Ceylon 1952 Star Orchid stamp variations


I’m sure that at one stage (likely 25+ years ago) I had nearly 20 copies of this thanks to a larger collection bequeathed to me by a grand aunt. Over the years I’ve given away most of them assuming that they are all duplicates. Imagine my horror when I returned to my childhood hobby recently and realised that there are THREE distinct variations.

Maybe I was not a very observant child. I most certainly did not have access to the internet or catalogues like Stanley Gibbons (SG). Either way, I hope I can help you avoid this situation by pointing out the differences below.

1. So the first one was issued on 1 February 1952 as a 35 cent stamp. This has an SG catalog number of LK 424 and it gives prominence to the word CEYLON in English with Sinhalese and Tamil notations appearing in smaller script. The stamp subject and words POSTAGE AND REVENUE are also given in English.

2. A “correction” was issued in 1954 – by all means, it looks like the same thing. However, a closer look with a magnifying glass might help you realise that the Tamil notation in the first one was missing a “dot” over the third character. Thus, this 1954 stamp was issued to correct that mistake. SG catalog number: LK 424a


The missing dot appears

3. The third one issued in 1958 is far more obvious. Thanks to this idiot passing a Sinhala Only Act  the majority of the stamp text is presented in Sinhalese with only the country name displayed in smaller Tamil and English letters.


If I was a non-Sinhala speaking philatelist I would be REALLY TICKED OFF. For all you know, those squiggles could mean “Centenary of the Wee Red Flower”.

And there you have it. If you are not anal retentive like I am and can be content with having just one of these in your collection, good for you. As it happens, out of the 5 “duplicates” I have retained, only the corrected version (#2) above and the Sinhala version (#3) are currently in my possession.

Woe is me.

PS: If you have a copy of the #1 stamp above please let me know so I can beg you for it.

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