Paper Heritage - French Equatorial Africa - Mindouli Viaduct Issues:

There are two designs in French Equatorial Africa (FEA) with a railway viaduct, the overprints and surcharges on the Middle Congo Mindouli Viaduct and the viaduct on the 1c, 2c, 3c, 4c and 5c inscribed Afrique Equatoriale Francaise. I assume that this shows the same viaduct, Mindouli. They are not the easiest stamps to find, despite their low catalogue value, and there are some interesting varieties within these issues. Although not chronolgically correct, I am going to deal first with the Middle Congo design and then with the FEA design.

FEA stamps The images above have been 'doctored' to illustarte the overprints clearly. They are not true colour; the stamp is deep olive-green and the overprints are in black (left and centre) and in red (right stamp)

1938: Stamps of Middle Congo, overprinted in small capital letters , as in the left stamp above:
Values: 1c, 2c, 4c, 5c, 10c, 15c, 20c, 25c (SG 1-8, Domfil 936.11-18, Yv. 1-8).
All values are overprinted in Black. A straightforward issue with no significant varieties to my knowledge.

1940: 4c Stamp of Middle Congo further overprinted LIBRE (central stamp above). (SG 118, Domfil 940.16, Yv. 102). The word 'LIBRE' was added separately.
Variety: This stamp exists with small 'L' in 'LIBRE (position 33)

1940: 4c stamp of Middle Congo overprinted in large capital letters in Red (without bars through Middle Congo, but this is a French Equatorial Africa issue). (SG 163, Domfil 940.15, Yv.101) Illustrated at right above.
Variety: Overprint Double (in Maury catalogue)

FEA stamps .
1937 (3c is 1940) First definitive issue of French Equatorial Africa, not illustrated above. The bottom five values show the viaduct: 1c, 2c, 3c, 4c, 5c. (SG34-38, Domfil 937.1-5, Yv. 33-36 1,2,4,5c and Yv.77 3c). I know the 1c and 3c values exist in vertical interpanneau (gutter) pairs and would guess that all the values and all the overprints probably also exist in this format.

1940: 1c, 2c, 3c and 5c only Overprinted in red : AFRIQUE FRANCAISE LIBRE as in left scan above. (SG 109-12, Domfil 940.6-9 but wrong illustration in their 2nd Edition catalogue, Yv. 92-95).
Varieties:
** 1c: Smaller, thinner 'L' in 'LIBRE', illustrated centre above. Foot of ' L ' sometimes entirely missing.
** 1c: Overprint Double

** 2c: Smaller, thinner 'L' in 'LIBRE', illustrated centre above. Foot of ' L ' sometimes entirely missing.
** 2c: Overprint Double

** 3c: Smaller, thinner 'L' in 'LIBRE', illustrated centre above. Foot of ' L ' sometimes entirely missing.
** 3c: Overprint Double ( illustrated above )

** 4c: Smaller, thinner 'L' in 'LIBRE', illustrated centre above. Foot of ' L ' sometimes entirely missing.
** 4c: Overprint Double
** 4c with overprint in RED (sold at auction,by Roumet, 6/2/01, for FFr. 4759.- Stated to be 8 copies known) - perhaps a trial printing or a proof?

** 5c: Smaller, thinner 'L' in 'LIBRE', illustrated centre above. Foot of ' L ' sometimes entirely missing.
** 5c: Overprint Double
** 5c with Inverted Red Overprint (Yvert only, Yv. 95a)
** 5c with the overprint in BLACK (SG 112a, Domfil 940.9DCS, Yv. 95b)
** 5c with missing 'I' in 'LIBRE' (Domfil 940.9VI).
I have some doubts about this last item; can anyone confirm its existence; I presume it would only occur on the stamp with black overprint; it would be a very rare stamp. The variety is noted on the 10c and 25c values (both non-railway), the only two values in the set regularly issued with black overprint; I was not aware that it had been confirmed as existing on the rare 5c with black overprint.
Note: Logically, the combination of Thin ' L ' in ' LIBRE ' and overprint double should exist for all values.

FEA stamps .
1941: Overprinted in Black Afrique Francaise Libre (with a cedilla under the 'c').

(a) First Printing: Lines of overprint 2 mms apart) (Illustration at left above):(SG 146-149, Domfil 941.16-19, Yv. 156-159)

** 1c
** 1c Overprint Inverted (Roumet Auction 24/9/2002)
** 1c Overprint Double
to be re-confirmed ** 1c No cedilla under 'c'.

** 2c
** 2c Overprint Inverted
to be re-confirmed ** 2c Overprint Double (an example sold at auction, Roumet, 6/2/01 for FFr. 1087.-)
** 2c Overprint Double, one inverted ( Caphila Auction, March 2003 )
** 2c No cedilla under 'c'.

** 3c
** 3c Overprint Inverted (Roumet Auction 24/9/2002)
** 3c Overprint Double (Roumet Auction 24/9/2002)
** 3c No cedilla under 'c'.

** 5c
** 5c Overprint Inverted
to be re-confirmed ** 5c Overprint Double
to be re-confirmed ** 5c Overprint on reverse ( Ceres 159a )
** 5c No cedilla under 'c'.

Other Varieties:
** All values with 2 mm spacing exist with a wide (3 mms) spacing between 'Afrique' and 'Francaise' in Position 25 (SG footnote)
** Domfil gives Inverted Overprint without specifying which value(s). I have no information on this.

(b) Second Printing (lines of overprint 3.5 mms apart) (Centre illustration above): SG 146-149 var, Domfil 941.16DS-19DS, Yv. 156-159 var)

** 1c
** 2c
** 3c
** 5c

I suspect there will be numerous other varieties on this issue; information welcome

Fiscal Surcharges : There are numerous Fiscal Surcharges applied to this issue, especially to the 1c value.

1933: Just to fill in the space, really, the right-hand stamp in the scan above shows the only 'viaduct' value of the Middle Congo issue which was not overprinted for use in French Equatorial Africa, the 30c.

My thanks to Bill Weinberger for his assistance in compiling this list.

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