World Stamps

Appealing design on 1895 Madagascar local stamps

Mar 20, 2024, 8 AM
The 1895 Madagascar – British Inland Mail Malagasy Runners local stamps (Scott L8-L13) are of interest to France and area, British Empire and Madagascar collectors.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Among the most interesting local stamps listed in the Scott catalogs are those issued by the British Inland Mail postal service for Madagascar.

The service operated from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, 1895, during the Second Franco-Hova War (1894-95), which disrupted regular postal services.

The Franco-Hova Wars were fought between the French Empire and the Merina Kingdom as France sought to displace the native monarchy and bring Madagascar fully into the empire. The Hova refers to the ruling class in the Merina Kingdom.

The Scott catalogs list two sets of British Inland Mail stamps, Scott L1-L7 and L8-L13. The stamps were used by British merchants and the British vice consul for local mail service and for mail dispatched from the port of Vatomandry, Madagascar, to Durban, Natal, where stamps of Natal were affixed for delivery to the final destinations.

The earliest set of local stamps, issued Jan. 1, 1895, has a utilitarian design with the inscription “British Inland Mail 1895” inside a diamond, with the diamond inside a rectangle.

The second set, issued in March 1895, has a more appealing design showing Malagasy runners carrying mail.

These stamps are of interest to France and area, British Empire and Madagascar collectors.

The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values the second set (Scott L8-L13) at $174 in unused, original gum condition. The unused set is a good buy at around $125 to $150.

Used examples are more valuable, but expertization is required to ensure genuine postal use.

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