Dubai Page 3


Mosden purchase

In 1995 I purchased a single stamp from Dubai’s N.Y. World’s Fair set (April 22, 1964) from the late Ezzet Mosden, who had been the American agent for the Dubai Philatelic Agency (Fig. 4).What caught my eye was that it had a Kennedy overprint that I had not previously seen. He indicated he did not remember anything about it. I therefore assumed it was a stamp that someone had “played with” and considered it another of the Dubai unsolved mysteries.

About a year or so later in my correspondence with Michel Stephan of the Barody Stamp Company, who had the original contract to print and distribute the earlier Dubai stamps, I mentioned the item and asked if he knew anything about it. Much to my surprise, he knew all about the stamp and later backed up his story with a copy of a letter from the Postmaster, ordering the overprint, samples of the stamps and the remaining stamps of the set of the one I had purchased.

The story is as follows:
In a letter dated May 1, 1964, the Postmaster of Dubai, Mr. Edmund Lorenzo, authorized the overprinting of three postage and three airmail values of the New York World’s Fair stamps (The original set consisted of 9 stamps) plus the three values of the 15 January, 1964 Kennedy stamps (Fig. 1). The overprints were a way of disposing of their surplus unsold stock of these issues.

Six Values of N.Y. World's Fair set with
Kennedy SS 1

Mr. Lorenzo himself eventually came to Beirut and controlled the overprinting of 5,000 perf. of each value of the six stamps, 1,000 imperf. and 1,000 copies of the World’s Fair souvenir sheet.
The three Kennedy stamps and SS were also overprinted. The 10,000 copies of each of the three Kennedy stamps and 2,000 SS’s were simply overprinted “MAY/29”, in green on the 1R and 1 1/4R values and red on the 75np value (Fig. 2), but the World’s Fair stamps and SS had been overprinted “In Memory of J.F. Kennedy”, in dark blue (Fig 5).

The overprinting was done at the Saikali Press in Beirut, Lebanon, as were all other Dubai overprints.

In a second letter, dated 20 May 1964, he set the date of May 29th to be the release date for the overprinted Kennedy stamps, but made no provisions for the overprinted N.Y. World’s Fair stamps and SS. Shortly thereafter, he became seriously ill and was hospitalized in Beirut.

At the time, Mr. Stephan, the head of the Agency, was attempting to sell the three additional contracts he had for printing and distributing the stamps of the sheikdoms of Ajman, Fujeira and Umm al-Qiwain, and came to the U.S. to do so. The contracts required large amounts of cash to fulfill and he wanted to be rid of them (See my page “Arab World” on this website for examples of his proposed designs for these sheikdoms).

Upon his return, he was in such a rush to get out the remaining stamps that fell under their contract; he had no time to deal with this overprinted issue.

Nine Values with unapproved overprint
J.F. Kennedy Birth Anniversary SS

The single stamp I had purchased in Las Vegas from Mr. Mosden (Fig. 4) was an essay from a complete set of the 9 values that had not been approved. The overprint reads “J.F. Kennedy Birth Anniversary/MAY 29” and is in black (Fig. 6).

Mr. Stephan additionally gave me a 10np value with a partial past-up on the stamp in yet a different script (Fig. 7).

Paste up

Cutout of Birth Anniv 2 cutout of Memory of J.F.Kennedy

The unissued New York World’s Fair set of six stamps and SS had been in storage in Tangier, Morocco, where Mr. Stephan had moved his family and business during the war in Lebanon, and more recently Beirut, where Mr. Stephan is again residing.

In a recent correspondence (September 1999) Mr. Stephan stated that due to the poor condition of a packing crate that contained his store of philatelic items, water got into the container and destroyed many publications and stamps. Of the original quantity, only 1,000 perf., 100 imperf, and 500 souvenir sheets were saved. They have only recently begun to appear on the market as Mr. Stephan sold a few copies to several Arab dealers in the Middle East.

In May of 2003 I learned from Mr. Antoine Helou, who was a friend of the late Mr. Stephan, that two imperforate sheets of each value of the set of nine stamps, exist with a gold overprint. I do not believe the SS exists with the gold overprint.

Hopefully, collectors and dealers will now know the story behind them. It should be emphasized that they were never put on sale in the Dubai Post Office, but are interesting items from that basically unknown period of Dubai’s postal history.

1 October - Anti-Tuberculose Overprint

Unissued Kennedy Overprints

Kennedy May 29 Overprint

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