World Stamps

Set of three stamps from Macao difficult to find with even perforations

Aug 17, 2022, 10 AM
The Macao 1887 set of three locally produced Coat of Arms provisional stamps is a good buy in very fine grade at full Scott catalog value.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Macao was a Portuguese colony on the western Pearl River delta on the coast of China. It included the small islands of Coloane and Taipa and comprised 44.5 total square miles of densely populated territory.

The Portuguese arrived in 1513 and received a permanent lease on Macao in 1557. In 1976, Portugal changed Macao’s status from an overseas province of Portugal to Chinese territory under Portuguese administration. Portugal transferred Macao to China on Dec. 20, 1999. Today, it is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.

The stamps of Macao are of interest to collectors of both Portugal and area and China.

Macao issued its first postage stamps in 1884 as a Portuguese colony. On Oct. 20, 1887, it issued a set of three stamps denominated 5 reis, 10r and 40r (Scott 32-34).

The stamps were locally produced provisionals created by perforating Coat of Arms revenue stamps between the vignette and the value plate and overprinting new values and “Correio” (post office) and “Reis” over the central design portion of the stamps.

The unused portion of the stamp below the new perforations was usually removed before the stamps were used. The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 refers to these redundant portions as “labels.”

Stamps with the labels still attached are listed as minor number varieties and are much more valuable than examples without the labels.

The Scott Classic Specialized catalog values the set of three unused stamps without gum as issued at $70. A set of used stamps is valued at $37.

This is not a particularly difficult set to find; however, it is difficult to find in very fine grade with nice, even perforations.

The perforating job was done rather slapdash, especially on the 10r and 40r stamps, and ragged, uneven perforation teeth are the norm.

A set of the three stamps with moderately clean perforations is a good buy at full Scott catalog value. Sets with ragged perforations sell for less, depending on how unsightly the perforations are.

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