The mystery peacock – slightly less mysterious

A couple of years ago, I made a post (go here) on the mysterious little “frontal” peacock overprint that turns up unused on the 1 anna stationery envelope, presumably done in 1942. I asked if anyone anywhere knew anything more about it, but there has been no response. My anxiety was that it is listed in Higgins & Gage, but not in the immediate post war works on the Occupation of Burma (Roberts & Smythies or Dalal). Which might make it an item manufactured at a later date.

However, here’s some reassurance – a used copy. Used not during the Japanese Occupation, but as a post war remainder, sent at letter rate from Bogale to Rangoon on 29 May 1946 under the new Civil Administration. This is privately used, not a leftover sent by the post office “on postal service”, and it shows no sign of being philatelic. There are small indications of wear and tear having been present before the flap was sealed, so it was certainly not fresh off the press in 1946.

This is all good. It strongly suggests that the overprint was made at some point well before 1946, that the overprinted envelopes had been in circulation at post offices, that some were still in private hands and available to use without philatelic contrivance.

All of which makes this more likely to be a genuine Burma Independence Army overprint and not some retrospective piece of fakery. To clinch it, all we need now is a copy genuinely used during the Occupation – something of a challenge, and not something I anticipate finding! If you have one, let me know!

A mystery peacock

What the heck is this? It won’t be unfamiliar to collectors of Burma Japanese Occupation, but I’ve yet to see a satisfactory account of its origins. A distinctively frontal peacock, with rather splayed legs, and only found in black on the one anna envelope. Some describe it as “experimental”, but that simply means that they don’t know either.

mystery peacock close
It is listed in Higgins & Gage’s postal stationery pages, but it wasn’t picked up in Roberts & Smythies, nor in Dalal, which rather implies that it wasn’t in evidence in the immediate post war period. Nor does it show up “used”, with a spurious address and a retrospective but genuine cancellation “borrowed” post war from U Tun Tin at Rangoon GPO, as do other peacocked envelopes and cards. Which is a blessing. But which also implies that the appearance of this item may have come suspiciously late in the day.

mystery peacock env

I dare say we’ll never know, but I live in hope. Does anyone have any light to shed on this strange little creature? I have to say, I’m quite fond of it.