Stamps honor Transjordan’s independence

Figure 1. Transjordan issued nine stamps May 25, 1946, to celebrate its independence from Great Britain.

Figure 2. The face value, color and quantities printed of Transjordan’s 1946 Independence stamps.

By Ghassan Riachi

On May 25, 1946, Trans­jordan (present-day Jordan) gained its independence from Great Britain and was proclaimed a kingdom.

As part of the national expression of joy and celebration, the country issued a set of nine stamps to commemorate this occasion (Scott Jordan 221-229). Figure 1 shows these stamps.

The 2014 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values this set in the grade of very fine at $5.15 for mint never-hinged stamps, and $4.60 used.

Catholic Press in Beirut, Lebanon, printed the stamps by lithography on white wove unwatermarked paper, perforated gauge 11½, in sheets of 50.

The stamps are monochrome, vertical in format and share the same attractive design by Transjordan’s Postmaster General Yacoub Sukkar.

In the central part of the design, a map of the country is shown in the background. In the foreground is a raised hand holding a torch, probably to light the way to freedom and liberty.

A dove holding an olive branch in its beak to represent peace appears at upper left.

The inscription between the dove and the torch is the Arabic equivalent for “In Commemoration of Independence,” followed by the lunar and Gregorian dates of “24 Jumada II 1365” and “May 25, 1946.”

The inscription above the central design also is in Arabic. In the dome shape is the name of the monarch “Abdullah, the son of Hussein” (king of Hejaz between 1916 and 1924). In the panel below it is “Post of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

At the bottom center is “Transjordan Postage,” flanked by the denomination and currency, in English at left and in Arabic at right.

The stamps range in face value from 1 mil to 200m. The table in Figure 2 provides the quantities printed of perforated stamps, as well as the basic stamp colors.

Only 75,000 complete perforated sets can be assembled. It is believed that the stamps that did not sell were eventually destroyed.

Not all of the perforated stamps were sold at the post office: 350 sets were given as gifts to members of the Universal Postal Union, and Arab League telecommunications representatives received 50 sets.

Varieties and errors exist of this issue.

A total of 750 sets are known imperforate. According to the seventh edition of the Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue, Part 19, Middle East, these imperf sets were distributed as souvenirs.

While most of the imperf sets are known either hinged or never hinged, some are found unused without gum. I have also seen this set uncanceled on a cover.

The 1m, 2m, 4m and 10m stamps exist misperforated. As a result, some stamps have the design cut into on two sides, while other stamps have portions of two or four stamps.

Since the same plates were used to print the perforated and imperf stamps, the same plate flaws appear on both. These flaws include an extra period, an extra dash, a shortened or an elongated letter and others.

The 10m imperf stamp is known with a double impression. One sheet is believed to exist.

Also, this stamp is found printed on the gum side. The quantity is not known, but it is thought to be very limited.

Examples of the 1m, 2m, 3m and 200m stamps are known with complete reversed offset impressions on the back.

On Transjordan’s first permanent stamp issue of Nov. 1, 1927, the country name is written as “Trans­jordan” in English and “East of Jordan” in Arabic. On the 1946 set of stamps, the English version of the country name “Trans­jordan” remains the same as before, but for the first time the Arabic name reads “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

This attractive and affordable set is easy to find and will fit nicely into a collection.

Published 6/11/2014 7:00 AM