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...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fernando Po

1907 4c black "King Alfonso XIII"
Issued with control numbers on the back of the stamp
Quick History
Fernando Po ( now Bioko) is an island located 20  miles of the west coast of Africa by Cameroon in the Gulf of Guinea. The island was found by the Portuguese navigator Fernao do Po in 1472.  The island is about 45 miles long by 20 miles across. The Capital then was Santa Isabel, and the population was 20,000 in 1930. Of interest, the island was inhabited by the Bubi ethnic group, which speak a Bantu dialect.

The Spanish assumed control of the island through treaties, and, under the overall administration of Spanish Guinea ( along with Elobey, Annobon, and Corisco), began to issue "Fernando Poo" inscribed stamps beginning in 1868.
These issues continued until 1908 when (except for a 1929 issue), the stamps of Spanish Guinea were then used. (Of interest, Spanish Guinea stamp issues began in 1902, but were only used in mainland Rio Mundi, until joined by Fernando Po  and Elobey, Annobon, and Corisco in 1909.) The postage stamps of Spanish Guinea continued until 1960.

Today, Fernando Po ( Bioko) is part of Equatorial Guinea. Reflecting its Spanish colony heritage, Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa today with Spanish as the official language.

Fernando Po (Bioko)
Into the Deep Blue
Affordable Collectability
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1868-1908, and 1929, 176 major stamp descriptions.

Prior to 1900: 64 stamps: <$20 - 48 stamps; Of those 23 are <$5.
1900-1908, 1929: 78 stamps: <$5 - 38 stamps; of those 60 are <$1.
From 1899-1929, there are 73 stamps <$1. 
Total "inexpensive" stamps: 126
Affordability Index = 72%.

Fernando Po stamps definitely appear inexpensive, with 42% of all stamp issues <$1.  BTW, all the inexpensive stamps, except for the 1929 issue, are of the "King Alfonso XIII" design types. But are they common in collections? No! Unless one specifically collects Spanish Colonies, which is unusual for a general WW classic collection, one will find not many of these "cheap" stamps around. In fact, I have only one example. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
Isabella and Alfonso are featured on the 1868-1889 issues (eight stamps), and seven of them are in the $5+-$10+ range.
There are handstamped varieties from 1884-1899 (25 stamps), and 14 of them are $5+-$10+.
There is the "baby" King Alfonso XIII issue of 1894-97 (10 stamps): eight of them for $2+.
The 1899, 1900, 1901,1902, 1903,1905 & 1908 issues (111 stamps), all with the King Alfonso design, offer the Deep Blue collector the bulk of the inexpensive stamps.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue has nine pages for Fernando Po, and follows the Scott Classic catalogue layout exactly.

Coastline of Fernando Po (Bioko) today
The island is covered with tropical forests
Big Blue
Big Blue has one full page for the issues of Fernando Po, and has 23 stamp spaces, beginning with the 1899 King Alfonso XIII issue. The section is found in the '69 edition after Estonia.

Simple  Checklist






Equatorial Guinea
Incorporates all the former Spanish Guinea Colony lands
Out of the Blue
"Cheap", but where are they? :-) One will need to hunt specifically for these Spanish colony stamp issues, as generally not found in abundance in general collections.

Note: Maps and pictorial image appear to be in the public domain.

Would like to hear from you!


  1. I've been on the waiting list for many months now for the APS Spanish Colonies circuit: too many collectors chasing too few stamps. So, come to think of it, forget that there even is a circuit for Spanish Colonies.

  2. Perhaps I could have the left-overs? ;-)