Postcard with two, 1 cent stamps to France canceled January 19, 1903 the day before the bisected stamps were first used.


A Single post card sent from St.Thomas to Hamburg in the period when the bisected was used - March 26 1903.



Danish West Indies  - Bisected 4 Cents stamp usage in 1903 

The Danish West Indies Post Office experienced 17 months of turmoil in 1902-1903, when the postal rates were changed and Denmark failed to provide new stamp denominations in a timely manner.

In 1902 the DWI and Copenhagen post offices attempted to patch the need for 2 cent stamps by issuing provisional stamps, and in early 1903 the DWI post offices - still in desperate need of 2 cent stamps - had to resort to bisecting the 4 cent stamps for use where a 2 cent or a 1 cent stamp was needed  - because on the 20 January the last 25 1 Cent sheets were delivered from "St.Thomas Kassekommission" to the St.Thomas Post Office and new 1 cent stamps could not be expected until late February. About February 10 all 1 cent stamps were sold out and first on Marts 1 new 1 cent stamps arrived from Denmark. This is the period when bisected 4 cents were really needed at St.Thomas.

Correspondingly the period that the bisected 4 cents were needed at Christiansted was February 11 to March 5 and at Frederiksted February 17 to March 6.

The bisects were used from 20 January to 4 June 1903. The great majority of thousands of covers mailed are readily identifiable as philatelic, but normal commercial covers also were saved though they are very hard to identify.

Single post cards and double post cards.

The 2 cents single post cards were not on sale at St.Thomas from September 17, 1902 to Februar 16, 1903 but the double cards were available. Thus if you wanted to send a card from St.Thomas to a foreign country between February 10 and February 16 you could have chosen between a bisected 4 cents and a double card which separated would give you two cards to mail.  

At Christiansted from February 11 to February 16 only the 4 cents bisected stamps were available. The 2 cents single and double cards were not on sale until February 17.

At Frederiksted only bisected 4 cents stamps could have been used. However, on February 27 cards were again available. 

During the entire period there were enough 1 cent stamps available at St.Jan.

Have any collectors seen a 2 cents postal card during the short periods of no 1 cent stamps ? - In my collection I have a local postcard sent in the short periods of no 1 cent stamps (overpaid by one cent)


These were the only stamps on sale at the post offices in 1903, and the 1 cent value was sold out for three weeks by mid February to first in March.

The need to use a bisected stamp is best ilustrated in the photo. It shows how few stamps denominations were available in 1903. The 1 cent stamps were sold out for approximately theree weeks in Februar-March, and it was the depletion of the stamp that resulted in the need to use bisected 4 cents stamps. 

The table below shows the dates the post offices allowed the use of the bisected 4 cents stamp, and also when each post office was sold out of the 1 cents stamp.


Post Office                      Bisect 4 cent stamp use                        1 cent stamp depleted

 St.Thomas                     20 January to 23 May 1903                    10 February to 1 March

Christiansted                  10  February to 4 June 1903                   11 February to 5 March

Frederiksted                  10  February to 4 June 1903                17 February to 6 March


The first day of bisect usage was January 20, 1903 when the St. Thomas postmaster published a notice in the local newspaper, St Thomas Tidende, annoincing that the bisects could be used on the two islands of St.Thomas and St. Jan. Asimilar notice authorizing their use on St.Croix was not publishedd for another three weeks, a mystery that defies logic - since covers were mailed from St.Thomas to St.Croix in the leter box the 20 January, arriving there the next morning. 

 The english-lanuage publication in St.Thomas Tidende on January 20, 1903 read:

For the time being the Post Office will admit the use of 4 cents postage stamps cut in half diagnonally for the prepayment of postage, say in those cases, where the amount of the postage is covered by the payment of two cents or less.

The correspondence thus prepaid should be handlet in over the counter and not dropped into a letter box. The use of postage stamps thus cut will be disallowed as soon as 2 cents stamp have arrived, about which publication will be issued.

Government, St.Thomas th 20 the January, 1903


Bisect stamp usage on St.Croix

A similar was published on St. Corix , but because some overprinted 2 cents were still avaiable there, the use of the bisected stamps did not begin until February 10. The first day of use on St.Croix has always been reported as February10, but it is likely that this is an error. The post office announcement is dated February 10, but is was printed in the newspaper, the St. Croix Avis on February 11 and the "DWI Record" maintained by DWI Stydy Group records dates of February 11 and 13 from Frederiksted and February 12 and 13 from Christiansted. Thus, it appears that the first day usage should be changed to Frebruary 11, 1903. 

One US stamp dealer had the newspaper announcement printed on a US postal card, and it was included with each cover order.