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...

Sunday, September 11, 2011


1920 Scott 7 50pf purple & black/buff
Danzig overprinted "Germania"
Quick History
What to do with Danzig? After WWI, the League of Nations made Danzig a "Free City", separated from Germany and the newly reconstituted Poland. But Poland was able to use the port on the Baltic Sea ( now Gdansk).  However, as Danzig was 95% ethnic German, it remained a separate City-State. The Capital naturally was Danzig, and the population was 400,000 in 1939.

In the beginning, German stamps of 1906-20 were overprinted.  But by 1921 Danzig had their own designs. This persisted until 1939, when Germany seized Danzig, and added it to the Reich. After WWII, the city and port became part of Poland.

1920 Scott 25 1m on 30pf orange & black/buff
Note the gray burelage, the thin wavy lines
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on nine pages, has spaces for 150 regular, 28 semi-postal, 28 air post, 27 postage due, and 27 official stamps, for a total of 260 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic specialized catalogue has 431 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 60%.

Big Blue has very nice coverage of Danzig, although naturally as a "representative album", it doesn't offer all the affordable choices. I found 57 stamps that could be added by the Big Blue collector; details in the "additionals" section below.

A) There are some interesting printing techniques used on some Danzig stamps to prevent reuse. No doubt carried over from the German stamps that were overprinted for Danzig, the 1920 surcharged issue has the one Mark and higher values printed with a fine lines, called "burelage", on the paper.  The major Scott numbers 25-28 are printed with gray burelage with points up. At a more costly catalogue price, Scott lists minor numbers for gray burelage with points down, violet burelage with points up or down, and burelage omitted. I show a scanned image of a burelaged stamp on this blog.

Then many of the 1921-23 stamp issues (Including the overprinted Official stamps), that are one Mark or higher denominations for that issue have a faint gray network- like a spider web- printed on the paper. I show a scanned image of a faint gray network stamp on this blog.

B) Even though Scott does not apparently recognize them, there are many shades of color in the stamps of the 1921-23 "Arms" issue. I ended up with about 15 extra stamps I retained in the album because of the color differences.

C) Fun with watermarking. A number of the stamp spaces have two eligible candidates based on different watermarks.

D) No expensive stamps in BB for Danzig. I can't recall even one stamp valued over $10.

E) Many bicolored/ overprinted/surcharged stamps. Danzig stamps are really gorgeous!

F) A slight goof on BB's part. Under Officials, BB specifies the "1000m brn & red" stamp, and provides a vertically orientated space. But the stamp that fits- O41-is horizontal!
Fortunately, the space is at the end of a row, and the stamp is not very wide, so squeeze it in!

Regular (30)

Issues under German administration (11)
(This stamp issue is not in BB; if you are interested in WWII history, get them!)
1939 stamps of Danzig surcharged

Postage Due (5)

Official stamps (11)

1923 Scott 143 10mil m orange "Coat of Arms"
The surcharge clearly demonstrates the inflationary crisis
Big Blue Checklist
1920 (German stamps of 1906-20 overprinted in black)
8,9,10,11($2+),(<$1 eN)
eN=except noted

1920 surcharged
Note: Scott 25-28, the 1 mark and higher values are printed with fine gray lines, called "burelage", on the paper. This is to prevent cleaning and reuse of the stamp. There are minor Scott numbers for violet burelage, points up, points down, and burelage omitted.

(1920) overprinted "Danzig" in blue or carmine.
34,37,38,39,42($2+),45,46($2+),(<$1 eN)

1921 Hanseatic trading ship
49,50,51 or 59*,52($2+) or 60*, 53 or 61*($5+), (<$1 eN)
54,55($2+),56,57,58($2+), ($1+ eN)
*Note: 59-61 are perf 14, while the rest are serrate roulette 13 1/2.

1921 surcharge

1921-23 "Arms"

1921-23 "Arms"
73,74,83,84,75($2+),85,86,(<$1 eN)
76($5+),87,88 or 99*,89 or 100*,90,91,92 or 102*, 93 or 103*, (<$1 eN)
77 or 77a*,79 or 79b*,80 or 80b*,($1+)
*Note: 99-103 wmk 109 (webbing); the rest are wmk 108 (honeycomb)
*Note: 77a,79b,80b, are wmk 108 sideways
Note: 1 mark and above valuations for this issue have a faint gray network-like a spider web- printed on the paper; presumably again to prevent reuse. I show a scanned image of a faint gray network stamp on this blog.

(1922) "Arms" surcharged

1923 "Coat of Arms"
109,110,111,112($1+) (<$1 eN)
Note: 113-115 is without gray network, the rest have the network

1923 "Coat of Arms"
Note: some Scott numbers have gray network paper, some don't. But I will not comment more about this unless it is an identification concern.

(1923) surcharge
137,138,139($5+),140,141,142($2+),(<$1 eN)
153,154,155,156,157,158,160($1+),(<$1 eN)

1924-39 "Coat of Arms"
170,173*,175,177,179,181,184($1+),187**($5+) or 232($2+), (<$1 eN)
168 or 225(<$1),171,172 or 227($2+),173c* or 228(<$1),178,180,182,186 or 231($2+), ($1+ eN)
Note: Scott 225,227,228,231,232 are wmk 237(swastikas); the others are wmk 109(webbing)
*Note: 173 is 10pf green/yelsh; BB states only "green". Then 173c is blue grn/yelsh, & 228 is blue grn; BB only states "blue green"..
**Note: 187 is 50pf blue & red in Scott; BB's space says "deep blue & red"; 232 is brt blue & red in Scott.
You choose.


1924-36 surcharged
Two blank spaces: suggest 213($1+) & 214(<$1).

1938 Schopenhauer


234,235,236,237($1+),(<$1 eN)

1921 St George and Dragon

1923 Aged Pensioner

1929 Neptune Fountain
B6,B7,B8($5+),($1+ eN)

1935 (surtax for winter welfare)

1935 (surtax for winter welfare)

1936 (surtax for winter welfare)


1937 (surtax for winter welfare)

1938 ships

Air Post
1920 surcharged

1921-23 plane over Danzig
C4 or C10,C5 or C11,C6 or C12,C7 or C13, (<$1)
Note: C4-C7 wmk 108(honeycomb); C10-C13 wmk 109(webbing)

1921-23 Plane over Danzig
C8($1+) or C15,C9($1+) or C16, C17,(<$1 eN)
Note: C8-C9 wmk 108(honeycomb); C15-C20 wmk 109(webbing)
Note: C17-C21 has gray network: also minor numbers exist for network omitted.
*Note: 250m dark brown in Scott: "brown" in BB

(1923) post horn & air planes
Note: C24,C25, surcharged

1924 Plane over Danzig 

1935-39 airplanes
C36(<$1) or C42, C37 or C43($2+), C38 or C44, C39($5+) or C45($2+), C40($2+), ($1+ eN)
Note C36-C40 wmk 109(webbing): C42-C45 wmk 237(swastikas)

Postage Due
1921-23 Danzig coat of arms
J8 or J16($2+),J9,J10 or J17,J11 or J18,J12 or J19,J13 or J20($1+),J21,J14 or J22,(<$1 eN)
Note: J1-J14 wmk 108(honeycomb); J15-22 wmk 109(webbing)

(1923) surcharged

J30(<$1),J31(<$1) or J43*($1+),J32($1+),J33($1+),J34 or J44*, J35 or J45*($5+),J36,($2+ eN)
Note: J30-J35 wmk 110(octagons); J43-J45 wmk 237(swastikas)
*Note: J43-J45 not date eligible in BB since 1938-39 issue, unless change BB's dates.

Official stamps
1921-23 regular issues of 1921-22 overprinted "D M"
O8,O9,O10,O11,O12,O14,O15($1+),(<$1 eN)
O16,O17,O19,O20($1+),O22,O23 or O30,O24 or O31,(<$1 eN)
O25,O26 or O32,O27 or O33,O36*,O37*,O41**,(<$1)
Note: O1-O27 wmk 108; O30-O41 wmk 109
*Note O36 is 50m pale blue-BB's choice; no space for O34 50m pale blue & red
*Note O37 is 100m dark green-BB's choice; no space for O35 100m dark green & red
**Note: "1000m brn & red" space in BB is vertically oriented: but the stamp O41 is horizontal!
Fortunately, the space is at the end of a row, and the stamp is not very wide, so squeeze it in!

1921-22 Official 80pf green & 1m orange & carmine
The stamp on the right has a faint gray (spider) network on the paper.
Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47, and '41 editions are all identical in content.

1920 Scott C1 40pf on 40pf 
Blue surcharge & black overprint
Big Blue Bottom Line  
Very good ..but not perfect coverage, and great designs. Danzig is a good example of why I love classic (inexpensive) stamps.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Note: Stamp prices are binned into broad categories. For specific prices, consult a Scott catalogue.

Note: If you enjoyed this blog, or have something to share, or can contribute some constructive criticism, please post in the comment section. Thanks!

1930 Polish map showing Gdansk (Danzig) as a port on the Baltic Sea

Closeup map of Freistaat Danzig

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Joe who monitors-and corrects as necessary-my space count for BB. :-)