A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine

Part 9: Definitive Issue "Pictorials" (1927–45)

In 1923, three years after transition to civil administration, the High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, suggested the creation of new designs for a definitive stamp issue to the Postmaster General. Subsequently the public was invited to submit pictures, four of which were at the end chosen for the new series of stamps. But it was not until November 1926 that Crown Agents invited tenders for the production of the plate dies and the production of the stamps themselves.

The apparent set off was the then imminent (November 1927) reform of currency: 1 Palestine £ = 1000 Mils.

A Committee sat in the early part of the year under the chairmanship of the Treasurer, with the managers of the principal banks of the country among the members, to examine the question of introducing a new currency into Palestine. The report of the Committee has received the general approval of the Secretary of State, and early steps will be taken to introduce a currency linked with sterling. The currency will be administered by a Palestine Currency Board operating in London under the direction of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, under conditions which will ensure that the exchange value of the currency is maintained at par.
(Report by His Britannic Majesty's Government to the Council under Mandate of Palestine and Transjordan for the Year 1924)
A new currency was issued in Palestine on the 1st of November, and was simultaneously adopted by Trans-Jordan. At the end of the year notes and coins to the value of úP.1,635,296 were in circulation. New issues of postage stamps were made in Palestine and in Trans-Jordan.
(Report by His Britannic Majesty's Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Palestine and Trans-Jordan for the Year 1927)

Crown Agents commissioned Fred Taylor for the artwork on the four pictures submitted from the High Commission. The die plates were, according to Norman Collins, produced by Thomas De La Rue & Co., but the contract went to Harrison & Sons, Ltd. in London, for printing the stamps in typography. Printing started on 13.04.1927.
The four designs are:

  1. Rachel's Tomb, Bethlehem (SG: T9, Bale: Type 10, Michel: c) (2, 3, 10m)
  2. Omar-Mosque, Jerusalem (known also as Dome of The Rock or Haram asch-Scharif) (SG: T10, Bale: Type 11, Michel: d) (4, 8, 13, 15m)
  3. Citadel with Tower of David, Jerusalem (SG: T11, Bale: Type 12, Michel: e) (5, 6, 7, 20m)
  4. Sea of Galilee and Tiberias (SG: T12, Bale: Type 13, Michel: f) (50, 90, 100, 200, 250, 500m, £P1)

In 1927 a pictorial issue came out, the design being by J. Benor Kalter of the Zionist Commission. [...] The designs are not well done and some of the descriptions would apply equally well to other scenes as to the ones designated. Almost any book on the country gives better pictures than the ones on the stamps.

(J.J. Darlow: Palestine, p13.)
[Note: Darlow is the only source mentioning anyone else as designer but Fred Taylor. Apparently the photographs used by Taylor came from photographer Jacob Benor-Kalter's 1925 book "Twenty Four Views of the Holy Land" (Jerusalem: The Art Publishing House Migdal)]

Type 9

Type 9

Type 10

Type 10

Type 11

Type 11

Type 12

Type 12

A panel at the top shows the English PALESTINE, framed by European (left) and Arab (right) numerals designating the value. The actual unit of currency (Mils) does not appear, except for the highest value, where £P1 (i.e. Palestinian Pound) is shown. At the bottom of the design two panels say PLSTINH (AI) in Hebrew (left) and FLSTIN in Arabic (right).

The size of the designs for the lower values (Types T9--11) is 18.5x22.5mm (stamp size: 20x25mm), the higher values (T12) measure 23x22.25mm (25x24mm), respectively. The three supplementary values issued in 1942 (250m, 500m and £1, all in type T12) have a design size of 24x22.25mm. The stamp size is unchanged.

091_cover (18K) 099_cover (29K)

Letter (printed matter). SG no. 91, cancelled with JERUSALEM / 8 30 AM? / 15 DE / 38 (Sacher B37). Destination: Bielefeld (Germany).

Official letter. SG no. 99 (vertical pair). Cancelled NABLUS / AM / 1 JU / 47 (Sacher 4, twice on front, twice on back side). Registration label NABLUS / No 1080 (Sacher 6). Express delivery from DISTRICT CONTROLLER'S OFFICE / No / DATE / SAMARIA DISTRICT, NABLUS (Sacher 4a, once on front, thrice on backside) to Government Agents, Haifa. On reverse: REGISTERED / 1 JU 47 / HAIFA (Sacher D17).

271216_095 (21K)

Single franking of SG no. 95 of 1927, 7m in red on a letter from Nazareth to London. Unknown recipient.
Postmarks: NAZARETH / C / 16 DE / 27, HAIFA / E / 16 DE / 27, and LONDON HOLLOWAY. S.O.N.19 / 4 JA / 28 / 1145PM.

360603_093 (31K) 380803_106 (30K)

Airmail letter from Gedera to Zeitz, Germany, 15m: triple franking of SG no. 93, 5m. Postmark: GEDERA / A / 3 JU / 36.

Registered letter Tiberias to Jerusalem, 24m: triple franking of SG no. 106, 8m. Postmark: TIBERIAS / A / 3 AU / 38.

097_cover2 (35K) 098_cover (26K)

Commercial letter with company imprint: Nablus to Haifa. Franked with 10m (SG no. 97). Postmark: NABLUS / C / 19 FE / 47 (Sacher 3), on reverse arrival mark HAIFA / G / 19 Fe / 47 (Sacher B9). Ex collection Dorfman.

Letter with SG no. 98. Cancellation: T E L   A V I V / C / 22 AU / 29 (Sacher B2). Destination: a bank Göttingen, Germany.

370427_108 (31K) 380400_108 (23K)

Airmail letter from Jerusalem to Johannesburg, South Africa, 30m: double franking of SG no. 108, 15m. Postmark: JERUSALEM / X / 27 AP 37.

Airmail letter "via KLM" from Tel Aviv to Gnarrenburg, Germany, 45m: triple franking of SG no. 108, 15m. Postmark: TEL AVIV / [?] / [?] AP 38.

300117_098 (28K) 470331_099 (25K)

Registered letter from Jaffa to Leeds, 26m: double franking of SG no. 98, 13m. Postmark: REGISTERED / JAFFA / 17 JAN 30.

Airmail letter from Jenin to Banbury, 40m: double franking of SG no. 99, 20m. Postmark: JENIN / B / 31 MR / 47.

The perforation of the upright values (2m--20m) is 13.5:14.5 in comb perforation. The arrangement of the printing sheet consists of 10 lines and 25 columns in three panes: 10x10, gutter, 10x10, gutter, 5x10 fields. Jubilee lines frame the sheet. The intersecting gutters vary in type according to plate: types C, D, E, F are noted in Bale. Early prints (on A paper) are known without gutters.

The perforation of the oblong values (50m--£1) is K14:14. The arrangement of the printing sheet consists of ten lines and 20 columns in two panes: 10x10, gutter, 10x10 with jubilee lines. The intersecting gutters show type G, and again, early prints (on A paper) are known without gutters.

Type_gutC (7K) Type_gutD (5K) 091_gutcov (40K)






Plate numbers can be discerned into seven types. They are situated in the four corners of a sheet. Additionally a numerator (current or control number) is found to the right of the plate number in the (usually) top right corner. For some issues, inverted numerators are known.
Where a sheet had to be discarded for faulty printing, it was replaced by another sheet (from the same or a different batch) and had its numerator corrected accordingly in order to remain in sequence with the est of the batch. Such corrected numerators, widely known to German collectors due to their use for French occuüpation issues, are not described for this issue in the pecialized literature.
David Dorfman notes that only stock delivered to Palestine was imprinted with numerators. Stock issued by Crown Agents to the (London) philatelic trade did not contain these markings.

093_p2inv (36K) 099_p1inv (16K)

Two examples of inverted numerators: SG no. 93 (numerator 18244, with plate number 2, type 2) and SG no. 99
(numerator 17978, plate number 1, type 1). The former is listed in Bale as no. 93j, the latter isn't known to that
specialized catalogue. Images courtesy Rolf Wernecke.

099_p1cor (29K) 094_P2U (7K) 090_P3O (8K)

Again an example of the 20m, SG. no. 99, now with a corrected numerator: the original sheet no. 31555 had to be destroyed and was replaced by faultless sheet no. 31044.

SG no. 94 with
plate number 2
(type 2)

SG no. 90 with
plate number 3
(type 5)

102_cover (90K) SG 106 card

Air mail letter with SG no. 102 (vertical pair). Cancellation: TEL AVIV / 7.30 AM / 30 SP / 42 (Sacher B47). Destined for New York, USA, forwarded to Jackson Heights. Censored at Jaffa-Tel Aviv: PC 22. / OPENED BY / CENSOR. / 70/5233 (Sacher Q7a). New York arrival mark on reverse: NEW YORK N.Y. / OCT 22 / 4 30 PM / 1942 // STATION W.

Postcard with SG no. 106. Machine-cancelled JERUSALEM / 26 JUL 33.2PM (Sacher F3). Destination: Bamberg, Germany.

100_censV (33K) 100_censR (33K)

Front and reverse of a censored commercial cover from Tel Aviv to Canada by airmail. Stamps used: SG nos. 100, 99, and 93. Cancelled by REGISTERED / TEL AVIV / 26 JY / 40 (Sacher D13, twice on both front and reverse side).
Registration label: TEL AVIV / No 8573 (Sacher RGa). Censor label PC 22 / OPENED BY / CENSOR / 70/8033 in red (Sacher Q7a) and additional censor handstamp PALESTINE. / OPENED AND / PASSED BY / CENSOR in violet (Sacher Q20b, but without a manuscript T-number).
On revese transit markings of REGISTERED / HAIFA / 29 JY / 40 (Sacher D13) and TORONTO . ONT / REG.DIV. TERMINAL A / 10 / SP 30 / 40 as well as arrival mark GUELPH / ONT. / 19 / SP 30 / 40.

A number of varieties can be found in the "Pictorials" series:

  1. Rough perforation RP (3, 5, 6, 10, 20, 7, 13m);
  2. various perforation errors (10m);
  3. inverted watermark;
  4. colour changelings (2m in grey, 50m in blue)

Recently a wide variety of so-called "negative die proofs" have appeared on Ebay and also at traditional auction houses. To my knowledge these prints may have been made from original dies stemming from the Harrison archives (I have my persional doubts even about this), but certainly they have been produced in the last few years only. Their philatelic value can only described as non-existant, at best they are nothing more than a curiosity. The market is now so flooded with this material that prices beyond $10 seem ridiculous.

Since 2005 Hundreds such "Proofs" in different values introduced to the Philatelic market, also so call "few original plates" were offered for sell over the Internet ..So my conclusion is that we are dealing here with reproductions & NOT original proofs from the 1927 Harrison & Sons archives.
(Doron Waide auction, January 2011, description at Lots 643–645, startung price: $10)
SG 91 Perfin APC SG 91 Gutter E) 102_perf (14K)

SG no. 91 as perfin: "A.P.C." (Anglo Palestine Company), position H.

SG no. 91 as gutter pair (Type E) from the lower margin of the sheet.

SG no. 102 (gutter block) with so-called "staggered" perforation. Image courtesy Ebay.

094_error (8K) 093_sp (9K)

SG no. 94 with plate (?) error: missing parts top left.
Image courtesy Yaron Reinhold.

SG no. 93 in a different colour, marked "HARRISON S / SPECIMEN". Described as a colour trial: fake or genuine?
Image courtesy Ebay.

During the twenty year long printing history of this series of definitives five discernible types of paper were used. All bear the regular Crown Agents watermark, type W9 (Multiple Script CA). According to specialized catalogue Bale Mandate structure and thickness can be characterized as follows:

  1. Paper type A: very thin, almost transparent (1927: 2--13m, and 20-200m);
    this paper was only used for the initial printing since the sheets were extremely difficult to handle due to excessive curling in the dry climate of Palestine.
  2. Paper type B: thick, vertically laid/ribbed (1928--1932: 3m--200m, 4, 7, 8, and 13m in new colours)
  3. Paper type C: regular, i.e. white wove (1936-1942: all values except 4, 7, 8, 13m in old colours, and 90m)
  4. Paper type D: thick horizontally laid/ribbed (1937: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 15m)
  5. Paper type E: thin, vertically laid/ribbed (1928--1936: coils of 2, 3, 5, and 15m)

The first set of the new stamps was issued on 1.06.1927 (3m, 13m), followed by 12 values on 14.08.1927. The values of 4, 7, 8, and 13m were reissued in changed colours in 1932, together with one new value of 15m (due to changes in postage rates). The last installment of stamps was first sold on 15.01.1942, namely the three high values of 250, 500m, and one Pound.

091 (11K) 098 (13K)
090 (14K) 092 (12K) 093 (13K) 094 (13K) 095 (13K)
096 (13K) 097 (12K) 099 (12K)
100 (17K) 101 (16K) 102 (15K) 103 (17K)
106 (13K) 105 (13K) 107 (12K) 108 (13K) 104 (13K)
109 (17K) 110 (17K) 111 (17K)

Due to high demand stamp coils were produced. The early coils were handmade from regular stamps, later industrially produced coils use specially made coil stamps with distinguishable perforation.

SG Michel Value Issue Colour Type Paper Watermk. Perf. Circ.
90522 m14.08.1927grünblauT 9gumm.W2K 13.5:14.554.5m
90 a ----(greyish blue)
91533 m1.06.1927gelbgrünT 9gumm.W2K 13.5:14.5, RP85.2m
91 a ----(pale emerald)
91 b ----(apple green)
92544 m14.08.1927mattrosaT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.51.7m
92 a ----(rose pink)
9356 A5 m14.08.1927orangeT 11gumm.W2K 13.5:14.5113.4m
93 a----(chrome yellow)
93 d----(vermillion)
93 e----(yellow orange)RP
94576 m14.08.1927d'grünT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.57.1m
94 a ----(blue green)RP
94 b ----(grey green)
95587 m14.08.1927rotT 11gumm.W2K 13.5:14.511.4m
95 a ----(scarlet)
95 b ----(crimsono)
96608 m14.08.1927braunT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.50.4m
9762 A10 m14.08.1927grau (slate)T 9gumm.W2K 13.5:14.5115.4m
97 b----(grey)
97 c----(slate-grey)RP
986313 m1.06.1927ultramarineT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.513.1m
98 a ----(pale ultr.)
98 b ----(deep ultr.)
996620 m14.08.1927olivT 11gumm.W2K 13.5:14.5, RP37.8m
99 a ----(pale olive)
99 b ----(deep olive)
1006750 m14.08.1927lilaT 12gumm.W2K 14:1411.2m
100 a ----(bright purple)
100 b ----(pale purple)
100 c ----(dull purple)
1016890 m14.08.1927
gelbbraunT 12gumm.W2K 14:140.06m
101 a ----(light bistre)
10269100 m14.08.1927blauT 12gumm.W2K 14:145.3m
102 a ----(bluish turq.)
102 b ----(greenish turq.)
10370200 m14.08.1927lilaT 12gumm.W2K 14:141.1m
103 a ----(pale violet)
103 b ----(greyish violet)
103 c ----(violet)
104554 m1.11.1932lilaT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.57.8m
105597 m1.07.1932s'violettT 11gumm.W2K 13.5:14.5, RP32m
105 a ----(greyish violet)
106618 m--rotT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.511.5m
106 a --1.06.1932(scarlet)
106 b ----(pale red)
1076413 m--gelbbraunT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.5, RP6.8m
107 a --1.08.1932(bistre)
107 b ----(yellow bistre)RP
1086515 m1.08.1932ultramarinT 10gumm.W2K 13.5:14.544.7m
108 a ----(grey-blue)
108 b ----(greenish blue)
10971250 m15.01.1942braunT 12gumm.W2K 14:141.2m
11072500 m15.01.1942scharlachT 12gumm.W2K 14:140.6m
11173£ 115.01.1942schwarzT 12gumm.W2K 14:140.5m
111 a ----(greyish black)

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