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. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Inhambane - Bud's Big Blue

Rubbish Pickers
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
I find Inhambane’s stamps as dreary as beauty school dropouts. They’re standard Portuguese colonials that, even with date-visible cancels, fail to stir a scintilla of my curiosity; except, perhaps, the three Mozambique stamps overprinted "CENTENARIO / DE / S. ANTONIO / Inhambane / MDCCCXCV" (see supplement page).

Inhambane, known today principally by stamp collectors, is one of several Mozambique districts that for a few years in the early 1900s had their own stamps.

So, I’ll comment, not on the stamps, but on a haunting memory of my 2007 visit to Mozambique -- the rubbish pickers. There are thousands of them, and they sort through the trash of every dump in the country (in many other countries, too). The above pic, although not one I took, is close to what’s etched in my brain.

Rubbish pickers and stamp collectors have much in common. Both are adept at sorting odd bits that ordinary folk think worthless, and they’re persistent. Both have a discerning eye for what might be valuable. Both, as informal solid waste workers, engage in basic recycling. Both save space in landfills. Both are easily delighted -- a piece of plastic jewelry or a stamp that fits a blank album space. Mobile apps such as “I Got Trash” connect pickers with those who have what they want, much as ebay does for stamp collectors.

Rubbish picking is filthy and dangerous; my wife says stamp collecting is filthy and, if I scatter too many used stamp hinges, dangerous (to me). There is, undeniably, a public nuisance factor in both enterprises. Theft, too, is sometimes associated with both. And it’s hard to make a living by sorting rubbish or stamps.

On the whole, though, rubbish picking makes the more valuable contribution to society: collecting garbage from places that lack public services, reducing dependence on scarce raw materials by recycling, creating jobs for otherwise unemployable people, expanding the lifespan of dumps and, ultimately, reducing pollution and global warming. We stamp collectors need to increase our social worth.

Error alert: top row of the supplement page shows a stray Horta stamp. It has been replaced.

Census: 37 in BB spaces, four tip-ins, 23 on the supplement page, not counting the Horta. Since the scans were made, I’ve collected another seven, although I don’t know why.

Jim's Observations
If Bud's essay on the commonality between rubbish pickers and stamp collectors doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what would. ;-)

I find the repetitive designs used for every Portuguese colony a bit boring. But a bit of historical understanding is needed. Portugal was not a rich nation. So the colonies, which were many, got there stamps "on the cheap".

What I do find interesting are the exotic and remote places of many of the Portuguese colonies.


It is curious, though, that Scott generally gives no increase in value for a used vs unused stamp. For me, a nicely postmarked Portuguese colony stamp means much more than simply an unused specimen.

Inhambane Blog Post and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Indo-China - Bud's Big Blue

Annamite and Cambodian Girls
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Early French and British colonial stamps look much like those of the colonizing countries; in Indochina’s case, the conventional “Navigation and Commerce” allegory plus a female personification of France (maybe Marianne without her odd hat?), both inscribed INDO-CHINE.

In the later classical era, however, colonial stamps branch out. The British put forward the obligatory crowned heads gazing at local scenery, mostly. The French, having ousted crowed heads, used “RF” initials and preferred images of local people, often anonymous beautiful women in native garb, such as Annamite and Cambodian girls (above). 

Because France’s China offices also used these stamps, with overprints, WW collectors easily recognize these two unknowns. Indochinese stamps also feature local political leaders and scenery, of course, but less often.

The “beauties,” as the stamps with local women came to be known, have a darker side. French colonizers eroticized Vietnamese women on postcards, often franked by these stamps. Far darker yet than “naughty” postcards, human trafficking of Vietnamese women, usually through China, became commonplace. Looking at BB’s album pages of Annamite and Cambodian girls, I wonder if France can ever heal the wounds of its colonial past. (The British have much to redress, too.)

In 1933 air post linked Saigon with other eastern cities and, for the occasion, stamps with a single engine monoplane were issued: 14 denominations initially, others followed. Gabriel-Antoine Barlangue designed this striking impression. Scans of both perforated and imperf examples follow below

Census: 198 in BB space, eight tip-ins, 65 on supplement pages.

More fearful than naughty
Jim's Observations
Indochine française, or French Indochina, was a French colonial protectorate in southeast Asia. It consisted in 1887 of the the Vietnamese areas of Tonkin, Annam, and Cochinchina, and also Cambodia. Laos was added in 1893. Saigon was the first Capital (1887-1902), then Hanoi (1902-1939), and finally Da Lat (1939-45) during the classical era. Of interest, During WW II, Vichy France administered the colony, while the Japanese occupied the area.

Indo-China Blog Post and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Cameroun 1921-1940

1921 Scott 157 40c olive green & orange "Bakalois Woman"
Types of Middle Congo, 1907, Overprinted
Provisional French Mandate
Into the Deep Blue
French design is on display here, covering the 1921-1940 stamps of Cameroun.  This period includes the 1921-25 Provisional French Mandate and the 1925-40 French Mandate era.

Original Cameroun Blog Post & BB Checklist
Cameroun 1897-1917 - a closer look

A closer look 1921-1940
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1921 Scott 148 2c brown & rose "Leopard'
Types of Middle Congo, 1907, Overprinted
Provisional French Mandate
The 1916-17 issues, discussed in the previous post, were derived for Cameroun by overprinting the 1907 issue of the Middle Congo.

The 1907 Middle Congo issue designs were also used for the 1921 seventeen stamp provisional French Mandate release, but types were released this time. The types consisted of a change in colors for a given denomination. For instance, the above 2c brown & rose "Leopard" is a type of the 1907 Middle Congo issue, as the original 1907 2c denomination was colored violet & brown. 

1921 Scott 158 45c brown & rose "Bakalois Woman"
Types of Middle Congo, 1907, Overprinted
Provisional French Mandate
The 1921 45c brown & rose "Bakalois Woman" was originally colored "violet & red" in the 1907 issue.

The seventeen stamp 1921 provisional French Mandate issue, besides a change in color, was additionally overprinted "Cameroun".

Lovely stamp.

I don't mind that the French reused these stamp designs as "types".

1921 Scott 163 5fr dull red & gray "Coconut Grove"
Types of Middle Congo, 1907, Overprinted
Provisional French Mandate
CV for the seventeen stamp 1921 issue ranges from <$1 to $8. Unused is valued slightly higher than used. Covers that are franked with this issue are valued at about 9X -15X used. For instance, this 5 Franc dull red & gray is catalogued @ $9+ for unused, $8 for used, $60+ for cover, and $120+ on cover, single franking.

Lesson: Collectors 100 years ago would have left a better legacy if they had not soaked colonial stamps off cover. ;-)

1925 Scott 164 25c on 15c blue & orange "Leopard"
Surcharged with New Value and Bars
Between 1924-25, five stamps from the 1921 provisional French Mandate issue were surcharged with new values and bars.

1924 Scott 165 25c on 2fr green & rose "Coconut Grove"
Surcharged with New Value and Bars
Three stamps in the issue were surcharged 25c, one stamp 65c, and one stamp 85c.

Other French colonies in Africa (examples-Togo, Chad, Gabon) had similar surcharges for their issues during this time period.

1925 Scott 168 85c on 75c red brown & light green
"Bakalois Woman"
Surcharged with New Value and Bars
CV for the 1924-25 five stamp surcharged issue ranges from $1+ to $2+ - quite inexpensive.

To generalize, French colony stamps tend to be less expensive than British colony stamps.

1925 Scott 174 10c red brown & orange/yellow
"Herder and Cattle Crossing Sanaga River"
French Mandate
With the formal French Mandate in place, a new three design, forty-two stamp issue was released from 1925 to 1938.

(As mentioned, French Colony stamps tend to be less expensive compared to British colony stamps, but the French do have their faults: Namely, do they really need all of those many denominations for their issues?)

The seven lower denominations have the above design in bi-colors.

I like it.
1925 Scott 188 50c light green & cerise
"Tapping Rubber Tree"
French Mandate
The twenty-one middle denominations show a rubber tree being tapped.

1925 Scott 209 5fr brown & black/bluish
"Rope Suspension Bridge"
French Mandate
The fourteen higher denominations have the design as shown.

CV for the entire forty-two issue is <$1-$15, with thirty- nine stamps @ <$1-$4+.

1926 Scott 212 1.25fr on 1fr dull blue
"Rope Suspension Bridge"
Surcharged with New Value and Bars in Red
In 1926, the 1 Franc dull blue, which was also first issued in 1926, was surcharged as shown. The unsurcharged stamp is <$1, and the surcharged stamp is <$1 - about the same.

1939 Scott 227 4c deep ultramarine
"Mandara Woman"
Between 1939-40, a 30 stamp engraved issue with four designs was released.

The most striking (to my eyes) is the "Mandara Woman" for the seven lower denominations.

The people came from the Mandara (Wandala) kingdom in the Mandara Mountains in Cameroon.

1940 Scott 238 70c plum 
"Falls on M'bam River near Banyo"
The middle seven denominations featured a cataract on the M'bam River.

Sanaga River Drainage
The Mbam River is a tributary of the Sanaga River.

1939 Scott 251 3fr dark violet "Elephants"
Lovely engraved design for the twelve middle-upper denominations.

All is not well with the Elephant population in Cameroun, however. In 2012, over half (450) of the Elephants were killed for their ivory that resided in Bouba N'djida National Park by poaching gangs from nearby Chad and Sudan.

1939 Scott 253 10fr bright red violet
"Man in Yare"
The three highest denominations feature this design.

CV for the 30 stamp issue ranges from <$1 to $3+.

1940 Scott 259 10c deep blue green
"Mandara Woman"
Stamps of 1925-40 Overprinted in Black or Orange
"Cameroun Francais" and the August 27, 1940 date was overprinted on 31 stamps of the preceding 1939-40 issue. This was to acknowledge that Cameroun was affiliated with General de Gaulle's "Free France" movement.

1940 Scott 268 90c Prussian blue "Elephants"
Stamps of 1925-40 Overprinted in Black or Orange
CV for the issue is higher than most Cameroun stamps, ranging from $1+ to $190.

1925 Scott J5 15c gray & black 
"Man Felling Tree"
Postage Due
Unlike most postage due releases around the world, Cameroun ( and often other French colonies) has a pictorial for the 1925-27 thirteen stamp issue.

CV is <$1-$7+.
1939 Scott J20 60c brown violet
"Carved Figures"
Postage Due
The 1939 postage due engraved issue of ten stamps has an attractive "Carved Figures" design.

CV is <$1-$2+.

Deep Blue
1921 Cameroun Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has fifteen pages for the 1921-40 stamps of Cameroun. All of the Scott major numbers have a space.

1927 Scott 197 90c brown red & cerise
"Tapping Rubber Tree"
French Mandate
Out of the Blue
One can see why French designs are almost universally admired by the WW collector.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.


Comments appreciated!