Casey Jones Rail Road Unit of the ATA

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TRAINS on Railway Parcel Stamps and Railway Letter Stamps of the World


Railway Parcel and Letter Stamps are stamps issued by a railway to show payment of the fee for transport of parcels and newspapers between railway stations. Parcel and letter services used to be a popular practice among railways all over the world, but stamps were used in relatively few. The stamps were usually affixed to a waybill, rather than to the item being shipped, and often retained by the railway and later destroyed, so many were not easily available to collectors. Material to be carried on trains usually had to be delivered to the originating station and collected from the receiving one, though some railway companies offered delivery on the receiving end for an additional fee.

Many of these stamps had images of rail vehicles on them, so they are popular among rail stamp collectors. My goal here is to show a representative sample of the ones with trains, and to give general information about what is available overall.

I know of no country where railroads still use railway parcels stamps or railway letter stamps apart from concoctions for tourists issued in the UK and in Australia.

Below is a table of the countries I know of whose railroads issued Railway Stamps that show trains or rail vehicles, plus examples from a few other countries, somewhat arbitrarily chosen, with links to the pages where I discuss them and give examples. Below that table is a list of the printed references I used in compiling these pages. Web references are cited in context.

Afghanistan Algeria Argentina Australia Belgian Congo Belgium
Columbia Denmark Finland France Germany Great Britain and Ireland
Iraq Japan Netherlands New Zealand Norway South Africa
  Sweden Switzerland USA Venezuela  

IMPORTANT NOTE: These pages are a work-in-progress, subject to revision as I learn more. I have done the best I could to be accurate, but most of what I know about this area is from books, articles, and web pages, some of which disagree with each other, so I am sure there are errors here. If you find any, please let me know, so I can correct them. Send to .


My heartfelt thanks to Anthony M. Goodbody, long-time bulwark of the Railway Philatelic Group of the UK (RPG), and author of many books, articles, and monographs about things rail philatelic, for his patience and generosity in helping me to understand this area better.

Most of the following books are out of print, but copies may be available from philatelic literature dealers, or through auctions such as those run by the RPG. The Western Philatelic Library in Sunnyvale, CA often has duplicate material to sell.

Katalog over Danmark Jernbanefrimaerker, 1865-1965, by Reinhold Jensen & P. Thomassen; pub. Arhus, 1966

The Railway Parcel Stamps of Finland, by Kaj Hellman & Bjorn-Eric Saarinen; pub. Oy Kaj Hellman Ltd, 1993

The Railroad Parcel Stamps of Germany, by Dusterbehn and Barr; pub. Barr, 1998

The Railway and Airway Letter Stamps of the British Isles, 1891-1971, by Capt. H.T. Jackson, F.R.P.S., L.; pub. Harry Hayes, 1979

The Railway Letter Stamps of Great Britain & Ireland, 1891-1947, by Roger de Lacy-Spencer; pub Moorside Publishing Ltd, November, 2000

Priced catalogue of British Colonial Adhesive Revenue, Telegraph, and Railway Stamps, 1908; compiled by A.B. Kay, pub. Bridger & Kay, London

Great Britain & Ireland Railway Letter Stamps, 1957-1998, by Neill Oakley; pub. Railway Philatelic Group of the UK

New Zealand Railway Charges Stamps: Design and Printing, by J.W. Brodie; pub. Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand (Inc.), 1983

New Zealand Cinderellas Catalogue - 2002, Ed. Dave Heslop; pub. David Holmes Philatelist Ltd and Classic Stamps Ltd, March, 2002

Norwegian Railway and Steamship Parcel Stamps, by Frederick A. Brofos; pub. The Scandinavian Collectors Club, 1964

Railway Stamps of South Africa, by H.S. Hagen and S.P. Naylor; pub. The Philatelic Federation of Southern Africa, 1985

Transvaal Railway Stamps and Travelling Post Offices, by Alan R. Drysdall; pub. James Bendon, Ltd., 1997

Still more references on this topic can be found on this Bibliography page of the RPG:

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All text Copyright © 2002, William M. Senkus

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Revised -- 12/12/2004