South Australia - Colonial period: 1855-1900.
Departmental overprints - Superintendent of Telegraphs.

Postage stamps with a special overprint were used in South Australia from 1 April 1868. They were stamps intended to be used for official purposes to pay the postal charges on letters sent from a particular Government Department.

Each Government Department had its own overprint - for example:

The stamps to which the overprints were applied were those printed by De La Rue and issued for normal use. theye were stamps which had been either rouletted or perforated. Many of the stamps are in a condition which would not normally be accepted because they had been withdrawn from sale to the public on the grounds that they were of inferior quality. To exacerbate that problem, many stamps with poor centering were trimmed with scissors to improve their appearance - they then, of course, appeared to be imperforate.

The first stamps overprinted were issued on 1 April 1868 with the overprint in red. Later in the same year, the colour of the overprint was changed to blue and then, in late 1869, changed to the most commonly recorded black overprint. The system was replaced in 1874 by using O.S. overprints for all Departments.

All the S. T. stamps for use by the Superintendent of Telegraphs are very rare and none is known on a complete cover. Anthony Presgrave provided the estimates shown for the red overprints and notes that there are no records of the numbers prepared for later years.

The following tables provide examples of the overprints by denomination, watermark and perforation for each colour of overprint. Empty cells indicate the existence of the overprint on a stamp wit the characteristics noted but anexample was not available to include.

Another page shows examples of the overprint with date stamps from various towns in South Australia.

Overprint Watermark    
Red overprint

4,080 2d stamps prepared;

720 6d stamps prepared.

Star and red
Large star
6d red
2d vermillion rouletted.
Used at GPO Adelaide
22 May 1868.
No stop after T.
Watermark at left.

Prestige Philately October 2005 Lot 551.

6d deep ultramarine.
No stop after the T.

Roulettes - or traces - on three sides.

Blue overprint Crown over SA 2d rouletted 2d perf 11½ × 12½
Black overprint Star
Large star watermark -
also showing rouletting on two sides.
2d. vermillion.
Roulettes on three sides.

Rated RRRR.

Spink Sale 13011 Lot 2698.

6d ultramarine.
Roulettes showing on 2 sides.
(Reverse side shown at left).

Circle-in-bars cancel.

  V over Crown watermark.
2d orange-red
Perf 10
Black overprint Watermark 3
Crown over SA watermark (De La Rue)
20  JU 1870
2d vermillion.
Rrouletted on 4 sides.

G.P.O. Adelaide cds of
20 July 1870.
Rated RRR.
Rev watermark
Crown over SA watermark reversed (De La Rue)

2d vermillion.
Perf 10 & rouletted.

Tanunda cds of
8 November 1870.
Rated RRR.

Crown SA perf 10
2d orange-red.
Perf 10 on all sides.
Part redistributed gum.

Spink Sale 13011 Lot 2899.

2d Status
2d orange-red.
Perf 10 on all sides.

Status August 2015,
Lot 1374.