Untitled Document


The high value of the First Definitive
stamps, portraying Sheikh Makhtoum. This
is the only stamp in the set printed with
three colors. The others were done in two

The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Makhtoum, signed an agreement with the Baroody Stamp Company of Beirut, Lebanon, after the British, who had maintained the Dubai post office, indicated they were withdrawing from the area. The contract gave Mr. Stephan the right to print, choose the subjects, determine the quantities and colors, and sell the stamps for the Government of Dubai. This was to take place under the guidance of Mr. Lorenzo and a Post Office board. The government was to pay all the expenses and Mr. Stephan was to pay the Sheikh $12,500 per month. He was permitted to purchase all the stamps he wanted at a 15% discount off the face value and resell them at full face value. Mr. Stephan was in actuality operating at two levels: 1) Representing the Government of Dubai and 2) Operating the Dubai Philatelic Agency where he was making money for himself.

Below is a copy of the agreement between Mr. Michel Stephan and the Sheikh of Dubai, for the production and sale of their stamps. Below the document is a translation in English.

Baroody Stamp Company S A L
Paid-up Capital 100.000 L. L.
Beirut –Lebanon
P.O. Box: 844

The ruler of Dubai, H.E. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saaeed Al Maktoum;

Further to our meeting with Mr. Mohammed Mahdi Al Tager, concerning submitting the postage stamps of the government of Dubai project, we submit our proposals indicated below:

1- The company undertakes to provide purchaser of definitives and commemorative stamps amount to US$ 330.000 per year.

2- The company undertakes to perform all matters concerning propaganda such as printing brochures; and distributing cultural and advertising publications to all dealers, philatelist, the UN organizations, ANSCO and to the postal administrations on its own expense.

3- The company undertakes to prepare all drawings, to contact the owners of the printing press, to facilitate the task of those who responsible for issuing the stamps and to develop programs for each version in accordance with the consent of the government and under its supervision.

4- The company shall submit official letter for determining the date of meeting with the responsible persons for consideration and developing the program of versions intended to be issued, at least once each three months.

5- The company shall organize with the responsible agencies program for issuing one or more versions. The date of each version shall be pre-determined by the agreement of the two parties to enable the company to promote for the same previously.

6- The company undertakes to open credit equals to the full amount of the stamps intended to purchase one month before the date of delivering the stamps.

7- The purchased quantities shall be delivered by the company in Beirut or in the country where the stamps printed. Each party shall bear its incurred expenses of transportation.

8- The company shall sell a limited quantity of each publication to local traders and collectors by the post general manger.

9- Enabling the company to perform all its undertakings as per the provisions of the above mentioned items without facing any criticism by the traders of stamps all over the world, with the charge of monopoly, we think that it is most appropriate to produce the official legal form for our work by getting an official permit from your government granting thereby the company the right of representation in capacity of general agents for publishing propaganda and duly selling Dubai Stamps for requesters;

In our capacity as general agents, therefore, we shall show all quantities we hold until finishing with its name price after the pattern of the amateurs of the United Arab Republic Office and others.

10- In consideration of these services submitted by the company, the profits of the blocked funds, the expenses of broad propaganda including printing of publications, brochures and advertisements in various competent international papers, as well as the wages of employees and stationery services, the company asks to be granted legal share as per the value of one dollar, five robias and 75 besa.

11- This contract shall be automatically renewed unless one party notifies the other of non-renewal before three months of the expiry of the contract.

12- This contract shall be valid form June 15, 1963.

13- The company shall pay sixty thousand dollars upon signing this contract. This amount shall be counted of the purchases of the company from the initial issues by the post general manager when finishing stamps' printing.

We trust that our offer will receive your approval so as to be able to performing our undertakings and submitting the services you required.

With our best wishes

We approve the provisions of the abovementioned articles
Dubai Ruler
/Signed & Sealed/

Post General Manager /Signed/ Financial Expert /Signed/
Managing director of Baroody Stamp Company /Signed & Sealed/

In 1962, Mr. Mahdi al-Tagir (Above), the then Secretary of Sheikh Rashid bin Makhtoum, the ruler of Dubai, made frequent business trips to Beirut, Lebanon. During these trips he allegedly contacted friends and business associates with the intention of locating an ex-Palestinian official to serve as a postmaster for Dubai as Sheikh Rashid had indicated he wanted an Arab for the position. The position was eventually offered to the late Mr. Edmund Lorenzo, a Palestinian then living in Beirut. Mr. Lorenzo contacted his old friend and neighbor in Palestine, Mr. Michel Stephan, who had the contract for producing Dubai’s stamps, and after discussing the situation, accepted the position.

Mr. Stephen met with Mr. Lorenzo (pictured above on the far right) and discussed possible stamp issues and the possible subjects of these issues. Later, they met with Mr. al-Tagir for two hours at the Phoenician Hotel in Beirut and went over the contract between the Government of Dubai and the Broody Stamp Co, which was to handle the production, distribution and sale of the new Dubai stamps. The three of them also discussed possible subjects for the stamps.

Mr. Stephan stated that Mr. al-Tagir frequently mentioned that the British office in Bahrain, that operated the postal services in the area, always declared that the Dubai Post Office was not self sufficient and always lost money. He was not convinced and wanted to prove to the British that stamps alone can produce a profit.

Within a short time, agreements by the Baroody Stamp Company and others were made with the remaining sheikhdoms. Since five of the seven Trucial States (Referred to in this catalog as Sheikhdoms) relied on their stamp issues to support their governments, the respective agents for the sheikhdoms began to flood the market with dubious issues, imperforate issues and souvenir sheets. Although Dubai was the first sheikhdom to issue and sell it’s own stamps, it was not one of those needing the revenue to survive. This multitude of dubious issues caused the stamps of many of the Gulf countries to be negatively referred to as “sand dune issues”.

Shortly thereafter, the newly created Dubai Philatelic Agency began to issue and sell the stamps of the new country. The goal of any stamp agency is to promote and sell the stamps of the county they represent, and at the same time make a profit for themselves. The new agent, Michel Stephan and his American partner, Ezzet Mosden, had been stamp dealers for years and began issuing stamps almost immediately, thus beating Sharjah in releasing it’s first stamps, even though Sharjah had been negotiating to release it’s own stamps for some time.

The subject of how they obtained designs and drawings for the stamps was always avoided by Mr. Stephan whenever I broached the subject. He did state that he was permitted to keep the rejected designs, but not those that were accepted. He would never relate who ended up with the approved designs nor who submitted them. At one point he sold me two small photographs of proposed, unaccepted designs and years later sent me a stack of photostats of more unaccepted designs. He wrote that he would sell me reproductions of some of the designs as he had printed multiple copies to sell on the market. What he had printed was the center designs of some of the accepted sea life designs for the first issues.

Proposed Drawings for the Definitives

Please be aware that these are scans of photostats made many years ago and were "cleaned up", using a computer program to do so. The drawings were done in black and white. Also, all the drawing that were eventually selected for use were modified by shading, etc., but the images are basically the same.

Mr. Stephan sent the following photostats of drawings along with the ones illustrated above, but I have no idea if they were part of a group of drawings he had wanted for Dubai, or if they were done for the other sheikhdoms for which he had the contracts. Obviously, the images of Dubai would have been for Dubai, but in a telephone conversation we had he mentioned discussing with Mr. Lorenzo and Mr. al-Tagir, the possibility of using images of the local fauna on Dubai stamps. At least two of these images were used on the essays for some of the sheikhdoms and one of the two, also for Audhali.

The Following Drawings Were Considered, or Used, for Other Gulf Area Entities

The drawing shown below on the left is of Fujeira Fort and could only have been prepared for the essays for Fujeira. It has the layout used in their design. The drawing on the right, of the camels, has been laid out with areas for the portrait of an individual, the name of the entity and in each bottom corner, areas for the values. Since this is the format for the essays of the three sheikhdoms he prepared, it creates a problem. Was this part of the series on Fauna of the Dubai area that he had discussed with Mr. Lorenzo and Mr. al-Tagir, or was this done as a possible design for the three sheikhdoms?

Click on photo to see other Emirate Essays

The First Definitives

The following drawings of sea life, plus the three similar drawings under the Postage Dues, were the final accepted designs used for the centers of the stamps. It was these images Mr. Stephan had reproduced and offered for sale.

The M. Kamoo Essays

Mr. Mosden had several essays of unacceptable designs illustrated on his Dubai pricelist but they were quite expensive and he would never give me any details regarding them when I would raise the subject. When I finally met him I purchased all of the varieties that he had and he stated Mr. Stephan was responsible for printing them.

Mr. Stephan eventually told me they were submitted by a Mr. M. Kamoo, who was, or had been, a business partner/investor in the Baroody Stamp Company. He provided no more information regarding him, nor the nature of their relationship. From the discussion it was apparent that he and Mr. Kamoo were no longer affiliated. The designs had been worked up into essays and printed, but eventually rejected. The designs consist of a mosque with a view of Dubai City and the Gulf, and the Sheikh. None of the essays showed any value, nor the name of the country.


The First Airmails

Mr. Stephan did not send me any copies of drawings for the Airmail designs. I have taken the two images below from the centers of the two issued stamps. The al-Makhtoum Bridge drawing is different from the other drawing that was considered for one of the two Airmail designs, but closer to the photograph illustrated near the top of this page.

The falcon image was used exactly like this for both the airmail image illustrated on the First Announcement and for the revised, issued design. This image was also used on the stationery for the Dubai Philatelic Agency.

The First Dues

Click above image to view the NCR Worksheets

Additional Designs

Other designs with different sizes of the frames were prepared and actually illustrated and mailed out on the first announcement for the forthcoming stamps. The announcement was mailed on May 15, 1963, two weeks prior to the planned hand-over of the Post Office to the Sheikh on May 31st. That date was later changed to June 15, 1963. What is interesting is that they must have been in a hurry to release the information, to the extent that only one of the stamps illustrated on it was similar to what was actually issued. All of the images below have been taken from the first announcement and enlarged for clarity. Some of these images were used in the Official Trucial States Stamp Catalog and the Minkus Trucial States Stamp Catalog and as far as I know, never corrected.

The announcement for the first stamps has only one image that is similar to the actually issued stamps. That is the 10R high value portraying the Sheikh.

What is shown here are the 16 different proposed designs. The numbers under each image are listed below, informing one of the alleged design of that value. While most of the centers were eventually used on the issued stamps, they were smaller, in relation to the frames.

The portrait of the Sheikh on all but the high value, which is the only illustration showing a value, is slightly different from the one actually used. Note numbers 1, 4 and 8. The first two centers were never used and for number eight, a different image of a crab. Additionally, the over-all width of the stamps, except for the high value are smaller.

Ill Feelings and Skepticism

Back to Introduction

Table of Contents