The 1d Double Head: The greatest stamp of the British Empire?

Around twenty years ago, the noted Double Head collector and connoisseur, Bob Gibbs, reflected that the 1d Double Head was the greatest stamp of the British Empire. Bob will be the first to state that all the research of today is built upon the shoulders of some fine Rhodesian philatelists of yesteryear –  such people as C.C. Woolacott, Oswald Marsh, H.C. Dann, Alan Deal, Arthur Strutt, David Forgan, Bernard Livermore, Vivien Ellenberger and Ian Hamilton.  In their collecting, research and writings, they leave a rich legacy upon which the current era of interested philatelists (Keith Watkins, Andrew Wilson, Arnold Brickman, Bob Looker, Stephen Reah-Johnson and, of course, Gibbs) build and broaden.

With over 14 million of these stamps printed from two plates between 1910 and 1913, their colours and the multitude of flaws, provide a rich field for research. Literally dozens and dozens of printings from the two plates occurred.  The multitude of printings resulted in a deterioration of the plates which, along with the use of many different inks, resulted in many flaws and a wonderful spectrum of colours.

SG 123

SG 124

SG 125

The current state of classifying the 1d is diverse and large with the present Gibbons classifications probably requiring an update. Here is a brief summary of the current situation:


S.G. Perf. Colour
123 14×14 Bright Carmine (aniline) (shades)
123a 14×14 Imperf. Between (vertical pair)
123b 14×14 Imperf. Between (horizontal pair)
124 14×14 Carmine-Lake (shades)
125 14×14 Deep Rose-Red
170 15×15 Carmine (shades)
170a 15×15 Carmine-Lake (shades)
170b 15×15 Carmine
179b 15×14 Scarlet (shades)
183 13½ x13½ Bright Carmine (shades)
Gibbs 14×14 Rosine (shades)
Gibbs 15×15 Rosine (shades)

The ‘OD’ Flaw

One of the real challenges for the new collector surrounds the plating and positioning of the stamps. From the Master Plate, it is believed that an electroplate was produced (Plate B.) So, a collector is faced with three options: The Master Plate, Plate A (which was originally the Master Plate) and Plate B (the electroplate.)

There are not many full sheets in existence. Bob Gibbs has kindly had high resolution copies made of the full sheet of his Master Plate (the only one known), a Plate A and a Plate B. He has made them available to RSC members via a Dropbox link. If you would like to receive a copy, CONTACT US and you will be sent the link.

Here is some useful reading:

Gibbs, R.M., The 1d Double Head – “The Greatest Stamp of the British Empire”. Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle (June, 2016) No 257, pp. 64-65.

Gibbs, R.M., Brickman A., Burke, S., Memoir 34: Postmarks on the 1910-1913 Double Head IssueParadise Revisited. (2018)

Hamilton I.T., Rhodesia. 1d. The Double Head Issue of 1910. Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle (September, 2016) No 261, pp. 172-177. (This paper was originally written in September, 1952, but not published.)

Livermore, B., The King and Queen Issue of 1910 One Penny with Compound Perforation. The Philatelic Journal, April/June, 1963, pp 39-40.

Looker, R.J., The Penny Double Head – where are we now? Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle (December, 2016) No 262, pp. 219-220.

Reah-Johnson, S., Observations on the Colours of the 1d Double Head.  Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle (September, 2003) No 251, p. 81.

Reah-Johnson, S., The 1d Double Head – S.G. 123, 124 and 125. Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle (June, 2014) No 208, pp. 100-110.

Watkins, K., A Penny Passion – 1d Double Head. Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle (June, 2004) No 211, p. 67.

Watkins, K., A Penny Double Head Analysis. Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle (December, 2003) No 209,

Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972

Rhodesian Study Circle

Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972 (with photographs and watercolours by Claire Bornand)

A new publication of the RSC by member Ian Menzies (who resides in Geneva and farms cattle in Zimbabwe). This is a much smaller publication than recent Memoirs;  it is about a rather intimate encounter with one of those brave women who journeyed to Central Africa as missionaries in the middle of the 20th Century and is entitled: Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972.

Conversations with Swiss missionaries’ is the story of a young nurse – Claire Bornand –  from Geneva who sets out for Barotseland in 1940. She travels through Vichy France, through post Civil War Spain and eventually to her station on the Upper Zambezi. Many of her veteran colleagues are ill or exhausted and she soon finds herself taking responsibility for a clinic and treating thousands of patients. In her diary, she records Lozi customs, she photographs scenes on the Zambezi and botanical observations in her delightful series of watercolours. The 40 page book is based on interviews, documents bequeathed to the Geneva Ethnographic Museum and Paris DEFAP missionary archives.


  • Title: Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972 
  • Author: Ian Menzies
  • Available from late July, 2020.
  • Prices:
    • PDF – N/A
    • Print Copy (Members Only) – UK £8 including P&H; Europe £10 including P&H; International £12 including P&H
    • Print Copy (Non-Members) – Add £2 to the above

To place an order, complete the ORDER FORM.

The 1924 Double Head “Remainders” (CTO’s)

British South Africa Company

1910 – Double Heads – the CTO’s

In RSCJ 279, there was an article by Robert Gallimore adding to the list of known CTO’s on Double Heads. This adds to the work already done in this area. In June 1987, Robert M. Gibbs and Stephen Reichek published a list of the Double Head “remainders”; stamps left in the London Offices of the B.S.A.C. at the conclusion of their operations in Rhodesia [see RSCJ 138 (June 1987)]. The devices produced for this operation were 1) double circle with arcs joined (DCAJ) for Bulawayo with six different dates; 2) double circle (DC) for Gwelo with six different dates and 3) double circle with arcs joined (DCAJ) for Salisbury with six different dates – the sixth date was only added in 2010, after it appeared in the appendices to Rhodesia – The Bi-Coloured Doubleheads 1910-1914, Edition XI by Stephen Reah-Johnson and Alan J. Hanks . The quantity of duties available varied from a low of 174 of the 2d duty to a high of 16,757 for the 1d duty. These “cancelled to order” Double Heads were regarded as being not worthy of consideration by many collectors when they appeared on the market. Since that time, numerous other discoveries have added to the list. In RSCJ 246/55, Alan J. Hanks and Peter Merrick, came together and published yet another comprehensive list. Since that date, a few new discoveries have been added, mostly noted in the Journal.

We now again publish an updated comprehensive list including all the new discoveries.  This list will be updated on a regular basis.  This will also act as a useful tool for the continuing and new collectors in this area.

Table of CTO’s

B1  12 Feb.  11  7:30 p.m. G1  22 Feb. 12 S1  22 May. 11  6:30 p.m.
B2  16 Apr.  11 9:25 a.m. G2  23 Mar. 12 S2  17 Jul.   11  8:00 p.m.
B3  12 May. 11 9:10 a.m. G3  25 Jul.   12 S2a 17 Apr. 12  5:00 p.m.
B4  22 Aug.  11 11:20 a.m. G4  24 Dec. 12 S3  17 Apr.  13  5:00 p.m.
B5  3  Dec.   12  4:30 p.m. G5  6 May.   13 S4  27 May.  13  7:00 p.m.
B6  22 Oct.  13  11.20 a.m. G6  13 Sep.  13 S5  27 Nov. 13  10:50 a.m.

Click Here for link: DH CTO Update 2020




  • Editorial                                                                                        
  • Membership News and Information                         
  • Matters Arising                                                                            
  • Members Ask                                                                               
  • Members Share                                                                       
  • Reports of Meetings:
  • Melbourne (9 and 10 May, 2020)                                
  • Manchester (30 May, 2020)      
  • Air mail between Rhodesia and Russia in the 1930’s – Peter Wingent
  • Soliloquies – Dirk Kind
  • An early share certificate from the Bulawayo Stock Exchange – Mike Barter
  • A ‘receipt’ postcard from Kasama – Mark Thomas
  • An interesting 1910 Quitrent variation ex Bulawayo – Patrick Flanagan
  • Tschinde – a pictorial review from the African Lakes Archives – Stuart Ross
  • Rhodesia & Nyasaland Archival Material – Patrick Flanagan   
  • World War II Mail – Keith Harrop
  • Some Northern Rhodesia cancels from the Federation Period – Terry Devine      
  • Plumtree School – Mike Hughes   
  • A forty-year love affair – Bob Gibbs   
  • A Tale of Two Plates –  A Doublehead Puzzle Explored – Bob Looker
  • Alfred Bertrand 1856 – 1924, Geneva explorer, adventurer and philanthropist Ian Menzies
  • Joseph Edward McMaster: Postmaster General – British Central Africa – Brian Coop
  • The 1924 Double Head “Remainders” – Another Update – Peter Merrick, Simon Hensman and Robert Gallimore
  • A cover to Miss Borrow – Derek Lambert, Mike Barter and Dirk Kind     
  • North of the Zambesi revisited – Tony Banks
  • Samuel Koslowsky – Family Matters in Philately – Walter Herdzik   
  • Samuel Koslowsky, my Father – Sonja Stein
  • An Entire from Livingstone in October, 1913 – Bob Gibbs























The Gold Mines of Southern Rhodesia to 1924 – D A Mitchell and G W Begg

The Gold Mines of Southern Rhodesia to 1924

D A Mitchell and G W Begg

This well researched book of 304 pages provides an in depth study of the gold mines in Southern Rhodesia. Early chapters cover mining history, mining law and mining documents. Then follows a listing of 125 mines each with its history, postal history, output of the mine and its location shown by both a map and geographical co-ordinates (an example of the map for Shamrock Mine is shown in the September 2019 Journal).

The manuscript of the book is dated 1996 when reproduction techniques were not as advanced as they are today, thus the quality of the black and white illustrations of covers and documents is not up to modern standards. The sections on mining documents and postal history are perhaps better covered elsewhere but the strength of the book lies in the history and geography of each mine. All mines are covered even if they had no post office and even towns which had a mine but “mine” was not in the post office name.”


  • Price:
    • Digital Copy (PDF) – £5
    • Printed Copy – £22 +P&H

Order form below.