DOIG'S ETHIOPIA STAMP CATALOGUE

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1909 Definitive Issue

With the reorganization of the Ethiopian Post Office by the French, the Emperor Menelik II desired a new set of stamps. In March 1908 Ch. Brice notified the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Menelik’s request. In June options were offered for monochrome or bicolored stamps, perforations, etc. In July Menelik authorized the costs and requested immediate delivery of 100,000 of each value of the total 4,000,000 stamps ordered. Various proofs were then submitted, with final acceptance made at the end of October, too late for Ethiopia’s admittance to the U.P.U. on November 1, 1908.

On November 25, 1908 a dispatch was made by diplomatic pouch from Paris of 100,000 each of the ¼g, 2g, 4g, and 16g of the first printing. These were followed on December 8, 1908 of 100,000 each of the ½g, 1g, and 8g. The stamps were held at the French Legation in Addis Abeba until paid for by the Ethiopian Government. The stamps were released to the French Director of the Ethiopian Posts, M. Cardot, on Friday, January 22, 1909. A single stamp is know with the date of January 28, 190_. The earliest known cover is January 29, 1909. PHOTO  A portion of the second printing was delivered on February 14, 1909, the balance being held in Djibouti until final payment had been received. The first day of issue has been reported as March 27, 1909, but this may have been the day that prior issues were declared invalid for postage.

Printing details:
Designer: Victor Marec; Engraver: Emile Dete; Printer: Atelier de Fabrication des Timbres, Paris, France; printing: typography; sheets: 75 stamps (15 x 5) in 3 panes of 25 (5 x 5) separated by vertical gutters; perforation: 11½ .

Scott: 87-93. Stanly Gibbons: 147-153. Michel: 40-46. Yvert: 86-92.

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    1st Printing Plate Nos. 2nd Printing Plate Nos. No Opt.*
134
¼ g
100,000
10011 11
1,000,000
T 706 16
D 806 16
211,250
135
½ g
100,000
B 27011 11
700,000
Z 1506 1
Z 1606 1
339,250
136
1 g
100,000
?
600,000
Z 906 1
546,250
137
2 g
100,000
R 7011 11
550,000
Z 2306 1
Z 2406 1
332,000
138
4 g
100,000
R 11011 11
300,000
L 1807 1
44,750
139
8 g
100,000
T 20011 1
100,000
L 2308 1
17,250
140
16 g
100,000
T 17011 1
50,000
?
13,250
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Notes:
1. * The "No Opt." column are the number of the original stamps available for postage that were not overprinted at a later date.

2. The plate number includes the letter of the press operator, the date, and the press number. For example, the T 17011 1 was printed on 17 November.

3. Color shades occur between the two printings and within the same printing.

4. A variety occurs with a "missing" perforation hole (2.25mm gap) on the right side of every stamp of the left vertical row of the left pane.

5.Proofs in black of all values. One set plus a second copy of the ½g were delivered to Ethiopia.

6. Large proof sheets exist in the Postal Museum in Paris. The plate number R 3101 11 (31 Jan 1909) appears on an imperforate sheet.

7. Color specimens with the values blocked over; 296 total with 85 of the Coat of Arms, 117 of Menelik in native dress, and 94 of Menelik in royal dress.

8. The set occurs overprint "SPECIMEN" from UPU samples. Forgeries may exist.

9. Forged proofs of the 3 center tablets on one sheet of paper in 7 colors plus shades. These are crudely lithographed.

10. The 2g and 8g are reported overprint 1 PIASTRE & Scroll; they are probably forgeries.

                    Last update: September 2, 2000