The area of British Central Africa protectorate covered the lands west of Lake Nyasa and the Shire Highlands south of Lake Nyasa. Following a crisis over control over the area in 1889 between the British and the Portuguese, Great Britain took over the area and named it the British Central Africa Protectorate in 1893. The area changed its name to Nyasaland Protectorate on July 6, 1907.
The first stamps of British Central Africa were “B.C.A.”overprints on Rhodesian stamps of the British South Africa Company. The stamps were released as a large set of seventeen (Scott #1 to #17) during the period from 1891 to 1895. The set is sought after and catalogs in the $8.2K range for Mint and a lot more for Used – the two pound and five pound varieties are not known to exist in Used condition. Denominations vary from a penny to ten pounds. Fiscal cancellations are fairly common from most issues of British Central Africa and catalog well below these values – the most common among the fiscal cancels is the undated double-circle with a town name in the center in Black. The first set was followed by a set of two stamps with three shilling and four shilling surcharge overprints on the original issues (Scott #18 and #19 on Scott #11 and #12). That set is also sought after and catalogs in the $475 range for Mint and around the same for Used. Certain double surcharge varieties exist and genuine copies of those fetch a huge premium into the 1000s.
The first original issues of British Central Africa were a couple of designs on the Coat of Arms theme issued in 1895. The set of twelve stamps with denominations that range between a penny and twenty five pounds (Scott #21 to #31) is highly valued. The first eight stamps forming the denominations till 5 shillings catalog in the $850 range for Mint and around hundred less for Used. The poundage denominations fetch well into the 1000s. The Coat of Arms theme along with certain surcharges formed the primary stamp issues of British Central Africa during the period till the turn of the century. A couple of sets that were King Edward VII (KEVII) keytypes were issued during the period from 1903 to 1907 and those form the complete stamp issues of British Central Africa. The most valuable stamps of British Central Africa are the 2p and 4p varieties of the KEVII issues of 1907 (Scott #71 and #72) and those catalog in the $12.5K range.