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 28, 2011

British Solomon Islands

"War Canoe"
Quick History
The British Solomon Islands consist of 10 large islands and additional small islands in the west Pacific Ocean east of Papua. A Protectorate, the population was 94,000 in 1931, with the seat of government in Tulagi, although the Capital is now Honiara. The Solomon Islands achieved independence in 1978.

Cultural Interest: The Papuan speaking settlers are believed to have arrived around 30,000 BC; while the Austronesian speakers arrived around 4000 BC bringing the outrigger canoe.

Big Blue Picture
Big Blue ('97) on two pages has 34 stamp spaces for 1907-39. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 76 major number descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 45%.

Big Blue starts off with the "war canoe" Scott 1 & 2 ($10+-$20+) a highly attractive design. Yes they are fairly expensive, but I believe definitely worth the inclusion.

Many British Solomon Island stamps are a bit pricey; but I did find another 8 stamps for $2+-$5+. Also, Big Blue does not include the 1935 Silver jubilee issue; and those additional four stamps are $1+-$10+.

I will now say a "little" here about British territories watermarks. As many of you know, there were four watermarks used prior to 1940 on many British colony stamps ( named wmk 1, wmk 2, wmk 3, wmk 4 obviously!). Although Big Blue deliberately ignores watermarks to telescope several Scott numbers into one space, the Big Blue collector still has to be familiar with these watermarks to know "which" stamp the collector is putting  into the space. After all, one doesn't want to give away a "duplicate" for pennies, when it might be worth dollars. :-)

The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized on 39A has an illustration of the four watermarks ( plus more that were issued after 1940); and no doubt one can find them illustrated in other Scott catalogues too. It behooves the Big Blue collector to become  familiar with these watermarks, as they occur so commonly over so many different British colony issues.

Now the good news: they are generally easy to spot! Just turn the stamp over on a black surface, and there they are!

As an introduction; here is watermark 4 commonly used around the years 1921-1952. It shows a "multiple crown" and a script "C A". "CA" means "Crown Agents". The crown design is unique for wmk 4, and the "scriptive" as opposed to "printed" reversed "C A" is a dead giveaway.

Here is how wmk 4  looks...
Wmk 4: A crown is visible to the right, left, and below the "No 230"; while the reverse script "C A" can be seen above the "No 230", and below the right crown. Click on the image to make it larger.

Finally, there is a bit of a puzzler in Big Blue's stamp space layout that might confuse. The 1913 King George V issue is inscribed "postage-postage" and is wmk 3. No problem there. Then Big Blue presents the 1914-31 King George V issue inscribed "postage-revenue", wmk 4. But take a look at Scott 23  1/1/2p scarlet: yes it is wmk 4, BUT it is inscribed "postage-postage". There is no alert in Big Blue that the "postage-revenue" design for the spaces does not include the 1 1/2p scarlet. Now you know.


1908-11 "war canoe"



1935 Silver jubilee


Postage Due

The 1914-31 King George V issue: The Scott 45 1p violet is inscribed "postage-revenue" as expected, while the Scott 23 1 1/2p scarlet is inscribed "postage-postage"!
Big Blue Checklist
1907-11 "war canoe"
1 ($10+)
One blank space: suggest 2 ($20+)

1913 George V (Inscribed "postage-postage"-wmk 3)
One blank space: suggest 22 ($5+)

1914-31 George V (Inscribed "postage-revenue"-wmk 4)
1/2p green 28 or 43 ($1+-<$1)
1p scarlet 29 or 44 ($1+-$10+)
1p violet 45($1+)
1 1/2p scarlet 23(<$1) Note: Inscribed "postage-postage"-wmk 4
2p gray 30 or 46 ($2+-$5+)
2 1/2p ultramarine 31($2+)
3p Ultramarine 47(<$1)
4p black and red on yellow 33 or 48 ($2+)
4 1/2p red-brown 49 ($2+)
5p dull violet 34 or 50($20+-$2+)
6p dull violet and red violet 35 or 51 ($5+-$2+)
1s "black on emerald green" 36 or 52 ($5+) Note: Scott catalogue has 36 "black on green'; while 52 is "black on emerald".
Note:1914-23 Scott 28-36 is wmk 3, while 1922-31 Scott 43-52 is wmk 4.

1937 Coronation

68,73($3+),74,(<$1 except noted)
70,71($1+),72,(<$1 except noted)

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

"Policeman and Chief"
Big Blue Bottom Line

Classic outrigger "war canoe" design for 1908-11; what's not to like?  :-)

Finially, almost all the British colonies issued  a lengthy pictorial series around 1938-39 depicting "native"scenes, flora, fauna or geography. These are highly attractive stamps, and usually not that expensive.

 The British Solomon Island series is particularly nice. Their pictorials show "spears and shield", "policeman and chief", the "Island Malaita", "canoe house", "Roviana war canoe", "view of Munda point", "meeting house-reef islands", "coconut plantation", "breadfruit", "Tinakula volcano", "scrub fowl", and "Malaita canoe". Collect them all! :-)

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.

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