It is well-known that from the late 1850s to the mid-1880s stamps of Great Britain were used in Malta, Cyprus and Gibraltar – the key coaling stations on the Mediterranean, linking the United Kingdom with the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, India.
They were also used in a number of other British possessions, such as Antigua, Jamaica and Dominica before they issued their own stamps; and in British Post Offices abroad in places like Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.
The GB stamps were cancelled using datestamps and obliterating stamps, known as ‘killers’, each with a distinctive letter or number, issued by London. Malta was allocated the code ‘M’ and then ‘A25’ for its ‘killer’; Gibraltar was given code letter ‘G’ and then ‘A26’; and Cyprus ‘killers’ had numbers ‘942’, ‘969’, ‘974’, ‘975’, ‘981’ and ‘982’.Cyprus issued its own stamps as from 1 April 1880, Malta as from 1 January 1885 and Gibraltar as from 1 January 1886. The stamps of Great Britain then ceased to be valid there.
To find out more, see the latest GSM.