A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bosnia & Herzegovina - Bud's Big Blue

Bosnia Serbia 2015 - Gavrilo Princip
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Sometimes the pretty scraps we collect hide dark realities. So it is with stamps of Bosnia-Herzegovina. On the surface, their patriotic symbols, kind-looking dignitaries, and bucolic scenery suggest a happy, well-ordered country.

The cancellations tell another story. Most are military. The turmoil brewing when these stamps were in use stemmed specifically from Serbian hatred of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s domination, but more generally from centuries of ethnic discord. It came to a head, of course, when a young Bosnian Serb -- Gavrilo Princip -- shot and killed the heir to the Empire’s throne, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie (posthumously commemorated, B14-15, page 3). The Empire was outraged, cool heads went out of fashion, alliances kicked in, World War I ensued and, as one result, the Empire was crushed.

After the War, remaining Bosnia-Herzegovina stamps were disfigured and sold to collectors as a sign of the Empire’s good riddance, according to the paper that came with my set (see bottom of last supplement page). Similarly, plans for the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Memorial Church (B13, page 3) were scrapped.

The philatelic upshot of Princip’s heroism (or villainy) is tremendous. BB overflows with stamps generated by WWI and its aftereffects, including those of entirely new nations -- Yugoslavia, Saar, among others. Stamps of former German colonies take on French or British appearances. Czechoslovakia and Poland begin issuing. Plebiscite and League of Nations mandate stamps proliferate. Two bullets -- millions of stamps, perhaps billions, to fill BBs.

Bosnia’s continuing trauma is captured by the art of Safet Zec and also, if you can stomach it, of Peter Howson. They paint the 1990’s Bosnian war, not 1914. Page 1 has a 1911 cancel from Rogatica, Zec’s sad hometown.

Imperfs, possibly intended as gifts for dignitaries, deserve a glance (see supplement). Perf variations abound.

Census: 152 in BB spaces, five tipped-in, 60 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Bosnia is home to three major cultural ethnicities: Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats. Cultural conflict remains high.

Bosnia and Herzegovina stamp issues from 1879-1918 are represented in Big Blue on 7 pages(1997) or 5 pages(1969) with 152 stamp spaces for regular,semi-postal, postage due, newspaper, and special delivery categories. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has descriptions for 193 major varieties. Coverage by Big Blue is 79%.

Nice coverage by Big Blue, including all (20) of the semi-postals, and essentially all (25) of the major number postage dues. 

Bosnia & Herzegovina Blog Post and Checklist

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Friday, February 17, 2017

The Gift that Gerben van Gelder has given to us WW collectors

Gerben van Gelder
Stamp World History
We were in The Hague (Den Haag) last year March for an extended visit with our daughter, who works there, and one of my philatelic goals was to meet the author of the magnificent Stamp World History website, Gerben van Gelder.

Gerben had only started his website in June, 2015, yet he was publishing fully formed historical philatelic profiles, and his unbelievably accurate maps of countries almost daily. I had marveled at his superhuman output, and he said he had been preparing many years for this, and we were now witnessing the fruits.

German East Africa (Enlarge for review)
His philatelic maps are unlike any other that have been published before. They are information dense, they are layered, and they reward close study.

Note his German East Africa map show the German offices and local issues, the Caravan route!, the towns, villages and dates, and the areas covered by the Belgian, British (several), and Portuguese occupation issues. And this is one map, based on study of original materials and resources. !

And the country entry is accompanied by a historically dense essay, which illuminates his synthesis maps. 

Multiply this one map and historical accompaniment shown here by 373: the number of country profiles published until his last (Belarus), on November 28, 2016, and one can perhaps begin to understand the gift he has given philately, and WW collectors in particular.

He was quite clear that his maps and materials were allowed to be used freely (non commercially) by collectors for their own studies. A source acknowledgement of Stamp World History was all he requested.

The author and spouse in the low countries
I contacted him, and arranged for him to meet me by the Binnenhof, in Den Haag, near the train station. He would travel from Ultrecht, near his home town. We would perhaps have some Poffertjes with powdered sugar and butter.

But he called me that morning, as he was too sick to come that day. Life had thrown him a curve ball, and he was battling a serious illness, including chemotherapy.

It dawned on me that may be the reason he was covering Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Oceania first. Those were the parts of the world where he could contribute the most, as the philatelic history (and maps) were more terra incognita. Europe could wait.

My understanding is there were several countries still being prepared when he could work no more.

So readers and world wide collectors, enjoy his legacy - it was meant for us.

And perhaps ponder a bit on the genius - yes genius! - of Gerben van Gelder.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Western Ukraine

1919 Scott 14 15sh on 15h  dull red (on Austria Scott 168)
Austrian Stamps of 1916-18 Surcharged in Shaviv Currency
First Stanyslaviv Issue - With Asterisks
Quick History

[ Today is a sad day. Please pause a moment and honor a great philatelic web site author Gerben van Gelder of Stamp World History. ]

Western Ukraine was a short lived nationalistic inspired Ukrainian (Old term: Ruthenian) independent state (1918-19) that tenuously existed after the WW I collapse of  Austria-Hungary, until the area eventually was incorporated into Poland in 1923 (League of Nations decision).

Stamps were issued (mainly overprinted/surcharged Austrian stamps) from November 20, 1918 through May, 1919.

Land Claims of the West Ukrainian People"s Republic (pink + border)
The lands of  Eastern Galicia, (A province of Austria, but taken from Poland in 1772), were an ethnic mix of 60% Ukrainians (rural -peasants), 25% Poles (urban -leading social class), and 12% Jews (urban). The population of the area was approximately 5 million in 1910, and the largest city was Lviv, an important Polish dominated cultural capital of the region.

The West Ukrainian People's Republic declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire on November 1, 1918, and Lviv was declared the capital. This surprised the majority Polish residents of Lviv, who did not want to be part of a non Polish state.

I should say here that the West Ukrainian People's Republic was definitely Austrian in culture ( Legal, Social, Political), and was appalled by the disorderly uncouth socialist revolutionaries. Although there was an agreement to "unite" Western Ukraine with the rest of Ukraine in December 1, 1918, relations with the Kiev based socialist Ukrainian People's Republic were strained at best.

"The Eaglets -the defense of the cemetery" Kossak (1926)
Polish Youth uprising in Lviv against the West Ukrainian People's Republic
There was a popular Polish uprising in Lviv, and so the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918-19 began between the Second Polish Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic.

March, 1919 - West Ukrainian People's Republic (blue)
Note the Polish corridor and Polish control of Lviv (Polish: Lwow)
By the end of November, 1918, Polish forces, (well equipped by the French in hopes they could stem the Bolsheviks), were in control of Lviv, as well as the railroad corridor linking Lviv with Poland.

The West Ukrainian government evacuated to the city of Ternopil, then to Stanyslaviv by December, 1918. (There are four major stamp issues released from Stanyslaviv from March 18- May, 1919.)

The West Ukrainian army managed to hold off the Poles for nine months, but by July, 1919, the Polish forces had taken over most of the territory.

There was a government-in exile- set up in Kamianets-Podilskyi, and then in Vienna.

Diplomatic maneuvers by the West Ukrainians eventually proved fruitless, and Poland absorbed the territory formally on March 14, 1923.

Casualties, mostly soldiers, would number 10,000 Poles and 15,000 Ukrainians.

The important eastern Galician oil fields essentially came under the control of the French, rather than Poland.

At the start of WW II, the area was annexed by the Soviet Union into Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union.

The lands now form the western part of now independent Ukraine.

1919 Scott 83 25h blue
Austrian Stamps of 1916-18 Overprinted
Third Stanyslaviv Issue
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Western Ukraine 1918-1919, 119 major number descriptions.

They all are surcharged on Austria stamps, unless otherwise noted.

They consist of the 1918 Lviv issue (5 stamps), the 1918 Kolomyia issue (4 stamps), the 1919 First Stanyslaviv issue (20 stamps), the 1919 Second Stanyslaviv issue (47 stamps - on Postage Due stamps of Bosnia, on Austrian Military semipostal and regular stamps, on Austrian stamps), the 1919 Third Stanyslaviv issue (19 stamps), 1918-19 Registration stamps- Kolomyia issue ( 2 stamps), and the the 1919 Romanian Occupation stamps of Pokutia (which includes Kolomyia) on Austrian stamps (13 stamps). In addition Scott mentions two Definitive issues (12 stamps and 5 stamps respectively) for May, 1919 that were not issued.

And most stamps are expensive to quite expensive ($tens to $hundreds to $thousands), save for the Third Stanyslaviv issue, where 17 of the 19 stamps in the set are CV <$1-$2+.

And Scott has a note: "Forgeries of almost all Western Ukraine stamps are plentiful". !!!!!!

Clearly, Western Ukraine is for the (well-off) specialist. And even then, apparently most of the issues were produced because of demand from Vienna stamp dealers than true need. The WW collector should tread lightly, and save for the Third Stanyslaviv issue (which is ubiquitous and inexpensive), probably move on. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Shahiv (Sotykiv) = 1 Hryvnia
100 Heller = 1 Krone
1919 Scott 9 3sh on 3h bright violet
Austrian Stamps of 1916-18 Surcharged in Shaviv or Hryvnia Currency
First Stanyslaviv Issue - With Asterisks
The stamp production for Western Ukraine reflect the fortunes of the war with Poland in terms of where and when the issue was released.

The first stamp issue of November 20 from Lviv was only in circulation for two days before the Poles captured the city on November 22.. It consists of five handstamped overprinted Austrian stamps. The government than evacuated to Tenopil. (CV $30+-$200+)

There was also a four stamp issue from Kolomyia in the Pokutia region of southwest Ukraine on December 12, 1918. The four stamp issue consists of Austrian stamps that were surcharged. (CV $90-$1,600)

By the end of December, 1918, the government had moved to Stanyslaviv (Now called Ivano-Frankivsk). On March 18, 1919, 20 surcharged Austrian stamps of 1916-18 were released. This was the first Stanyslaviv issue (See above example). (CV $10+-$30+ for 13 stamps.)

1919 Scott 14 15sh on 15h  dull red (on Austria Scott 168)
Austrian Stamps of 1916-18 Surcharged in Shaviv or Hryvnia Currency
First Stanyslaviv Issue - With Asterisks
Another example (also shown for the blog header) from the first Stanslaviv Issue is shown here. Note the first Stanslaviv issue has asterisks.

The second Stanyslaviv issue, similar to the surcharge of the first issue, but without asterisks, consists of four sets and 47 stamps. Utilized were the postage due stamps of Bosnia, 1904 (first set), 1918 Austrian Military semipostal stamps (second set), 1917 Austrian Military stamps (third set), and 1916-18 Austrian stamps, but with two upper bars (fourth set). The CV is quite high for most of these stamps, but 9 stamps are  CV $10+ $20+..

1919 Scott 81 15h dull red
Austrian Stamps of 1916-18 Overprinted
Third Stanyslaviv Issue
The third Stanislaviv issue of May, 1919 is the one most likely to be encountered by the WW collector, as the 19 stamp set has a CV of <$1-$10+. This provisional issue consists of 1916-18 Austria stamps that was overprinted in Vienna.

Note the Ukrainian trident-in-shield arms, and the letters "3. y. H. P." in the four corners for (Z.U.N.R. = "Zakhidno-Ukrainska Narodna Republyka" = "Western Ukrainian National Republic" ).

Apparently, almost all of the specimens only exist unused, as the issue actually received little postal use, and forged cancellations are not uncommon.

In the meantime, the Austrian State Printing Office in Vienna was preparing two definitive lithographic issues for Western Ukraine. The May, 1919 first definitive set (5 in set CV $5), and second definitive set (12 in set CV $350) were never actually issued. They are given no numbers in the catalogue by Scott, although they are pictured and set valued.

There is also a fourth Stanyslaviv issue (overprinted locally) of May, 1919 (nine stamps) that consist of 1917-18 Austrian Military stamps surcharged in black. The issue was produced while waiting for part of the  third Stanyslaviv issue to arrive from Vienna. CV is $10+ for three stamps.

June 14, 1919 Scott N9 40h on 5h rose red
Austrian Stamps Surcharged in Dark Violet Blue
On Austrian Postage Due Stamps of 1910-1917
Romanian Occupation of Pokuttia
A piece of history I didn't discuss was the November, 1918 occupation of the Duchy of Bukovina by Romanian troops, even though it was "incorporated" by local Ukrainians into the West Ukrainian People's Republic. (Refer to the first map of the post, which shows Bokovina in orange.) The occupation ended on August 20, 1919. The territory was absorbed into the Kingdom of Romania.

North of Bukovina is Pokuttia (Pokutia), and this area was occupied by Romanian and Polish troops in May 24, 1919. The chief city is Kolomyia. In August, 1919, Romania handed over eastern Pokuttia to Poland. Pokuttia eventually became part of Poland in 1923.

And for stamp collectors, there is a tangible legacy from the Pokuttia (Pokutia) occupation by Romania.

Thirteen Romanian occupation stamps of Pokuttia (Pokutia) were  released June 14, 1919 by surcharging Austrian stamps in dark violet blue- See the above example. They can be found on Austrian stamps of 1916-18 (eight stamps), and Austrian postage due stamps of 1910-17 (five stamps). CV is $2+-$20+ for nine stamps.

Deep Blue
1919 Third Stanyslaviv Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has seven pages for the stamps of 1918-19 Western Ukraine. As usual, Deep Blue follows the Scott catalogue for spaces. Plenty of the spaces will remain empty ($!!!) unless one has a particular fascination with Western Ukraine. My classic Steiner pages do not have all the spaces for stamps in the current Scott catalogue available (Part of First Stanyslaviv issue, Lviv issue, and first and second Definitive issues (never issued)). Not that it really makes that much difference for me. ;-) I printed out some supplementary pages if I ever need them -probably doubtful. 

Western Ukraine in Big Blue
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two-thirds of a page, (shared with South Russia for the '69 edition; shared with White Russia for the 40s editions) has 19 spaces for the entire 1919 Third Stanyslaviv issue. 

Coverage by Big Blue is 16%, but entirely reasonable, as the other issues are usually expensive and/or fraught with forgeries.

The two highest denominations of the Third Stanyslaviv issue are CV $10+

Checklist

1919
76,77,78,79,80,81,
82,83,84,85,86,
87,88,89,

90,91,92,93,94,

Comments
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1919 Scott 93 4k yellow green ($10+)
1919 Scott 94 10k deep violet ($10+)

1919 Scott 84 30h dull violet
Austrian Stamps of 1916-18 Overprinted
Third Stanyslaviv Issue
Out of the Blue
One has to admit this is somewhat fascinating and unknown history. Ukrainians and Poles might be aware of the conflict, because their families were involved (now, a long time ago).

Stamp collectors, of course, can collect tangible evidence following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Note: Maps and Kossak painting image appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bolivia - Bud's Big Blue

1960 Scott 450 5000b on 5b gold 
"Gate of the Sun"
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
An extended visit with Bolivia’s stamps has been on my bucket list for quite a while. So far I’ve only identified some of the things I’d like Bolivia’s stamps to tell me. What do I want to know? to do?

·        * Sort out which early 19th century revolutionaries did what in which South American nations, particularly Bolivar and Sucre.

·        *  Find out the flight and nesting habits of condors and why they’re on Bolivia’s first stamps.
·         Get the full story behind the decision not to release the “Gate of the Sun” series until 1960 when it was made for the 1926 centennial celebration. (See above).

·         * Speculate about Tiwanaku iconography in the “Gate of the Sun” series.

·        * See what traces of Bolivia’s early, relatively primitive postal routes can be found in pre 1895 cancellations (foot-paths, railway, horseback riders and river boats).

·         * Identify the effects of being a land-locked country on Bolivia’s postal history and, more generally, the effects of hostilities between Chile and Bolivia.

·         * Collect more early fancy cancels.

·         * Track the effects of rampaging inflation on their stamps, as evidenced by the many overprints. The “Gate of the Sun” stamp above was to be issued in 1926 at 5 Bolivanos but, when it was finally released in 1960, it had to be overprinted 5000 Bs, an increase of 99,900 percent.

I’d better set aside several months. Maybe some of you already have some of this information, or even better questions to ask of Bolivia’s stamps. If you do, please make a comment.

Census: 164 in BB spaces, seven tip-ins, 114 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Bolivianos are mostly descended from the indigenous native people, which greatly influences Bolivia's cultural folk art and music. The major languages are Spanish(60%), Quechua (20%), and Aymara (15%).

Our family has felt a close kinship with Bolivia for a long time. Our two daughters have been there. We hosted an AFS (American Field Service) high school student from Bolivia. That was nigh 24 years ago, and we are still close to her and her family.

There is a collection of Bolivia in the other room waiting to be broken down. I am looking forward to that with pleasure.

Bolivia Blog Post and Checklist

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