Wuga Issues

German East Africa

By late 1915, the British blockade of German East Africa had led to a shortage of postage.  In January 1916, designs were produced for an emergency issue of stamps which consisted of 4 different designs, (1) for 2 1/2 and 7 1/2 Heller, (2) for 4 Heller, (3) for 15, 20, 30, 45 and 60 Heller, and (4) for 1, 2, and 3 Rupie.  In the end, the first and last designs were the only proposed designs which were actually printed.

wuga_designs

Wuga Provisional Designs

In March 1916, the 2/1 Heller, 7 1/2 Heller, and 1 Rupie designs were printed on the printing press at the Mission Station in Wuga.

wuga_press_1912

Wuge Printing Press, 1912

The paper was ungummed and rouletted.  The printer had insufficient supply of both  “2”  and “7” slugs, so a mixture of typefaces was used — each sheet of 100 contained 60 Type I typefaces and 40 Type II typefaces, arranged as shown.

Wuga MiNr III & IV Sheet Layout

This arrangement can be seen in this rare copy of an entire sheet of MiNr IV.

Prior to their issue, however, the German freighter Marie broke the blockade, bringing a fresh supply of Yacht Issues.  The provisional issues were therefore not used.  Shortly thereafter, to prevent their capture by the British, the stamps were buried on a plantation near Morogoro.

In August 1921, the Allies permitted the Germans to return to the scene and recover the stamps.  Due to the burial and the humidity, the stamps were in poor condition, and many had to be destroyed.  The remainder were auctioned in Germany.

Total numbers are as follows:

Wuga Production & Sale Count

At the auction, many copies were auctioned in se-tenant pairs.