Nigeria Aerogrammes

Beginning January 1, 1914, Nigeria was a British Crown Colony and Protectorate. On October 1, 1954, it became the autonomous "Federation of Nigeria" but was still a Colony. The "Federation of Nigeria" became independent within the commonwealth on October 1, 1960. Northern Camerouns joined and the "Federal Republic of Nigeria" was declared on October 1, 1963.

On January 1, 1973, Nigeria decimalized its currency from £sd to Naira (= 10 shillings) and kobo (1 N = 100 k). The aerogramme rate of 12d (1 shilling) became 10 kobo. The currency was stable until about 1985 when significant inflation began until the aerogramme rate exceeded 20N.

The first aerogramme was issued on December 15, 1948. Most of the subsequent issues (many required due to rate inflation) were unannounced and introduced with no celebration. It is a continuing challenge to determine the earliest date of usage for many of the rates and aerogrammes. The "Before" dates shown in the listing are dates of used copies that have been recorded.

This listing draws heavily on both the EAPC "Katalog der Aerogramme von Afrika 1995" and Kessler's "Catalog of Aerograms", Volumes 2 and 3. Norbert Sehler's excellent "Neuer Ganzsachen-Katalog Afrika 2007" has contributed some newer items and provided a good crosscheck of the other catalogs. In order to provide as consistent a listing as possible, the assigned catalog numbers are as close to those of the EAPC catalog as possible. Where major items have been added, a capital letter has been used, e.g., 27A.

Thanks to the many individuals who contributed to both catalogs.
Thanks also to those who have contributed to this listing:
Richard Heffner and others

(Last Modified: February 26, 2012)


NOTES: Key terms are defined and illustrated on a figure of Nigeria #1.
Most terms related to aerogrammes are defined in a Glossary.
The section on Watermarks includes the years that the paper was produced.

1) 15.12.48.
6d, purple-brown stamp, King George VI in profile within oval with coconut trees to left and right. Dark blue inscriptions and bluish gray halftone overlay (consisting of small dots) on gray paper. The stamp is imprinted within an opening in the overlay which varies in size (approx. 24 mm wide x 27 mm high). The stamp is rarely in the exact center of the opening. Three different dies were used for the stamp impression during the 5-yr life and several printings of this issue. They differ principally in the shading of the face and the position of the eyes. Format B, tablet A-I, folded size 124 x 102 mm.        

12.00 8.00 6d First Issue
 
2) 01.10.49.
1d (Inland Aerogramme), red lilac stamp similar to No. 1. Green inscriptions include an additional imprint near bottom center of the front panel: "For use within Nigeria only." Light green halftone overlay on green-gray paper.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
3) 01.09.53.
6d, bicolored stamp imprint mostly in dark gray showing British Crown and denomination with IFE BRONZE head in orange-brown. Inscriptions in dark gray with blue halftone (NOT solid color) overlay on white paper with watermark: "Imperial Air Mail" with letter "F" ("F" is reversed as always). Thin, solid, wavy blue line simulates perforations around the opening in the overlay for the stamp imprint. On the back panel are "Sender's name and address:-" and 3 address lines vertically oriented as before. Dotted "<- Second fold here ->" line points to between "t" of "First" and "f" of "fold". Folded size 122 x 100 mm. The colors of the overlay and stamp imprint vary.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
4) 1954.
1 1/2d (Inland Aerogramme), green. "GROUNDNUTS" (peanuts) in country scene and Queen Elizabeth in oval with crown at right. Airmail tablet and inscriptions with an additional imprint near bottom center of the front panel: "FOR USE WITHIN NIGERIA ONLY" (all upper-case sans-serif letters). On back panel, "Sender's name and address:-" with 3 dotted address lines are now horizontal with two-line admonition "IF ANYTHING IS ENCLOSED THIS LETTER / WILL BE SENT MY ORDINARY MAIL" below the liens. All printing in green on gray paper. Format B, tablet M, size ??.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
5) Before 13.4.1955 .
6d gray, orange-brown, IFE BRONZE similar to No. 3. Overlay is printed from solid plate, not halftone. There are no thin wavy lines around the stamp design, but the opening in overlay has simulated perforations. Overlay inside and outside cover entire sheet except space for stamp imprint and gumming surfaces. The paper is watermarked "Imperial Air Mail" and letter "G" ("G" always reversed). The Airmail tablet is the same as for #3with the 4 line admonition "IF ANYTHING IS EN- / CLOSED THIS LETTER / WILL BE SENT BY / ORDINARY MAIL." On back panel are three sender's address lines below which the exact same admonition is repeated but in only two lines, "IF ANYTHING IS ENCLOSED THIS LETTER / WILL BE SENT BY ORDINARY MAIL."        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
6) Before 24.10.55.
6d gray, orange-brown, same stamp as No. 3, 5, 7 New air mail notice black, blue overlaminates and on the inside of Aeroqramms tide at Nos. 3 and 5 (on ueiGem paper). Address lines horizontally back, note (Two lines) now starts: "An Air Letter ...", no IP Similar to No. 5, except Tablet E. Same type of overlay inside and outside. No watermark. Inscribed on back panel "An Air Letter Should Not Contain" etc. in two lines.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
7) Before 15.5.1956,
6d gray, orange-brown IFE BRONZE similar to No. 6, Same solid blue overlay but only on the outside, leaving the inside white. Unwatermarked paper. Back panel has the two-line admonition "An Air Letter Should Not" etc. The overlay is blue but with a slight greenish tint.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
8) Before 3.10.56.
1 1/2d (Inland Aerogramme), green as No. 4 (Inland Aerogramme), but revised airmail tablet with 5-row admonition "IF ANYTHING IS EN- / CLOSED THIS LETTER / MAY BE SURCHARGED / AT STANDARD POSTAGE / RATES". Back panel has a 3-line admonition of exactly the same text. All printing in green on gray paper. Curved ends of folding flaps.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
9) 1.11.58.
2d (Inland Aerogramme), slate gray, tin mine, Queen, Back panel has a 3-line admonition. All printing in slate gray on gray paper.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
10) 1.2.61.
3d (Inland Aerogramme), green, Crafts showing "OYO CARVER" carving a utensil, same Airmail tablet as #6, . All printing in green on gray paper. At bottom center of front panel is the inscription "For Use Within Nigeria Only". On back panel is "Sender's name and address: ___.." with 3 address lines without admonition. Second folding line points to "ol" of "<- First fold here ->". Size 122 x 100 mm, green to dark green colors.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
11) 1.2.61.
6d red, Benin mask, blue inscriptions on light blue paper. Rear three-line instructions top line 94 mm. Size 122 x 100 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
12) ?1963?
6d red, Benin mask, new airmail tablet. There were numerous printings which can be differentiated by text lengths, positions and colors (both paper and ink). The longest line in the back panel admonition is known at several lengths from 93.5 mm to 96.5 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
13) 1967.
4d (Inland Aerogramme), red-brown, leopard mother with two cubs, light green paper, other imprints in green, green diamond border, size 134 x 93 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
NOTE: PARROT AEROGRAMMES:
The three gray parrot aerogrammes are most readily distinguished by the lengths of "PAR AVION" and "AEROGRAMME" in the airmail tablet at the upper left.
Another significant difference is the position and length of the "<- First fold here ->" instruction.
Also, #15 can be easily distinguished by the ends of its folding flaps being straight at an angle rather than curved.

14) Before 29.9.68.
9d, two gray parrots in crimson, inscriptions and tablet in light blue on light blue paper. Tablet has "PAR AVION" 9.5 mm long and "AEROGRAMME" 11.0 mm. There are 5 address lines with top line 84.5 mm long. On reverse is "Sender's name and address:" starting 3 dotted lines below which is 3-line admonition "AN AIR LETTER SHOULD NOT CONTAIN ANY / ENCLOSURE; IF IT DOES IT WILL BE SURCHARGED / OR SENT BY ORDINARY MAIL." where center line is 90.0 mm. "To open cut here ->" at top is 26mm. Dotted "<- Second fold here ->" line points to "h" of "here" and "<- First fold here ->" is 33 mm long. Folded size 120 x 100 mm with rounded flaps.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
15) Before 5.4.69 (form available earlier as letter datelined 31.3.69).
9d two gray parrots in vermilion, inscriptions and tablet in bright blue on light blue paper. Tablet has "PAR AVION" 12.0 mm and "AEROGRAMME" 16.0 mm. There are 5 address lines with top line 90.0 mm long. On reverse is "Sender's name and address:" starting 3 dotted lines below which is 3-line admonition "AN AIR LETTER SHOULD NOT CONTAIN ANY / ENCLOSURE; IF IT DOES IT WILL BE SURCHARGED / OR SENT BY ORDINARY MAIL." where center line is 94.5 mm. "To open cut here ->" at top is 36.5 mm. Dotted "<- Second fold here ->" line points to "l" of "fold" and "<- First fold here ->" is 36 mm long. Folded size 122 x 99 mm with angled flaps.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
16) Before 29.4.71.
9d two gray parrots in bright crimson, inscriptions and tablet in dark blue on light blue paper. Tablet has "PAR AVION" 11.2 mm and "AEROGRAMME" 14.0 mm. There are 5 address lines with top line 85.0 mm long. On reverse is "Sender's name and address:" starting 3 dotted lines below which is 3-line admonition "AN AIR LETTER SHOULD NOT CONTAIN ANY / ENCLOSURE; IF IT DOES IT WILL BE SURCHARGED / OR SENT BY ORDINARY MAIL." where center line is 90.0 mm. "To open cut here ->" at top is 26.5 mm. Dotted "<- Second fold here ->" line points to "ol" of "fold" and "<- First fold here ->" is 31 mm long. Folded size 119 x 99 mm with rounded flaps.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
NOTE: CURRENCY REFORM: On January 1, 1973, Nigeria decimalized its currency from £sd to Naira (= 10 shillings) and kobo (1 N = 100 k). The aerogramme rate of 12d (1 shilling) became 10 kobo. The first stamps in N/k were issued on January 8, 1973.

17) Before 12.9.73.
5k dark green, cattle ranching, cattle herd (Inland Aerogramme). Paper light green, border of dark green lozenges, size 133 x 92 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
18) 1973.
10k (Inland Aerogramme), green, two cheetahs, "Yankari Game Reserve", Border of green lozenges border, folded size 134 x 93 mm. This is a relatively rare aerogramme.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
19) Before 15.6.1973.
10k blue, two cheetahs, "Yankari Game Reserve", Airmail blue note, new three-part form, light blue paper. Folded size 152 x 105 mm        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
20) Before 3.1.1980.
20k blue, vaccine production. Folded size 153 x 105 mm. Color of paper varies from light blue to gray-blue.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
21) ?1984?
20k (Inland Aerogramme) green flower branch "TECOMA STANS". All imprints in green on green paper. Folded size 134 x 88 mm. This aerogramme is very rare.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
22) Before 10.12.84.
20k blue flower branch "TECOMA STANS", similar to #21. All printing in blue on blue gray paper, three-part form. Folded size 152 x 105 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
23) 16.6.86.
40k, dark blue, "NKPOKITI DANCERS" (a rhythmic acrobatic dance). All printing in blue on light blue-gray paper. Three-part form, folded size 152 x 105 mm. Several printings vary in color of impression and paper.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
24) Before 4.2.1992.
1N, blue, Mining equipment working in a "stone quarry", all printing blue on light blue paper. Three-part form as before, folded size 152 x 105 mm. Several printings vary in color of impression and paper.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
25) 1.3.1992.
50k (Inland Aerogramme), dark green, post office, Inland Aerogramme. Airmail tablet now with rectangle. All imprints in green on green paper, border of green lozenges. Small size 134 x 92 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
26) 1993.
20N on 40k dark blue No. 23 (dancers). Violet handstamp "N 20:00"        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
27) 1993.
20N on 1N blue No. 24 (quarry). Black handstamp "N 20:00".        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
27A) ?1993?
20N on 20k blue No. 20 (vaccine production). Black handstamp "N 20:00"        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
28) 1994.
1.50N (Inland Aerogramme), multicolored, African elephant. Four dotted lines address. Tablet with "BY AIR MAIL." in rectangle above "AEROGRAMME" and "AIR LETTER". Admonition at the bottom center of front panel, "For use within Nigeria only." Border of black lozenges. On back panel is "Sender's name and address" and three dotted address lines. All printing other than stamp in black on light green paper. Size 134 x 92 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 
29) 1994.
20N, multicolored "Roan Antelopes" on savannah. Redesigned airmail tablet at top left with "BY AIR MAIL" in dark blue in center of bright blue ribbon. Below are two antelopes on grassland. "AEROGRAMME" and "PAR AVION" at bottom left. Five solid address lines (top is 109 mm). On second panel is a multicolored illustration of native pottery-making and village, "Name and address of sender" with 4 solid lines, and 2-line admonition, "AN AEROGRAMME SHOULD NOT CONTAIN / ANY ENCLOSURE." All inscriptions and instructions are in bright blue on light blue paper. New "long" format with folded size of 203 x 98 mm.        

-- -- 6d First Issue
 


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