Arago: Exhibits


Cayman Islands - Running Out of Stamps

Three days later, with stocks of the ½-penny down to a single sheet, the carpenter was asked to alter his handstamp. By raising the figure ‘1’ and adding a ‘2’, he fashioned a surcharge which read ‘D’, albeit omitting the central bar in the fraction.

This new arrangement was handstamped onto fifteen sheets of the 5-shilling stamp, again with several varieties unintentionally created in the process. Post Offices received instructions that the surcharged 5-shilling stamps were only to be sold over post office counters, and not sent to dealers. Despite this, at least one complete pane of the overprinted 5-shilling stamps is known to have found its way into the collection of a leading Cayman Islands collector in the United Kingdom.

A fourth provisional overprint became necessary the following February, when stocks of the 2 1/2-penny stamps ran out. These stamps paid the rate for letters sent to the United States.

Four sheets of the 4-penny stamp had a 2 ½-penny surcharge applied by J. H. O’Sullivan, the chief of police, using a metal handstamp. The figures he used were in a slightly smaller font than the ones used before and still without the fraction bar. Once again, despite a ruling that a maximum of six stamps could be purchased at one visit to the post office, it is known that a local speculator got hold of two complete sheets.

1/2p overprint on 5sh King Edward VII single

The 1/2d overprint on the 5-shilling Edward VII stamp.

2-1/2p overprint on 4p King Edward VII single

The 2 1/2d overprint on the 4-penny Edward VII stamp.