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...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


1898 Scott 18 20r gray violet "King Carlos"
Quick History
Drained by the Zambezi River in the middle portion of the Portuguese East Africa Colony (Mozambique), this territory from the Quelimane settlement on the coast to the Tete settlement upriver was given to the Zambezia Company to initiate tea, copra, and livestock production by exploiting forced African labor, and to explore mining opportunities.

In addition, Portuguese settlements were encouraged through the creation of prazeiro holdings (land grants).

East Africa and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) area 1880-1914
Zambezia Province: Quelimane to Tete along the Zambezi River
The Zambezia Company were given the rights in 1892, and although the largest, and comparatively the most successful, they are not as well known today as the the chartered Mozambique Company and Nyassa Company that produced their own postage stamps.

The territory was named the Zambezia Province (or District) in 1894, and stamps were issued.

The last issue for Zambezia was produced in 1917.

The capital of the Zambezia Province was the Quelimane settlement.

Portuguese East Africa 1922
Zambezia was divided into the Quelimane and Tete areas
The Zambezia Province name went away in 1920, leaving the Tete Province and the Quelimane Province.

(Tete and Quelimane were already named districts within Zambezia by 1902, apparently.)

All three present and former areas - Zambezia, Tete, Quelimane - then were exclusively covered by the stamps of Mozambique (Portuguese East Africa).

General Note: Although the Portuguese territory was referred to as Mozambique or Portuguese East Africa, the scattered settlements (and chartered companies) early on had their own stamps- hence MozambiqueInhambaneLourenco Marques, Quelimane, Tete, Zambezia, Mozambique Company, and Nyassa (Company) issues were produced.

Clarifying Note: Tete and Quelimane are both specific settlements and a region.

It is all rather complicated, and Michael Adkin's Dead Countries Mozambique Area Transition Chart might be helpful to review. 

In addition, Gerben's Stamp World History has a nice synthesis map of the era, and a detailed history.

Present day Mozambique - Note "Zambezia"
In present day Mozambique, Zambezia Province is again partially reconstituted (as of 1943), claiming the former named Quelimane area. 

I will close with an observation that speaks volumes about the Portuguese era: Until as late as 1961, Africans were considered indigenas (natives) rather than citizens.

1902 Scott 47 400r on 200r blue/blue
Stamps of 1894 Surcharged
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Zambezia 1894-1917, 105 major number descriptions. Of those, 49 are CV <$1-$1+, or 47%. The rest are modestly priced higher, with only one of the major numbers in the catalogue priced above CV $10+.  Clearly, classical Zambezia should not have high cost for WW collectors.

Zambezia offers typical fare for Portuguese colonies with key plate types, surcharges and overprints.

Of some interest, the "Republica" overprints are found with Lisbon print and local print on various issues.

And it is rewarding to collect Zambezia paying attention to the postmarks from Zambezia regions.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
1000 Reis = 1 Milreis
1894 Scott 8 80r yellow green "King Carlos"
Perf 12 1/2
Note the Quelimane cancel? 

In 1894, a twelve stamp set with the "King Carlos" visage was released, and was the first regular issue for the district of Zambezia.

CV is <$1-$3+ for eleven stamps.

The 2011 Afinsa (Portugal) Colonias Portuguesas catalogue parses the set into those with Perf  11 1/2, 12 1/2, and 13 1/2 respectively. The 80r yellow green shown above only is found with Perf 12 1/2. But there are five stamp denominations (15r, 50r, 75r, 200r, 300r) where more than one perforation exists. 

1903 Scott 20 25r carmine "King Carlos"
1898-1903 Issue, Perf 11 1/2
Note the Tete cancel?

Between 1898-1903, a twenty-three stamp "King Carlos" keyplate set was released, all with perf 11 1/2.

1903 Scott 22 50r brown
Note the Quelimane cancel?

This familiar Portuguese colony design for Zambezia has a CV of <$1-$3+ for sixteen stamps.

1903 Scott 29 130r brown/straw
Looks like a "Zambezia" cancel.

One of the most interesting things one can do for obscure colonies is pay attention to postmarks.

1902 Scott 45 400r on 50r light blue, Perf 12 1/2
Stamps of 1894 Surcharged
Changing rates resulted in a surcharged thirteen stamp set on the 1894 issue in 1902. The stamps can be found in Perf 11 /2 and Perf 12 1/2, with the 65r on 300 blue/salmon, 130r on 75r carmine, and the 400r on 50r light blue found with both perfs.

For Zambezia, the issue is on the high end CV wise, @ $3+-$7 for the stamps in the set.

1902 Scott 52 75r rose
Stamps of 1898 Overprinted
Provisional overprinted stamps (four) were issued in 1902.

1911 Scott 65 200r red violet/pinkish
Stamps of 1898-1903 Overprinted in Carmine or Green
In 1911, a fifteen stamp set was overprinted as shown (Lisbon overprint), reflecting the 1910 revolution.

CV is <$1-$1+ for every stamp in the issue.

1914 Scott 74 115r on 25r blue green
Stamps of 1902-05 Overprinted in Carmine or Green
This 1914 issue is perhaps a bit more interesting, as the "Republica" overprint was applied locally.

Note the shape of the "R", compared to the overprints from Lisbon.

Both perf 11 /2 and perf 12 1/2 can be found, with perf overlap for the 130r on 75r carmine and 400r on 50r light blue.

CV is $1+-$2+ for every stamp in the set, save for the 50r on 65r dull blue @ $1,200!

By the way, both Quelimane and Tete issued some of their own stamps beginning on May 31, 1913.

1915 Scott 87 130r on 75r carmine
Overprinted in Carmine
On Surcharged Issue of 1902
The 1915 issue is similar to the 1914 issue, but the "Republica"overprint is from Lisbon, not locally.

The eight stamp issue is <$1 for seven stamps.

1917 Scott 101 100r blue/blue
Stamps of 1898-1903 Overprinted Locally in Carmine
The last regular issue for Zambezia has thirteen stamps, and the overprint is again local. Note the "R" shape compared to the Lisbon overprint.

CV is $2+-$6+ for eleven stamps.

After July 17, 1920 ( If I'm reading the Portuguese in the Afinsa catalogue correctly), the stamps of Mozambique were used.

1894 Scott P1 2 1/2r brown Newspaper Stamp
The newspaper stamp for Zambezia was actually the first stamp issued for the district. If I'm reading the Portuguese correctly in the Afinsa catalogue, it appears to have been  released on May 8, 1893.

CV is <$1.

Deep Blue
1911 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has, for Zambezia 1894-1917, seven pages. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1914 Scott 76 130r on 2 1/2r brown 
Stamps of 1902-05 Overprinted in Carmine or Green
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 37 spaces for the stamps of 1894-1915 Zambezia

Coverage is 35%.

There are no expensive stamps (CV $10+) required for the spaces of BB.

The coverage is adequate, if not generous.

The 1902 surcharged issue on the 1894 issue (Scott 36-48) is not given coverage.

The locally overprinted "Republica" issues of 1914 and 1917 (25 stamps) are also without coverage.










A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1917 Scott 104 200r red violet/pinkish
Stamps of 1898-1903 Overprinted Locally in Carmine
Out of the Blue
The last of the Mozambique area and era stamps to be covered with a blog post. 

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Cochin China - Bud's Big Blue

The only BB omission- Cochin China #1
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
“Cochin” appears twice in BB as a country/state name -- Cochin China and Cochin India. These are, as nearly as I can learn from a hasty internet search, two different names with different origins and different routes toward the same European spelling. In India, the word comes from the southwest city of Kochi (Cochin) which in turn got its name from the harbor/lagoon/river on which it is located. Beyond that, philologists disagree. Vasco da Gama was buried in Cochin until repatriated to Portugal. More details follow in BB’s India section.

Cochin China was the name for the French colony that became part of South Viet Nam in 1954.  In this case, Cochin is a Portuguese corruption of Ko-chen, the meaning of which remains uncertain. It may be a related to the Chinese word for “little” or “little harbor.” In any case, philologists agree, the name has no connections with cochin chickens, a feathery oriental breed. “China” was appended to the name to distinguish it from the city in India.

BB grants spaces for four of five possible Cochin China stamps, including one that remained unissued. Before 1886, French Colonies stamps without overprints were used (see Saigon postmark in French Colonies supplements); after 1892, Indo-China stamps were provided. French Colony hand-stamped postage for Annam and Tonkin was also used in the late 1880s.

Census: four in BB spaces.

Jim's Observations
Although Cochin China had a small stamp issue, some larger lessons - in my opinion- can be learned. :

A) Big Blue's challenging areas are the corners and byways. Fascinating and fun. But truth be told- without looking for them very specifically, it will be a long time before one simply happens upon any Cochin China stamps.

B) A popular area -here French Colonies- has a greater chance of retaining a dubious non issued stamp (Scott 5 ) in the catalogue then a stamp with a shaky pedigree from say - Armenia. Scott is aware of who butters their bread.  

C) Because it is worth the time to list them, expensive stamps can be found through a search of the major stamp auction internet sites. But if one is looking for, as Bob mentioned in his Blog (Filling Spaces)  about a Dealer dismissing "little nothing" stamps, the hunt is on. 

Cochin China Blog Post and Checklist

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

British Honduras - Bud's Big Blue

Chippendale mahogany piecrust tea table sold by Christie’s: $6,761,000
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Early British Honduras stamps follow the standard colonial practice of featuring king and queen images. The first departure comes in 1921 with a carmine 2c peace commemorative that does not specify any particular peace. A year later a grey 4c stamp of similar design was issued, but lacking the “peace” inscription (bottom, page 1). Both still have the king.

However, they also bear the colony’s seal and motto. The motto, Sub umbra floreo, translates as “Under the shade I flourish.” Unlike other former British colonies, Belize did not change this motto upon achieving independence, and its new seal differs only slightly from the one on the colonial stamps. Mahogany trees (top of the seal) provide the beneficial shade, both literal and financial. Mahogany was much in demand for fine furniture making in England and the US from the Chippendale period onward.

Tributes to mahogany continue in the 1938 George VI series, the 10c and $2 stamps, while the 4c lists mahogany along with the colony’s other major exports: chicle (for bubble gum), grape fruit, bananas, sugar, coconuts, cohune (palm oil), and rice.

Following the US Civil War, British Honduras provided shady haven for Confederate refugees. As many as 7000 settled there in hopes of starting sugar and cotton plantations. I’ve searched for philatelic traces of these settlements, say, a cancel from New Richmond or a cover with identifiable Confederate names, but have found none. I reserved a space on the supplement page in the event that something turns up.

Jim's Observations
In 1981, Belize became fully independent, the last continental colony in the  Americas to do so from Great Britain.

Big Blue's 63 stamp selection is reasonable with many <$1; and the most one would have to spend would be $5+.

British Honduras Blog Post and Checklist

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

British Guiana - Bud's Big Blue

1856 Scott 13 1c black/magenta (Facsimile)
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
An owner of a complete British Guiana collection has much to boast: not only the first adhesive stamps issued in British America, but also the rarest and most expensive stamp in the world, the magenta 1c #13 (see fake above). 

Only a few years ago every kid with a stamp album knew about #13. The alluring possibility, however remote, that rummaging in grandma’s attic would turn up another #13 fueled philatelic avarice for generations. “You might find one!” the advertisements proclaimed or implied.

But, of course, all the grandmas’ attics yielded nothing but a wild goose chases. Even had another #13 been found, it no longer would be the rarest stamp in the world. Now, the only surviving #13, in ill health after years of neglect in a Philadelphia bank vault, has a new owner (not me). Sadly, it’s ship and motto are barely discernible.

The ship/motto theme carried forward on all stamps until 1927, except for the 1898 series commemorating Victoria’s ascension to the throne (the defective 1c shown below has been replaced). 

The motto, Damus Petimusque Vicissim, translates as "we give and take in return". Hear these words spoken with a British accent, not Guianese. An expression of colonial capitalism, their meaning in the best sense is exchange, trade, swap, barter, reciprocation, or quid pro quo. Plantation-produced sugar was principally what the British wanted from the bargain. However, the Guyanese -- slave, free, and freed slave -- were never given a fair share. Too much taking, too little giving. Profits sailed away on ships like those shown on most pre-1931 stamps.

Usually cancels are generic or from Georgetown, the capital and major city. Bartica, a town on the left bank of the Essequibo river (1910 cancel on supplement page, bottom left), continues to be a launching point for gold and diamond prospecting. Population in 1910 was likely less than 3,000.

Census: 48 in BB spaces, nine tipped-in, 31 on supplement page.

Jim's Observations
As a child with a stamp collection, who doesn't remember the image of the 1856 British Guiana 1c magenta, the "world's most famous stamp"? 

Imperforate with a sailing ship design, with the Latin inscription "Damus Petimus Que Vicissim" (We give and expect in return), one only needed to check the attic for similar treasures. Enticed by this vision of fabulous riches, one was then encouraged to send away for "approvals".

Do you remember which Stamp company offered that?

British Guiana Blog Post and Checklist

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Sunday, March 12, 2017


1931 Scott 7 1/2b orange "Arabic Inscriptions"
Quick History
The Arab Kingdom of Yemen (aka Hashemite Mutawakkilite Kingdom, North Yemen) existed as a state between 1918-1962 in the northern part of what is now called Yemen. It declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire on October 30, 1918.

Arabia 1914
Prior to WW I, the Vilayet of Yemen and the Vilayet of the Hejaz were under the nominal control of the Ottoman Empire. As mentioned, the Vilayet of Yemen would became the independent Kingdom of Yemen in 1918, while the Vilayet of the Hejaz became part of Saudi Arabia.

The Aden colony and the Hadramaut were under British protection.

Location of the Kingdom of Yemen
The Kingdom, located on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered on the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, Saudi Arabia, and the British Protectorate of Aden.

Flag of the Kingdom of Yemen 1927-1962
The capital was Sanan'a 1918-1948, and Ta'izz 1948-1962.

Essentially, after the Ottoman withdrawal in 1918, there was no formal postal system between 1918-1926.

Stamps for domestic postage were introduced in 1926.

International destinations were usually routed through the Aden British Protectorate.

The Kingdom joined the Universal Postal Union on January 1, 1930, and issued a seventeen stamp definitive issue for foreign and domestic postage.

The Kingdom was admitted into the United Nations on September 30, 1947.

On September 26, 1962, the Yemeni monarchy was abolished, and was succeeded by the Yemen Arab Republic (aka North Yemen, Yemen (Sana'a)).

(Kingdom of Yemen stamps continued to be issued between 1962-1970. They are not recognized and not in the Scott catalogue.)

The Yemen Arab Republic united with the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (aka South Yemen - formally the British Aden Protectorate up to 1967 and independence) on May 22, 1990 to form the Republic of Yemen.

This is a fairly superficial quick history summary. In reality, there were civil wars, revolutions, revolts etc which were and are complicated and involuted. For a more nuanced history, see Stamp World History Yemen post and country diagram.

1930 Scott 19 10b light brown
"Arabic Inscriptions"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Yemen 1926-1940, 40 major number descriptions. Of those, 31 are CV <$1-$1+, or 78%. Clearly, most of the modest Yemen output during the classical era is inexpensive. However, that does not mean the stamps are common in BB feeder albums - in my experience, they are not. One has to go out and specifically search for these issues on-line, or with dealers. But, yes, one can find them.

However, the first issue of 1926 - three typographic imperforates on laid or wove paper- are rather crude in appearance and expensive (CV $60). Also, here are forgeries  - especially on wove paper. I will say no more about them - specialist territory. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
40 Bogaches = 1 Imadi
1930 Scott 8 1b green "Arabic Inscriptions"
Wmk 127 "Quatrefoils"
Upon joining the UPU in 1930, a seventeen stamp typographic definitive issue was released between 1930-31.

Although not needed for identification purposes, the paper was watermarked "Quatrefoils".

1930 Scott 10 2b olive green
The lower denominations had this Arabic inscription design.

1931 Scott 21 20b yellow green
"Arabic Inscriptions"
The higher denominations were in a larger format, with a second Arabic inscription design.

CV is <$1-$1+ for fourteen stamps.

On 1931 Scott 23 var 1i lilac rose & yellow
Overprinted "Automatic Telephone Inauguration
Sanaa March 1959"
I have this stamp in my collection with the commemorative overprint as shown. I can not find this in Scott, Readers?

1939 Scott 29 1i claret & ultramarine
"Flags of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq"
Wmk 258 "Arab Characters and Y G Multiple"
For the 2nd anniversary of the Arab Alliance, a six stamp lithographic set was released in 1939.

CV is <$1-$1+ for five stamps.

Note the paper had Wmk. 258.

Wmk. 127 "Quatrefoils"
Wmk. 258 "Arabic Characters and Y G Multiple"
Of interest, here are watermarks for Yemen during the classical era.

1940 Scott 33 2b bister brown & violet
"Arabic Inscriptions"
For 1940, a lithographic thirteen stamp issue in two designs was released.

1940 Scott 38 8b claret & dull blue
"Arabic Inscriptions"
The higher denominations had the larger format horizontal design.

1940 Scott 43 1i violet rose, yellow green & brown red
"Arabic Inscriptions"
CV is <$1-$1+ for twelve stamps.

Deep Blue
1940 Yemen Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has four pages for the 1936-1940 stamps of Yemen. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1939 Scott 28 20b yellow green & ultramarine
"Flags of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one-half page (shared with Zululand - yes!, the last page in BB!), has nine spaces for the 1930-31 Yemen issue. Total coverage is 23%.

There are no expensive stamps. In fact, the entire group of spaces have a CV of <$1-$1.

But BB's coverage is borderline at best. The 1930-31 issue does not have spaces for four stamps of CV <$1-$1+, while two spaces have choices: leaving out two more stamps of CV <$1.

And the 1939 Issue (five stamps CV <$1-$1+), and the 1940 Issue (twelve stamps CV <$1-$1+), are given no coverage at all.


7,8 or 9,11,12,14,15,

16 or 17,18,20,

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None

1940 Scott 35 4b rose & yellow green
"Arabic Inscriptions"
Out of the Blue
I'm rather fascinated with the Arabic inscripted stamp issuing countries. I cannot read Arabic (although my daughter can), but the mysterious lovely script and geometrical patterns are beautiful. 

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments Appreciated!