Collection: GB Official Stamps

Our selection of Great Britain's Official stamps, overprinted between 1880 and 1904, during the reigns of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. As forgeries are known, we examine each stamp to the best of our ability. For more valuable Officials, expert opinion and accompanying certificates are often sought.

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FAQs about Official Stamps of Great Britain

What are "official stamps"?

Official stamps are postage stamps used by government departments in Great Britain from 1880 to 1904. They are regular stamps overprinted with the name or initials of a department, like "GOVT PARCELS" for Government Parcels.

Why were official stamps overprinted?

Overprinting prevented stamp misuse and tracked postal expenses across government departments. It also distinguished these stamps from regular postage.

How do I identify the overprint on a stamp?

To identify an overprint on a stamp, look for additional text or a design printed over the original. Official stamps often bear government department names or initials. The issue date and potential value can be found in the Stanley Gibbons Concise catalogue.

How can I tell if an official stamp is a forgery?

Detecting forgeries is challenging, particularly for non-experts. Signs of forgery may include low printing quality, design inconsistencies, presence of overprint over the postmark on used stamps, and insufficient indentation. If you suspect a stamp might be fake, seek expert opinion.

Please note: We've made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. And will include a list of reliable sources for information on our resources page. Above all, if you have any doubts about a stamp's authenticity, we recommend seeking expert advice.