Revisado Handstamp

Various stamps of the 18811888 Surcharge Era are found showing part of the word 'Revisado' (revised) across the stamp. Although it has the appearance of a manuscript marking, it is actually a handstamp. The handstamp measures 39mm long and 10mm tall (as measured to the highest point of the 'R'), and is only known to exist in black. The handstamp was applied on postal, telegraph and revenue stamps issued between 1881-1888 to 'revise' the value of the stamp back to the original face value.

One of the prime purposes for surcharging stamps in the 1880s was to provide sufficient quantities of stamps, at the correct value, to accommodate the rapidly expanding telegraph service between the Philippines and overseas locations. Payment for telegraphs was required in stamps, which were affixed to the telegraph receipt. In most cases, the surcharge value on the stamps was higher in value than the original stamp (for example, a 1-real surcharge on a 2-centavo base stamp). Stamps with high values were required to pay the higher telegraph rates to distant destinations such as London, New York, Paris, etc.

It is speculated that towards the end of 1888, there was a shortage of lower stamp values required for paying telegraphs sent to relatively short distances, such as to Hong Kong, Amoy, or Singapore. To meet the demand for this shortage, the 'Revisado' handstamp was applied to a surcharged stamp on a telegraph receipt, indicating that the value of the stamp was to revert back to the original value, not the surcharged value, for purposes of paying the telegraph rate. Quite often, other non-surcharged stamps affixed to the same telegraph receipt also had the handstamp applied.

Stamps corresponding to the total fee payable for each telegraph were affixed to the telegraph receipt and then cancelled with either a hole-punch, postal cancellation, telegraph cancellation, or a combination of all three.

Usage of this handstamp was primarily between January through April 1889, with a few stamps known with later dates. The earliest recorded date of use, confirmed with by a blue 'Manila' circular date stamp, is January 1st 1889. Majority of the handstamps were applied horizontally, with a few vertically applied handstamps also known.

All loose (off-paper) stamps with this handstamp would have been removed from the original telegraph receipts, and as a result, are technically classified as Telegraphic used issues, as opposed to Postal issues.

Note: It is anticipated that majority of the 1881 to 1888 Postal issues exist with the 'Revisado' handstamp.

Top and Bottom Sections of Telegraph Receipt
Showing Stamps with the Revisado Handstamp applied

(From the collection of Atty. Rick Miggins)


1)          Revisado Handstamp. Don Peterson, IPPS Newsletter, 4th Quarter 1997.

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 Last Update: 11.03.2018