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Starting with the “Recapture of Adrianople” stamp in 1913, through to the 1917/18 issue, most of the Ottoman pictorial stamp designs (ie. the pictures) seem to have been taken from picture postcards available in Turkey at that time. In all 24 stamps out of the thirty-three stamps analysed can be shown to have originated in this way, as follows:

  • The “Recapture of Adrianople” issue printed by Bradbury and Wilkinson in England.
  • The 1914 pictorial set of seventeen stamps, also printed by Bradbury & Wilkinson. Of these, the author has fourteen card equivalents in his collection.
    The others not seen are:

    • The Seven Towers Castle, Yedikule (5 pa.). A card with the “Seven Towers” which is quite close to the picture of the stamp is in the author’s possession, but it is not the correct angle.
    • The Fountains of Suleiman (1.75 pi.). The “Fountains of Suleiman” are contained within the stamp of (and the card) of the 1pi “Mosque of Sultan Ahmed”, but the angle, again, is not quite right.
    • The Cruiser Hamidye. There are several postcards with pictures of the warship, but none have been found so far showing the ship in the beam-on angle that it appears on the stamp
  • The picture of Sultan Mehmet V (200 pi. stamp) is taken from a waist-length portrait reproduced on a postcard.

Bradbury and Wilkinson produced essays which had two additional designs: one looking across the Golden Horn towards the Yeni Mosque has an equivalent in the authors card collection; the other shows the facade of the G.P.O, and no card have been found so far..

During the war stamp printing was transferred to the Vienna State Printing Works, but the stamp/card link continued.
The 1916 issue, printed in Vienna, consists of seven stamps, made up of three basic designs. Of these no postcard of the “Sentry” stamp has been seen, although the others have been found, including the hew portriat of the Sultan.
The 1917 War charity stamp “Off to the Front”: no postcard has been seen.
The two stamps with military themes issued in 1917 have not been seen on card.
The September 1917 issue of seven new designs, has four equivalent cards which the author has in his collection. The “Martyr’s Column” has not been seen, nor have the two ‘Map’ stamps. However there are quite a number of map cards around, and the author has not yet looked for equivalents for the two stamps.
Of the two “Money Stamps” issued in 1917, the green “Hippodrome” stamp has an equivalent postcard. This stamp has all the “flavour” of Bradbury & Wilkinson, but no one seems to attribute it to them.

In using the word “equivalent”, in many cases the engraving on the stamp is an exact copy of the card, for instance the tiny figures on the 1914, 5pi, “War Ministry” stamp are all reproduced exactly. Others are exact, but the stamp may only show an extracted section from the card. The portrait of the Sultan is one example, the 1914, 2.5 pi, “Candili” is another, as is the 1917, 2 pi, “Seraglio Point”. One or two seem to have been altered slightly. The engraving on the stamp of the 1914, 100 pi, “Ahmed’s Fountain” includes a small figure which is not on the card; the 1914, 10 pa. “Lighthouse Garden” stamp has the smoke from the ship blowing in the opposite direction.

Whether equivalent cards exist for the three or four war-theme stamps remains unclear. War propaganda cards, showing scenes from the front do exist, so card/stamp equivalents may yet be found.

What is tantalisingly unclear is whether, the Ottoman Post Office provided the designs to Bradbury & Wilkinson on postcards, which would have been a very simple thing to do; or did they send proper photographic reproductions provided by the photographer, who also made the originals available to the postcard publishers. The cards are not all the work of one (or even two) photographers. Several of the cards have been located, postally used, with dates preceeding the issue of the stamps.

The author would be interested in any further information on this point, and would be especially interested if any one has cards to fill any of the gaps. He would be especially especially interested if anyone had one of these and was prepared to part with it.
What follows is a listing with post card equivalent rarity values ranging from 10 (never seen or heard of) to 1 (almost every bundle of Ottoman cards will have one of these).

The relief of Adrinople stamp, 1913

  • SG 353 – 355 (Scott 251-253) 10, 20 & 40 paras; Mosque of Selim, Adrinople
  • Card: Editeur A. Ilieff 6516
  • Card Rarity: 8

The 1914 stamps/postcards

  • SG499 (Scott 254) 2 para; Obelisk of Theodosius;
  • Engraved H.Lauchli
  • Card: Editeur Max Fruchterman, Constantinople, No. 1530
  • Photograph by Sebah & Joaillier
  • Card Rarity: 7






  • SG500 (Scott 255) 4 para; Column of Constantine; Engraved by J.E. Syson
  • Card: Editeur Max Fruchterman, Constantiniple, No. 1745
  • Photograph by Sebah & Joaillier
  • Card Rarity: 2






  • SG501 (Scott 256) 5 para; Leander’s Tower; Engraved by J.Potts
  • Card: unattributed; No. 9 / 4412
  • Comment: approx. 30% of card on stamp
  • Card Rarity: 4




  • SG502 (Scott 257) 6 para; Seven Towers Castle, Yedikule;
  • Engraved by J.E. Syson
  • Card Rarity: 10







  • SG503 (Scott 258) 10 para; Lighthouse Gardens;
  • Engraved by A.B. Hill
  • Card: Editeur MJC; No. 12.
  • Comment: The smoke from the ship is shown blowing to the right, in the stamp.
  • Card Rarity: 3





  • SG504 (Scott 259) 20 para; Castle of Europe;
  • Engraved by J.E. Syson
  • Card: Unattributed.
  • Comment: The ship looks as if has been added to the picture after the photograph was taken.
    • Card Rarity 1





  • SG505 (Scott 260) 1 piastre; Mosque of Sultan Ahmed;
  • Engraved by A.B. Hill
  • Card: Unattributed.
  • Card Rarity: 5






  • SG506 (Scott 261) 1.5 piastre; Martyrs of Liberty Monument;
  • Engraved by A.B. Hill
  • Comment: a similar card shows the monument from the other side and is about rarity 5.
  • Card: Unattributed.
  • Card Rarity: 7




  • SG507 (Scott 262) 1.75 piastre; Fountains of Suleiman;
  • Engraved by J.E. Syson
  • Comment: The stamp looks at first sight as if it is an enlarged version of part of SG512 but the picture is taken from a slightly different angle.
  • Card Rarity: 10




  • SG508 (Scott 263) 2 piastre; Crusier Hamidiye;
  • Engraved by A.B. Hill
  • Card Rarity: 10






  • SG509 (Scott 264) 2.5 piastre; Candili, Bosphorus;
  • Engraved by J.Potts
  • Card: Editeur MJC; Nr. 7.
  • Comment: the stamp is taken from about one third of the card.
  • Card Rarity: 5




  • SG510 (Scott 265) 5 piastre; Former Ministry of War;
  • Engraved by J.E. Syson
  • Card: unattributed.
  • Card Rarity: 3






  • SG511 (Scott 266) 10 piastre; Sweet Waters of Europe;
  • Engraved by J.Potts
  • Card: Editeur MJC; Nr 310.
  • Comment: the figure on the right of the card has been moved slightly left to be in the frame.
  • Card Rarity: 8





  • SG512 (Scott 267) 25 piastre; The Suleiman Mosque;
  • Engraved by J.E. Syson
  • Card: unattributed, Nr. 52 (poss. as SG501).
  • Comment: The building shown in SG507 is the same as this one, and the fountains  (for ablutions under the arches) are the same in both stamps.  Close examination shows that they were not engraved from the same picture.
  • Card Rarity: 5




  • SG513 (Scott 268) 50 piastre; The Bosphorus at Rumeli Hissar
  • Engraved by J. Potts
  • Card: IPA/CT 10772.
  • Card Rarity: 8





  • SG514 (Scott 269) 100 piastre; Sultan Ahmed’s Fountain;
  • Engraved by W.B. Downey
  • Card: E.F. Rochart; No. 113; Constantinople Editions d’Art de l’Orient.
  • Comment: a small figure has been added to the foreground in the stamp.
  • Card Rarity: 6




  • SG515 (Scott 270) 200 piastre; Sultan Mohamed V;
  • Engraved by Enrique Vaquer (from Spain)
  • Card: Editeur MJC, No. 332.
  • Comment: Only the head and shoulders from the card have been used in the stamp
  • Card Rarity: 7





From the Bradbury & Wilkinson proofs,

  • 8 para; Yeni Mosque
  • Card: unattributed 187/8218.
  • Card Rarity: 6
    Alternative 50 piastre; General Post Office Comment: According to contemporary sources
    it would be impossible to take this photograph because of the narrow street.
    Card Rarity: 10

Post Card Equivalent Rarity values:

  • 10=never seen or heard of
  • 9=exists but not seen, or seen in copy only
  • 8=only one example seen
  • 7=only two or three seen
  • 6=one or two turn up every year
  • 5=three or four turn up each year
  • 4=if you look hard at a bourse you might find one
  • 3=you should find this at a bourse
  • 2=most postcard dealers will have one
  • 1=almost every bundle of Ottoman cards will have these