Private overprint

From Academic Kids

Private overprints are overprints (pictures, text, or a combination of the two), rubberstamped or applied by some other method, to postage stamps (or, occasionally, postal stationery) used by some person or entity other than a government or other official stamp-issuing entity. It is important to distinguish between privately overprinted stamps and postal stationary thus intended, and attempts to counterfeit official overprints; it is also important to distinguish between private overprints and private cancellations.

Private overprints have been used for a number of reasons. Generally they cannot be used as control marks, as the stamp or stamps invalid for prepayment of postage (though some such invalid stamps have successfully passed through the mails, presumably due to an oversight of postal employees). However, while in Britain privately overprinted stamps usually served as receipts for tax payments, in 1859, upon application of the Oxford Union Society, there was a unique instance of a private overprint being approved for application on stamps.[1] (

Private overprints tend to be used to express political opinions, or to commemorate some event by creating collectors' items (in cases in which the overprinted stamps cannot be used). For instance, German sympathisers in the Sudetenland privately overprinted Czechoslovakian stamps with swastikas before the annexation, and in Italy, after the fall of Mussolini and his establishment of the Italian Social Republic, stamps of the King were overprinted with fasces by Fascist sympathizers.

Private overprints have also been used in the United States. A private overprint exists on the Florida commemorative, and during the Vietnam War, a woman privately overprinted the stamps on her outgoing mail with the slogan "Pray for War" before postal authorities compelled her to move this stamping away from the stamps. There have been several American examples of postal cards being overprinted with a private overprint revaluation shortly after a rate change[2] (, including the Post Office Department's "authoriz[ation of] a special Pitney-Bowes Tickometer surcharge to be used to revalue [postal] cards [in the possession of General Electric] when the post card rate went up to 3 cents in August of 1958.[3] (

See also: underprints, perfins

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