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Silver Jubilee Myths - Morocco Agencies First Day Cover

By Nick Levinge

It is often said that FDCs of the Morocco Agencies stamps are rare as only 2 sheets of each stamp reached Morocco in time for the issue of the stamps on 8 May, which would mean that a maximum of 240 covers could exist for each set. I have not seen the source of this information, and I have always wondered if it is likely to be true. One of the problems in investigating the question is that we do not know how many FDCs were produced in any of the issuing territories and therefore cannot make accurate comparisons. It may be, for example, that 240 is a reasonable number for others of the issues, but on the other hand it may be that there were far more than 240 from Morocco Agencies and also from most of the other places issuing Silver Jubilee stamps. It is hard to know how many FDCs were produced for each issue. On the whole they are not of sufficient value to be sold singly at auction and therefore a trawl of auction results over the years will not provide the answer. All I can say is that having observed Silver Jubilee items for sale over many years, I have not been struck by Morocco Agencies FDCs appearing for sale much less frequently than those from other territories.

 

It is possible to make records of FDCs appearing, albeit very far from comprehensive and we have a sample of 24 covers at this stage from which some very tentative conclusions might be drawn. Firstly it has to be said that the British currency stamps and the Tangier stamps were for use in Tangier, the former designed for use on air mail items and parcels. Therefore it is most unlikely that any would be found used on FDCs other than in Tangier and that is what the sample shows. The French and Spanish currency surcharges are more interesting. FDCs of the French currency set have been found used in Tangier, Fez, Rabat and Casablanca. Of the Spanish currency set, examples have been noted used in Tetuan and Tangier. The sample is small and it may be that FDCs from Marrakesh, Mazagan and Saffi in the case of French currency and Larache in the case of Spanish currency, have yet to be noted. Readers are therefore requested to report sightings of any of those not yet discovered.

 

In the case of the French and Spanish currency stamps, it is clear that if there were only two sheets available on 8 May then they were sent to various places and in the case of the French currency stamps there would not have been enough for there to be even one sheet in each of the places from which FDCs emanated. It is also worth considering who made FDCs. Those who collect them across the Silver Jubilee range will be familiar with many names that crop up again and again. J Davis of Liverpool and PW Ware of Bristol are very frequently encountered and they are found on the covers illustrated below.  It is clear therefore that dealers were aware of the issue and could if so inclined, made arrangements to create FDCs. A letter from the Acting British Postmaster at Tangier to another dealer, George King dated 27 April 1935 suggests that even so near the actual date of issue of the stamps, the Postmaster lacked complete information as he gave the date of issue as 7th May, when in fact it was 8th in due course, but this would not have impeded the creation of FDCs.

 

Finally, contemporary valuations give some indication of scarcity. The January `1937 list of H & A Wallace is reproduced below. It will be noted that at 40/- for the British currency set, and 30/- for the Spanish set, these FDCs were amongst the most expensive, only Mauritius, South Africa and South West Africa cost more. The Tangier and French currency sets were amongst the cheapest. However, the important point is that the cost of FDCs was not significantly more than that of a used set, the ratios comparing well with other sets. The indication is that the prices were driven by the scarcity of used stamps generally and not of FDCs. Another company’s advertisement of the same period shows similar results.

 

More evidence is needed to reach firm conclusions, but my inclination is to believe that Morocco Agencies FDCs were no scarcer than any others in relation to demand. Therefore, if there were as few as 240 stamps available on the day of issue, that may be an indication of the numbers of FDCs from some other territories, but far more likely is the possibility that the two sheets idea is just a myth that has been repeated so many times over the years without being questioned, that it has acquired some semblance of objective truth.

Tangier - Huddersfield

Tangier – Sutton Coldfield

Fez - Bristol

Tangier - Liverpool

Tetuan - Bristol

Tangier - Sussex

Tangier - Liverpool

Tangier - Liverpool

Casablanca - Rotherham

Tangier Acting British Postmaster, letter to a dealer, Geo J. King

Rabat - London

H & A Wallace 1937 price list showing used sets to on cover price comparisons

NL - September 2018

Some previous articles are available as PDF's by clicking their titles below:

 

    "Flight from Malta" - A look at the airmail rates and routes from the island

    "Bridging Barbados" - The postmarks of Barbados

    "Madame Joseph Forgeries - an Update" - A follow-up to Chris Georgallis's article on Cyprus forgeries

    "Argentinian interference with mail from the Falkland Islands" - by Ralph Riddell-Carre

    “Ceylon Circuit" - Some postmarks of Ceylon

    "Variety Values" - Bruce Davies's campaign to secure values for used examples of varieties

    "Fragmented Fiji" - Some postmarks of Fiji

    "Absentee Rupee" - The Mauritius 1 rupee as a stranger to postal rates

    "Postal Usage of the Egypt Seal" - Nick Levinge looks at the Crowned Circles of the forces bases

    "Over Fifty Shades" - Something wrong with the colour?

    "Ghana Guide" - Some postmarks of Gold Coast

    "Vanuatu Voyage?- A look at Hong Kong used in New Hebrides

    Surfing the Solomon Sea” - The few operating post offices in the Solomon Islands

    “Security Punch” - A look at the Jubilee’s perfins by Jeff Turnbull

    “Morocco Now and Then” - A tour of the British post offices in Morocco

    “Fault lines of the Falklands” - Part two of Ralph Riddell-Carre’s analysis

    “Straddling the Straits” - Some postmarks of the Straits Settlements

    “Set and Match” - Can full set covers be non-philatelic?

    “Boating around The Bahamas” - Some postmarks of The Bahamas

    “Serial Salutes” - Some of the Silver Jubilee’s own anniversaries

    “Mauritius Meanderings” - Some postmarks of Mauritius

    “A Cat among the Penguins” - A suspect Falklands cancel

    “Cycling Cyprus” - Some postmarks of Cyprus

    “Scars of Conflict” - How the Jubilees were affected by war

    “Bech Trek” - Some postmarks of Bechuanaland Protectorate

    “Specimen Specifics” - A look at the various uses of the word SPECIMEN

    “Hong Kong Hike” - Some postmarks of Hong Kong

    “Aden Funnel” - Covers from and through Aden

    “Grenada Guide” - Some postmarks of Grenada

    “In The Frame” - A look at some frame plate flaws

    “Basuto Byways” - Some postmarks of Basutoland

    “Cyprus Cypher” - Chris Georgallis examines the colony’s Madame Joseph forged postmarks

    “Trinidad Tour” - Some postmarks of Trinidad & Tobago

    “Commercial Ceylon” - A look at the perfins of the colony

    “Guiana Panorama” - Some less common British Guiana postmarks

    “Where were they then?” - From the more recent stamp-issuing territories

    “Cautious Mauritius” - A variety of Mauritius perfins

    “Madame Joseph’s Masquerades” - Some examples of forged first day covers

    “Tag Wrestling” - A look at the higher postal rates through parcel labels

    “AR” - An article on Avis de Reception by David Handelman

    “The Fleury Flair” - Hugo Fleury’s designs for the Jubilee

    “Split the Difference” - Some occurrences of bisects among the Jubilees

    “Specimen Fundamentals” - Notes on U.P.U. requirements & some forged examples

    “Windsor Spoofs” - Gerald King’s alternative Jubilees

    “Puncturing Oz” - Some speculations about Australian perfins

    “Perforating the Silver Jubilee Stamps”- An article on GB by Harvey Russell

    “Nauru’s Split Personality”  - Split “B” variety on the 2d value?

    “In Camel’s Clothing” - The Egyptian seal’s booklet

    “Rural Disservice” - The Cyprus low value forgeries

    “Canadian Precancels” - The only precancel involvement with the Jubilee

    “Phoenix-like Sphinx” - Some notes about the Egyptian seal

    “Fag Tax” - Observations on South West Africa’s cigarette duty overprints

    “From the collection of...” - Jubilee items from some illustrious collectors

    “Prize-less Specimens” - Beware of forged specimen stamps

    “Dubious Jubilees” - Spoofs, parodies and bogus overprints