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 21, 2011

British East Africa

1890-94 1 anna blue green & 2 anna vermilion "Light and Liberty"
Quick History
The philatelic history of  British East Africa and the British East Africa Company activities are closely intertwined here. Essentially, British East Africa consisted of all the territory in East Africa under control of the British. The British East Africa Company issued stamps from 1890 through 1895.  Then India Stamps 1874-95 were overprinted "British East Africa" or surcharged in 1895. The "British East Africa Protectorate" stamps were issued in 1896 and 1898, while the stamps of Zanzibar were overprinted "British East Africa" in 1897.  Finally, the territory was incorporated as the East Africa and Uganda Protectorate. With Kenya, the area was known as the Kenya Colony. Got all that?

1890 Scott 14b 1/2a deep brown
"Sun and Symbol of "Light and Purity""
Into the Deep Blue
The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for British East Africa 1890-1901, 96 major number descriptions. Of those, 5 are CV <$1-$1+, or ~5%. Clearly, it is not a cheap philatelic country. Raising the bar to CV $5+, yields 15 stamps, or ~ 15%. British East Africa is more of a specialty "dead" country that requires resources and interest.

A closer look
16 Annas = 1 Rupee
1891 Scott 18 3a black/red
"Sun and Symbol of "Light and Purity""
A large lithographic issue of seventeen stamps (major numbers) was released between 1890-1894. 

They all have a design of the crown hovering over the sun.

1890 Scott 25 1r rose
"Sun and Symbol of "Light and Purity""
CV for the issue ranges from $1+ to $10+ for fourteen stamps.

There is a note in Scott that states stamps with natural straight edges are almost as common as fully perforated stamps. Values are about the same.

1896 Scott 76 2 1/2a dark blue
"Queen Victoria and British Lions"
Between 1896-1901, a sixteen stamp issue with the above design was released.

CV ranges from <$1 to $10+ for ten stamps.

Note that this issue has some stamps overprinted later with "Zanzibar". Scroll down for example.

1896-1903 1/2a yellow green & 1a carmine "Queen Victoria and British Lions"
Big Blue Picture

Big Blue (1997) has one line on one page with eight stamp spaces from 1890-1896. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 96 major stamp descriptions for 1890-1898. Big Blue's coverage is 8%.

Eight stamps are given a place by Big Blue at a quite reasonable <$1-$5+.

Big Blue does not cover the early (1890) Queen Victoria's ($230+ minimum), the handstamped 1891-95 surcharged stamps ($20+ minimum), the 1895 India overprinted/surcharged stamps ($2+minimum-I include some below), the 1897 Zanzibar overprinted issue ($20+ minimum), or the 1898 BCA Protectorate stamps ($40+ minimum) Obviously one could have a lot of fun with these issues, but the wallet would be thin.

Eight additional  BCA stamps ($2+-$5+) that could be considered by the Big Blue collector...
1890-94 British East Africa Company
17 ($5+)

1895 (India stamps overprinted/surcharged)
54 (5+)
56 ($5+)
57 ($2+)
58 ($2+)

1896 British East Africa Protectorate  "Queen Victoria and British Lions"
78 ($2+)
80 ($5+)
82 ($5+)

Note: As I was uploading some camera pics of  British East Africa stamps, I noticed the pic showed a red "Zanzibar" overprint on the 1896-1903 2 1/2 anna dark blue!  ;-)  In my defense, these stamps were sold as a lot of British East Africa. Of course, I examined the stamp again, and yes one can see the overprint, but it is not obvious. The camera shows the overprint more clearly.  The image is directly below.
When is a 2 1/2a dark blue "British East Africa" not?
The camera reveals a red "Zanzibar" overprint!
Big Blue Checklist
1890-94 British East Africa Company
14   1/2a bister brown ($1+)
15   1a "green " ($5+)  Listed as 'blue-green" in Scott catalogue
16   2a vermillion ($2+)
18   3a black,red ($5+)

1896 British East Africa Protectorate  "Queen Victoria and British Lions"
72 ($1+) 1/2a yellow green
73(<$1) 1a carmine
75 ($5+) 2a chocolate
76($2+) 2 1/2a dark blue

Map of British East Africa
Kinds of Blue
The 1997,1969,1947 and 1941 editions are identical for content.

Big Blue Bottom Line

An interesting stamp history for the short time period (1890-98). If one would like to add a little spice to the collection, the India overprinted/surcharged stamps are reasonable.

Note: Map in Public Domain.
The "Into the Deep Blue' section was added in 2018.

Comments appreciated!

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