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Danish West Indies: Specimens: Overprints  
Generally in philately, most specimen overprints were applied for security purposes either by countries submitting "specimen" stamps to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) or applied, in a few cases, by the UPU-member countries who received stamps that had not yet been overprinted. The UPU distributed the stamps of all members, to all members, so that postal administrations around the world could recognize what was (and potentially what was not) a valid postage stamp of another country. Generally speaking, specimen overprints applied by the issuing country usually exist in a quantity of only 100 to 400 examples and are usually quite scarce. Specimens applied by the receiving country (for example, the "ULTRAMAR" (overseas) overprints applied by Portugal for onward distribution to the Portuguese Colonies are usually rare.
See also Proofs, Reprints, and Essays.
The specimen stamp archive of a Portuguese colony became available sometime in the 1980s or early 1990s. The time period covered is 1900-1959, however, not all countries or all stamps were included. Due to circumstances and time, the name of the specific colony has not been recorded, however, it is believed to be Goa.

The "U.P.U. Specimen Stamps" (Bendon, 1988) book includes translated extracts from the UPU International Bureau Circular including references to the quantities of "specimen" stamps distributed. The quantities distributed to the Portuguese colonies varied over the years. Not documented is the fact that some colonies received multiple examples, thus theoretically reducing the likley surviving quantities, if other archives should be discovered and released.

Prior to 1900   35 copies
1900-1906   25 copies
1907-?   30 copies
?-1913   18 copies
1914-?   9 copies

The Portuguese authorities applied handstamped overprints (for security purposes to reduce the possibility of theft from the official specimen books), the text of the overprint changing over the years. By examining the archives the following pattern emerges:

1900-1910   "ULTRAMAR" (meaning overseas) (with exceptionally late uses in the years 1921 and 1923)
1911-1925   "COLONIAS" (except 1921 and 1923)
1926-1931   "Especimen"
1932     "SPECIMEN" 18 mm length
1933-1934  "SPECIMEN" 13 mm length
1935-1937   "SPECIMEN" 18 mm length resumed
1938?   ? (my information is unclear as to which of these markings was used)
1939-1942   "AMOSTRA"
1943->   no markings, however, are affixed to pages of distinct appearance.

The stamps were applied to "ledger pages". It is obvious that there were some delays in forwarding the pages to the colonies, as one can find examples of two different overprints alternating on the pages. The stamps were closely spaced on the pages. In breaking up the archive some portions of pages could be kept intact, while others were "cut close" to make logical divisions of the material.

In 33 years, have personally handled "ULTRAMAR" overprints on about seven different DWI stamps and have seen perhaps three or four others.
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US$
230156
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Scott #21 [1 Cent Arms] with "ULTRAMAR" UPU specimen overprint in blue. Fine with usual gum disturbance from removal from archival book. These stamps were supplied by Danish/DWI authorities to the UPU without overprints and then on to UPU member countries. This overprint was applied by Portuguese postal authorities, as a security measure, prior to onward distribution to Portuguese colonies. In this period, it is believed [Bendon] that only 25 examples of each stamp were thus overprinted; and it is quite certain that some (probably most) of those no longer exist due to the privations of war, climate, and time.
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235.00

Reference
For reference only. NOT for sale.

230157
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Scott #22 [5 Cent Arms] with "ULTRAMAR" UPU specimen overprint in blue. Fine with usual gum disturbance from removal from archival book. These stamps were supplied by Danish/DWI authorities to the UPU without overprints and then on to UPU member countries. This overprint was applied by Portuguese postal authorities, as a security measure, prior to onward distribution to Portuguese colonies. In this period, it is believed [Bendon] that only 25 examples of each stamp were thus overprinted; and it is quite certain that some (probably most) of those no longer exist due to the privations of war, climate, and time.
Click For Larger EXACT ACTUAL Image

235.00

Reference
For reference only. NOT for sale.

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