1977 South African protea definitive stamp series

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If I had to choose between commemorative and definitive stamps, then my choice would be definitive stamps. Take for example the 1977 South African Republic definitive stamp series displaying protea plants. I got hooked with these in late 1990’s.

A full set issued in May 27, 1977 contains 17 different designs and values each having perf. 12½. The topic of the stamps are many faces of protea plants; appropiately the name protea comes from Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape at will.

1977 South Africa. The first six values of definitive series displaying protea plants. These have 12½ perf.

1977 South Africa. The first six values of definitive series displaying protea plants. These have 12½ perf.

Later on (in late 1970’s and early 1980’s), many of the values (3,5,6,7,8,9,10,20,25,30,50 cents and 1 and 2R) have been reprinted in perf. 14¼:14 . In addition of different perforation, one of the key differences between original and reprints are printing methods. Whereas the originals were printed using rotogravure process, reprints are mostly done on litho presses.

1977 South Africa, Protea definitive stamps values from 7-20c, perf.12½. This third set for the republic was designed by Dick Findlay.

1977 South Africa, Protea definitive stamps, values from 7-20c, perf.12½. This was the third definitive stamp set for the republic. The stamps were designed by Dick Findlay, who has also done several stamps for SWA/Namibia.

In addition there are sometimes very notable differences in paper used, such as thin and thick paper, and glossy and matte surface coating. These differences are IMO very easy to pick up when feeling stamp gently with fingertips.

1977 South Africa, protea definite stamps "high values". As you can see my 1 Rand stamps is a spacefiller, and 2R stamp I'm missing totally though it's somewhat low value.

1977 South Africa, protea definite stamps "high values". As you can see my 1 Rand stamps is a spacefiller, and 2R stamp I'm missing totally.

And finally, there are 4 coil stamps that are imperf on top and bottom. Every fifth coil stamp may have a control number printed on the back of the stamp.

1977 South Africa. Coil  version of protea definitive stamps were issued on May 27th, 1977. This is once again a short set, as I'm missing the highest value of 10c.

1977 South Africa. Coil versions of protea definitive stamps were issued on May 27th, 1977. This is once again a short set, as I'm missing the highest value of 10c.

IMHO this set has all the characteristics of an upcoming classic stamp issue, and it’s definitely fun to collect both on general and more detailed level.

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