Orange Tree Stamp – First Stamp of the OFS

On this day in 1854 the Orange Free State Constitution was adopted.

Boers had settled North of the Orange River, which was the Northern border of the Cape Colony. On 23 February 1854, British Sovereignty was renounced and three weeks later on 7 April 1854 the Orange Free State Constitution was officially adopted which led to the need for the Orange Tree Stamp.

The Orange Free State introduced its own stamps in 1868 depicting an orange olive tree. The orange tree stamp was typographed by De La Rue and Company and were issued in 1d, 6d and 1/- values.

From time to time, shortages of stamps necessitated the use of overprints, the first of which occurred in 1877. There are many different errors on these overprinted stamps including inverted or doubled overprints.

Below is an example of the IMPERFORATE COLOUR TRIALS for the 6d Orange Tree Stamp in brown, orange and carmine-rose in blocks of four on ungummed paper. These colour trials are extremely rare and are available for purchase on Filat AG.

orange tree stamp

6d Orange Tree Colour Trials


Johnson’s Post

Johnson Philatelics receives Johnson’s Post mail

Envelope with Johnson's Post Cancellation

Johnson’s Post Cancellation

With the South African postal strike finally starting to lift, smaller cities such as Port Elizabeth are receiving masses of mail which has been delayed in Johannesburg and other sorting centres. Amongst the copious amounts of envelopes, we were delighted to discover one which proudly bears a JOHNSONS POST cancellation. Fellow philatelist, Joh Groenewald RDPSA, generously sent an item from Johnson’s Post near Mosselbay to Mr Richard Johnson, Director of Johnson Philatelics, who did not know this cancellation existed. Mr Groenewald is a well-known philatelic author in South Africa and is renowned for his knowledge of the Boer War. A list of his books can be found here.

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Scintillating Cyprus




In 1882, whilst awaiting the arrival of supplies of the 30pa definitives, this elusive provisional was in use for only seventeen days (22 May – 7 June)! Most of these provisionals were used postally whilst the remainders were used for accountancy purposes. This F/M example of the 30pa on 1pi rose (SG 24) is exceptionally rare unused thus and is currently available on our Swiss colleague’s website Filat AG.



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New Material Coming Soon!

After a successful visit to the Pretoria National Stamp Show the Johnson Team is looking forward to offering our clients new material which will be featured on Filat AG.

As a hint of the desirable items to come we present to you this 1907 KEVII 2/6 red cover booklet (SG SB2). F-VF unexploded example (one pane of six stamps removed) containing four complete panes of six 1d’s, the interleaves & covers intact. Stapled at left. Includes the rare first pane where the top left stamp is defaced by overprint “NOT FOR USE”, the additional 1d defraying the cost of production – see footnote in SG. Some minor imperfections, generally very good condition for this exceedingly elusive booklet. An exhibition piece and great rarity! (cv£3000). 20,580 of these booklets were produced but very few survive.

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Website Under Construction Gets Facelift

After many years of faithful service we are overhauling our website to make it more user-friendly with a fresh look. Watch this space!