Minimum rates in the Levant’s Countries under French Mandate. Part 1.

As promised here comes the article of the minimum domestic rates, fixed by the Postal Administration of Levant’s Countries that were under French Mandate, extended also after their Independence.

Ever since I approached the postal history of Lebanon, I was intrigued about the issuance of really small face value stamps, such as E.E.F. stamp of 1 mills Egyptian Pound or those of 10 cents of Syrian Piastra. I thought that these were issued as complementary values to complete certain tariffs. By the time I noted with joy that instead they were used alone to paid certain postal items, subject to preferential rates. They were Newspapers and Periodicals-Writings (circulars, bulletins etc. sent on a regular basis).

I have not recorded documents franked by 1 mills E.E.F. stamp value in Egyptian currency, as well as I have not recorded the stamps overprinted T.E.O., both on French stamps than on those of the Levant, followed by the first O.M.F. value issue also they in Egyptian currency. I recorded, and I keep them tight in my hands, different 10 cents value stamps. One of the most interesting that I have is applied on an envelope addressed to the supermarket Orosdi Back in Beirut. This is the French 5 cents yellow-orange “seeder”, overprinted on four lines “O.M.F. Syrie 10 Centiemes” killed by “BEYROUTH #15” cancel on 24 July 1923 (fig 1).


(fig 1)

The envelope probably contained a prices bulletin, periodically sent from some manufacturer to the well-known large shop.


(fig 2)

The second, sent from Beirut on 1 July 1924 to Becharre via Tripoli, was franked with French stamp of 2 cents brown-lilac overprinted “GRAND LIBAN 10 CENTIEMES” (fig 2). It contained advertising messages sent periodically (tempore transit, not vitia).


(fig 3)

The third, was franked with the 10 cent stamp of the first issue printing “Grand Liban”. It was sent locally from Beirut to the well-known travel company Cook & Sons on 9 June 1925 (fig 3).

So far, the pieces shown are envelopes containing bulletins or advertising sent periodically, now we will see the other type of object to which this post preferential rate of 10 cents of Piastre could be applied. These were the periodicals newspapers with weight below 60 grams, shipped with wrapper.


(fig 4)

The first example in my collection, was a wrapper for the newspaper of Catholic Circle printed in Beirut and sent to the prominent lawyer Gabriel Rahme, President of the Catholic Circle in Tripoli. It was sent on 2 January 1926 (fig 4).


(fig 5)

Another interesting use is that one with 10 cents stamp overprinted bilingual “Republique Libanaise” in one-step. The newspaper’s wrapper was sent from Beirut on 17 April 1930 to Paris (fig 5). It should be remember that since 1927 rates for postal items sent from Syria and Lebanon to France and its colonies or possessions, were equivalent to those sent domestically.

As mentioned in the article about 5 cent overprinted “Alaouites”, I suppose that in 1928 the rate for these items was halved, what would explain the overprint of a 5 cent value made in the territories under mandate. Unfortunately I do not have and I never saw wrappers or covers with this rate. Among other things, this rate was again brought back to 10 cents probably in 1930. This is clearly shown by the figure 5 and the two examples below (fig 6 and 7) that were sent respectively on 15 January and 2 June 1933.


(fig 6)


(fig 7)

Although from 1 September 1938 all rates were raised, probably to issues related to social service carried out by the press, it was considered not necessary to increase also our small rates, and this is demonstrated by the wrapper sent locally from Tripoli on 27 November 1940 (in war time), franked with the “Cedar” stamp issued in 1937 (fig 8).


(fig 8)

will continue…..