Yemen Releases 6Bgs. "Exile" Of 1947 Stamp Theft;
Catalog Listing May Now Be Restored
Copyright 6 October 1958
Linn's Stamp News, Sidney, Ohio USA 45365
Reprinted with permission from the October 6, 1958 issue of Linn's Stamp
In June of this year the Yemen Post Office Department
apparently found that the stock of 6 bogash APU stamps was going to
run out before the other two values (4 for internal postage and 16bgs.
airmail abroad). Only 20,000 complete sets had been prepared by the
United Arab Republic's Survey Department Press at Cairo the year before,
although an extra 480,000 4bgs. items had been printed.
As philatelic sales accounted for possibly 5000 complete
sets, the 6bgs. value, which is needed for first-class overseas mail
as well as inland registry and for airmail combinations, was seemingly
Since all other stamps of Yemen had been demonetized and
declared invalid for postage (largely to stop the "looted stamp"
racket whereby regular issues and postage due stamps stolen in the 1948
revolution were being sold by merchants at half face to defraud the
post) this posed a problem. But the Department apparently had an ace
up its sleeve.
From somewhere in some unknown way, the Sana'a Post Office
suddenly acquired a stockpossibly most of the quantity originally
printedof one of the unissued varieties of the 1947 Paris-printed
Mokha coffee tree pictorials. For many years this 6bgs. green carried
Scott Catalog No. 55. Along with it were Nos. 56-58, the 10 and 20bgs.
and 1 'Imadi, which carry illustrations of the Royal Palace at Sana'a.
A few years ago, however, Scott dropped these four numbers
when investigation disclosed the fact that the stamps had never been
issued by Yemen for postal use but had been stolen from the vaults,
unissued, during the 1948 revolution. Complete sets had occasionally
turned up abroad in philatelic hands, but the main cache had never appeared
on the market and it is still not known if it is hidden in Yemen or
Where did the Sana'a Post Office get the supply of the
6bgs. value, which it is now issuing to other Yemen post offices to
supplement the APU item? Has the entire hoard of unissued high values
been recovered, or was a semiofficial "deal" made for the
recovery of the needed 6bgs. value only? Sana'a is mum on the details,
but it is probable that if one value was retrieved, all the rest are
available under similar circunstances.
If the APU set, which had previously been declared the
only series valid for prepayment of postage, begins to run low on all
values and there is still no new issue in the offing, the chances are
good that the 10 and 20bgs. and 1Im., ex-Nos. 56-58, will be prime candidates
for issue at that time.
The reason is that whereas all other issues are represented
by looted stock held by merchants, the 1947 issue has apparently been
held intact somewhere by a single party, and the cache seems to have
been made available to the government on terms which will probably remain
Chances for release of any other obsolete issues in unoverprinted
form are slim, for the reasons stated above. However, a series of attractive
new cliches, in place of the deplorable 4bgs. handstamps of yore, is
now available to overprint any of the demonetized issues for release
as new issues.
Vitually millions of copies of unnecessary denominations,
particularly of the 1Im. top value, remain in the post office vaults,
and it would be an economical move for the post office to use them up
before ordering new stamps to be printed. It is understood that the
new cliches are not only in the value of 4bgs. but also as 6 and 16bgs.
It is said that they display, respectively, a mail truck, a ship, and
an airplane, in addition to the surcharged new value.
This still does not solve the problem of a 1 bogsha value
for the newspaper rate. This constitutes another flaw in the proclamation
of the APU set as the only series valid for prepayment of postage. It
will be discussed in a separate article concerning the reappearance
of the elusive 1bg. "Official" stamp of the ill-fated 1951
The newly released 6bgs. definitive is an extremely handsome
stamp, like all of the 1947 set, which was prepared by the Institute
de Graveure of Paris. It is brilliant green in color. The design is
the same as for Scott's Nos. 50-52 Mookha coffee tree stamps. Printing
is in sheets of 50 with the elaborate initials and decorative design
of the Institute de Graveure in the form of tabs above or below each
stamp of the top and bottom rows of the sheet.