The depreciation in Spanish currency due to the result of the Spanish-American War caused the Government to revert to English currency in Gibraltar. It should be noted that at the International Telegraph Convention, held at Budapest in 1896, the franc was accepted as the medium of account. It was agreed that the exchange value should be taken at 1.20, subject to revision. This was revised in July 1897 at 1.29. The continual fall of the peseta, however, brought about a crisis in exchange and the following Order in Council was promulgated in the “Gibraltar Chronicle and Official Gazette” of the 14th September, 1898:
His Excellency the Governor desires to notify for public information that Orders in Council have been approved by Her Majesty making British Sterling Silver legal tender in Gibraltar under the conditions of the Coinage Act 1870.
It is intended to promulgate these Orders on the 1st proximo, from which date the Order in Council of 1881 regulating the Currency of Gibraltar will be repealed, but the Spanish Coins specified therein will continue to be legal tender in payment of all engagements entered into before the promulgation of the new Orders in Council.
From the 1st October 1898, all postage fees will be payable in British Money and Stamps having the duties expressed in Spanish currency will cease to be valid in prepayment of postage in Gibraltar, but those overprinted “ Morocco Agencies ” will continue to be valid in the Postal Agencies maintained in Morocco by the Gibraltar Government.
From the 1st to the 15th day of October next, both days inclusive, unused postage stamps having the duties expressed in Spanish currency will be repurchased at the Post Office at their face value, provided that the stamps be not soiled or otherwise damaged, and that they are presented in strips of not less than two.
The new postage stamps, etc., with sterling duties will be on sale on the 1st October 1898.
H. M. JACKSON,
Colonial Secretary’s Office,
September 14th, 1898.”
This issue remained in use until 1903 and was the last of the Queen’s Head type. Its long period of currency has caused it to rank low in rarity with the issues that followed. So, on October 1st, 1898, the new issue in English currency was placed on sale. The stamps of ½d., 1d., and 2½d. values were printed from the same plates as those of the December 1886 issue, but the green of the id., was much darker and the 1d. rose much brighter in shade. The 2½d. is a very bright ultramarine in contrast with the blue of the 1886 issue. These stamps were printed in sheets of 240, apparently from Plate 1 without the Jubilee line. The other values—2d., 4d., 6d. and Is. were printed in two panes of 60 each from Plate 2, with the Jubilee line. These four values are bicoloured as the stamps of the preceding issue, but in different colours and of course English currency. Captain Dibley chronicles two varieties in the 4d., but there is no proof they are constant; wide “U” and short “F” in Four, and in the Shilling a short “N”. The top of the right-hand foot is short in such a way that it does not come in line with the top of the left-hand one.