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Set 1T

T1-T8 (1-8), unused.

1922 (17 February) "Rialtas" 5-line overprint in black (Dollard)

T1 (1)
1/2d green
[MID]  [LAR]

T2 (2)
1d scarlet
[MID]  [LAR]

T3 (3)
2 1/2d blue
[MID]  [LAR]

T4 (4)
3d violet
[MID]  [LAR]

T5 (5)
4d grey-green
[MID]  [LAR]

T6 (6)
5d brown
[MID]  [LAR]

T7 (7)
9d agate
[MID]  [LAR]

T8 (8)
10d turquoise
[MID]  [LAR]

Design: Great Britain issue of 1912-13, Scott 159 (T1), 160 (T2), 163 (T3), 164 (T4), 165 (T5), 166 (T6), 170 (T7), 171 (T8): King George V, designed by Sir Bertram Mackennal.

Printing (Base Stamps): Typography; Harrison & Sons, London and High Wycombe, printed in sheets of two panes of 120 subjects (12 x 10). The panes are aligned vertically, so a full sheet contains twenty horizontal rows of twelve stamps, with a horizontal gutter separating the panes.

Overprint: "Rialtas Sealadac na héireann 1922" (Provisional Government of Ireland 1922), in five lines, by Dollard Printing House Ltd., Dublin. Overprints are black or gray-black, and most commonly measure 15 x 17.5 mm. Standard widths of individual lines are as follows: "Rialtas" - 12 mm; "Sealadac" - 15 mm; "na" - 3.5 mm; "héireann" - 14.5 mm; "1922" - 6.5 mm.

Three different overprint plates were used on one or another of the stamps in set T1. Each was made up of a distinct arrangement or "setting" of sixteen smaller stereotype plates of fifteen (3 wide x 5 high) subjects. The stereos were fixed together 4 x 4 to overprint a full sheet of 240 stamps.

Meredith notes that ". . .the correct pronunciation [of the Irish Gaelic overprint] may be indicated with some accurary by slow repetition of the combinations Ree-al-tass Shall-a-dock nah hare-ann" (p 6).

Separation: Perf. 15 x 14.

Watermark: Monogram Royal Cypher (Scott wmk. 33; Crown and GvR).

Date of Issue: 17 February 1922.

Numbers issued: 1/2d - 10.32 million; 1d - 26.88 million; 2 1/2d - 360,480; 3d - 1.56 million; 4d - 408,480; 5d - 504,000; 9d - 575,520; 10d - 216,000.

Notes: The Anglo-Irish Treaty signed in London on 6 December 1921 and ratified by the Dáil Eireann (the Irish parliament) on 7 January 1922 provisionally granted autonomy to the twenty-six counties of southern Ireland. On 1 February 1922 J. J. Walsh, the newly appointed Postmaster- General of the Provisional Government, published a notice in the press calling for designs for a definitive series of postage stamps for the new Irish Free State. Because of the time involved in designing and printing such an issue, and anxious that stamps representing the new government should be made available as soon as possible, Walsh decided upon the stopgap measure of overprinting the British stamps then in use in Ireland with the name of the Provisional Government. To this the British postal authorities were agreeable (indeed, full and actual control of the Post Office would not pass from the British to the Irish authorities until the end of the fiscal year on 31 March). Following the submission of proofs, two separate Dublin printing firms - Dollard Printing House Ltd. and Messrs. Alexander Thom & Co. Ltd - were contracted to do the overprinting. A six-week supply of the Great Britain issue of 1912-13, in fifteen values, was received in Dublin on 10 February, and overprinting began the same day. One week later, on 17 February, Ireland's first official postage stamps were made available to the public.

Shortly after the overprints appeared, Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, was questioned in Parliament "whether the King's head on British stamps . . . had been defaced by being printed over by the Irish Provisional Government . . . ." Churchill responded that ". . . it is the usual practice in a period of transition to overprint postage stamps, and the present arrangement has been agreed to by His Majesty's Government . . . ."

The fifteen values issued on 17 February 1922 are best discussed as three individual sets. The largest of these, shown here, comprises the eight low value stamps overprinted by Dollard. The second, set 3T, includes the three high values (2s6d, 5s, 10s) overprinted by Dollard, while the third, set 4T, includes the four low values (1 1/2d, 2d, 6d, 1s) overprinted by Thom. The Dollard low values shown here are most readily distinguished from later issues by the distinctive appearance of the date "1922": the "1" has the appearance of a Roman numeral, while the tail of the "9" descends below the base line of the other numbers.

Provenance: Dr. Charles Wolf (all)

Bibliography: Meredith 1927, 7, 15-19; EPA 1964, "Irish Provisionals," 65-6; Feldman 1968, 24-6; Foley 1975, 1-2, 6; Harrow 1987, "Setting Irish Overprints," 12; Priestly 1987-88, "Low Value Irish Overprints," 57-8, 73-4; Dulin 1992, 7-28.

Errors, varieties, and usages:

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