By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
If you love British definitive stamps of the 1880s through the 1920s but can’t afford them in unused hinged condition or mint never hinged condition, you can find many of them affordably priced overprinted and surcharged for use in British post offices in the Ottoman Empire. Great Britain was one of several countries given permission to operate its own post offices within the Sublime Porte.
Starting in 1885, British definitives were overprinted and surcharged in piastres and paras or “Levant” for use in the post offices. Most of the high-value British stamps so hard to find in nice, fresh, mint never-hinged condition or unused hinged condition are much easier to find overprinted for these offices.
A good example is the last set produced (Scott 55-64). The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Cover 1840-1940 values the set at just $117.85 in unused hinged condition. You can usually find it offered for around 50 percent of Scott catalog value.
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