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Maurice Harp

Over the last few issues of the Bulletin much has been written on official overprinted stamps with perfins. All of these have turned out to be forgeries made of the overprints using previously perfinned stamps. However there are instances of commercially overprinted stamps with perfins. Little has been written on these, probably because they are relatively scarce. Many of the perfins that turn up are parts of larger carpet dies such as “PAID WITH THANKS” struck over the receipt stamp and these I have not included in the listings below.

However some of the overprinted stamps have been found with perfin dies used for normal postage stamps. In 1986 (Bulletin 223) Arthur Smith recorded two such items:

Stamp Overprint Perfin
KGVI 2d “Received for General Electric Co Ltd” GE/C
QEII 2d Wilding“Corporation of Sheffield”CS

Unfortunately the exact perfin dies were not recorded. Both items were as would be expected fiscally used. In 1990 Tony Llewellyn- Edwards wrote an article for the British Commercial Overprint Study Circle and there he also recorded and illustrated the Corporation of Sheffield item listed by Arthur Smith.

Michael Behm recorded two more commercial overprints with perfins in the COSGB Bulletin of July 2005 and these are illustrated below. The first is a Stockport Corporation overprint with a CB/S perfin (County Borough of Stockport). He suggests that one department of the Stockport Corporation perforated its commercial overprints to prevent them from being used by other departments. The second is a copy of a 2d King George VI light orange with General Electric Co Ltd overprint with a GE/C perfin. This may well be the same stamp as recorded by Arthur Smith.

Lastly our own New Illustrated copy records a further two examples. The first is perfin H0450.01M HBB/&S which was used by Hy B Barnett & So, Birmingham Stockbrokers. A copy of a King Edward VII 1d has been reported with “H.B.B./&/S.” overprint in black. The second example is S2120.01a SD/&Co on a King George VI 2d Dark Orange with the overprint “Surridge/Dawson/& Co.Ltd.”


So having completed this survey I have come up with just five examples. It really begs the questions as to how or why they should ever have come about. You would have expected the mail room, where perfins were used, to be separate from Accounting, where commercial overprints would be used. At the moment no copies seem to have been postally used, although it should be noted that some commercially overprinted stamps did find there way through the postal system. So the only conclusion left is that in house perfin machines were occasionally used as a cancelling device on the revenue stamp. Much in the same way as a “PAID WITH THANKS” perforator might have been used.

QEII 6d pair with HU/DC (Hinckley Urban District Council) overprint postally used and 3d with HU/DC perfin H7450.01aM

If any members can add to the five examples listed here or give an example that has been postally used I would be very grateful.