical strips with wording between the main part and the reciept.
The wording would seem to contain MINISTÉRE DE TÉLÉGRAPHES, TÉLÉPHONES at least with a pattern.

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H1 1 25c black / buff manila 1200.00 -
H2 1 50c black / buff manila 1200.00 -


Essay ?

Considering the failure of the previous issue, it is unlikely that there would be essays for another attempt.
This essay must be 1870 or later, since it is inscribed 'RF', Republic of France, rather than Empire of France as the first issue.
It may be an essay for the later Telephone stamps or Pneumatic Post however.
Any information on this would be welcome.


1885 - 1887 - Lithographed on thick stiff paper having the 'words'
....MINISTEREDESPOSTESETÉLÉGRAPHESTÉLÉPHONES ... continuously in white on pale colour (in brackets below).
No watermark or gum. Perf. 13½.
25c H3 - Annule
This shows the 25c (H3) with an unusual 'ANNULE' cancel.

1Fr H5
H5 - 1Fr

3Fr H6
H6 - 3Fr

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H3 2 25c deep dull blue / (yellow-buff) 240.00 10.00
H4 2 50c red / (pale pink) 240.00 15.00
H5 2 1F red / (pale blue) 320.00 18.00
H6 2 3F black / (pale green) 400.00 35.00

Note: The back of the 25c is green, the backs of the 1F and 3F are white.


Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Nos. 3 and 4 were for use with public telephones for local calls.
          No. 5 for long distance calls and No. 6 for international calls.



1888 - 1896 - As above but security background wording altered to
the upper wording on the tab altered from "Ministere des Postes et des Télégraphes" to
"Postes et Télégraphes-Téléphones, etc.

25c H7
H7 - 25c

H9 - 1Fr

H10 - 3Fr

Imperf 50c H8
*This shows an imperf 50c courtesy of Patrice Robin.   (proof ? Added as H8d)

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H7 3 25c dark blue / yellow-buff 200.00 16.00
H8 3 50c red / pale pink 120.00 12.00
*H8a 3         Security background missing 135.00 -
*H8b 3         Imperf. 200.00 -
*H8c 3         Imperf. Black on pale pink 220.00 -
*H8d 3         Imperf. version of H8a - -
H9 3 1F scarlet / pale blue 120.00 12.00
H10 3 3F black / palish green 200.00 16.00

* H8a to H8c are added due to entries in the Yvert et Tellier catalogue.

Note: The back of the 25c is green, the back of the 50c has a 'granite' effect with blue fibres. The backs of the 1F and 3F are white.


Hiscocks added the following 2 notes:

Note 1. Uses were as in the Note below No. 6 and the wording at the
              bottom of each tab indicates its purpose.
Note 2. The reverse of my copy of No. 3 is dull green while, from behind,
              both No. 4 and No. 8 appear to be on granite paper
              (i.e. having a surface layer of blue fibres).


1888 - 1896 - As above but inscribed "SERVICE TÉLÉPHONIQUE DE NUIT INTERURBAIN"
in places of "TELEPHONES".

Type 3   -   H11 - 30c

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H11 3 30c black / pale lilac 120.00 12.00
H12 3 30c green / pale grey 160.00 24.00



1888 - 1896 - As above (types 2 and 3) but overprinted as shown.
25c H13
H13 courtesy of Patrice Robin.

25c H14
H14 courtesy of Patrice Robin.

25c H15
H15 - 25c on 50c.


Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H13 on H3 25c deep dull blue / yellow-buff (R) 1600.00 400.00
H14 on H7 25c dark blue / yellow-buff (R) 240.00 80.00
H15 on H8 25c on 50c red / pale pink (B) 240.00 80.00


1896 - As No. 14 but "BULLETIN de CONVERSATION" in upper case.
25c H13
H16 courtesy of Frigga19.

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H16 3 25c blue and red / yellow-buff 120.00 40.00


1897 - Similar to above but "TELEPHONES" substituted for "TELEGRAPHE" in the
tablet below the seated figure and omitted from the left hand section.
"Conversation" changed to "Communication", etc. Security background unchanged. Perf. 13½.

Type 5   -   H17 - 25c

Type 5   -   H18 - 30c

50c H19
Type 5   -   H19 - 50c

1F H20
Type 5   -   H20 - 1F

3F - H21
Type 5   -   H21 - 3F

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H17 5 25c blue / cream 60.00 8.00
H17a 5           imperf. 400.00 -
H18 5 30c grey-brown / pale brownish pink 100.00 20.00
H19 5 50c red / pink 80.00 8.00
H20 5 1F scarlet / pale blue 100.00 16.00
H21 5 3F black / pale green 400.00 80.00
*H21a 5           imperf. - 113.00

* H21a is added due to an entry in the Yvert et Tellier catalogue.

Note: The back of the 25c is green, the back of the 50c has a 'granite' effect with blue fibres. The backs of the 1F and 3F are white.


1900 - As above (No. 17) surcharged "TAX RÉDUITE à 0,15 centimes" in red.
H22 15c on 25c

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H22 6 0.15 on 25c blue / pale yellow 60.00 16.00
H22a 6           surcharge double. 210.00 -
H22b 6           surcharge double (one inverted). 210.00 -
H22c 6           surcharge in black. 155.00 -

These seem scarcer than Hiscocks prices would suggest.


Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Nos. 17 and 22 are again dull green on the reverse while No. 19 again
          has a layer of 'blue granite' on the reverse.


1900 - 1906 As above but on plain white to cream thick wove paper.
No watermark. Perf. 13½
Type 7   -   H23 - 10c

Type 7   -   H24 - 15c

Type 7   -   H25 - 25c

Type 7   -   H26 - 30c

Type 7   -   H27 - 40c

Type 7   -   H28 - 50c

Type 7   -   H29 - 75c

Type 7   -   H30 - 1Fr.

3F H31
Type 7   -   H31 courtesy of Patrice Robin.

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H23 7 10c violet / pale cream (1906) 45.00 3.00
H23a 7           imperf. 90.00 -
H24 7 15c black / pale cream (1901) 60.00 5.50
H24a 7           imperf. 150.00 -
*H24b 7           double impression. 230.00 -
H25 7 25c blue / white to cream (1906) 25.00 2.50
H25a 7           imperf. 90.00 -
H26 7 30c yellow brown / cream (shades)(1906) 60.00 6.50
H26a 7           imperf. 150.00 -
H27 7 40c red brown / cream (shades)(1900) 45.00 3.50
H27a 7           imperf. 75.00 -
*H27b 7           double impression. 230.00 -
H28 7 50c bright orange/ cream (1906) 35.00 3.50
H28a 7           imperf. 230.00 -
H29 7 75c rose-red / pale cream (1900) 90.00 12.50
H30 7 1F brown red (shades) / pale cream (1906)   75.00 13.00
H31 7 3F green / pale cream (1906) 4000.00 460.00

* H24b and H27b are added due to an entries in the Yvert et Tellier catalogue.


An internal Westminster Hotel Telephone Message of 1939.

Westminster Hotel 1939



Pneumatic Post.

This design was also used on the Pneumatic Post in Paris.

Pneumatic examples
A range of denominations used.

Beginning in 1866, the pneumatic tube network of Paris was set up by the Telegraph Service for the purpose of express delivery
of received telegraph messages, thus they initially only delivered genuine telegrams.

The post and telegraph services were combined in 1878 and from the beginning of May 1879, the network was opened
up for public use to speed delivery of ordinary mail.
Though there was nothing telegraphic about this additional mail, since the Telegraph section was providing the service,
the stationery used were marked 'Carte Télégramme' and the stamps inscribed 'TELEGRAPHE'.

As always, it is for the collector to decide what to collect.

Pneumatic examples - 3
A 1F "Carte Pneumatique" of 1925.

Pneumatic examples - 6a Pneumatic examples - 6a
A similar 1F50 "Carte Pneumatique" of 1935, showing conditions on the back.

Pneumatic examples - 4a  Pneumatic examples - 4b
This says that the violet part is open for service from the first of April 1883, I have a used one dated 13 May 1884.

Pneumatic examples - 1883
This says that the red part is open for service from the first of April 1883. It is used on 26 March 1884.

Pneumatic examples - 1884
This says that from the first of February 1884, the whole of Paris is open for service except the shaded part.

Pneumatic examples - 1886

Both cards and envelopes were available, though with strict controls on any enclosures.

Pneumatic examples - 1a Pneumatic examples - 1b

Pneumatic examples - 1a Pneumatic examples - 1b

Further information about this network can be found in a three page account written by J.D. Hayhurst O.B.E. entitled The Pneumatic Post of Paris (1974).




Monaco probably used French Telephone stamps prior to the introduction of its own.

1887(?) Typographed in black on thin manila paper. No watermark. Imperf.
Book page 186
This shows Type 1 taken from Hiscocks book page 186.

This is slightly different in the lettering. The 'N' of "No" is very different. It is dated 6 March 1892
Type 2  -  Image courtesy of Spink and Son.

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H1 1 50c black / buff manila - -
H1a 2           50c black / buff manila - -


1893(?) Typographed on thick white paper against a yellow security printed background consisting of
repeated "POSTESETTELEGRAPHESTELEPHONES ..." by the National Printing Office in Paris.
No gum or watermark. Perf. 13½

Type 3   -   H2   I have seen one clearly dated 25 October 1894.

Hisc. Type. Desc. Mint Used
H2 3 50c brown / yellow / white 220.00 150.00


Hiscocks added the following note:

Note.   The paper is green on the reverse side.


French India.

Hiscocks Book page 337
A map adapted from Wikimedia Commons with Madras (now called Chennai)
added as I was curious as to why they should also have a 'diamond'.
I have since added Negapatam as I have seen a diamond for that also.
Though Negapatam is only 14km south of Karikal, it does not appear to have
been under French control, though it was successively under control of the
Portuguese, Dutch and British.
I am thus uncertain what the existance of a 'Diamond' signifies.
I have not heard of one for Yanaon or Mahé, so perhaps it is simply
produced by a particular handstamp manufacturer in Madras.
Can anyone supply a scan of a Negapatam diamond or other new ones ?

Madras-diamond 1874  Madras-diamond
I can only assume that though Madras was no longer in the French Colony,
there was still some French influence.

French India consisted of Pondichéry, Karikal and Yanaon on the west coast, Mahé on the east coast,
and Chandernagor in Bengal to the northeast.
Of these, Pondichéry was larger and more populous than the rest put together.
Though no special telegraph stamps were issued for French India,
they can be identified by the cancels used on telegraph stamps of India, or the special telegraphic cancels on postage stamps
after the special telegraph stamps were abolished in India in 1908.

As with Ceylon, Telegraph stamps with 'one-line' place and date cancels were initially used.

10 Rupee 14¼ Rupee 25 Rupee

3 values with Pondicherry cancels the 14¼Rs is courtesy of Rupert from Strathspey Philatelics.
The diamonds are usually dated 1872, but a few are from other years.

The diamond-shaped cancel is one half of a duplex-cancel consisting of two identical halves connected by
a kind of 'Maltese cross'-bridge as can be seen below.

India-Pondicherry-18-8-73 India-Pondicherry-5-4-73
Pondicherry diamond 18-8-73. Pondicherry diamond 5-4-73.

India-Pondicherry-1-3-73 India-Pondicherry-11-12-74
Pondicherry diamond 1-3-73. Pondicherry diamond 11-12-74.
Two more examples from RL.


Pondicherry-receipt 1900
A Telegraph receipt dated 11 December 1900 for a telegram to Rangoon (Burma).
It shows the full inline cancellation used there at that time on a standard Indian form. Image courtesy of Folkert Bruining.
At the time, Burma was a province of British India.

A dated circular cancel is known for Karikal on Telegraph stamps.
Also, later there is a different type with 'TEL.' :

India-Karikal - 1894 India-Karikal - 1930
Image courtesy of Harry Patsalos. Image courtesy of Folkert Bruining.
  India-Pondicherry - 1912
The standard 'bullseye' telegraphic cancel used later.

Karikal-receipt 1885
A Telegraph receipt dated 3 April 1885 for a telegram to Akyab (now Sittwe, Burma).
It shows the full inline cancellation used there at that time on a form that I'm not familiar with. Image courtesy of Folkert Bruining.
Akyab was the capital of Arakan (now Rakhine State) along the coast of North Burma.
It had been part of British India since 1826 (after the first Anglo-Burmese war).
The third Anglo-Burmese war of November 1885 brought what was left of the Kingdom of Burma into the British Raj.


From 1908, normal postage stamps were used with the round 'Bullseye' Telegraphic cancels inscribed with (usually) Pondicherry.
For more examples see (again) worthpoint(pondicherry).

I am indebted to Folkert Bruining of the Netherlands for bringing my attention to these and providing information.
Further information and images would be greatly appreciated.





Telegraph Seals.

A few different seals were used on French telegrams at different times.

Type 2   Type 3
Type 4 1979

Steve Hiscocks made a start on cataloguing seals of the world in a book he published in 2007.
It was his hope to update it later, but unfortunately that was not to be.
His original book can be viewed at Telegraph Seals: A World Catalogue. There are links from the pages to my updates.

Alternatively you can view the latest page for France.


If anyone can provide scans to help with this, I am happy to give appropriate credit.


Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.

Contact:     Emale

Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Alternatively Yahoo Group Yahoo-Group is a forum.


Last updated 16th. Jan. 2018

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16/17/18 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.


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