Pre-war and foreign stamps

There were many types of stamps and overprints used during the Japanese occupation of Sumatra. Initially some stamps without overprint were used, but stamps with the portrait of the Dutch queen were not allowed. Stamps from Japan itself were valid in all occupied territories, and we see them regularly used on Sumatra. Moreover, in September 1942 Sumatra was united with Malaya for about a half a year. As a result, Japanese occupation stamps from the Malayan states were also used on Sumatra. We also see a few stamps from other areas, such as Manchuria, generally with commemorative cancellations. That the above stamps were used in the Indies during the occupation can only be determined from the cancellation.


    Local and regional overprints

Early in 1942 instructions were issued to overprint the Dutch East Indies stamps. This was done regionally and locally. As a result more than 50 local overprints have been recorded for Sumatra. Many of these have important local varieties. For example, there are more than 20 different cross overprints for the Sumatra West Coast alone.

Interesting is that two Dutch stamps were also overprinted. For pre-paid replies to mail sent to the Netherlands, the larger post offices had some 5 and 12½ c stamps of the Netherlands in stock. With the instruction to overprint all stamps, some post offices, such as the one at Pajakombo, also overprinted the Dutch stamps.


    General overprints

Towards the end of 1942 and in early 1943 overprints of a more general character were introduced. These are the overprints Dai Nippon (Great Japan) and Dai Nippon Yubin (Great Japan Postage). On April 29, 1943, a 3½ and a 10 cent stamp were issued as the first two values of a definitive series. They were followed by ten more values on August 1, 1944. On January 1, 1944, the so-called T-overprint was introduced for all of Sumatra. These general overprints were sometimes also applied to stamps that already had an occupation overprint.

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