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 by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Latvia - Bud's Big Blue

Ally tells her Story
Note 20 -1 -20 : Ceasefire between  Latvia and Russia
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Bud’s Big Blue posts have reached the midpoint; approximately half of the album’s spaces fall before Latvia, half after.

To honor this occasion, Bud asked me to write a few words. I’m the woman pictured above (on Scott #59). Bud will make his own remarks about passing the midpoint separately. So, I get to tell some of my story here in this guest post.

I’ll begin with a few words about myself. You can call me Ally, that’s short for Allegory, because I personify Latvia’s struggles and her dreams of becoming an independent state following World War I. A guy by the name of Rihards Zarins first drew me in 1916 (see my earlier pic below). Back then, I was ready to fight any and every one single handedly -- Russians, Germans, whomever -- so Latvia could win her freedom.

We proudly proclaimed our independence on 18 November 1918, the date emblazed in the wreath I’m holding. A year later, in 1919, when I was looking somewhat more sedate, I was selected for the first anniversary stamp. Actually, I was tired then. Does it show?  It had been a rough year and hard times had continued. My sword, now resting by my side, seemed heavier than it used to. And independence was still not a sure thing. Sad. If you want a summary of what happened (it’s all very complicated), a reader of Wikipedia has sorted out the details pretty well (see https://thereaderwiki.com/en/History_of_Latvia). It makes me sick to read it, though. I think about the thousands who died. I had inspired them.

You probably noticed the striking cancellation necklace I’m wearing, dated 20-1-20. I’m proud of it. Jim is publishing this post exactly 100 years - four days later. Neat!

The postmaster in Leepaj made several of them to celebrate the cease fire between Latvia and Russia that happened on that day. Even more important, the Russians said they would to leave us alone. But, even so, full freedom didn’t come until ten months later. I’m told necklaces like mine pop up on eBay now and then. Watch for them.

Bud asked me to say something about the other stamps in his album. Well, Big Blue’s actual dead center falls between the fourth and fifth stamps, row 5, on page 2 of the Latvia scans. It’s between stamps with star-studded sunrises, our coat of arms back then. My hat has three stars, too, which makes my face the rising sun, kind of.
You might also find interesting the stamps printed on the back of old maps and bank notes found on Bud’s supplement pages. Paper, like almost everything else, was scarce back then. Don’t tell Bud, but I think some of the airmail stamps on his supplement pages are fakes.

After getting my cancel a hundred years ago, I was passed around from collector to collector and spent 30 years in an album that wasn’t much looked at. Then came seven years in a damp, moldy basement. I had to take a mild Clorox bath before Bud let me in his album. You can still detect a slight rust tinge along my top perforations.

Census: 150 in BB spaces, counting me; one tip-in is hiding behind me, a mint sister #59 who envies my necklace; another 100 can be seen on supplement pages.

Ally in 1916

Jim's Observations
Congratulations to Bud! He is at the midway point in presenting his completely full Big Blue! You will also note that this blog post by Bud is published exactly one hundred years minus four days after the socked-on-the-nose cancellation (20-1-20)  of his "Ally" header stamp and the date of the ceasefire between Latvia and Russia.

Bud - your clever musings for each country found in BB are a real treat. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say I am looking forward to the second half!

Latvia Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Recent Additions to the Collection for 2019

The Iconic Two Penny Blue
1840 Great Britain Scott 2 2p blue "Queen Victoria"
Into The Deep Blue
For eight years I've been looking for a Two Penny Blue.

First issued May 7, 1840, one day after the equally iconic One Penny Black, this engraved GB design has rarely been surpassed for simplicity and beauty. Only two plates were needed, compared to the eleven plates for the Penny Black, and then the Two Penny Blue design had white lines added in 1841.

So really only a year for the original Two Penny Blue. Naturally the CV cost is high ($900+). But a nice opportunity arose, and I took it.

And that is indicative of this past year - a year of changes and opportunities. As I stated in the last annual review for 2018, this year would be more about a targeted "want list" approach, and less about purchasing feeder albums. Recall that I collect WW 1840-1940 (-1952 British Commonwealth).

So how did I do?

Well, I still purchased country feeder albums, but ones in which I felt would yield enough new stamps to justify the overall cost. Then I bought select stamps and sets from dealers and the internet (mainly the APS store). And sometimes an opportunity would present itself (as above, and more stories to follow).

I also lowered my new stamp goal total for the year: 500+ (rather than 1000+).

I began the year with 49,560 stamps in Deep Blue (classical era Steiner pages) and 30,496 stamps in my virtual Big Blue (Scott 1840-1940 International Part I). As many of you know, I keep my stamps in Steiner pages (Deep Blue), but keep virtual count of stamps that have a space in Big Blue.

I added 620 stamps to Deep Blue, with 185 stamps also having a space in Big Blue. Total, beginning January 1, 2020, is then 50,190 stamps in Deep Blue (60% filled) and 30,681 stamps in Big Blue (89.5% filled). I have crossed the 50,000 classical era count, and 60% filled level! Yes!!!! For more on the specific country counts, see the Status of My Deep Blue & Big Blue Collection post, which is undated monthly.

Which countries did I add the most stamps for the year?

1) Russia 53
2) Brazil 46
3) Cilicia 44
4) Liechtenstein 35
5) Orange River Colony 28
6) Albania 26
7) Ireland 24
8) Monaco 21
9) Salvador 19
10) Germany 18
      Andorra 18
11) France/China Offices 16
      Oltre Giuba 16
      Northern Nigeria 16
12) St, Pierre & Miquelon 15

In prior years for this annual review, I  would illustrate a few of the stamp additions for each country on the list. But some of these countries (Russia, Brazil, Germany, France/China Offices, St Pierre & Miquelon) I've already shown with timely posts this past year. And others (Cilicia, Orange River Colony) I plan to do future in-depth posts. That leaves me with the delicious choice to do what I like for this year's review. ;-)

So here is an eclectic group of countries that have had additions recently...

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia 1853 Scott 1 1p red brown 
"Queen Victoria"
A good friend of mine in town was thinking of downsizing parts of his collection, especially British North America, which he had built up over the years. Well, I love British North America issues, and it wasn't too long that we came to an agreement. The long and short of it is that I found myself with two nice early Nova Scotia stamps, and an early New Brunswick stamp. CV ranges from $500+ to $2,200+. All three stamps were still housed in their Steve Ivy Philatelic Auction envelopes.

Nova Scotia 5 1857 6p dark green
"Crown of Great Britain and Heraldic Flowers of the Empire"
I think one of the reasons I like early Nova Scotia and early New Brunswick (the New Brunswick 1851 Scott 2 6p olive yellow is shown at the end of the post) is because some of my earlier ancestors, finding themselves on the wrong end of the Revolutionary War because of their Tory leanings, fled from Lancaster, Pennsylvania  to Nova Scotia in 1781. (Others fought on the Patriot side.)

Cyprus Scott  1938-44 Scott 143-155 Pictorials
One of the longtime dealers in Oregon, one which I've had dealings with ever since I bought a large stuffed Big Blue feeder album from him eight years ago, specializes in British Commonwealth issues.

Cyprus 1938 Scott 153 45pi black & emerald
"Forest Scene"
He had a full unused set of the 1938-44 pictorial issue for Cyprus. I was missing the last three stamps in the set, which is where most of the CV resides. Look at this gorgeous engraved stamp! Who could resist?

Cyprus 1938 Scott 155 One Pound indigo & dull red
"George VI"
A common scenario for us WW collectors is obtaining/accumulating perhaps 80% of a set through picking up one or two stamps at a time. Yet the rest of the set is where the CV lies. So, although counter-intuitive, as we have most of the stamps, the smart thing is then to buy the whole set. At least one will have duplicates for trading. ;-)

France 1884 Scott J22 60c black
This came out of a dealer's box. Not much to look at, but being France, the CV is $50+.

Gibraltar 1938-49 Scott 107-118 Pictorials
This was a pick-up from my friendly British Commonwealth dealer in Oregon. (See earlier Cyprus.)

Gibraltar 1944 Scott 116 5sh dark carmine & black
"Government House"
As I said, the high values of a set is also where the CV for the set is mostly derived.

Gibraltar 1943 Scott 117 10sh blue & black
"Catalan Bay"
I am a sucker for the engraved pictorials issued for many British Commonwealth countries beginning in 1938. Just click on the stamp, enlarge it, and enjoy the fine line detail. !!!

Gibraltar 1938 Scott 118 One Pound Orange
"Edward VI"
This modest little stamp has a high value denomination (One Pound), and a similarly high CV ($30).

Ireland 1925 Scott 77 2sh6p gray brown
"1922" is 5 1/2 mm long
A local dealer in town had several thousand higher value individual WW classical era stamps housed in separate glassine envelopes that he had picked up from a deceased meticulous collector. Each stamp, as it turned out, was correctly identified. Do you know how uncommon that is? Whenever I obtain a stamp, I make sure to do my own watermarking, perforation measuring etc, because not infrequently, the stamp is not quite what it was labeled to be.

The dealer had no time to evaluate and market these stamps, and gave the whole box to me to ferret out what I needed. I found several hundred WW stamps I could use, and paid a minimal % CV for them.

Ireland 1937 Scott 98 10sh dark blue
"St. Patrick and Paschal Fire"
Here are a couple of examples from Ireland. CV is an amazing $175 and $90 respectively.

Monaco 1885 Scott 4 10c brown/straw
"Prince Charles III"
At our local stamp show, there is a "Floor to Ceiling" dealer, who is based in Oregon, but goes to all the major US stamp shows. By "Floor to Ceiling", I mean his stock is WW, each stamp is housed individually by country, and he needs a Mercedes Sprinter Van to bring everything. Naturally, his stock is a fertile hunting ground for WW collectors, especially if one has a "want list", as he is likely to have some to most of it.

Monaco 1891 Scott 20 25c green
"Prince Albert I"
The reality of a "Floor to Ceiling" dealer is, since he has done most of the parsing work to make his enormous stock accessible down to the individual Scott number, his % CV prices will be in the higher range (50%). 

Monaco 1928 Scott 99 1.50fr on 2fr violet 7 olive brown
"View of Monaco"
But, if one has a want list with individual spaces to fill, yes, it can be worth it, ;-)

Monaco 1938 Scott 143 2.25fr on 2fr dull red
Postage Due Stamps of 1925-32 Surcharged or Overprinted in Black
These are some of the stamps I picked up for Monaco from him. The CV ranges from $7 to $40.

Paraguay 1934 Scott C90 13.50p blue green
""Graf Zeppelin" over Brazilian Terrain"
Overprinted in Black
A local dealer tends to have varying stock for Central and South America, and he also has an interest in carrying Zeppelin stamps.

And that is how I acquired some Zeppelins from Paraguay.

Of interest, note how the scene depicts the Zeppelin over Brazil! I guess Paraguay wanted to get in on the stamp action. ;-)

Paraguay 1935 Scott C97 45p blue
Types of the 1933 Issue Overprinted in Black
CV for the two examples here is $10 and $20+ respectively.

New Brunswick 1851 Scott 2 6p olive yellow
""Crown of Great Britain and Heraldic Flowers of the United Kingdom"
Out of the Blue
I hope the examples of stamps acquired by me this past year warms your heart, and gives you a greater appreciation of the stamp art and design during the "golden age" (classical era).

Comments appreciated!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Cayman Islands 1950 Issue & War Tax - a closer look

1950 Scott 122 1/4p rose red & blue "Catboat"
Into the Deep Blue
British Commonwealth issues, for those of us that like pictorials, have a reputation as a bit staid and stuffy with issue after issue showing the Queen or King and not much else.

So it is a delight when that rule is broken.

The bi-colored Cayman Islands issue of 1950 is lovely, and we will spend some time with this post taking a look!

Cayman Islands 1900-1947 - a closer look
Cayman Islands & BB Checklist

1950 Scott 127 2 1/2p sepia & aquamarine
Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, & Cayman Brac
Classical map image of the Cayman Islands and George VI.

A Closer Look
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shilling = 1 Pound
1950 Scott 123 1/2p blue green & red violet
"Coconut Grove, Cayman Brac"
Does anything say island paradise more than swaying coconut palms?

1950 Scott 124 1p deep blue & olive
"Green Turtle"
Christopher Columbus called the Cayman Islands "Las Tortugas" in 1503 because of the abundance of the green sea turtles. Today they are less prevalent.  But the largest tourist attraction (500,000 visitors annually) is the Cayman Turtle Centre, where breeding and conservation measures are in force.

1950 Scott 125 1 1/2p chocolate & blue green
"Thatch Rope Industry"
The fibers from the silver thatch palm were used to make rope, a local traditional industry. Today, one can buy bags and hats made from the material at the craft markets. 

1950 Scott 126 2p rose carmine & violet
"Caymanian Seamen"
The 1950 George VI issue consists of thirteen pictorial stamps, all engraved and bi-colored. CV ranges from <$1 to $20+. Naturally, the designs were frugally used again for the Elizabeth II issue of 1953-62.

1950 Scott 128 3p blue & blue green
"Parrot Fish"
Around the coral reefs are found the colorful Parrot Fish. One is likely to encounter them while snorkeling. As they feed of the coral, they make a "crunching" noise, and can produce a pond of sand yearly.

1950 Scott 129 6p deep blue & orange brown
"Bluff, Cayman Brac"
Cayman Brac is known for the 140 foot cliff made out of limestone. In fact, the island was named after this feature. "Brac" in Gaelic means "Bluff".

1950 Scott 130 9p deep green & rose red
"Georgetown Harbor"
Georgetown presently has a population of 28,000, making it the second largest city of the British Overseas Territories.

1950 Scott 131 1sh red orange & brown
Turtle "Crawl"
Turtles are the national dish of the Cayman Islands, but surveys show only 30% of the population eat turtles, and it is not popular with tourists.

1950 Scott 132 2sh red violet & violet
"Cayman Schooner"
Over 300 schooners were built in the Caymans. The mahogany found on the islands was used for the ship frames.

1950 Scott 133 5sh violet & olive
"Boat Building"
As I mentioned in the Cayman Islands 1900-1947 post, Shipbuilding was a thriving industry in the Caymans. Now it  is tourism, snorkeling, off-shore banking and a tax haven.

1917 Scott MR4 1 1/2p on 2 1/2p ultramarine "George V"
War Stamp - Surcharged (Type SG 17)
One of the great War Stamp rarities is based on the September 4, 1917 1 1/2p on 2 1/2p ultramarine surcharge - unfortunately not this one, the common SG Type Surcharge 17- (CV <$1). When De La Rue shipped these stamps, there were about 3 sheets included in the consignment with a type surcharge error (Scott MR3): SG Type Surcharge (16 - CV $800+ unused). A Word: use the SG catalogue to see the difference in the surcharge type- do not trust the image in Scott.

1919 Scott MR5 1/2p green
1912 Scott 33 Overprinted
The February 4, 1919 MR4 has been reported to have a "Brownish paper" variety. This merely turns out to be caused by the interleaving used for shipment.

1919 Scott MR6 1 2/p on 2 1/2p orange
Type of 1912-16 Surcharged
There are seven major numbers (MR1-MR7) for the war stamps of the Cayman Islands. CV (except for the great rarity MR3 (see above)) is a modest <$1 to $10+.

1920 Scott MR7 1 1/2p on 2p gray
1912 Scott 35 Surcharged
This too (MR7) had a "rose-tinted paper" variety reported: again caused by the interleaving used during shipment. These "tinted paper" varieties were given higher CVs in some catalogues (Minkus) in the past.

1950 Scott 134 10sh rose red & black
"Government Offices, Grand Cayman'
Out of the Blue
I hoped you enjoyed the high resolutions scans of this nicely done 1950 Cayman Islands set!

Bud's Big Blue - Cayman Islands

Comments appreciated!