1971 (11 Issued and 13 Unissued)

Two covers returned due to the war for independence. The top cover was sent from Switzerland to Rajshahi and the next cover was from Karachi, Pakistan to Dacca (East Pakistan) on December 16, 1971.

29 July -1st Stamps of Bangladesh

The cover at the bellow has a postmark of Kasipur and the cover below it, a postmark of Mujibnagar. The Mujibnagar cover is known with both black and purple ink used for the cancellation.

71-1 10p Map
71-2 20p Massacre at Dacca University
71-3 50p Nation of 75 Million People
71-4 R.1 Flag with silhouette of BanglaDesh in the center
71-5 Rs.2 Ballot Box
71-6 Rs.3 Broken Chain – Proclamation of Independent Government
71-7 Rs.5 Sheik Mujibur Rahman
71-8 Rs.10 Support BanglaDesh
8 Stamps

CCMs: Yes
Plate #: 1A known on 10p, 20p, 50p, 1R, 3R and 10R, 1B known on 50p 2R, 5R and 10R (See Link to Additional Information below)
Perf.: 14 ½ x 14 ½
Sheet: 50
Quantity Printed: Unknown
Designer: Biman Mallik
Printer: Format International Security Printer’s Ltd., UK
FDC: Yes. Generic postmark – FIRST POSTAGE STAMPS OF BANGLADESH/CENTRAL/POST OFFICE/ 29 JULY 71/Bangladesh in Bangla. Two different cachets: 1) consists of all writing in green with the country written “Bangladesh”, in English; 2) cachet is red and yellowish-brown with the Country written as “BanglaDesh”, in English. Also, the English writing is larger than that on the green cachet..
Pmks.: Kasipur (purple), Mujibnagar, Philatelic Bureau-Dacca
Insert: None
ADDITIONAL: At one time it was reported that imperforate stamps existed and they were from the archives of Format International Security Printer’s Ltd. and were sold when the press went out of business. No one has reported seeing them and the imperforate variety has been removed from this catalog, until it can be determined that they do exist. Additional help is needed in recording the correct plate numbers for this issue. Only those seen by the auther are listed at this time.


The problem is complicated by the printing of the vertical text printed down either the left or right margin of the sheets. The printing consists of three lines of small text reading “Format International Security Printers, Ltd”, continuously running down most of the left or right margin of the sheets. In some instances it is on the side where the plate numbers are located, and in others on the side where the CCMs are located. It is found either closer to the top of the sheet, or to the bottom. Possibly larger sheets were printed and they contained four complete sheets of the stamp and the sheets were then cut into individual sheets. If that was the case the three lines could have been towards the middle of each sheet, and when cut, would be towards the bottom, or top of the individual sheets. These four positions exist for all the denominations.

It would seem logical that all the stamps were printed with a plate numbered 1A and a subsequent printing of the same stamp with plate 1B. See December 20th for a discussion of the First Day Covers for this issue and the 20 December overprints.

On this sheet the three lines of text are on the right and go to the bottom of the sheet.
Note that the three lines of text are on the right side of the sheet near the CCMs, but at the top.
On this sheet the lines of text are on the left side of the sheet near the plate number and on the bottom.
In this instance the lines of text are on the left side at the top.
The first issue and the CCMs (Color Control Marks). There has been no consistancy in the plate numbers and Color Control Marks, over the following years. Some issues have neither a plate number, nor a CCM. In time the plate numbers were dropped altogether and only the CCMs can be found on the individual sheets of stamps.
Note that the 20p value has the blue Format International Security Printers, Ltd text in small blue lettering running down the left margin of the block. In this instance it does not continue to the bottom of the sheet. In some of the later “Bangladesh Liberated” overprinted values, it does. It apparently does not run from the top of the sheet to the bottom on any of the sheets, but is either shifted towards the top, or the bottom. Also, it is found on either the side where the plate numbers are, or on the side where the CCMs are found. It would seem logical that all values would have a Plate 1A, and subsequent printing would have the 2A. The 1A exists on the December 20th overprinted stamps, therefore it must exist in the first printing.
Genuine FDC of the first Definitive issue which was also the first stamps of the country. The stamps were placed on sale at the Dacca (Later Dhaka) G.P.O. on 20 December 71. Previous FDCs were produced and sold in London and India and were dated 29 July 71. The “E” of “DEC” is broken and looks like an “F”. This is true of all the genuine covers.
This image was sent to me by Michael Gallery who met in London in the Spring of 2016 with Mr. Biman Malik, the designer of the first set of Bangladesh stamps. Mr Malik later told me in a telephone conversation with him that the cover is a total fake, including his signature in the upper left corner. Someone faked his signature. The information provided to me with this image is as follows: “This FDC is an example of blatant plagiarism. This offence was committed by a high-ranking official of the Government of Bangladesh, who was also a barrister, therefore he knew that plagiarism is a punishable crime. Under his instructions through a respectable philatelist this FDC was printed in Calcutta and sold to the innocent philatelists all over the world. Most likely the respectable philatelist was not aware that he was handling stolen property.”
An early cover bearing three of the stamps from the first set, without the overprint. The cover was cancelled on 25 April 1972 at Phultala and arrived at Uttarpara on the 28th of April.

20 Dec. - Bangladesh Liberated (Overprint on #1, 7 & 10, measuring 12mm horizontally)

71-9 10p Map
71-10 Rs.5 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
71-11 Rs.10 Support BanglaDesh
3 Stamps

CCMs: Yes
Plate #: 1A known for 10p, 20p, 1R, 3R 5R and 10R, 1B known for 50p, 5R and 10R
Perf.: 14 ½ x 14 1/2
Sheet: 50
Designer: Biman Mallik
Quantity Overprinted: Unknown
Designer of Overprint: Format staff
Printer: International Security Printer=s Ltd., UK
Printer of Overprint: Unknown
FDC: Yes. Two different FDCs exist for this issue. The first is the genuine cover and has a postmark reading ?
The second cover was created months after December 20, 1971. In most, if not all, cases all three stamps are found on the same envelope. These were created with the assistance of postal employees. These are very collectible, difficult to locate and expensive. They are readily identified as they are on plain envelopes with the postmark reading”(star)PHILATELIC BUREAU (star)DACCA G.P.O./20 DEC 71″. The “E” of “DEC” is not broken as in the genuine covers.
Pmks.: Philatelic Bureau
Insert: None

Additional: See the Fake and Questionable Items page in the Table of Contents for information on fake overprints.

Plate blocks of the 5R, overprinted stamp. Note that there are two different plate numbers, 1A and 1B. It is believed that only a single plate was used for some of the values. Also note the positions of the three lines of small text in the margins.

This logo was designed by Mr M.A. Salam, to whom this catalog is dedicated, and was accepted by the Post office and has been used on the majority of FDCs and Special Covers. This is a rubber-stamped logo. Most later Postal Department-printed envelopes have this logo printed on them. 

The large red rubber stamped image of a postal runner is the logo of the Post Office and is printed on the back of all later First Day Covers and Special Covers. Since there was no time to produce them, no official Post Office covers were prepared for the first stamps and the oveprinted stamps, many privately produced covers were stamped with this logo on the back. These rubber stamps logos are very scarce and not often seen. The logo generally is printed in red, but it is also seen in several other colors on covers produced later by the Post Office. Due to the high value of the one stamp, and the fact that the population had been at war for some time, dealers and collectors either could not afford, nor chose not to make many covers using this value. Thus, many cover exist with only the two lower values on them.

A genuine First Day Cover of the 10p stamp with the overprint “BANGLADESH/LIBERATED” in English and Bangla. Note that the date (20 December, 1971) is the same for this cover as it was for the first cover illustrated above. These stamps were all put on sale at the same time at the Dacca G.P.O. RIGHT: A genuine First Day Cover of the 5R and 10R stamps with the “BANGLADESH/LIBERATED” overprint. Although the complete set of stamps were overprinted, the government only accepted the three values. The other five values were not issued by the government. The overprint exists in two different sizes. The genuine overprint is 12mm horizontally, while the other is 13mm. None of the 13mm overprinted stamps are considered genuine and were never issued by the government.

This cover from the Jessore Post Office has the three overprinted stamps and the correct date. However, it is an “after the fact” cover that was created some time after the date on the envelope. It is considered a scarce cover.

The following stamps of the fist set were overprinted with the same overprint as numbers 71-9, 71-10 and 71-11, but not accepted by the Post Office and were not officially issued.
71-1un 20p Massacre at Dacca University
71-2un 50p Nation of 75 Million People
71-3un R.1 Flag with silouette of BanglaDesh in the center
71-4un Rs.2 Ballot Box
71-5un Rs.3 Broken Chain – Proclamation of Independent Government
a. inverted ovpt.
5 Stamps
CCMs: Yes
Plate #: 1A
Perf.: 14 ½ x 14 ½
Sheet: 50
Designer: Biman Mallik
Quantity Overprinted: Unknown
Designer of Overprint: Format staff
Printer of Overprint: Most likely Format
FDC: Yes. Similar design as the 29 July, 1971 envelope but Bangladesh in Bengali at the left is red, rather than green. The postmark is smaller and reads FIRST DAY/20 DEC 1971/DACCA/G.P.O./PHILATELIC BUREAU.
Pmks.: Dacca
Insert: None
Additional: The overprint is found on all eight values of the first set but only the above three values were accepted by the Post Office. At the time of their issuance in Dacca, only ten sheets of each of the three accepted values were available, and they were flown in the previous day by helicopter. Several years later quantities of the stamps were found in the treasury.
The inverted overprint is most likely found on all the stamps of the set, but only the two mentioned have been seen.
The printer’s (Format Security Press) drawing and mockups exist for the overprint.
1 Sheet with black and white drawing of the 8 stamps and the overprint, telling which are to be black and which is to be red.
2 Rough “Bangladesh Liberated” in English and Bbangla showing the layout of the wording
3 Refined printing in Bengali with “TOP”, indicating the correct position for the writing.
4 Cards with enlarged printing of “BANGLADESH LIBERATED” in English only with a long line above and below it.
For some reason, covers were made with all eight values of the? overprint and cancelled on December 30, 1974, at Chittagong. It is obvious that they were made for philatelic reasons as the entire set is on the envelope and the envelope is unaddressed.

Unofficial First Day Cover of the 12mm overprint. This cover was issued by representatives of the Bangladesh government in England. This cover was not sanctioned by the government and includes all the values of the set. The government only accepted three values of the set overprinted (The 10p, 5R and 10R) Another overprint measuring 13mm was also created but it was not accepted by the governement.
1971 – Unissued – Bangladesh Liberated (This overprint measures 13mm horizontally and is found on all values of the first set # 1-8)
71-6un 10p Map
71-7un 20p Massacre at Dacca University
71-8un 50p Nation of 75 Million People
71-9un R.1 Flag with Silouette of BanglaDesh in Center
71-10un Rs.2 Ballot Box
71-11un Rs.3 Broken Chain – Proclamation of Independent Government
71-12un Rs.5 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
a. unissued – four horizontal black bars across the face of Sk. Mujibur Rahman. This stamp has only been found on a few covers to date. It is cancelled at Chittagong 5 September 1975. The leader was killed on 15 August 1995. It is believed the overprint and covers were prepared by an Indian dealer. It is unaddressed.

71-13un Rs.10 Support BanglaDesh
8 Stamps

CCMs: Yes
Plate #: 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D
Sheet: 50
Designer: Biman Mallik
Designer of Overprint: Format staff
Quantity Overprinted: Unknown
Printer: Format International Security Printer’s Ltd., UK
Printer of overprint: Most likely Format
Insert: None

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