Q3   July 2005  member ESC240

I have recently obtained two similar unaddressed covers with Israeli stamps of the 1950-54 Third Jewish Coins issue (5 and 20pr on one; 5 and 35pr on the other). The cancellation, in blue-black over all four stamps, looks rather like an Egyptian Post Office Registration cachet, but in the centre section, where the clerk would normally write a reference number, is a printed date 4-11-56, presumably a date of some significance to Israeli forces occupying the tiny town west of El Arish on the north Sinai coast. Does anyone have ANY philatelic material from Mazar? And does anyone know of an Egyptian Registration cachet with a printed date?

R1  July 26 2005.  ESC 239

I know of no other such registration marking being used with a date in it. However having collected Sinai for some years I do know that the Israelis are keen philatelists and that a lot of spurious material is found relating to the 1956 war. I suspect these covers may have been fabricated after the event, the Mazar marking probably being made in Israel and owes its design more to the imagination than any reality. I don't believe that Mazar had a post office at all in 1956 but would be delighted if somebody could prove me wrong.

R2   Jan 2005  ESC239

I cast doubt on the two unaddressed envelopes furnished with Israeli stamps and Egyptian "Registration cachets" of Mazar in Sinai in 1956, Q3, but now I can illustrate evidence that the village did indeed have a post office some years earlier. It takes the form of three pieces with Turkish stamps overprinted "Tor Sinai" and cancelled at Bir el-Mazar (ie, Mazar Well or Spring), by which name the area was known during the Ottoman Empire. The stamps, all dated 4 7 1333AH (ie, Wednesday, May 19, 1915, 18 months before the village was captured by British troops), are pictured left.

R3   Jan 2005  ESC240

Sorry to be the wet blanket again but there are many such strikes for the Sinai supposedly for the Turkish Administration during it's occupation in the first world war. There are some thirty such postmarks known for the Sinai of a similar pattern and some discussion has taken place amongst Holy Land philatelist about there validity. It seems that these may have been produced just before or some time just after the Turkish conquest in 1915, but it is very unlikely that these were ever issued. Consider the Egyptian post office only had a two post offices in the Sinai at that time, Tor and El Arish why would the Turks set up these post offices for a Sinai population given as 7407 in the 1907 census. What is known that these handstamps were obtained by a philatelic German/Turk(?) soon after the war and a lot of these items were produced, often on cover with no address. Why were the original handstamps produced at all, were they all fictitious? Well a few covers are known genuinely used from Qusseima, there was a Turkish post there, but I believe none of the others were ever issued. Almost for certain the one for Bir Ul Mazar was never issued and there was no Turkish presence there of any duration, so no post office sorry.

Ref: Israel Philatelist (?)
OPAL 173
Postal Cancellations of the Ottoman Empire Part Three, The Ottoman Posta and Telegraph Offices in Palestine and Sinai, etc.

ESC Home