Orange River Colony

The Boer capital of Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, was captured by British forces in March, 1900 during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). The territory was renamed Orange River Colony and remained in British hands until the end of the conflict. ORC joined the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Catalog: Drummond OS1

Date issued: 1901, EKU May 5, 1902

Printing: Black

Perforation: Imperforate

Inscription: "Postal Department -- Orange River Colony. / FOUND OPEN AND OFFICIALLY CLOSED / IN THE POST OFFICE."

Control Number: "G.P O. / P. 41." at upper right

Description: Scarce Orange River Colony official seal affixed to reverse of censored 1902 entire sent to Bloemfontein Jail and then forwarded to Stellenbosch, Cape of Good Hope.

Seal inscribed "W.A.R. & Sons. C.8391 5,000.5.1901." at lower left. W.A. Richards was a printer located in Cape Town.

This is the only ORC official seal known.

Courtesy of Jim Kotanchik by permission.

Catalog: Drummond OSD1

Date issued: Unknown, EKU September 7, 1902

Printing: Black

Perforation: Imperforate

Inscription: "OFFICIALLY SEALED / IN THE / Returned Letter Branch, / BLOEMFONTEIN, O.R.C."

Control Number: "G.P.O. / R.L.B. 7."

Description: Registered censored 1902 cover from Leipzig, Germany (postmarked May 27, just four days prior to the end of the war) to Bloemfontein, Orange River Colony with eleven ORC "Returned Letter Branch" seals applied around all edges. Letter was unclaimed and returned to Leipzig, where two more official seals were affixed, this time by the Imperial German Post Office, after the envelope was opened to determine sender's address.

Multi-country official seal usages are seldom seen and extremely scarce. An example of the only dead letter office seal known from ORC.

Additional Anglo-Boer War items can be found in the Cape Of Good Hope, Great Britain, and Natal sections.

Courtesy of Jim Kotanchik by permission.

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© Copyright 2003-2008
by T. Hirn

Updated January 27, 2008