Friday, April 27, 2007

Centenary of the first Egyptian stamp

On the 1st of January 1866, the first set of stamps to be used in Egypt was issued. It was a set of seven stamps (5, 10, 20 paras and 1,2, 5, 10 piasters). Actually, as Egypt was under Turkish suzerainty, those stamps were Turkish stamps overprinted for Egypt. (I tried to find a good scan of those stamps but did not succeed. I only found very bad quality scan). A funny detail about those stamps is that they caused problems to postal clerks from Europe and elsewhere because they could not determine the country of origin. As a result a new series of stamps was ordered for 1867, in which the central design left no doubt as to the country of origin: the Sphinx and Pyramid at Giza were placed in the centre of the design, with Cleopatra's Needle and Hadrian's column in Alexandria in the side panels.
Anyway, one century later, in 1966 (a very good year ;-) ), Egyptian post issued this souvenir sheet to celebrate the Post day and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first stamps issue.

The souvenir sheet contains a reproduction of two of the seven original stamps : the 5 piasters and the 10 piasters. The souvenir sheet bears a surtax, the face value being 140 Milliemes + 60 Milliemes. The sheet only exists without perforation.
This is my most recent purchase in my quest for stamps (and souvenir sheet) issued in 1966. I’m quite happy with it, because it gives me also the possibility to see a good reproduction of those first Egyptian issues that I will probably never own, seeing the high value they have in Scott catalogue. There is something striking in this item : this is the bad perforation of the pink stamp reproduced on the souvenir sheet. They could have chosen to reproduce a better version of the stamp, no ?
I actually have two copies of this souvenir sheet, so if somebody is interested to get one, just contact me to see if we can make an exchange.

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