Saving for (much) later: The national saving stamps of South Africa

English language

A short introduction to the bilingual stamps issued by the South African Union to promote saving. The savings stamps were sold at the Post Office for the purchase of Union Loan Certificates. The author is asking for additional information from readers.

A: savings stamps during the Union of South Africa

These bilingual South African Union Savings stamps were sold at the Post Office for the purchase of Union Loan Certificates. Pairs described alternately in English and Afrikaans were printed on upright single springbok head watermark and perforated 14,5 x 14. Green and gold colours were used on white background for the vignette which shows a ship in rough seas. A bilingual card shown as U.L.C. 40, was provided and when filled with 21 savings stamps of 9d each, the holder could exchange it for a Union Loan Certificate representing the value of 15/9d.

Postage stamps were not accepted if affixed to this form and should the form be lost, no refund could be claimed. The Post Office had printed 80000 cards for distribution between 1941 and 1942. The unfolded size of this card is 20,5 x 14 cm and on the reverse a slogan reading “Make a gift of a complete card to a friend” is printed. Incidentally the document was given to me by my father in law and after 63 years is still a good gift as appropriately suggested at that time by the Post Office.

At the bottom right corner of the card, the date stamp of the Post Office issuing the Union Loan Certificate was required and therefore we assume that the savings stamps were left uncancelled as they had no postal validity. Any additional information from readers would be gratefully received.

Example of stamps and savings card during the Union period.
Slogan for promotion of the Union-Loan certificates.

B: National savings Stamps of the Republic of South Africa

Well over a decade ago I bought these republican savings stamps from a local dealer in Durban and despite making some inquiries locally, but no avail, I finally decided to write this short article only now. As you can see from these pictures, they were printed bilingually and therefore, as usual alternatively described but vertically in English and Afrikaans on unwatermarked paper.

The design shows, in brown colour, an owl standing on two books with a light green background while the lined hallow value (5c) and the top inscriptions are also in brown. The bottom tablet is also in brown but with the uncoloured wording “NATIONAL SAVINGS / NASIONALE SPAARGELD”.

On checking the perforation I found out that there are two different types. The value on the left of the picture (Fig. 1) is perforated 14, while the one on the right side (Fig. 2) is perforated 12,5. The values perforated 14 are easily identifiable because it appears that the wording “Republic of South Africa” is slightly thicker when compared with the issue perforated 12,5. This is clearly visible without any help of magnify glass.

A further identical value but issued in photographic reduced size is perforated 13,5 x 14. The only used value so far known shows a a partial Pretoria postal strike dated 1978. Although these values are relatively modern, no too much is known yet, hence my reason to create some interest amongst collectors and at the same time to record all these new discoveries.

Several types of the 5c Republic issue.

If you have more/new information please leave any comments below this article.

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