COMPANHIA DE MOÇAMBIQUE: The 1898 "Centenario / da / India" Overprints Part III

by John K. Cross

Information has been garnered from a number of sources over the years. The scans are not always as crisp as one would hope, but most of the sources were not amenable to reproduction ofa desirable degree. However, even the pattern of the stamps on the cover proved valuable in discerning that two of the items listed were, in fact, the same cover.

Click on figure number to see figure.

Figure notes

Covers 1-4 are in Fig. 1, taken from the auction catalog of the poorly described (and sometimes misnumbered photos AND stamps) Philip E. Parker Collection: (Antonio M. Torres) Galeria Filatèlica de Barcelona, 19 October 1993.

Covers 7, 9, 10 & 11 taken from The John Sussex Collection of [Portuguese] East Africa: Cavendish, 18-19 November 1999.

Covers 6 & 8 taken from Dr. Luis Frazão's "Philatelic Display of the Club de Monte Carlo: Selected Postal History Items from the Portuguese Overseas Provinces".

Covers 5 & 14 are from the author's collection. The provenances of the others are, unfortunately, lost in the mists of time.

A "T" with the figure number in the table denotes that the cover was also illustrated in the Text of the article. A "C" denotes the cover was featured on the cover of P-I no. 187

Cover #Fig. #DenominationsTotalFromToNotes
112½r x 2, 5r x 2, 10r & 75r100rBeiraLondon -9.JUN.98:Parker lot 695
2125r x 250rMossurize??Rochford, Ill.,USADate ?: Parker lot 699
3150r50rMossurize??Rochford, Ill., USADate ?: Parker lot 700, Blue cds, Beira transit
4150r x 2100rBeiraMassachusetts, USADate?:Parker 701; horiz fold
52,T25r x 250rMossurize??Rochford, Ill., USADec. or Jan. 1899, Blue cds, Beira transit
63,T25r x 250rMossurizeRochford, Ill., USA15.MAR.99; Blue cds: Frazão
7410r on 10r Centenario stat.20rBeiraGermany22.MAI.98: Sussex 2680
85,C10r on 20r Centenario stat.30rBeiraGermany24.MAI.98: Frazão
9650r x 4 (p. 13½)200rBeiraEngland4.AGO.98; Reg.; Sussex 2681, Fwd. w/ British 2d
 7(same cover as cover #1)   9.JUN.98; Sussex 2682
10710r (unsealed printed matter)10rBeiraLisboa19.MAI.98; Sussex 2683
1172½r x2, 5r x5 (4 on reverse), 10r (3, one folded around edge), 15r (3; 2 on reverse), 20r & 25r150rBeiraFrance30.MAI. 98; Sussex2684
128,C25r + 75r100rBeiraSwitzerlandDate ??
1392½ x 2, 5r, 20r, 25r & 50r105rBeiraScotlandDate ??
141050r (p. 13½) + 50r Elephant100rMossurize??Brooklyn,NY,USAMixed franking, Blue cds, Beira transit
1511,T200r200rFrance-Beira-France Beira: ??.AGO.98
1612Entire set BeiraFranceReg,.AR; philatelic
17132½ x2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 75 & 80r210rBeiraDorset, England28.AGO.98; Reg., philatelic
1814,C100r x 2200rBeiraDorset, England23. JUN/JUL.98; Reg., philatelic
1915,C25r (+ 10r & 15r elephants)50rBeira Mixed franking; piece only, 24.MAI.98

From the text in Portu-Info no. 187 (January-March 2016) changed to accommodate the figure numbers herein:

While every collector of the postal history of the Company would like at least several examples of the Centenarios on cover, the supply is rather limited (but less so than Company Red Cross covers!). In rather haphazard fashion the author has been able to verify 18 covers anda piece franked with Centenarios.

Only two of these items have mixed franking, although the issuing decree stated that the Centenarios were to be used exclusively during their period of validity (paragraph 4. P-I 185:4). "Cover" 19 was sent barely a week into the valid period (16 May to 31 August), so perhaps not all denominations were yet available. The second was sent from Mossorize after the period of validity (cover 14), so the actual use of the 50r Centenario (together with a 50r unoverprinted elephant) was an anomaly perhaps the result of the isolation and limited supply to the post office at Mossurize. Alternately, the cover was "pre-franked" with the Centenario (it is barely tied) but ignored (not labeled "O" or "Nullo") when replaced by a valid 50r (see "Rates" below).

Cover 14 is addressed in the same handwriting as the four other covers cited from Mossorize, all of these to Rockford, Illinois in the USA. At least two of these covers were also sent after 30 August (5 & 6; see text).

The postal rates during this period can be rather confusing. Valid rates to Europe could be 50r or 100r for letters and 20r or 30r for postal cards - depending on the route by which the correspondence was conveyed. Registration was always 50r. And while some of the covers recorded are obviously philatelic (e.g. covers 13, 17 & 18), all but a couple display potentially valid rates of postage (once it's all added up!, e.g. covers 13 & 17).

Cover 18 is an obviously overpaid registered cover to England. The front requests the letter be sent via the French ship "S.S. Paraguay". The cover was canceled 23 June or July, but probably the latter as the Paraguay did not sail from Beira in June until the 29th whereas it sailed on 23 July (1898).