The Overprinted Great Britain Issues Of Niger Coast Protectorate 1892-1894 Part Three
The Niger Coast Protectorate was the official name given to the protectorate, after an Order in Council, dated May 12, 1893 extended the Oil Rivers Protectorate indefinitely inland, which became necessary as trade expanded thoughout the region. 17 post offices were opened in the protectorate between November 1891 and April 18, 1895, as follows:
- Bakana - opening date unknown, earliest recorded date May 1, 1892.
- Benin River - opened November 1891, and earliest recorded date is January 25, 1893.
- Benin - opening date unknown, earliest recorded date March 29, 1893.
- Bonny River - opened November 1891 and earliest recorded date is February 6, 1892.
- Bonny - opening date unknown, earliest recorded date is April 19, 1894.
- Brass River - opened November 1891, earliest recorded date is August 30, 1892.
- Brass - opening date unknown, earliest recorded date is March 22, 1894.
- Buguma - opened January 28, 1893, earliest recorded date is April 4, 1893.
- Forcados River - opened August 28, 1892, earliest recorded date is September 26, 1892.
- Old Calabar River - opened November 1891, earliest known date is February 7, 1892.
- Old Calabar - opening date unknown, earliest known date is September 28, 1892.
- Opobo River - opened in November 1891, earliest known date is June 24, 1892.
- Opobo - opening date unknown, earliest known date is April 16. 1894.
- Qua Iboe River - opened November 14, 1892, earliest known date is November 21, 1892.
- Sapele - opened April 4, 1895, earliest known date is June 28, 1895.
- Sombreiro River - opened December 23, 1892, earliest known date is April 1, 1893.
- Warri - opened November 1891, earliest known date is December 26, 1893.
- Circular date stamps: These come in two major types, which differ according to the size of the letters and the width of the circle enclosing the cancellation. The first type is a circle that varies from 20-22 mm in diameter. The town name appears at the top, and a two line date appears in the centre. The second type is 22 mm wide, with smaller, narrower letters (2.5 mm versus 3 mm). This second type did not come into use until 1898-1901, so should not be found on this issue. Many of these will exist as CTO's the easiest way to identify these being the presence of gum on the cancelled stamps. These cancellations can be found struck in black, violet and red.
- Squared circle date stamps. These were generally used for registered mail only, but Warri used them in place of regular date stamps, as the regular CDS hammer was lost in transit and never arrived in Warri. No examples are recorded for Bakana, Buguma, Forcados, Qua Iboe and Sombriero River.
- Heavy double circle parcel stamps. These are 27 mm across and the town name appears in the centre of the circle. No example is known as yet for Forcados.
- Registered handstamps. There are three major types. The first is like a CDS that is 22 mm wide. According to Ince, it was not introduced until 1896, so it should not occur on this issue. The second type is a small oval measuring 28 x 22 mm. It is only recorded as having been used at Old Calabar, with the earliest date being June 11, 1894. The third type is a larger oval measuring 30 m x 22 mm, According to Ince, it was not introduced until after December 1899. So it is unlikely that this cancellation would be found on these issues.
- A dumb cancellation for Bonny which consists of five parallelograms in solid black, separated by narrow white spaces.
For Benin River, I have the first three values of the set. Three of the cancellations are in red, dated January 8, 1894 and May 30, 1894. The 1d is dated April 1, 1893. All of the postmarks shown here have date code C.
For Brass River, I have two loose singles and one cover that bears a complete set. Both postmarks are time code C and are black. The 2.5d stamp on the right is dated October 10, 1892, which is a reasonably early date, given that the earliest known date is August 30, 1892.
This cover, addressed to Ireland and sent on December 13, 1893 from the Vice Consulate in Brass, bears a complete set, each stamp of which is tied by a nice clear postmark with date code C.
Foreign Use - London
These stamps bear the "Paid Liverpool Packet" handstamp that us usually struck on the envelope and usually in red, but also in black.
For Old Calabar River I have the entire set cancelled with this CDS. Dates are mostly in 1893 and 1894. All of the cancellations above are struck in black, with all values except the 1d being time code A, and the 1d being time code C.
Below is an example of the 2.5d with a time code A CDS struck in red:
I have three examples of these scarce and seldom seen cancellations. The 1d on the left is an example of the "New Calabar" (Degema) cancellation. The 2.5d in the middle bears a red cancel for Benin. Finally the stamp at right shows a black strike of an Opobo parcel post cancel.
According to Proud and Bailey, this is one of the scarcest cancellations on this issue, with clear examples being valued at 250 pounds each. Both cancellations show time code C, and are dated late 1893/early 1894.
This is another one of the very scarce cancellations from this period. Proud and Bailey value a clear cancellation off cover at 10 pounds. I have all values of the set cancelled with this CDS except for the 1/-. All of the strikes shown here are time code A, and all are dated in 1894.
I have only two stamps from the set cancelled at Forcados River. This cancellation becomes much more common in the subsequent issues, but for this issue it is quite scarce. Both cancellations are time code C and both are struck in black and date from
March 16, 1893 to January 1, 1894.