The 1915 British Occupation of Bushire

24th July 2019

The Iranian port of Bushehr, strategically positioned in the Persian Gulf, was occupied by British forces from the 8th of August to 16th of October 1915. This was largely as a response to the activities of the enigmatically named ‘Intelligence Bureau of the East’, established by the Germans to promote nationalist groups in India and surrounding countries in the period prior to the first World War.

During their occupation the British issued 2 sets of overprinted Persian stamps for use in the area using the anglicised name of Bushire. The overprinting was carried out at the British Residency and, particularly with the Ahmed Mirza stamps, various printing anomalies and errors occurred that have been studied and collected by philatelists ever since. Most of the stamps were overprinted in horizontal strips of ten and a constant error occurred in position 9 in some of the 8 settings that are recognised, with the stop after ‘Occupation’ being omitted.

The August stamp auction includes a superb collection of Bushire overprints in 23 lots, with examples of the standard stamps and also the catalogued errors and identified overprint settings.

The 16th of August Ahmed Mirza set of 14 values to 10kr Fine Used.


Ahmed Mirza set to 3k Mint.


Ahmed Mirza 8 values to 5kr each with variety ‘no stop’ which occurred in position 9.


11th September Coronation of Shah Ahmed values to 1t, each used on-piece


11th September Coronation of Shah Ahmed values to 1t Mint.


The Bushire overprinted stamps have been widely forged so it is important that stamps are correctly expertised, the stamps in this collection come with various expertising marks or certificates.

Article by Phil Stowe

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