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 1, 2011


Quick History

A former colony, and now part of Portugal (Autonomous Region), the Azores are a group of 9 volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean 900 miles from Lisbon. The population was 250,000 in 1930, and the capital is Ponta Delgada. Portugal began issuing overprinted Portuguese stamps for the Azores in 1868, and the overprinted issues continued for the Azores until Portuguese stamps replaced them in 1931.

Trivia: Mount Pico, at 7,700 feet, is the highest point in Portugal. But measuring from the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean, the mountain is one of the highest on Earth.

Big Blue Picture

On 5 pages, Big Blue (1969) has 171 illustrations/descriptions for stamp spaces, and 5 blank spaces for a total of 176 stamp spaces.
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 340 major descriptions for the stamps of the Azores.
Big Blue has 52% coverage.

Big Blue's coverage begins in 1906 and continues through the 1925 issues. Scott's catalogue begins coverage of the Azores with the overprinted stamps of 1868.

Overall, I found quite a few stamps that are not in Big Blue , many much less than $4, that could be added by the collector.

14 stamps beginning in 1871-75 before Big Blue begins coverage in 1906.
18 stamps between 1906-1911.
15 more stamps from the "Ceres" definitives
5 more stamps between 1925-26.
21 stamps that are Postage due!
11 parcel post stamps
3 newspaper stamps
2 postal tax stamps

A total of 89 stamps available! Scott numbers below:

(Scott 25,65,66,67,68,69,78,79,80,84,93,94,95,96, 108,109,119,120,121,122,123,133,134,135,136,137,138,141,145,146,147,151, 171,181,182,186,197,201,211,213,215,218,219,221,224,225,252,253,254,255,256,270,J1,J2,J3,J4,J5,J8,J9,J10,J11,J12,J14,J19,J20,J21,J31,J32,J37,J43,J44,J45,J46,P2,P3,P4,Q5,Q6,Q7,Q8,Q9,Q10,Q11,Q12,Q13,Q14,Q15,RA1,RAJ1), and choice not taken between 176 or 178, 206 or 207.

Big Blue Checklist

1906  King Carlos
101,102,103,104,105 (<$1)
107,106 ($1+-$2+)

1910 King Manual II
112,113,114,115,117 (<$1)
2 blank spaces: suggest 116 & 118 ($1-$1+)

1911 overprinted "republica"
126,127,128,131 (<$1)
129,130, ($1+)
blank space: suggest 132 ($1+)

1911 (continued)
144,149,150 ($1+)

Update note: The 1912-1932 "Ceres" issue originally presented here was based on the 2011 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue. But the 2014  catalogue revises the listings into 1912-19 "chalky paper" Perf 15 X 14; 1917-21 "ordinary paper" 15 X 14; 1918-26  "ordinary paper" 12 X 11 1/2;  1924-30 "glazed paper" 12 X 11 1/2 , and 1930-31 Perf 12 X 11 1/2 "With Imprint at Foot" major number catagories. I will present here both the old numbers (for those with an old (~2011) catalogue), and the new present numbers (~2014).

Old numbers....

1912 overprinted on Ceres issue
155,156,157,159,161,163,169 (<$1)
blank space: suggest 178 or 176 (<$1-$2+)

Current numbers....

1912* overprinted on Ceres issue
155, 156,157,158,159,160,161, (Blank space: suggest 162/163/164/165/166)
*Note: Because of BB date (1912), only the 1912-13 issued Ceres stamps are included here. The 1917-21, 1918-26, & 1924-30 issues are not considered

Old numbers...

1918-23 overprinted on Ceres issue
158,160,162,164,166,167,170 (<$1)
173 (<$1) Note: described "dull rose" in Scott Classic specialized, "lilac rose" in Big Blue(1969).

Current numbers....

1918-23 overprinted on Ceres issue
176 or 197, 178 or 198, 180 or 199, 182 or 200, 183, 184 or 202, 186 or 203, 187 or 204A

Next Page

Old numbers...

1918-23 overprinted on Ceres issue
177($1+), 179,183,184($1+), 185($1+),191,194,198($1+) (<$1, except noted)
200, 207* or 206, 210 ($2+),
*Note: "50c orange" description in Big Blue (1969) fits neither possibility exactly; Scott 207($1+) is 50c yellow('23) or Scott 206($2+) is 50c  orange on salmon ('13).
Scott 207 is wrong color, right date range; while Scott 206 is right color(sort of), wrong date range.

Current numbers...

1918-23 overprinted on Ceres issue
189 or 205, 206, 210, 211, 172, 214, 217, 193 or 219,
221, 169* or 170 or 225, 194 or 226,
*Note: 169 is orange (What BB calls for), and 170 & 225 are yellow. I am including the yellow choices here

Old numbers....

1923-25 overprinted on Ceres issue
195 (<$1) Note: "salmon" in Scott Classic Specialized is "salmon pink" in Big Blue(1969).
199,202 ($2+-$1)
204($3) Note "bright rose" in Scott Classic Specialized is "rose" in Big Blue(1969).

Current numbers...

1923-25 overprinted on Ceres issue
215,216,218,220,223,224,230,233* or 237,

*Note: 237 is gray violet (What BB calls for). I am including 233 violet.

1925  Castello-Branco issue

1926 overprinted First Independence Issue

1927 overprinted Second Independence Issue

1928 overprinted Third Independence Issue

1929-30 (surcharge/overprinted on Ceres)

(1929-30: Caution: These stamps following have NO imprint at foot of stamp)
Blank space: suggest 313($1+)

Old numbers...

1930-32 overprinted Ceres issue (type of 1912)
205(<$1) Note: "dull pink" in Scott Classic Specialized is "pink" in Big Blue(1969).
209,208 ($2+)
223 ($27+) !  1e brown lake ('30) Note:The most expensive Azores overprinted Ceres in Big Blue.

Current numbers...

1930-32 overprinted Ceres issue (type of 1912)


Postal Tax stamps Note: Fee for delivery in certain days of the year; Money was applied to public charity.
RA3,RA4 (<$1)

1925  Pombal issue
RA9,RA10,RA11 ($1+)

1925 Comrades of the Great War issue
RA5,RA6,RA7,RA8 ($1+)

Parcel Post stamps

Postage Due stamps
J15,J16,J17,J18 (<$1)

Types of 1918
J30,J33,J34,J35,J36,J38,J39,J40,J41,J42 (<$1)

Postal Tax Due stamps
RAJ2,RAJ3,RAJ4 (<$1)

Kinds of Blue
The 1997 edition and the 1969 edition are identical.
Compared to the 1969 edition, both the 1947 and 1941 editions are the same.

Big Blue Bottom Line

The heart and soul of the Azores issues are the overprinted Ceres definitives. I counted 66 total varieties that are in Big Blue.  Fifteen more can be collected for less than $4 per stamp. Big Blue's most expensive "Ceres" is Scott 223  1e brown lake ('30) for $20+. Be aware there a few more expensive varieties  (196-$70+,232-$40+,233-$40+,236-$20+,237-$80+) that are probably out of reach, unless one wants to "go deep" in the Azores. I must admit, I really find the issue attractive for some reason.

The only major confusion presented by Big Blue for the Ceres issue was, (as described in the checklist):

1918-23 overprinted on Ceres issue
"50c orange" description in Big Blue (1969) fits neither possibility exactly; Scott 207($1+) is 50c yellow('23) or Scott 206($2+) is 50c  orange on salmon ('13).

Scott 207 is wrong color, right date range; while Scott 206 is right color(sort of), wrong date range.

I could make an argument for either one. The 1947 Scott standard catalogue has the same color descriptions as the 2011 Classic Specialized, so no help there, I suspect Scott meant the "yellow", which fits the dates, but the "orange on salmon" was listed adjacent to the "yellow" in the catalogue, and a mistake was made.

ALSO, caution is advised: the stamp row below the 1929-30 Surcharged/overprinted Ceres(Scott 301-06), is for the Ceres WITHOUT an imprint below the foot of the stamp; namely Scott 307-312 & Blank(313?). These stamps- especially 4c orange (307), 5c deep brown (308), and 40c bright green (311) can be confused with the 1930-32 Ceres issues listed next on the page that DO have an imprint below the foot; and have the SAME or very similar colors (Scott 168,172,203 respectively).

Note: You will need to consult a Scott catalogue for specific pricing. I only give a very "ball park" price, and never the actual catalogue value.
<$1= less than a Dollar
$1+= more than a Dollar
$2+= more than two Dollars
$5+= more than five Dollars
$10+= more than ten Dollars
$20+..and so on.


  1. "How can I buy some of these Azores stamps?"

    A comment I received..
    The fact is I'm a collector and this is my collection. so I'm not interested in selling.
    If one is asking how to obtain Azores or other countries stamps, the answer is the same as what I do- Stamp Clubs, Philatelic friends, Dealers, Stamp Shows, Stamp Auctions, e-bay. ;-)

  2. I'm confused by the numbers you have for the 1930-32 series.

    You have: 168,172,175,189,203(<$1)

    Shouldn't it be 313A, 313B; 313C...

    Maybe the catalogue was updated/edited since you did these?

  3. Yes and yes. ;-)
    This blog post was published in 2011, and reflect the old numbers.

    Since then, Scott has been redoing (parsing) the Ceres issue numbers for many of the Portuguese colonies. It was finally finished in 2016.

    I will obtain a 2017 catalogue this fall, and, at some point, I will be redoing the Ceres catalogue numbers.