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 14, 2011

The "Orphan" 1920-41 Definitives of Brazil

The Orphanage

I have a mess on my hands. And there is enough blame to go around. Big Blue doesn't provide enough spaces, but I share the fault too. You see, I would like to collect the World, but not necessarily check every perforation or watermark. So Brazil has given me my "Waterloo".  ;-)

In three of the Big Blue's I've acquired , I've come across a huddled mass of 1920-41 Brazilian Definitives; no place to go, no place to hide. The Orphanage. 

How did this happen?

Well, Big Blue gives us, for the Brazilian definitives, under "1920-24" (ignoring the remaining 17 years of the series), 14 spaces, devoted, of course, to the early issues and colors. How many stamps in total were issued in the series?

 125. ......!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What results, as one would expect, is usually a sloppy mess:

Buddy, can you spare a space?

Placing wrong colors and designs and denominations  for the early issues wherever they will fit, and the use of every available space. Can you really blame the poor collector? And the rest gets moved into "The Orphanage".

So what is the Big Blue collector to do?

Well, lets first lay out the scope of the problem.

The 1920-41 Definitives consist of:
1920-22 Scott 218-230 Typo Perf 13 1/2X13, 13X13 1/2; Unwmk
1920-22 Scott 231-234 Engr Perf 11, 11 1/2; Wmk 100
1922-29 Scott 236-257 Typo Perf 13X13 1/2, 13X13 1/2; Wmk 100
1922 Scott 258,259, Perf 13X13 1/2; Unwmk
1924 Scott 265-271 Typo Perf 13X13 1/2; Wmk 193
Scott 273-281 Typo Perf 9 1/2 to 13 1/2, and compound; Wmk 101
1924-28 Scott 282-285 Engr Perf 9 1/2 to 13 1/2, and compound; Wmk 101
1929 Scott 302-311 Typo Perf 13 1/2X 12 1/2; Wmk 218
1930 Scott 316-322 Perf 13X 12 1/2; Wmk 221
1931-34 Scott 326-340 Perf 11, 13 1/2X 13, 13X 12 1/2; Wmk 222
1934-36 Scott 404-406 Engr Perf 9 1/2, 11,12,12X11;Wmk 236
1936-37 Scott 431-441 Typo  Perf 11, 11 1/2, and compound; Wmk 249
1938 Scott 458-460 Engr Perf 11, 12X11, 12X11 1/2, 12; Wmk 249
1938 Scott 461-463B Typo Perf 11; Wmk 245
1939 Scott 267-474 Typo Perf 11; Wmk 256
1940-41 Scott 488-494 Typo Perf 11; Wmk 264


17 issues, multiple different and overlapping perfs, unwatermarked and 11 different watermarks.

Good luck with that. ;-)

So do we throw up our hands, and be grateful for The Orphanage?
Do we start a watermark fluid sniffing marathon?
Or something in-between?

Lets not kid ourselves, the gold standard IS checking all those watermarks and perforations. I plan to do that....someday. :-)

I guess that means The Orphanage will need to remain, at least for now.

A76=Mercury 1000r turquoise-blue. Could be Scott 257, 311, 322, 340, 441, 474 or 494.

But there are two things we as conscientious Big Blue collectors can do.

1) Assure the correct stamp IS put in the measly 14 spaces provided by Big Blue. We will refer to these stamps as "The Chosen". Of course we know "The Chosen" simply were the first issues of the series, and are no better than "The Orphans" that came later. Big Blue simply never added space for the many collectible stamps in the series after 1925.

2) There are LOTS of collectible Orphans based on a change in design for the denomination, or a change in color. And there are Denominations that NEVER had a space in Big Blue, and they can be collected too. And the good news: one doesn't have to necessarily check the watermark or perforation to do this. :-)

So can one reliably collect by color?
In some cases yes when there is clearly an obvious color choice. But we all know that the earlier issues ( And  Brazil is certainly no exception), can have a palette of colors surrounding the "official" color. Do those 100r "turquoise-blue's" above all have the "same" color. They "should".

Then there is the matter of identifying the color......

Which one is Dull Blue, Blue, or Ultramarine; and are some of the tints  simply a color variation due to idiosyncratic production or the environment?

Very sobering. Perhaps checking Watermarks isn't so bad after all.  ;-)

So lets take a look at "The Chosen", and the collectible "Orphans", beginning with the 10r denomination, and ending with the 10,000r denomination.

A73=Railroad 10r "red-violet", and A75=Aviation 10r "deep brown" and "red-brown"

1) "Chosen": A73= Railroad 10r "red-violet". In Big Blue, the space is illustrated, but this "red-violet" is the only choice. Scott 218, 236, 265($5+), or 273. Produced on four issues; the last 1924.
2) "Orphan" A75=Aviation 10r "deep brown". Scott 326 and 431. Two issues between 1931-37.
3) "Orphan" A75 10r "red-brown". Scott 467 and 488. two issues between 1939-41.

The "same" stamp! A73 "red-violet"!

Parenthetically, speaking of color differences, the 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue illustrates a "red-violet" that looks like a combination of the two tints shown above. Another cautionary tale about using color as a criteria...

A73-Railroad 20r "olive-green", and A75=Aviation 10r "gray-violet"

1) "Chosen": A73=Railroad "olive-green". Big Blue stipulates "olive-green" Scott 219, 237 or 266($5+). Three issues through 1924.
2) "Orphan": A73 "olive-gray". Scott 274. One issue 1924-28.
3) "Orphan": A75=Aviation "gray-violet". Scott 238, 302,316 and 327. Four issues 1929-34.
4) "Orphan": A75 "dull violet". Scott 432,468 and 489. Three issues 1936-41.

1) "Chosen": A74=Industry "brown-violet". Scott 220, or 229. Two issues (within Big Blue's 1920-24 dates), issued 1920-22. In Big Blue, the space is illustrated, but the "brown-violet" color is the only choice. There is a third issue, Scott 328 "brown-violet" Wmk 222 issued in 1934.  This issue would have to be excluded ( by checking watermark) if one wishes to stay in Big Blue's 1920-24 year boundaries. The other choice is not checking the watermark, and including it in the 'brown-violet" color choice. I'm fine with that as Big Blue's specified dates are clearly arbitrary; and end prematurely.

A79=Agriculture 40r "orange-brown", and A79 80r "greenish-blue"

1) "Orphan": A79=Agriculture 40r "orange-brown". Scott 258,267,and 275. Three issues between 1922-28. NOT in Big Blue.

1) "Chosen" A79 80r "greenish-blue". Scott 259, issued 1922. The only choice.

A74=Industry 50r "blue-green", and A75=Aviation 50r "blue-green"

1) "Chosen": A74= Industry 50r "blue-green". Scott 221 or 240($4+). Two issues between 1920-24. Because of Big Blue's date specification, and because this was the early issue, the A75 "blue-green", an orphan, should NOT be put into this space.
2) "Orphan": A75=Aviation 50r "blue-green". Scott 330,433, 461($1+),469 and 489A($1+). Five issues between 1931-41.

A74=Industry 50r "orange-brown", and A75=Aviation 50r "red-brown"

1) "Chosen": A74 50r "orange-brown". Scott 222, 241,268($10) and 276. Three issues between 1922-24. Big Blue specifies "orange-brown" color.
2) "Orphan": A75 50r "red-brown". Scott 303, 317 and 331. Three issues between 1929-1934.

A75=Aviation 100r "rose-red", and A75 100r "turquoise-blue"

1) "Chosen": A75 100r "rose-red". Scott 223 or 242. Two issues, between 1920-22. Big Blue has an illustration, and because of the early dates of this issue, this should be put in.
2) "Orphan": A75 100r "turquoise-green" Scott 244. One issue in 1928.
3) "Orphan": A75 100r "turquoise-blue" Scott 304 and 318. two issues between 1929-30.

A75=Aviation 100r "orange", and A75 100r "yellow-orange"

1) "Chosen": A75 100r "orange". Scott 224 or 243 or 269, three issues between 1922-24. There are actually three more issues ( Scott 332,434,462) between 1931-38 that are 'orange". If you want to exclude them ( because of Big Blue's date criteria), you will need to watermark the "oranges".
2) "Orphan": A75 100r "red orange" Scott 277 1924-28.
3) "Orphan" A75 100r "yellow-orange" Scott 470 and 490, two issues 1939-41. You can see from the above photo that the "yellow-orange" is a Perf 11, which is a necessary, but not sufficient constraint.  I would need to watermark the stamp for absolute confirmation.

A75=Aviation 150r "violet"

1) "Chosen": A75 150r "violet". Scott 225 or 245, two issues 1921-22. Only choice available.

A75=Aviation 200r "blue", and A75 200r "rose-red", and A75 200r "olive-green"

1) "Chosen": A75 200r "blue". Scott 226 or 246($10+), two issues 1920-22. Big Blue specifies "blue".
2) "Orphan" A75 200r "rose-red". Scott 227 and 247, two issues in 1922. Since Big Blue does not provide a space for this otherwise eligible (by date) issue, an Orphan it is!
3) "Orphan": A75 200r "rose" Scott 270 and 278, two issues 1924-28.
4) "Orphan": A75 200r "deep carmine". Scott 334, one issue 1931-34.
5) "Orphan" A75 200r "olive-green". Scott 248, 305 and 319, three issues between 1928-1930.

A116=Allegory:Faith and Energy 200r "dark violet"

1) "Orphan": A116 200r "dark violet". Scott 435 and 471, two issues between 1936-39. Note: The 1933 Scott 385 issue is identical, save for watermark.  Big Blue has a space for Scott 385.
2) "Orphan" A116 200r "violet". Scott 491, one issue 1940-41.

A76=Mercury 300r "olive-gray", and A76 300r "rose-red", and A76 300r "olive-green"

1) "Chosen": A76=Mercury 300r "olive-gray". Scott 228 or 249 and 279?. Scott 228 and 279 were issued in  1920-22. Scott 279 was issued in 1925, so misses Big Blue's date "cutoff"by one year.  But I think the stamp should be included. If you don't agree, then you will need to watermark (Wmk 101) the 1925 stamp to exclude it. Big Blue has an illustration for this space; but based on dates, this is the color Mercury stamp that should go in.
2) "Orphan": A76 300r "rose-red". Scott 250 ,306 and 320, three issues between 1929-1930.
3) "Orphan": A76 300r "olive-green". Scott 335, 436 and 463, three issues between 1931-38.

A76 400r "blue", and A76 400r "orange", and A76 400r "ultramarine"

1) "Orphan": Big Blue has no space for the 400r denomination. A76 400r "blue". Scott 251,271 and 280, three issues from 1922-1924.
2) "Orphan" A76 400r "dull blue". Scott 229, one issue in 1922.
3) "Orphan": A76 400r "orange". Scott 252 and 307, two issues in 1929.
4) "Orphan": A76 "ultramarine". Scott 336,437,463A($150!),472 and 492; five issues from 1931-41.

A76 500r "red-brown", and A76 500r "ultramarine", and A76 500r "light-brown"

1) "Chosen": A76 500r "red-brown". Scott 230 , 253 and 281., three issues from 1920-1924. These issues satisfy the "date" criteria. But there is also a 500r "red-brown" Scott 337 and 463B from 1934-1938. One will need to watermark (Wmk 222 and 245) the "red-browns" to exclude these; or admit all "red-browns" into the Big Blue space.
2) "Orphan": A76 500r "ultramarine". Scott 254, 308 and 321; three issues from 1929-1930.
3) "Orphan" A76 500r "light-brown". Scott 438; one issue 1936-37. The "light-brown" in the photo above has the correct (Perf 11) perforation. Nevertheless, one should watermark (Wmk 249) this stamp for certainty.

A77=Navigation 600r "red-orange", and A76=Mercury 600r "brown-orange"

1) "Chosen": A77=Navigation 600r "red-orange". Big Blue has the illustration. Scott 231 and 282; two issues from 1920-1926. Yes the Scott 282 was issued in 1926; and one would need to exclude this stamp by watermarking (Wmk101), if Big Blue's dates are strictly kept. But recall these "dates" are because Big Blue never reformatted their initial page-space-date layout for the Brazilian definitives. It's arbitrary. It's in.
2) "Orphan": A76=Mercury 600r "brown-orange".  Scott 255,309,338 and 439; four issues ranging from 1929-1937.
3) "Orphan": A76 600r "dull orange". Scott 473 and 493; two issues 1939-41.

A76 700r "dull violet", and A76 700r "deep violet"

1) "Orphan" A76 700r "dull violet". Big Blue does not provide a space for the 700r denomination. Scott 256, one issue in 1929.
2) "Orphan": A76 700r "deep violet". Scott 310, 339 and 440; three issues from 1929-1937.

A77=Navigation 1000r "claret", and A76=Mercury 1000r "turquoise-blue"

1) "Chosen": A77 1000r "claret". Scott 232, issued in 1920. Big Blue specifies "claret"; clearly this is the stamp.
2) "Orphan": A76 100r "turquoise-blue". Scott 257,311,322,340,441,474 and 494, from 1929-1941. A Definitive with wide use, having had seven editions over 13 years, and Scott does not give it a space? This has to be a record. I guess I should be grateful since Big Blue does provide a whole page for the "postal tax" stamp. ;-)  (Obviously, I'm making a comment about misplaced priorities.)

1) "Orphan": A72=Education 2000r "dull violet". Scott 233 and 283; two issues from 1920-1926. No room for the 2000r in Big Blue, even with <$1 cost.
2) "Orphan" A72 2000r "violet" Scott 404; one issue in 1934.
3) "Orphan" A72  2000r "blue-violet". Scott 458; one issue in 1938.

A89=Ruy Barbosa 5000r "violet-blue"

1) "Orphan": A72=Education 5000r "brown. Scott 234($11) and 284(<$1); two issues from 1920-1926. No space in Big Blue for the 5000r issues, even though inexpensive.
2) "Orphan": A89=Ruy Barbosa 5000r "blue-violet". Scott 405($1+), one issue in 1936. Note: There is a 1929 issue Scott 300 ( Wmk 101) that would need to be excluded. 
3) "Orphan": A89 5000r "violet-blue". Scott 459, issued in 1938.

1) "Orphan": A72=Education 10000r "rose". Scott 285($1+); issued in 1924. Again, no space in Big Blue.
2) "Orphan": A72 10000r "claret". Scott 406 ($1+) in 1936.
3) "Orphan": A72 10000r "rose-lake". Scott 460 ($1+) in 1938.

So, how many "collectible" stamps are there in the 1920-41 definitives, even if perforations, and watermarks are not examined? I counted 53 stamp "types". Of course each stamp"type" might represent one to many Scott numbers, based on watermark and perforations. Big Blue provides a meager 14 spaces. Then, an additional 39 stamp "types" for these Brazilian definitives that can be added by the Big Blue Collector. All is not lost then; many of these stamps can be removed from the "Orphanage", and given their own space. But until one is willing to check all the "Orphanage" stamps- even so called 'duplicates"- for watermarks and perforations, one will need to keep the Orphanage open. :-)

Finally, the two photos below illustrate how Big Blue's "Chosen" stamps SHOULD look like on the album page. 


The Chosen

Jim Jackson


  1. A great analytical piece, Jim. My experience is the same as yours: as collections are purchased, the number of the Brazilian pariah definitives, as I’ve thought of them, multiplies. Without trying to collect them, I now have over 100 different. I finally submitted to organization by watermark and let the color variations fend for themselves. Color variations, as in your examples, might result from being soaked too long with other stamps whose dyes infuse, or oxidation, or slight modifications in the chemical make-up of ink from one printing to the next. Moreover, color is a continuous variable, not discrete, as the compilers of Blue seem to think given all of the abstruse color names they’ve concocted. Except for the obvious changes (e.g., blue to yellow), I’ve given up on color variations.

    My pariah collection is accommodated in a “Big Blue overflow album,” which is a regular Volume I cover with international-type card pages that have Show-guard strips. So their rent district is rather more posh than that of the first run unwatermarked stamps remaining in Blue. Maybe that assuages any implied caste discrimination or separation anxiety they may have. And they’re surrounded by more elite stamps, too – those higher values not in Blue.

    Now, as to the critical question of what definitive stamps left out by Big Blue should be called (so as to be politically correct and not offend): you suggest “orphan” as opposed to “chosen,” I’ve become accustomed to calling them “Pariahs” as opposed to “Brahmins.” It seems to me that if you call those included in Blue “chosen,” those not included would be the “damned.” This follows, of course, from narrow versions of the Presbyterian theology of double predestination which holds that, primordially, the chosen are elected to heaven and those not chosen are damned to hell by, in this case, Big Blue if not God Almighty. So, I’ve decided to make the outcasts’ hell a little more heaven-like. I hope they’re happy.

    Any other metaphors occur to your blog readers?

    -- Bud

  2. Bud

    I agree- watermarks are the gold standard. I spent the weekend amassing many of the watermarks found on the stamps in a "reference" page. I can now identify specifically many of the 1920-41 definitives. But I must admit, during the first go-around, I was only successful in about 50% of the attempts. The Brazil watermarks-both quantity (11 for the series!),and quality (hard to see in some cases), is quite a bit tougher for me than, for instance, the British Crown Colony or the Australian Kangaroo or King George V series watermarks. I'm still on the steep part of the learning curve. Bud, how do you find the Brazil watermarks for clarity?

    As for using color to separate collectible stamp "types", clearly it works best with large color differences. As an example, the 200r stamp comes in colors "blue",, "rose-red", and "olive-green". Hard to confuse those. But I've been fooled more than once by a color tint I was quite sure was a particular stamp, and watermarking proved otherwise. :-)

    But I'm not ready to completely ignore the Scott "designated color" for a particular stamp issue.
    I was looking over "The Orphanage", and noticed one 200r "aviation" stamp with a nice carmine color. The watermark showed the 5 stars in a squared circle design (Wmk 222); a 1931-34 issue, Scott 334 with the Scott color "deep carmine". :-)

    Thanks Bud for the elucidating comments about the implications of using the term "chosen" based on presbyterian theology. Very enjoyable and entertaining.

  3. This was a great resource; I just finished sorting the wheat from the chaff (happy, Bud?). I chose to do the same as Bud and put the first series stamps into the "chosen" spaces. I then inserted a blank page with the others, but I couldn't bring myself to nail every watermark. Some are so obvious and some just aren't. They're watermarked, for sure, but which...
    I went with obvious watermark, color and perf differences and grouped them by denomination. So I have a fairly full blank page but three empty "chosen" spaces. I'll have to find unwatermarked examples of those.

  4. Thanks Joe.

    Your plan and execution look very good indeed.

  5. I am just working through my brazilian stamps... I don't have many thank goodness. This above series has been my nemsis for Brazilian stamps. The quality of the series and many of the earlier stamps from that country I found a little off putting to begin with and then as Jim so excellently presented to us, the miriad of types of this particular issue just tired me out thinking about it.

    right now I am entering my Brazil/Latin America in to a stock book, so space is not the issue.

    I have basically managed to sort whant I have using a combination of perf, watermark and colour to figure out where everything fits. I'm finding that watermarks are not the easiest to determine with this issue, but with the perfs and to some extent the colour and face value, I have been able to sort them out.

    Jim thank you for the fantastic study on this issue.

  6. Thanks for the nice comment. :-)

    A couple of thoughts....

    • When I wrote this post, I was much less experienced with watermarking. When/If I have the time, I will go back and tackle the watermarks again. I realize now that watermarking is the only reliable "gold standard".

    • The post separated out the issues by denomination and color. I was somewhat successful with color, but now realize that color is not a reliable "gold standard". But as a first approach to the very complicated Brazilian definitives,it is still valid.

  7. Very timely discussion, as just last night I worked out my Brazilian collection including many of these. I agree with Jim - it's all about identifying watermark with these. Any other characteristics have little to no meaning at all.

    PS. for reference, here's the article I wrote of these in January 2012.

  8. Check out Keijo's spreadsheet- it is well worth it.

    Thanks Keijo. :-)