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Morocco Agencies A Quest Or The Drawbacks Of Opportunism

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Posted 09/10/2022   04:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add NSK to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Morocco Agencies

For a long time, foreign postal systems carried international mail from Morocco under contract. Several European countries established competing agencies. In the early 20th century, the country consisted of Spanish and French protectorates. The large port city of Tangier and surrounds became an international zone in 1924.

Initially, the postmistress of Gibraltar ran the British postal agencies. She used stamps of Gibraltar overprinted with a Spanish value. In 1907, control of the British agencies passed to London. Overprinted British stamps replaced the overprinted stamps of Gibraltar. By 1927, the British postal agencies used Mackennal stamps with the 'Block Cypher' watermark with four types of overprints.

Stamps overprinted 'MOROCCO AGENCIES' and a value in Spanish currency remained in use in the Spanish protectorate. In 1917, stamps overprinted 'MOROCCO AGENCIES' and a value in French currency came to use in the Spanish protectorate. Concurrently, stamps simply overprinted 'MOROCCO AGENCIES' were affixed to mail handed in at the British post offices. These retained the original value. From 1927, stamps with the overprint 'TANGIER' were used together with those simply overprinted 'MOROCCO AGENCIES' were used in the Tangier international zone.

As a collector of British stamps, I liked the idea of adding British stamps overprinted for use abroad to my collection. This is how my Irish stamp collection started off. Long ago, Stanley Gibbons ran monthly 'Postbid' postal auctions. Once, there was a lot of the 90 centimes and 1 Franc 50 centimes issued in 1934. These were the aforementioned 'Block Cypher' Mackennals. I posted the winning bid for the lot.

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Australia
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Posted 09/10/2022   08:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice post
They have always intrigued me, since finding lots of them in swap packets,
with lots of duplication.

What are "Mackennals"
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Posted 09/10/2022   08:50 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 09/10/2022   08:50 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 22crows to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Mackennal profiles replaced the George V Downey heads.

https://www.postalmuseum.org/collec...al-profiles/

Bertram Mackennal was born in Fitzroy, Victoria in 1863.

https://www.stjohnswoodmemories.org...mackennal_ra
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Posted 09/10/2022   09:04 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! Thank you both,
amazed not come in contact with that reference before.
Also learnt, "doubly fugitive"

I think I have a Mackennal "printed on the gum side" in my collection somewhere.


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Edited by rod222 - 09/10/2022 09:10 am
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Posted 09/10/2022   10:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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Posted 09/10/2022   10:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
French currency George V 'Block Cypher' set

Since I won the two stamps issued in 1934 at auction, I have extended my collection of British stamps overprinted for use abroad. Consequently, I decided to complete the set and collect other issues for the Morocco Agencies, among others. This raises the question what constitutes the set.

When the British postal agencies in Morocco first issued stamps overprinted in French currency, the 'Simple Cypher' watermark was current. In 1925, the stamps with the 'Block Cypher' watermark replaced the earlier ones. The 3 centimes stamp was not issued on the 'Block Cypher' watermark. The new values of 90 centimes and 1 Franc 50 centimes did not appear until 1934.

As a collector of British stamps, I use Stanley Gibbons catalogues. My first catalogue was the 'Stanley Gibbons Collect British Stamps.' Later, I moved on to the 'Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue.' Both catalogues list complete sets even if stamps were issued at different times. Other catalogues may separately list the stamps issued in 1925 and in 1934. Furthermore, whereas the GPO may not consider the Mackennals with the 'Block Cypher' watermark as a separate set from those with the 'Simple Cypher' watermark, Stanley Gibbons does. So, for me, the set comprises all 'low-value stamps' using the Mackennal portrait of King George V also known as 'Profile Head' with the 'Block Cypher' watermark overprinted in French currency.

The overprinted French value, normally, came down to 10 centimes for every penny of the original face value. An exception had been the 3 centimes value that was overprinted on the lowest existing value of 1/2d. As there was no 1/3 value, the 1/- was used for overprinting the 1 Franc 50 centimes. The 'Block Cypher' set comprises ten values. Eight values appeared in 1925. Two further stamps appeared in 1934.

My first addition was the 75 centimes stamp. No 7 1/2d stamp existed, and the 6d and 9d stamps were the nearest values for overprinting. Using the higher value discourages abuse. In 1934, the 9d stamp was also overprinted 90 centimes as can be seen in my original post.

Now, I started digging a hole.
As for now: three down, seven to go.
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Edited by NSK - 09/10/2022 10:40 am
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Posted 09/10/2022   10:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@John Becker,

Nice postcard and good example of the first Morocco Agencies stamps issued after control of these passed from Gibraltar to London. This carries one of the original British stamps (issued 1 January 1907) overprinted for use by the British post offices in Morocco. Initially, these Edward VIII stamps overprinted in Spanish currency (centimos) were used at all British post offices in Morocco.

Normally, used stamps are worth more. They should have an identifiable postmark. This one has a very nice Tangier cancellation for 12 February 1910 when the stamp was current.
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Edited by NSK - 09/10/2022 10:50 am
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Posted 09/10/2022   12:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Buying individual stamps or stamp sets

First, let me remark that I collect these stamps in unmounted (never hinged) mint condition.

Stampworld.com lists the 1925 and 1934 stamps as separate stamps. Looking at Delcampe listings, I am guessing Yvert & Tellier does this as well. I, always, found Stampworld.com mirrored Michel listings. Michel also tends to list stamps in order of their appearance. According to Stampworld.com, the 'value' of the full set lies with the two stamps issued in 1934. It quotes the value of the two stamps as 27. It quotes the value of the eight stamps issued in 1925 as 14. Of these, the stamp with the highest value is the 75 centimes stamp. This is quoted as being worth 4. The second highest quote is for the 1 Franc stamp at 2.50.

Having the 75 centimes, 90 centimes, and 1 Franc 50 centimes stamps in my collection, what would be the best way forward? Mostly British, French, Spanish, and Italian sellers offer the Morocco Agencies stamps on eBay or Delcampe. French, Spanish, and Italian sellers may follow the Yvert & Tellier or Michel listings. So, they may offer the 1925 stamps separately. But will you, actually, get the correct set of stamps? I am not convinced you will.

I find sellers from these countries rarely state the watermark or show the back of the stamps. I contacted some that did not know there exist two watermarks. I, frequently, see that where the seller posts a picture of the back of the stamp, the watermark is not the one mentioned in the listing. I have seen listings of more than one stamp that mixed the watermarks.

US sellers even tend to be worse, struggling to identify the typography and photogravure issues correctly. I have seen quite a few listings of sets or part sets of Morocco Agencies stamps that had the key value typography stamp substituted for by the corresponding, almost valueless photogravure stamp. Yet the sellers offered these as full sets asking a price far above catalogue value of the actual stamps on offer.

Where there is no doubt about the identification, most stamps offered are those with the 'Simple Cypher' watermark. Other than that, I could not find a complete set of the 1925 stamps offered as such in unmounted mint condition on eBay or Delcampe.

Last year, I did come across a few 1 Franc stamps with the 'Block Cypher' watermark. The cheapest listing was for the 75 centimes and 1 Franc stamps. This showed the back of the stamps. The 1 Franc looked very good; the 75 centimes appeared to have a small blemish. Since, already, I had the 75 centimes stamp and the two stamps were the cheapest I had seen the 1 Franc, I bought these.

To be honest, the 75 centimes stamp is quite fine. I, however, do prefer the one I already had.

Four down, six to go.
I am going further down the hole. With every stamp that holds very little value, I also must pay postage. This is starting to add. At the same time, buying a full set of the 1925 stamps is starting to be a waste of money. Based on the Stampworld.com quotes, I have 6 out of 14 worth of stamps in my collection. Another issue is that I did not see any on offer.
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Posted 09/10/2022   12:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
These arrived a few hours ago from the UK. I placed a bid for these stamps in an online auction. These stamps overprinted 'MOROCCO AGENCIES' were used at the offices when the customer handed the mail to post office staff.

It should be the 'Simple Cypher' set with the basic contemporaneous 'Seahorses' high values. These too have Mackennal Heads. I have yet to check them for their watermarks. The auction house is reliable, but it would not be the first time the stamps are not as described. However, they never fuzz about returning the stamps or refunding part of the money. I have learned to return the item, as you will struggle to find the replacement stamps.
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Posted 09/10/2022   2:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When postage is higher than the stamp value

According to Stampworld.com, the values of unmounted mint examples of the 5 and 10 centimes stamps are 0.75, about 60p, each. A year ago, I found an example of the 10 centimes stamp. This stamp was almost impossible to find. Recently, I have seen another one. The 1/2d, I have yet to find. The hue of the pictures posted by the seller raised some concern. Other than the strange hue in the picture, the stamp itself looked very good.

I decided to bid for the stamp. My bid of 13p was the highest. The cost of postage from the United Kingdom was 1.95. This alone is more than three times the value quoted on Stampworld.com. When the stamp arrived, it became clear the strange hue was due to the lighting. The stamp had excellent gum.

Halfway there!
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Posted 09/10/2022   4:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A further pair

Last week, I came across a seller who listed two of the five stamps. The listing prices were in line with those quoted by Stampworld.com. In addition, I had to pay 1.60 postage from the United Kingdom. The stamps were of very good quality with excellent gum. They, also, were the two highest valued stamps of the five that I still was looking for.

Presently, I still am looking for the three remaining stamps. Some time ago, I had added one of these three stamps to my watch list. The same dealer, recently, listed a second of these stamps. The seller offered both stamps at prices above those quoted by Stampworld.com. It appears both have been sold.
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Posted 09/10/2022   7:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply


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Posted 09/11/2022   12:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@floortrader,

Nice to see those stamps. The 'Seahorses' have always been among my favourite designs.

You might want to add the 1917 10 centimes on 1d scarlet to your wishlist. The one in your 1917-1924 set is a photogravure 'Mackennal' from 1936.

Are these Steiner pages? It appears they do not include the 1934 'Block Cypher' 90 centimes, 1 Franc 50 centimes, and 1932 6 Franc (Seahorse) stamps?
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Posted 09/11/2022   12:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
NSK --- Yes ,those are Steiner pages ,moving my whole collection to Steiner pages .

Thanks for the correction to correct that issue

On the subject of want list ,mine is huge ,my goal is to have those stamps that rarely come up for sale and are just hard to find for a worldwide collection .
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Edited by floortrader - 09/11/2022 1:14 pm
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Posted 09/11/2022   1:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
NSK -----Made the correction ,thanks again
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