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The Journal of the Rhodesia Study Circle - Issue No. 66

The squared circle postmarks of Northern Rhodesia,
Part 1

RSCJ 1969 v. 19, no. 2 (66), p.29–30

Among my collection of books on Northern Rhodesia which I made during the 34 years I spent in that country from 1930, is a British South Africa Company Staff list for 1904 which gives the Government stations or Bomas at that date. I also have a complete set of Northern Rhodesia Journals in which are articles on the old Bomas in the country. I have recently been comparing the list of Bomas in the staff list with the list of lost Offices using the squared circle postmark, given by H.C. Dann in 'The Cancellations of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland'. Some interesting facts emerge and other may be interested in my findings.

First of all it seems that these postmarks were used only in N.E. Rhodesia and not in N.W.Rhodesia. Dann says that in three cases - Feira, Sakontwi and Kasempa - these names appeared alone without N.E.Rhodesia. I have not seen these postmarks but I have collected quite a number of Feira square circle postmarks with N.E.Rhodesia below. As Kasempa this was, as far as I know, always in N .W. Rhodesia. As in the early years of the century N.E. Rhodesia and N.W.Rhodesia came under separate administrations, though both of course under the British South Africa Company, it seems very odd that one post office of N.W. Rhodesia and one only should receive a postmark otherwise only found in N.E. Rhodesia. Dann does not state that this is a rare postmark, but does mention that it is found also in violet. I s it possible that the postmark is really Kazembe, which was for a short time a Boma in N.E. Rhodesia. Would any holder of a squared circle Kasempa please check this and let me know? The only other possibility seems to be that N.W. borrowed from N.E. in emergency.

The second point of interest is that in general those Post Offices which already had postmarks did not get a squared circle one. These were Fort Jameson, Fife, Abercorn, Kalunguisi, Sumbu, Katwe and Fort Rosebery, though the last named does not appear as such in the staff list (the expressions Upper Luapula and Lower Luapula are used). There is however, one exception and that is Kasama where there was already in use a single circle postmark. Perhaps this was stolen or broken or defaced, and the squared circle variety substituted. There was also the very rare Petauke postmark in three lines, but that was unique; and the B.S.A.C. postmark found at Feira, which may have been used temporarily until the squared circle type arrived.

The next point of interest concerns Satkontwi which Dann says was an error for Sakontwi, but in fact should have read Sokontwe. By the time the 1904 staff list was published this place had had its post office closed. There is one Post Office not listed by Dann, but of which squared circle postmarks have since been discovered, and that is Kapopo which duly appears in the 1904 staff list. (See Journal of the R.S.C. Vol. 9, No.4, page 64).

The staff list of 1904 includes three more Bomas which should certainly have had their own postmarks, and I would expect examples to turn up one day -- these were Katumbi, Luena and Kampanda. Of these, the most likely to turn up would be Luena which was the forerunner of Luwingu. The 1904 staff list gives the number and names of the early officials and these indicate to some extent the number of cancellations likely to be found from each.

The squared circle postmarks of Northern Rhodesia, 
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