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...

Monday, February 14, 2011


Quick History
Algeria is part of Islamic North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea. It is named for the capital, Algiers, and had a population of 7 million in 1936. Today the official language is Arabic, although about 40% of the population speaks Berber. French is still widely understood, and is the language of choice for universities and for business.

France invaded and captured Algiers in 1830. Algeria became a territory, and essentially became part of France.
From 1849 to 1924, stamps of France were used in Algeria. In 1924, French stamps were overprinted for use in Algeria. Then Algerian designed stamps were printed in 1927. Algeria finally became independent in 1962.

1925 Scott 21 45c red, blue overprint
"Louis Pasteur"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Algeria 1924-1940, 130 regular, 35 semi-postal, 24 postage due, and 2 newspaper stamps with major numbers. Total = 191. Of those, 154 are CV <$1-$1+, or 81%. Clearly, Algeria is quite affordable for the classical collector.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1924 Scott 24 65c rose, blue overprint "Sower"
The initial issue of French Algeria used overprinted stamps of France. The 1924-26 production had 32 stamps, and the overprint is found in red, blue, and black.

1926 Scott 31 3fr violet & blue
"Liberty and Peace"
The CV for the issue is remarkably inexpensive, with only one stamp valued higher than $1+. And the beauty of French stamps is not to be denied. Thus series alone would make me want to collect classical WW!

1926 Scott 34 2c red brown 
"Street in Kasbah, Algiers"
Add in street scenes from Kasbah, and I am enthralled. Go ahead and click on the image and enlarge! The street scene stamp is the first design in the 35 stamp issue of 1926-39.

1926 Scott 65 5fr red & violet
"Marabout of Sidi Yacoub"
The higher denominations share this image, and only here does the CV begin to climb above $1+.

1927 Scott 72 90c on 80c orange red
"La Pecherie Mosque"
Stamps of 1926 Surcharged with New Values"
In 1927, seven stamps from the preceding 1926 issue were surcharged. 

La Pecherie Mosque
Another view of the Mosque.

1936 Scott 94 75c slate blue
"Oued River at Colomb-Bechar"
Between 1936-41, a lovely 31 stamp pictorial issue was released. We will take a look at the eight designs, in no particular order.

The Oued Ksob is a river  in (now) western Morocco that empties into the Atlantic ocean. A French Foreign Legion post was once located at Columb-Bechar.

1936 Scott 102 2.25fr yellow green
"Travel across the Sahara"
The Sahara, the hottest desert in the world, can have sand dunes up to 600 feet in height. BTW, this is the most expensive stamp in the set @ $10+.

1936 Scott 101 2fr dark brown
"Arch of Triumph, Lambese"
Except for three stamps, all the stamps in the issue are CV <$1-$1+.

1936 Scott 97 1.25fr light violet
 "Admiralty Building, Algiers"
The heavy scroll work around the frame is characteristic of the issue.

1936 Scott 88 40c brown violet
"Kings' Tombs near Touggourt"
Touggourt is located next to an oasis in the Sahara.

1936 Scott 86 25c rose violet
"El-Kebir Mosque, Algiers"
The great Mosque of Algiers was built in 1097.

1938 Scott 118 65c ultramarine
"Ruins of a Roman Villa"
Philippeville (now Skikda) was founded in 1838 by the French on the ruins of an ancient Phoenician city. For the centenary, a five stamp issue was produced in 1938.

1930 Scott B20 50c + 50c ultramarine
"Ruins at Djemila"
This 1930 semi-postal shows Djemila, a village in mountainous Algeria, where some of the best Berbero-Roman ruins have been preserved.

Deep Blue
1936-41 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 12 pages for Algeria, and all the major numbers in Scott have a space.

1936 Scott 89 45c deep ultramarine
"Sidj Bon Medine Cemetery at Tiemcen"
Big Blue Picture
On 4 pages, Big Blue (1969) has 115 stamp spaces from 1924 to 1940.
The 2011 Scott Specialized catalogue has 191 descriptions for regular postage, air post, semi-postal, postage due and newspaper stamps.
Big Blue offers 60% coverage.

In reviewing the 81 stamps described in the Specialized catalogue that Big Blue does not carry,  61 of them could be added by the Big Blue collector who doesn't blanch at a catalogue value up to $4.

The overprinted French stamps of 1924-26 are given 16 spaces in Big Blue. But the series consists of 32 stamps. Costly to add? Scott 18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30 ( <$1!). Yes, average cost retail is much less than $1 for these 13 stamps! Scott 31 is $1+.  True, if you want to complete the set, you would need Scott 32 at $5+. But frankly, what a poor job by Big Blue providing adequate space for this series. I will definitely need supplemental pages for all the cheap Algerian stamps coming my way from collections; and no place to put them.

O.K., here's the rest of the list of "collectable" Algeria that did not make it into Big Blue.

39 or 40: Big Blue only provides one space for this green or deep rose 20c ( <$1)
43 (<$1)
64 ($1+)
65 ($2+)

75 (<$1)

91,92,99A,100- all part of choices to fill spaces in the checklist; ( <$1-$2+)
101,103,104,106,107,108 (<$1) Note: Scott 103 issued in1941

122 (<$1)

124, 125,131 (<$1)


1927 surcharged
B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B6,B7,B8,B9,B10,B11 ($1-$1+)

B27 (<$1)

Postage dues

J6,J7,J8,J9,J10,J11,J15 (<$1)
J16 ($2+)
J17 ($1+)

J18,J19,J20,J21,J22,J23 (<$1-$2+)

Newspaper stamps
P1,P2 (<$1)
1936 Scott 100 1.75fr henna brown
"View of Ghardaia"
Big Blue Checklist 
(1969 Big Blue edition)

1924-26 Overprinted French stamps
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or 8,
9,10,11,12,15,16,17, (<$1) Note: only one space for 7 and 8
Two blank spaces: suggest 13 or 14 (<$1)

33,34,35,36,37,38, 39 or 40, 41,
42,44,45,46 ,47,48,49,50,
58,61 (<$1-$2+)
Note: 39 or 40- only one space available
Two blank spaces: suggest 62 or 63 (<$1)

68,69,70,71,72,73,74 (<$1)

79,81,82,83,84,86,87,88,90, (<$1)
91($3+) or 92(<$1): space for one stamp
One space: suggest 91 or 92 grouping; or 100 (<$1)
80,85,89,94,99 (<$1-$1+)
One space: suggest 99A (<$1) note: appeared 1940

113,114,115,116 (<$1-$1+)

109,110,111,112 (<$1-$1+)

117,118,119, (<$1)
120,121 ($2+)

126,127,128,129,130 (<$1-$2+)

Semi-postal stamps
B14,B15,B16,B17,B20,B18,B19,B21 ($5+)

B28,B29 ($1+)
B30 ($10+)
B31 ($20+)

B32,B33,B34,B35 ($1+)

Postage Due
J1 (<$1)
Four blank spaces: suggest J2,J3,J4,J5 (<$1)
J12 (<$1)
Two blank spaces:suggest J13,J14 (<$1)

The 1947 Scott Standard catalog has the same numbering system.

1937 Scott 114 1fr brown 
"Constantine in 1837"
Kinds of Blue
The 1997 edition and the 1969 edition are identical.
Compared to the 1969 edition...

Addition (1947 and 1941 edition)
Scott 8 10c green (<$1)

Addition (`1947 and 1941 edition)
1924-26 Newspaper stamps
P1,P2 (<$1)

Deletion (1947 and 1941 edition)
Scott 17 35c violet (<$1)

Note: Postage Due 1926-27: spaces for more stamps vary in each edition.
1969: J1 and 4 spaces; J9 and 2 spaces
1947: J1 and 7 spaces; J9 and 4 spaces
1941: J1 and 3 spaces; J9 with no extra spaces.

1926 Scott J5 30c rose red
Bottom Blue Line
Here's the dilemma for the worldwide collector of 1840-1940: there is no perfect (published) album. :-) ( I'm not talking about computer printed out albums for the moment)

Big Blue: not enough spaces.  ( I don't think the Minkus Supreme Global Album is the answer either: the stamp spaces are too small and crowded for my taste)

For Algeria, Big Blue provided 115 spaces. But, by my estimation, there are easily another 61 stamps that could have (should have?) been added. 

Scott Big Brown Internationals: comprehensive coverage of 1840-1940 in six volumes last published in the latter 1930's; although available again from Vintage/Subway Stamp Shop. The Big Browns have 5152 pages, are printed on one side, and housed in at least 12 jumbo binders. They have room for all the expensive stamps. I have a reference copy of bound Big Browns, and they are great as a reference. The reality, though, is the Big Browns have not been Scott updated since the 1920s, and can have "no longer in use" stamp space descriptions.

So no perfect published album. :-)

Note: La Pecherie Mosque pic appears to be in the public domain.
Note: The "Into the Deep Blue" section and most of the scans were added in March, 2014.

Have a comment?


  1. Good to have a collector and blogger from Algeria-Welcome Stamp Rose!

  2. Jim

    I've been spending some time on your site again today and I must say I love the way in which you make individual stamps come to live in your descriptions. There's a lot to be learned from that for my own site.

    Gerben van Gelder

  3. Thanks Gerben. :-)

    I do think though your emphasis on the history and maps of stamp issuing countries is a great focus, and welcome indeed!

    As far as stamps, there is always more work to do- I need to go back to the countries A-Falkland islands and add a lot more stamp images.

    I will probably only get to that after I am done with the countries yet to be published, eventually to to Zululand in about two years. ;-)