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...

Friday, August 12, 2011


1919 B125 50h dark blue
"Bohemian Lion Breaking its Chains"
Quick History
There is nothing "quick" about the history of Czechoslovakia, but here goes...

Historically, the area of Czechoslovakia was part of the Austo-Hungarian Empire. But after WW1, the Czechoslovakian State was a founded as a democracy by Tomas Masaryk, who served as the first president from 1918-1935. The Czech Republic consisted of the territories of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, Slovakia, and Ruthenia. With the ethnic/linguistic differences (Czech, Slovak, German, Polish, Ukrainian, Hungarian: see Map), the Country, especially with the Germans, had ongoing ethnic tensions. This was exploited  in 1938 when Hitler demanded annexation of the German speaking areas of Czechoslovakia- the "Sudetenland". Britain and France, in the "Appeasement" ceded control to the Reich at the Munich Conference. In 1939,a German "Protectorate" was instituted for Bohemia and Moravia. This also occurred in Slovakia, which had declared its independence. Hungary annexed part of Slovakia and Ruthenia, and Poland occupied the Zaolzie area.

After WWII, Czechoslovakia was put back together, except for Ruthenia which was annexed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Communists were in power from 1948 to 1989, when democracy was restored. Finally, ethnic tensions dissolved the Nation in 1992 into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

1930 Linguistic Map of Czechoslovakia
Big Blue Picture
I am going to divide the discussion and blogs about Czechoslovakia into three parts: Czechoslovakia proper (1918-1938); the German "Protectorate"era (1938-1940); and finally a closer look at the interesting Czechoslovakian stamp varieties. This blog will cover the Czechoslovakian proper era.

Big Blue '97, on nine pages, has 162 regular, 66 semi-postal, 11 air post, and 35 postage due spaces, for a total of 274 stamp spaces. Notably absent are Special Delivery, Personal Delivery, and Newspaper stamp spaces. More about that later. The 2011 Scott Classic specialized catalogue has 544 major stamp descriptions in all categories. Coverage by Big Blue is 50%.

I have a lot of Czechoslovakian stamps. You probably do too. Why? One reason clearly is many of these nicely designed stamps are at minimum catalog value. A bonus for those of us that value a stamp for its intrinsic exquisiteness, and not for its "worth".  ;-) In fact with the 274 stamp spaces offered, I could only find a semi-postal, the 1920 overprinted Sokol issue, that, forced by a blank space, requires at least a $12.50 price tag (B142). Amazing!

Big Blue does a fine coverage job for Czechoslovakia with the regular, semi-postal, and air post categories, save for the usual venial sins. I couldn't help but comment on some of those "omission venial sins"; see "additionals" for specifics.

But Big Blue leaves many Postage due (29 stamps), Special delivery (all 3 stamps), Personal delivery (all 2 stamps), and Newspapers (25 stamps) out of the pages. Most of these stamps are for minimum catalogue value. The '47 and '41 editions are less guilty, as they do provide spaces for 13 newspaper stamps and all 3 special delivery stamps. In all, I did find 110 additional stamps that could be/should be in Big Blue.

So, anything else one needs to know about the stamps of Czechoslovakia? Well,yes....
A) Some issues have the not unusual "one space/two choices" dichotomy between watermarked and unwatermarked varieties, or between imperforated and perforated varieties. What is more interesting are the issues (1919-20 "Cesko-Slovenska" design, 1920-22 "Carrier pigeon with letter",1923 "Agriculture & Science" Redrawn, 1925-26 President Masaryk, and 1930 Masaryk ), where some or all of the stamps have been re-engraved. Fun with a magnifying glass! I'll devote a separate blog to these engraving differences.

B) Have some "Czech" stamps of 1918-20 overprinted "S O 1920", and couldn't find them in the catalogue? They are actually for a 1920 plebiscite between Czechoslovakia and Poland for the former Austrian crown land of Eastern Silesia. The result was a Solomon-like result of splitting the territory in two. ;-)  The '47 and '41 editions DO have stamp spaces for Eastern Silesia (Just before Ecuador); so put them there. One is out of luck with the '69 or '97 editions; perhaps one could put the plebiscite stamps- the Czech ones anyway- near the Czech pages, or find another space for Eastern Silesia.

C) Big Blue has a minor printing error for Czechoslovakia noted in all editions: BB has an illustration for Postage Due J59 10h dark red to begin the series; then has a description in the next space for J59, the 10h dark red-the same stamp! Just ignore the J59 illustration cut, and put in the J58 5h dark red.

1918 "Hradcany at Prague"
Add those not picked for album spaces
2 or13, 3 or 14, 4 or 15, 5 or 16,(<$1)
Blank space: suggest 7 or 8 or (9 or 20) or 10 (<$1)

1919-20 "Cesko-Slovenska" design

1925 "Carrier pigeon with letter"

Comment: Too bad these weren't picked up by BB

1929 "Coat of Arms"
Comment: Inexplicably, from a philatelic point of view, the beginning of the series, the 5h & 10h were NOT included in BB.

1930 Masaryk


1932 Castle design
184($1+),185,186, (<$1 eN)
Comment: This issue was left out of BB

1937 Bratislava Philatelic Exhibition issue souvenir sheet
239 ($2+)

1938 Prague Philatelic Exhibition issue souvenir sheet

1939 surcharged red

1939 Masaryk
Note: 256 has a hyphen in Ceskoslovensko -not in BB; while 212 1k rose lake without hyphen is in BB.


1919 (Austrian stamps of 1916-18 overprinted in black or blue)
B14,B15,B16,B18($2+),B22($2+), (<$1 eN)


1919 more semipostals
B61($1+),B63($1+),B65($2+),B67($2+),B68($1+),B82($2+),B94($2+),B99(<$1), B100(<$1),B101($1+),B102($2+),B118($1+),B120($1+)

1938 Souvenir sheet

1938 Souvenir sheet

Air post

Special Delivery Imperf
Note: These are in the '47 and '41 editions.

Personal Delivery
Comment: Why these stamps have never been in BB is known only to Scott.

Postage due

1923-26 surcharged in violet
J20,J22,J23,J25($1+),J26($1+),J27,J29,J30,J31,(<$1 eN)
Comment: A nice selection plus the 1924 and 1926 stamps below that could be added by the BB collector.

1924 surcharged in violet
J32,J33,J34, (<$1)

1926 violet surcharge

Comment: BB cuts this series way too short.

Newspaper stamps
Note: These are in the '41 and '47 editions.

1925-26 surcharged
P9,P10, (<$1)
Note: These are in the '41 and '47 editions.

1926 overprinted "noviny" on special delivery stamps
Note: These are in the '41 and '47 editions.
*Note: P13 also surcharged

1934 Overprinted "O.T."on 1918-20 newspaper stamps

1937 Carrier Pigeon

Czechoslovakia Legion post

1927 Postage Due J51 & J52 surcharged in violet
40h on 185h orange & 50h on 20h carmine
"Czechoslovakia Breaking Chains to Freedom" 
Big Blue Checklist
1918 "Hradcany at Prague"
1, 2 or13, 3 or 14, 4 or 15, 5 or 16,(<$1)
Blank space: suggest 7 or 8 or (9 or 20) or 10 (<$1)
Note: Scott 1-10 are Imperf; Scott 13-20 are Perf

1919-20 "Cesko-Slovenska" design
23 or 41, 25 or 42, 43,(<$1)
27 or 44, 45, 29 or 46, 30, 31,(<$1)
32 or 50, 33,34,36,38,(<$1)
Note: Scott 23-40 Imperf; Scott 41-53 Perf
Note: minor numbers exist for various Perfs and rare Imperf.
Note: Stamps exist as Type II,III,IV engravings: see Scott

(1920) President Thomas Garrigue Masaryk

1919-20 "Cesko-Slovenska" design (continued)

1920-22 "Carrier pigeon with letter"
*Note 84: two types of 20H deep orange: Type I (84), and Type II (84c)
*Note 85: two types of 25H blue green: TypeI(85), and Type II(85a)

1920-22 (continued) "Breaking chains to Freedom", "Hussite priest", "Agriculture & Science"

1920-22 (continued) "Agriculture & Science"

1923 "Agriculture & Science" Redrawn
Note: Also exists as minor number Type I,II,III redrawn engravings and different Perfs.

1925 President Masaryk ( 1k-5k values: Four engravings and two wmk orientations!)
98 or 101A($2+) or 102 or 105 or 106* : 1k carmine (<$1 eN)
99 or 101B($10+) or 103: 2k deep blue (<$1 eN)
100 or 101C($10+) or 104 or 108: 3k brown (<$1 eN)
101 or 101D($1+): 5k blue green (<$1 eN)
Note: 98-101 first engrav wmk 107 Linden Leaves horiz; 101A-101D first engrav  wmk 107 vertical; 102-104 second engrav wmk 107 horizontal; 105 third engrav; 106&108 fourth engrav.
*Note: 106 : a long mustache and a short mustache type exists
Note: Be aware the 1927-31 unwmk Scott 131 Masaryk 1k deep red stamp bears a superficial resemblance to the 1925 issue presented here. BB does not offer a space for this stamp.
eN=except noted

1926-28 "Castle, Monastery" designs, "Masaryk"
123 or 141,(<$1)
114 or 124 or 126,(<$1)
115 or 127,(<$1)
116 or 125 or 128,(<$1)
117* or 129*,(<$1)
118 or 132,($1+-<$1)
Note:  114-118 wmk 107; 123-125,141 coil perf 10 vert; 126-129,132 unwmk.
*Note: 117 60h "red violet on lilac" (specified by BB); 129 "red violet" - your choice to include.

(1926-28) continued "Hardcany at Prague", "Great Tatra"
119 or 137, 120 or 138, 121 or 139($1+), 122($2+) or 140, (<$1 eN)
Note: 119-122 wmk 107; 137-140 unwmk

1928 10th anniv of Czech independence

1929 St Wenceslas Martyred, St Vitus Cathedral
159,160,161,162,163($2+)(<$1 eN)


1929 "Coat of Arms"
Comment: 152,153,(<$1) NOT in BB.  :-(

1930 Masaryk
*Note: 168(type II), and 168a(type I)

1930 Masaryk

1932 Miroslav Tyrs (& 191 next entry)

1933 First Christian Church at Nitra (192,193,)
191, 192, 193 (<$1)

1934 Composers
194,199, (<$1)


*Note 212 Masaryk 1k rose lake without hyphen; the 1939 issue 256 (not in BB) has a hyphen in Ceskoslovensko


1919 (Austrian stamps of 1916-18 overprinted in black or blue)

Note: B27-B29 are overprinted Austrian Newspaper stamps

B47,B48,B49,B50($1+),B51($1+),B52,B53($1+),(<$1 eN)
Note: Austrian 1916 Postage due overprinted

(1919) Hungarian 1916-18 stamps overprinted
Blank space: suggest B80(<$1) or B82($2+)

(1919) Hungarian 1916-18 stamps overprinted type "d"
Blank space: suggest B87 ($5+)

Hungarian 1918 stamp overprint
B91,B92*,B93($1+),B98*,(<$1 eN)
*Note 92 "brown" in BB is "dark brown" in Scott
*Note 98 is overprinted Hungarian 1914 newspaper stamp

Hungarian "1916" postage due stamp overprint
B116,B119,B122($1+), (<$1 eN)


(1920) surcharged
B130,B132($1+),B131,(<$1 eN)

(1920) Masaryk
Blank space: suggest B135($2+)

(1920) Sokol issue overprinted
Blank space: suggest B142*($10+)
*Note: B142 is the most expensive "required" stamp for Czechoslovakia

B147,B149($1+),B148,(<$1 eN)

B144,B145($1+),B146($2+),B150,B151, (<$1 eN)

Air Post
1922 (stamps of 1920 surcharged & with airplane images)

1930 Perf 13 1/2
C12,C13($1+),C14,C15($1+),(<$1 eN)
Note: different Perf varieties exist.

Postage due
J7,J8,J9,J10($1+),J11($1+),J12,(<$1 eN)

1922-23 surcharged in blue or violet
J15 or J21,J16 or J24,J17,J18 or J28,J19, (<$1)
Note: J21,24,28 are violet overprinted.

1925 (P.D. stamps of 1918-20 surcharged with new value)

1927 surcharged & overprinted "DUPLATIT" in violet on 1920 stamps "breaking chains to freedom"
J50,J51,J52,J53,J54,J55,J56, (<$1)

*Note: BB printing error noted in all editions: BB has an illustration for J59 10h dark red to begin the series; then has a description in the next space for J59, the 10h dark red-the same stamp! Ignore the J59 illustration cut, and put in the J58 5h dark red.

1938 Scott 242 1k rose lake
"Peregrine Falcon, Sokol Emblem"
Kinds of Blue
The most obvious difference is that the '47 and '41 include 13 Newspaper stamps and 3 Special delivery stamps in their editions. These BOB stamps were removed by the '69 editors, and did not return in the '97 edition. What is not so well known ( Well, I didn't know it ;-), is that the '69 and '97 editions offers 15 more semi-postals and 1 air post compared to the earlier editions. This follows the trend I've seen before where the '69 (and '97) removed some BOB stamps, while as compensation (sometimes) strengthened the other sections. So it is not as simple as saying the '47 is a "good" edition, while the '69 is a 'bad" edition. In one area the '47 might be better, while in others the '69 might be better.

The specifics....
Overall, the '69 and '97 are identical in content while the '47 and '41 are identical in content.

The semi-postals
The '69 and '97 HAVE spaces for B52,B53,blank space-B80?, and blank space-B87?.
The '69 and '97 HAVE spaces for B134,blank space-B135?, and blank space-B142?.
The '69 and '97 editions HAVE spaces for the 1936 series B144,B145,B146,B147,B148,B149,B150,B151
These 15 spaces for the semi-postals are NOT in the '47 or '41 editions.

Air Post
The '69 and '97 HAS a space for C17. This space is not available in the '47 and '41 editions.

Special delivery
The '47 and '41 HAVE spaces for e Special delivery stamps.
E1,E2,E3, (<$1)
Note: on yellow paper.
The '69 and '97 do NOT have these spaces. Carve out a little room for them. ;-)

Newspaper stamps
The '47 and '41 HAVE spaces for 13 Newspaper stamps: P1,P2,P3,P4,P5,P6,P7,P8,P9,P10,P11,P12,P13, (<$1)
All are priced at minimum catalogue value. The '69 and '97 editions do NOT have a place for Newspaper stamps. Clearly, one would want to create some space for these very inexpensive stamps.

1919  B7 15h dull red
Austrian stamp of 1916-18 overprinted in black
 Semi-postal stamps (B1-B123) were sold at the Prague P.O. @ 1 1/2 face value for charities.
Big Blue Bottom Line
Inexpensive, an intriguing attempt at keeping disparate ethnic cultures under one "country", beautiful stamps, and multiple engraving differences.....  What's not to like?  :-)

Note about my '69 editions....

I have two '69 editions, and I've come to realize that the previous owner of one of my '69's pulled out ALL the semi-postal pages, except where the pages overlapped with air post or some other category.. The other '69 fortunately does have the semi-postals intact for all the countries, as near as I can determine. This caused confusion when I was reviewing Austria, as I thought the '97 had returned the semi-postals that the '69 had removed. I was looking at my semi-postal-less '69 edition when I made that assertion.  At the time, I gave lots of love and credit to the '97 edition. I've now realized the same thing happened with Belgium. The '69 Belgium does indeed have the same semi-postals as the '97. I was mistaken. I will double-check to make sure this '69 has not caused further trouble. ;-)

Note: Map in public domain.

If you enjoyed this post, or have some information to share, or have some constructive criticism, please share your thoughts and reactions in the "comment" section. I've recently changed the settings, so any reader should be able to post. Thanks!

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. Highly interesting (as usual)...

    The more I read these reviews of Yours, the more I amaze the editorial reasonings behind the omissions. For example the Czechoslovakian newspaper stamps are classics, and they definitely should have spaces in any stamp album IMHO.

  2. Clearly, there were a lot of interesting stamps-especially BOB-that were removed beginning with the '69 edition. As compensation-sometimes- the remaining sections were strengthened.
    Big Blue was never the flagship of the Scott albums. If one wanted completeness, then they would be happy to sell you a country specialized album.
    Despite my complaining, though, I believe today it is the best of the published "one volume" solutions for WW classic collectors if one doesn't want 10 feet of album shelf space. ;-)

  3. My very first imperforated stamp ever was a "Hradcany", Czechoslovakia #1, and that made the series one of my favorites of all time. I am now the proud owner of all the basic imperf and perf Hradcany's in nice used condition :)

  4. That is a very nice set indeed. :-)

  5. BTW. In the history of Czechoslovakia is part you haven't written. After WW2 Germans and a little Hungarians were being deported to their own states. There used to be no ethnic tension. Czechoslovak nation were dissolved by only few politics, without referendum (this act was unconstitutional). They have never been punished. (So actually without a few guys in government Czechoslovakia would continue till today, or even few centuries later)

    1. Thank you Jan for your comment about the history after WW II, and the changes which eventually split apart the country.

  6. Hi to all of you!!! I am brand new in stamp collecting and i have a question if anyone can hepl me. As i see in all the pictures in the internet the stamp called "the sokol" from 1918-1920 with the price of 5, has either black or green colour. The one i have is blue, is it from another era or something??? Thank you in advance...

    1. I'm not sure I fully understand your inquiry.

      There are 1926 8th Congress Sokol Overprint stamps (Scott B140-B143). One of them is on a blue stamp with red overprint.