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...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

British Guiana

1876-82 1c slate & 2c orange & 8c rose
Motto of the Colony: "Damus Petimus Que Vicissm"
"We give and expect in return"
Quick History
Located on the northeast coast of South America, this British Crown Colony had a population of 360,000 in the 1940's. The Capital was Georgetown. In 1814, three Dutch possessions were given over to Great Britain and consolidated into British Guiana in 1831. Guyana became independent in 1966.

Philatelic and Historical Memories
As a child with a stamp collection, who doesn't remember the image of the 1856 British Guiana 1c magenta, the "world's most famous stamp"? Imperforate with a sailing ship design, with the Latin inscription "Damus Petimus Que Vicissim" (We give and expect in return), one only needed to check the attic for similar treasures. Enticed by this vision of fabulous riches, one was then encouraged to send away for "approvals". Do you remember which Stamp company offered that?

The second memory, much more dark, was the 1978 murder/mass suicide of 918 Americans in Jonestown.

1934 Scott 212 3c carmine
"Alluvial Gold Mining"
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue (1997), on two pages, has 48 stamp spaces for the 1860-1938 issues. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 247 major stamp descriptions from 1850-1938. Coverage by Big Blue is 19%.

Big Blue's offerings, 48 stamps, range through a reasonable <$1-$10+. But the Big Blue collector, looking at the "Big Blue picture", gets short shrift. You see, there are 39 additional beautifully designed  British Guiana's available for <$1-$5+. Add seven more classic era stamps ($5+-$20+), and there is a doubling (46 total) of reasonably priced stamps that would attract the Big Blue collector.

Additional stamps...
33B 2c deep orange ($20+)
48 8c rose ($20+)
54 12c lilac ($20+)

1863-66 Seal of the Colony-sailing ship
68 24c yellow green ($5+)

77 12c lilac ($2+)
78 24c green ($2+)

1881 Official stamps surcharged with brush like pen lines (Interesting stamps-No spaces in BB)

109 4c ultra ($5+)
110 6c brown ($5+)

1889 "Inland revenue" overprint and surcharge (No spaces in Big Blue!)


131,140,141,142, (<$1-$2+)

1890 red surcharge



1905-10 chalky paper

1907 black overprint

1913-27 George V


235,236,238($2+),239 (<$1 unless noted)

Postage Due
J1,J2,J3,J4 (<$1-$5+)

War Tax
MR1 (<$1)

1913-37 2c deep violet & 4c brown & red violet
King George V: issued in colonial wmk 3 & 4
Big Blue Checklist
1860-75 Sailing ship
1c (illustrated) black 50($5+) or 58($5+) or 45($30+) or 29($20+) or 33A($50+) or brown-red 17($110+)
2c orange 51($5+) or 46($5+) or 59($10+) or 30($20+) or 19($50+)
4c blue 52 ($10+) or 60($110+)
Note: choices consist of different thickness paper and different perforations.

1c slate 107 or 72 (<$1-$1+)
2c (illustrated) orange 108 or 73 (<$1-$2+)
8c rose 111 or 76 ($1+)
Note: choices consist of different watermarks (wmk1 and wmk2)

130 1c lilac & gray ($2+)
131A 2c "gray-green" ($2+) Note: BB specifies this more expensive stamp rather than 131 green (<$1)!
2c (illustrated): 132 lilac&orange or 133 lilac&rose (<$1)
134 2c violet&black,red (<$1)
135 4c lilac&ultra ($2+)
136 5c ultra (<$1)
139 8c "lilac&rose"($2+) Note: Big Blue specifies the expensive stamp rather than 140 lilac&black($1+)




1913-27  George V
178 or 191, 179,193,180,181($1+),195,182($1+),183 or 196 ($1+) (<$1 unless noted)

205($1+),206,207,208($2+) (<$1 unless noted)

210,211,($1+),212,213($2+),214($2+) (<$1 unless noted

1935 Silver Jubilee

1937 Coronation

1931 Scott 206  2c dark brown
"Indian Shooting Fish"
Kinds of Blue
The 1969 and 1997 editions are identical.
The "97 and "69 editions have more coverage of the classical era: specifically 1860-75 Scott 46 or 51 or 59 2c orange and Scott 52 4c blue; 1889-1903 Scott 136 5c ultramarine and Scott 139 8c lilac & rose. These stamps are NOT in the '47 and '41 editions.
The 1891 Scott 5c ultramarine-and three of it's brethren-are found in the '97 & '69 editions.
Big Blue Bottom Line

I really like the British Guiana designed stamps, so I wouldn't mind a few more.  ;-)

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. Jim! You are indefatigable! I had resolved to check through my collection every time you added a new country, but I’m falling behind. At your rate, you’ll be finished in no time. You’re already have over ten percent of the countries, and you’ve been working at it for only three months!?

    As you commented at the end of one of your posts, the small stamp-issuing countries are especially interesting. I agree. I guess it was (and still is) a way for colonial powers to exert their dominance (hence all the royals, demi-royals and rogues—Big Blue as FaceBook for tyrants) or for independent countries to assert their existence. Fielding a team at the Olympics serves that function, too.

  2. Thanks Bud! Truth be told, I've slowed down this month. I had a head start on the blog while waiting for my '97 Big Blue to arrive. Now I'm putting the stamps into the new album; but still short about 8 countries. :-) I'm gaining though.

    Let's see...10% finished @ 3months would give a project time of... 2 1/2 years? Yikes! :-)

    Regarding small countries - and (usually) colonial powers: It was (mostly)about extraction and exploitation. Look at that Scott 212 "alluvial gold mining" 3c carmine above. To be fair, in balance there was missionary work, schooling the indigenous, and introducing the rule of law. Endlessly fascinating.

  3. Having taught in a theological seminary for 37 years, I (as well as my colleagues) have grown jaundiced about 19th century missionary work. On the whole, with a few notable exceptions, it was pretty much corrupted by mercantile and exploitative political ambitions. Bishop Tutu famously opined, “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” He added later that he thought it was a fair trade.

    Interestingly, not many 19th and 20th century missionaries appear on stamps. I think of Charles Freer Andrews who made it onto an India stamp, a Hindu nation commemorating a Christian missionary who was instrumental in helping Ghandi. See: http://liturgyandmusic.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/charlesfandrews-1000.jpg.

    Then, of course, there are the Hawaiian missionary stamps and our own USA Father Serra in the 1980s. What else?

  4. Dr. Albert Schweitzer. :-)

    He hated the concept of colonialism.

    By my count, he has been on well over 30 countries's postage stamps.

    What I like about him...

    J.S.Bach: (my favorite composer!) Schweitzer was seminal in bringing "Old Bach" to popularity (1905).

    "The Quest of the Historical Jesus" (1906-13)
    Seminal. (There's that word again!)

    Medical missionary: 1913-1917,1924-27,1929-32,1939-1948 in French Equatorial Africa. He was the prototype for medical outreach today such as "Doctors without Borders".

    Nobel Peace prize(1952). He lived it.

  5. Yes, of course. Schweitzer was a ground breaker, even controversial, in medicine, theology, ethics, music, and who knows what else -- accomplishments well worth multiple philatelic commemorations.