Lebanon 1926

The 1926 is the year that Lebanon adopts a constitution and officially becomes the Lebanese Republic (23 May 1926). It is also a complex year regarding the postage to pay for of a simple letter sent from the French Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Alawites) to foreign countries.
To summarize and without going into details:

From 25 July 1924 the flat rate for foreign was 4 Piastres. 

Morning cover sent from Bhamdoun to the United States, franked at 4 Piastres on 2 August 1925.


By October 1925 the rate was increased by ½ Piastre at 4½ Piastres.

Morning cover sent from Zghorta to the United States, franked at 4½ Piastres on 18 February 1926.

By April 1926 the rate was increased to the sum of 6 Piastres.

Morning cover sent from Beirut to France, franked at 6 Piastres on 10 April 1926. 

The rate for France is still equivalent to that for foreign countries.

Morning cover sent from Djounieh to the USA, franked at 6 Piastres on 18 August 1926. 

By September 1926 the rate was considerably increased by 4 Piastres at 10 Piastres.

The postage of a letter for the foreigner was 10 piastres (2 Fr). Need to overprint certain existing values due to lack of stamps and waiting for new issues with adapted values.
Unfortunately, I do not have any letters of mourning to illustrate this period.

Cover sent from Broumana to Scotland, franked at 10 Piastres on 21 September 1926. 

Cover sent from Beirut to Germany, franked at 10 Piastres on 6 October 1926. 

By November 1926 the rate was scaled at 7½ Piastres.

Cover sent from Tripoli to Guatemala, franked at 7½ Piastres on 6 February 1927. 

Registered cover sent from Zahle to France, franked at 15 Piastres ( 7½ Piastres registration fees) on 31 January 1927.

From 1 March 1928 letters to France and its Colonies & Territories benefit like internal postal rate at 4 Piastres.

Cover sent from Damascus to France, franked at 4 Piastres on 3 April 1929. 

The year 1926 is also the year that the Board of Directors of the State of Greater Lebanon will express the wish that an exceptional surcharge on current postage stamps be made in order to alleviate, to a certain extent, the state’s expenses that will have to support for the important economic help that it will have to distribute to the refugees and the victims of the regions affected by the disorders of 1925-1926.
These commemorative or charitable postage stamps, for which a surcharge is payable regardless of the postage value, must be made in such a way as to avoid any doubt about the postage value.

In accordance with this provision, the figurines will therefore be surcharged by overprinted in the French and Arabic languages both of the indication in small print “Secours aux Réfugiés”, that of their respective postage value.

Consequently, the draft decree provides for the 16 stamps to be overprinted by: the par value of each category, the value of postage and the sale price.
The total amount of the sale minus the costs of the surcharge, will be paid in full not the Post Office to the work of refugees and victims of the State of Greater Lebanon and no discount will be allocated on the occasion of the sale of these charity stamps.
The day of issue will take place on 1 May 1926.

These stamps will cease to be put on sale in the offices of the Levant States under French Mandate and on the Delegation of Paris from 1 November 1926.
The stock withdrawn from the service or existing in store will be destroyed by the care of the General Inspection.

Table showing the selling price of each stamp = the value of the stamp + the value of the surcharge.

What is special here is that the surcharge on the stamp corresponds to the postage value! This will be confusing … 


Exceptional and very rare cover sent from Beirut on 15 May 1926 to Belfort, France.

The postage required on this date for a single rate letter addressed to foreign countries is 6 Piastres.

According to the decree of March 1926, the amount of postage on this cover is 1½ Piastre!

The post office mistakenly took into account the nominal value of stamps instead of postage. 

Sometimes happens.




Post Card sent by Overland mail

Some time ago I asked to our friend Rainer Fuchs about how many postcards he knew used by Overland mail during the period 1923 to 1929 when the mandatory surcharge was required. I admit it: I already had something in my hands which I considered very rare and I wanted to get a confirmation from him. And who better than Rainer he could subscribe to the rarity? So what follows, rather than a normal article on a theme of postal history, I would like to become a due act that symbolizes the gratitude to those who give us philatelic information in a disinterested way.

Something that I thought was very rare is the only recorded postcard sent from Lebanon via Overland mail in the period 1923/1929, but let’s go by order.

In September 1923, the Haifa-Beirut-Baghdad trans-desert service began to operate. It became known after numerous studies based on an intuition born in the mind of the Nairn brothers to combine transport and speed through modern vehicles of the period. So far the envelopes sent through this service are very well known, but little was known about the postcards. Here then a sample of the very few recorded, almost all of them supplied by Rainer Fuchs.

Post Card sent from Baghdad on 6 October 1924 to Berlin, Germany. Postage of 3 Anna was considered underpaid because the required rate was 1½ Anna for the post card sent to foreign countries and 3 Anna at the time for all items sent by Overland service without distinction, for a total of 4½. The taxed applied was excessive: 60 cents of gold-franc, wrongly considered like a letter’s taxation double deficiency.


Post Card sent from Baghdad on 24 February 1926 again to Germany. This time the postage of 3 Anna applied was considered quite right. It is very likely that a modification of the rates took place in order to adopt a decrease to 1½ Anna for the Overland surcharge applied to postcards. The cancel of Port Said, applied only five days after, confirm the transport by Overland.

Fascinating but late use for this British stationery card of 1 penny mixed franked with 2 Anna Iraqi stamp. This type of postage was consider regular using the possibility to pay the supplement fee for a service (air mail, express, registration or overland fees) on a postcard with reply paid. Unfortunately, the postcard was sent only on 6 March 1929, after six days that the additional fee for the overland mail was abolished, furthermore the surcharge rate of 2 Anna was wrongly in excess of ½ Anna. 

Another underpaid post card, this time the nice real photo was sent from Abadan, Persia, on 18 December 1924 to Germany. Underpaid with 6ch, the taxation applied was 25 cents of gold-franc.

This time the rate was rightly applied for this exceptional and virtuous Italian post card sent from Baghdad on 6 March 1928 to Rome. The 25ct was the sum required in Italy for printed matter sent to foreign, considered them ⅓ of post card rate (75ct) with a lake of  ⅔ of rate. In this case the lake of 50ct of Lira was redeem by 1 Anna, equivalent to ⅔ of Iraqi post card rate. The other 1½ Anna applied was the fees for Overland rate.

Here we come to the star of the article, a postcard written in Persian where something is understood about a trip made by Baghdad. The postcard was sent from Beirut on 13 June 1925 to Teheran, transiting from Baghdad on 17 June, just before the Great Syrian Revolt began in the following July. At the time the rate for a postcard written with more than five words for abroad was 2½ Piastres. The postage applied on the postcard amounting to 5 Piastre makes us immediately assume that the concept of “doubling”, manifested by the decree of the French administration concerning the rate applicable to the overland surcharge for letters, had also been applied to postcards.

Since this is the only known postcard sent via overland, we can not determine how the surcharge was dealt with afterwards, especially when this was reduced by about 3/5 compared to the Lebanese letter rate. But that of the rates is another story that we will discuss in the future.

Bernardo Longo