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Jul 28

Surcharge Surfeit – Weekly Feature #431

In 1885 the people of Ceylon could have been forgiven for being confused with respect to the Postal Service.  Postal rates had been changed and the postal authorities showed a lack of foresight in estimating the need for particular denominations.  Provisionals were ordered from the London printers De La Rue but these were delayed.  Further complicating the situation at the time were rapid fluctuations in the value of the Ceylon Rupee.
De La Rue prepared surcharges in six denomination, but the real spate of surcharges were done locally, in Colombo.  Stanley Gibbons lists 30 different and Scott lists 24 different.  Add to these doubled, inverted and other varieties and these prove a challenging group to collect indeed.  These local surcharges were primarily, or perhaps all, printed in the first few weeks of 1885.  Then, to further confuse matters, the government of Ceylon announced on February 20 that all obsolete stamps would be demonitised after April 15, 1885.  An eventful few weeks to be sure.
We offer one of the scarcest of the major varieties.  The 16¢ violet with ‘CA’ watermark overprinted ‘TEN CENTS’.  This particular stamp was formerly in the famous Louise Boyd Dale Collection and has a 1938 Royal Philatelic Society of London Certificate issued in her maiden name.  The stamp is without fault and has a cancel which does not deface this rarity.  For cataloguing purposes this is Scott #121 with a catalogue value therein of $1800.00, Stanley Gibbons #184 with a catalogue value of £1600,00 therein.  Our Price: $1375.00