Lion of Judah

Handstamped in Violet

On ¼ g 1895 first issue (350 reported overprinted)
On ¼ g 1904 "Melekt" with Amharic reversed (10 reported overprinted)
On ½ g 1907 "Dagmawi" (1 known)

The origin and status of this handstamp is not certain. The quantities of handstamps were supplied by Ivan Adler who had met with J. A. Michel.

It has been suggested that it was made as essay by J. A. Michel for use by the Royal Family. The only know postal use is on a cover by Michel in 1907.

It may have originated as a seal of the Emperor Menelik II. Within the design of the lion is  short for Amharic  or Q M for Qadamawi Menelik (Menelik the Second). [This observation was made by Zemene Hilawie Gebere Selassie, an Ethiopian friend and member of the Royal Family.]

The above referal to Menelik is questioned as the QM is difficult to descern. If this should signify "Qadamawi Menelik", it would have no bearing on the Emperor of that time, because he was "Dagmawi Menelik", which means Menelik the Second. Refer to the 1907 issue with precisely this
overprint "Dagmawi". "Qadamawi" means "The First"! [This observation was made by Jens Ipsen, a fluent Amharic speaker and Ethiopian stamp collector.]

click to enlarge

The above Lion handstamp on MALKET reversed is on one stamp in a sheet from the Pro Memoria series, prepared by former postmaster Michel.

click to enlarge

The above cover is the only know postal use of the Lion handstamp. It once belonged to Dr. Seron in Fresno, CA and was featured on the cover of Weekly Philatelic Gossip (PHOTO). He sold it to John Boksenbom, and it was later auctioned from his estate to Apfelbaum. The present owner is Mike Rogers. Does anyone have the missing piece?

.                    Revised: July 28, 2002