Postage stamps from British South Africa Company

Postage stamps from the British South Africa Company (BSAC) offer a fascinating glimpse into the colonial history of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). The BSAC, established by Cecil Rhodes in the late 19th century, was a chartered company that administered these territories until the early 20th century. Here’s an overview of key periods and notable stamps from the BSAC:

### Historical Context

The British South Africa Company was granted a royal charter in 1889, allowing it to administer and develop the territories that would become Rhodesia. The company issued its own postage stamps from 1890 until the territories were directly administered by the British government in 1924.

### Key Periods and Notable Stamps

#### 1. **Early Issues (1890-1896)**
– **First Issue (1890)**: The first stamps issued by the BSAC were overprints on Cape of Good Hope stamps, overprinted with “B. S. A. C.” These early issues are highly prized by collectors for their historical significance.
– **Arms Type (1892)**: The first definitive series featuring the coat of arms of the British South Africa Company was issued. These stamps are notable for their intricate designs and historical context.

#### 2. **Pictorial Series (1896-1924)**
– **Victoria Falls (1905)**: One of the most famous issues is the 1905 series depicting Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. These stamps are highly sought after for their beauty and historical value.
– **King George V (1910-1924)**: Stamps featuring the portrait of King George V were issued during his reign. These stamps often included overprints indicating the specific territories, such as “Rhodesia” or “Northern Rhodesia.”

### Collecting Tips

#### **Focus Areas**
– **Specific Periods**: Collect stamps from specific historical periods, such as the early overprints or the pictorial issues depicting local landmarks.
– **Themes**: Focus on particular themes that interest you, such as colonial history, natural landmarks, or royal portraits.
– **Mint vs. Used**: Decide whether to collect mint condition stamps, which are generally more valuable, or used stamps that may have unique postal marks.

#### **Condition and Authenticity**
– **Quality**: Ensure that the stamps are in good condition, free from damage such as tears, creases, or heavy cancellations.
– **Authentication**: Be aware of forgeries and reproductions, especially for rare and valuable issues. Purchasing from reputable dealers or obtaining certificates of authenticity for high-value stamps is advisable.

#### **Storage and Display**
– **Albums and Mounts**: Use high-quality albums and mounts to protect your stamps from damage. Acid-free materials are recommended to prevent deterioration.
– **Climate Control**: Store stamps in a cool, dry place to avoid damage from humidity and temperature fluctuations.

### Notable Stamps and Series

#### **First Issue Overprints (1890)**
– **Design**: Cape of Good Hope stamps overprinted with “B. S. A. C.” These stamps are significant for their role in establishing the BSAC’s postal system.

#### **Arms Type Definitive Series (1892)**
– **Design**: Featuring the coat of arms of the British South Africa Company, these stamps are notable for their detailed and intricate designs.

#### **Victoria Falls Issue (1905)**
– **Design**: Depicting the majestic Victoria Falls, these stamps are highly collectible for their aesthetic appeal and historical significance.

#### **King George V Series (1910-1924)**
– **Design**: Featuring portraits of King George V, these stamps often included overprints indicating specific territories, making them valuable for collectors interested in colonial history.

### Conclusion

Postage stamps from the British South Africa Company provide a rich and varied collecting experience, reflecting the colonial history and development of Southern and Northern Rhodesia. Whether you are interested in early overprints, pictorial issues, or stamps depicting royal portraits, the BSAC’s philatelic offerings have something for every collector. By focusing on quality, authenticity, and careful storage, you can build a valuable and enjoyable collection of stamps from the British South Africa Company.