Bénin: Locomotives / Trains / Railways : Provisonal Surcharges 1986-2009

This article only covers stamps of Dahomey or Bénin (of railway interest) with surcharges, not the original issues, listings for which may readily be found in any catalogue.

1986 : 75F / 70 F Manuscript & Typeset Surcharge

timbres-poste Benin train manuscript and machine surcharge stamp

We shall assume the above to be the first attempt at surcharging this stamp, an extraordinary combination of felt pen (obliterating the old name Dahomey) and a primitive overprint with typeface similar to that of a typewriter. In general, this mixed surcharge is surprisingly regular, even though no two stamps seem to share exactly the same measurements between the four elements of the surcharge (two obliterating bars, text, new value, felt-pen bar). Note that on this printing, the new value is placed below 'du Benin'.

The only noteworthy variety we have seen to date is a circumflex accent on the 'o' of 'Populaire' (illustrated above).

Mi. 430 (manuscript) : 1986 75f / 70f with partly Manuscript Surcharge [ . ]
- ditto - ô for o in Populaire [ . ]

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1986 : 75F / 70 F Whole surcharge by machine

timbres-poste Benin train machine surcharge stamp timbres-poste Benin train machine surcharge stamp

The bar obliterating REPUBLIQUE DE DAHOMEY is now overprinted by machine and the ink, although visible on the back, does not bleed through to the gum. The new value, 75 F, is now level with the word 'République' towards the top of the surcharge. On these machine-surcharged stamps, the bar at the foot of the stamp is much more regular but the spacing between the bars obliterating '70' at top left and 'République' vary considerably. To date we have seen the distance between these two elements varying from 1.5 mms to 4 mms, good examples of the variation in the spacing being visible in the scans above.
The right scan under close inspection also reveals a Double Surcharge, the surcharge underneath being only very lightly applied, but it is visible in the detail scan of the figures of value.

Mi. 430 (machine surcharge) : 1986 75f / 70f with fully machine-applied surcharge [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double (weak strike only seen) [ . ]

It is possible that the two different styles ('partly manuscript' and 'machine only') in fact emanated from different postal centres, rather than one preceding the other chronologically. We have not seen USED copies of any of these 1986 surcharges on the train, which might shed more light on this interesting issue.

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1988 : 150f / 200F

timbres-poste Benin train 1988 150f/200f

This is quite a primitive surcharge in terms of the text and figures of value in the surcharge. The figure '5' in particular is often faulty and it would appear italic figures '5' were frequently employed in this surcharge. We have listed only once each the variety on the figure '1' and the variety on the figure '5' in '150' but these two clearly come in various combinations - and quite probably in conjunction with other varieties as well.

Mi. E.473 : 1988 150f / 200F [ . ]
- ditto - Roman 'I' for '1' in '150' [ . ]
- ditto - Figure '5' in '150' appears italic [ . ]

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1992 : 35F optd with bar and 'DU BENIN'

timbres-poste Benin train 35F locomotive stamp

Mi. 524 : 1992 35F [ . ]

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1992 : 125F / 100F

timbres-poste Benin train 125F/100F stamp

Mi. 528 : 1992 125F / 100F [ . ]

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1994 : 5F ( on Osaka Expo )

timbres-poste Benin train Osaka Expo Mount Fuji stamp

Mi. A.562 : 1994 5F [ . ]

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1994 : 200F optd bar & DU BENIN

timbres-poste Benin train 200Fr on Dahomey stamp

Mi. 582 : 1994 200F [ . ]

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1996 : 150Fr / 40Fr

timbres-poste Benin train 150F/40F on Dahomey stamp

Mi. 725 : 1996 150F / 40F [ . ]
- ditto - figures '150F' on extreme right of design (but still central) [ . ]

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1997/2000 : 35F / 125F Dahomey UPU Wagon-Poste (TPO van)

timbres-poste Benin train 35F /125F on Dahomey UPU wagon-poste TPO van stamp

timbres-poste Benin train 35F /125F on Dahomey UPU wagon-poste TPO van stamp timbres-poste Benin train 35F /125F on Dahomey UPU wagon-poste TPO van stamp timbres-poste Benin train 35F /125F on Dahomey UPU wagon-poste TPO van stamp timbres-poste Benin train 35F /125F on Dahomey UPU wagon-poste TPO van stamp timbres-poste Benin train 35F /125F on Dahomey UPU wagon-poste TPO van stamp

All the detail scans of the figures of value '35F' above are the same size, permitting accurate comparison. It is probable that more varieties than those itemized in the check-list below will exist. We have assumed small 'F' to be the norm, but this is not confirmed.

Mi. 1103 : 1997/2000 35F / 125F ( small F ) [ . ]
- ditto - Large Letter 'F' in surcharge value (scan shows raised stop as well) [ . ]
- ditto - full stop omitted after 'F' [ . ]

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2000 : 150Fr / 100Fr : 1 Value

timbres-poste Benin train 150F/270F on train locomotive stamps timbres-poste Benin train 150F/270F on train locomotive stamps timbres-poste Benin train 150F/270F on train locomotive stamps

The Seaspeed hovercraft service was run by British Rail in association with the SNCF. The BR double-arrow symbol is shown more clearly in the detail scan.

Mi. 1271 : 2000 150F / 100F (on Mi. 634) [ . ]
- ditto - figures '1' and '5' widely spaced [ . ]

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2000 : 150Fr / 270Fr : 3 Values

timbres-poste Benin train 150F/270F on train locomotive stamps

timbres-poste Benin train 150F/270F on train locomotive stamps timbres-poste Benin train 150F/270F on train locomotive stamps

Mi. 1289 : 2000 150F / 270F (on Mi. 915) [ . ]
- ditto - figure '1' and letter 'F' without serifs (see detail scans) [ . ]

Mi. 1299 : 2000 150F / 270F (on Mi.999) [ . ]

Mi. 1302 : 2000 150F / 270F (on Mi.1027) [ . ]

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2005 : 175Fr / 270Fr : 3 Values
timbres-poste Benin train 2005 surcharges on train locomotive stamps timbres-poste Benin train 2005 surcharges on train locomotive stamps

timbres-poste Benin train 2005 surcharges on train locomotive stamps timbres-poste Benin train 2005 surcharges on train locomotive stamps timbres-poste Benin train 2005 surcharges on train locomotive stamps
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Mi. 1382 : 2005 175F / 270F (on Mi. 999) [ . ]

Mi. 1385 : 2005 175F / 270F (on Mi.1027, figs '175F' as per left-hand scan) [ . ]
- ditto - letter 'F' of '175F' greatly extended (as per centre detail scan) [ . ]
- ditto - figure '1' with shorter serif (as per right-hand detail scan) [ . ]

We only show the detail of the 3rd type of surcharge above, not the whole stamp.

Mi. 1390 : 2005 175F / 270F (on Mi.1173) [ . ]

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2007 : 300F / 200F

timbres-poste Benin train 300F/200F 2007 on Dahomey stamp timbres-poste Benin train 300F/200F 2007 on Dahomey stamp

Mi. 1426 : 2007 300F / 200F [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge misplaced as per scan [ . ]

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2008 : 300F / 100F

timbres-poste Benin train 300F/100F 2008 on Dahomey stamp

Mi. 1515 : 2008 300F / 100f [ . ]

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2009 : Various stamps surcharged BENIN & new value

timbres-poste Benin train 300F/100F 2008 on Dahomey stamp

Mi. 1576 : 2009 50F / 35f [ . ]
Mi. 1581 : 2009 50F / 40F [ . ]
Mi. 1621 : 2009 400F / 125F UPU wagon-poste [ . ]

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Later stamps : Surcharged BENIN & new value

The following stamp is thought to be from approximately 2010-2012.

timbres-poste Benin train 300F/150

(after 2009) 300F / 150f [ . ]

The stamp above is not in the Michel Eisenbahnen catalogue, which suggests it dates from 2010 or later, but probably around 2010-2012. Benin still continues to delve into its spare stocks of stamps from time to time for surcharges, typically to create stamps with higher face values to keep up with rising postal prices.
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The following stamps are thought to date from approximately 2015 onwards:

timbres-poste Benin train 600F/400F timbres-poste Benin train 600F/400F timbres-poste Benin train 1000F/200F
timbres-poste Benin train 1000F/400

(unknown date) 300F /135F [ . ]
(unknown date) 600F / 400F [ . ]
(c.2018) 1000F / 200f [ . ]
(c.2018) 1000F / 400F [ . ]

The above stamps (after 2009) were brought to our attention by Keith Downing. Most of the approximate dates of issue above, where given, are based on very little firm evidence and dates may require substantial revision as more information becomes available.
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Finally, we come to Parcel Post stamps, which do not appear to be listed in the Michel 'Eisenbahnen' catalogue.

1974 UPU stamp surcharged 50f & colis postaux : République Populaire du Bénin

timbres-poste Benin train 300F/100F 2008 on Dahomey stamp

Note that the word 'populaire' is not barred out in the above scan and that the stamp was presumably issued, therefore, prior to the minor name change from 'République Populaire du Bénin' to simply 'République du Bénin', early in 1991.

Issued prior to 1991 : 50f / 125F UPU wagon-poste - République Populaire du Bénin [ . ]

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c.1991 : 1974 UPU stamp surcharged 50f & colis postaux : République de Bénin

timbres-poste Benin train 300F/100F 2008 on Dahomey stamp timbres-poste Benin train 300F/100F 2008 on Dahomey stamp

The word 'populaire' is now barred out with a machine-printed bar. However, in the right-hand scan, the printed bar was slightly misplaced and failed to obliterate the word 'populaire' and an additonal MANUSCRIPT obliteration was performed - with a felt pen again!

Printed Bar added c.1991 : 50f / 125F UPU wagon-poste - now République du Bénin [ . ]
- ditto - 'République' out of alignment, letter 'R' above the 'o' of 'populaire' on the line below [ . ]

c.1991 : 50f / 125F with supplementary manuscript obliterating bar in felt pen obliterating 'populaire' [ . ]

The relative alignment of the three-lined République / Populaire / du Bénin in this surcharge varies on almost every stamp. Typically, either the first line, or the first and second lines, can be found offset slightly to the right of the bottom line.
However, at least one stamp in the sheet stands out for having a very marked shift of the top line only, leaving the 'R' of 'République' directly above the 'o' of 'Populaire'. This is both illustrated in the scans above and listed with a check-box.
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