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, July 26, 2012


1891 Scott 17 5c green/greenish "Commerce"
Stamps of French Colonies overprinted "Guadeloupe"
Quick History
Guadeloupe was an island French colony in the West Indies between Montserrat and Dominica. The Colony consisted of Basse-Terre, with the Capital (also named Basse-Terre), separated by the narrow "Salt River"sea channel from Grande-Terre, and five smaller dependencies. Guadeloupe is 580 square miles in area, and had a population of 300,000 in 1936.

Location of Guadeloupe at the southern end of the Leeward Islands
Guadeloupe was named by Christopher Columbus for Santa Maria de Guadeloupe in 1493, after landing on the island in pursuit of fresh water during his second voyage.

The island then was fought over and claimed by the British, the French, and even the Swedes for several centuries until the Treaty of Vienna in 1815.

Slavery was abolished in 1848.

Stamps issued under French Administration began in 1884.

Guadeloupe, beginning in 1946, became an an overseas department of France.

Sugar cane has been the traditional crop. Tourism today is an important economic industry, with over 80% of the visits from France.

Map of the Guadeloupe island complex
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 201 major descriptions for the regular, semi-postal. and postage due categories. Of those, 12 out of 44 regular issue stamp descriptions for the 1884-1901 years (27%), and 113 descriptions out of 157 ( 72%) for the years 1903-1939 have a catalogue value <$4.

With the exception of many of the classic 19th century, Guadeloupe stamps are generally "affordable".

Highlights include surcharged stamps through 1891. a long 1892-1901 "Navigation and Commerce" issue, and two (1905-27, 1928-40) long inexpensive pictorial issues.

A closer look at the stamps and issues

1889 Scott 3 3c on 20c red/green "Commerce"
Surcharged  French Colonies issue
Beginning in 1884, nine French Colonies stamps were surcharged with an outer border around the stamp as illustrated above. Three types of surcharges were used: the one above is type "c".  Fairly expensive catalogue value ($10+-$60) for the others: the only one @ $5+ is shown. ;-)

1891 Scott 10 & 11 5c on 10c black/lavender & 1fr bronze green
1891 saw two surcharged stamps (CV $10+) issued on the the French Colonies "Commerce" design. "G P E" are initials for Guadeloupe?

1891 Scott 23 35c deep violet/orange
In 1891, a 15 stamp issue was produced by overprinting "Guadeloupe" on the French Colonies design denominations.

"Guadeloupe" overprinted 1891 Issue

Six of the issue stamps are CV $1+-$7+, with the rest CV $10+-$100+.

Of interest, the "Guadeloupe" overprint can be found as "Gnadeloupe", "Guadbloupe", "Guadelonpe", and "Guadelouep". Eleven of the 59 bolded minor number varieties are $10+.

1892-1901 Scott 30  5c green/greenish
1901 Scott 31 5c yellow green
The "Navigation and Commerce" design was issued for Guadeloupe from 1892-1901. This 18 stamp set has seven stamps with CV $1+, and three more with CV $2+-$3+. The general collector should be able to amass a representative sample inexpensively.

The 5c green is found in two varieties as illustrated above.

1903 Scott 45 5c on 30c brown/bister
Surcharged in black
Five surcharged stamps were issued in 1903, as shown. "G & D" indicates "Guadeloupe and Dependencies"? The CV ranges from $4-$40+. But there are several fonts used, as well as inscribed letter mistakes: so, a gold mine for the specialist. ;-)

1905-27 Scott 59 10c rose "Harbor at Basse-Terre"
Has "Basse-Terre" postmark
From 1905-27, the first long pictorial issue was produced. This 29 stamp issue had three designs; the above was used for the nine lower denomination stamps. All of the stamps in the series are fairly low in CV, ranging from <$1-$2 for all but three stamps.

1906 Scott 70 35c black/yellow "View of La Soufriére"
The second design, found on 16 stamps, is shown above. Quite striking, No? La Soufriére, at 1,467 meters high, is an active volcano on Basse-Terre.

1924-27 Scott 86 25c on 5fr deep blue/orange
"Pointe-à-Pitre, Grand-Terre"
The third design in the series (found on four high denomination stamps) is shown above. Located at the junction between the two larger islands, Pointe-à-Pitre is actually Guadeloupe's largest urban area today.

The stamp above is from a 10 stamp surcharged issue from 1924-27. CV is <$1-$1+ for eight stamps.

1928-40 Scott 101 10c bister brown & deep blue
"Sugar Mill"
Between 1928-40, a 42! stamp set was issued, again with three designs. The French have a way with designs. ;-) 

For the lower denominations, the "Sugar Mill" was pictured on eight stamps. Sugar is still the main export for Guadeloupe. 

Catalogue Value for all but three stamps is <$1-$1+.

1928-40 Scott 107 40c yellow & violet "Saints Roadstead"
The second design, on 15 stamps, pictures "Saints Roadstead", mountain peaks found in Guadeloupe.

The "Sainte Rose" postmark is from the northern part of Basse-Terre.

1928-40 Guadeloupe Issue
The last design, "Harbor Scene" (not illustrated), is found on 19 higher denomination stamps for the 1938-40 set.

One could argue that the French colonies put out too many stamps in a set, but they are well designed. ;-)

1915-17 semi-postal Scott B2 15c on 5c violet
"Harbor at Basse-Terre"
A few semi-postals are known from Guadeloupe. The 1938 and 1939 semi-postals were the common design type for Curie and the French Revolution. But the two 1915-17 semi-postals (example illustrated) were surcharged on the 10c rose and 15c violet from the 1905-27 issue. 

1905-06 postage due Scott J19 30c rose "Gustavia Bay"
Finally, who says that postage dues have to be drab or functional? The French don't. ;-) Above is an example from an eight stamp postage due issue for 1905-06. The CV a modest <$1-$3+.

1928 postage due Scott J32 30c slate & olivine 
"Avenue of Royal Palms"
The last classic issue of postage dues for Guadeloupe is shown above. The CV for the whole thirteen stamp set ranges from <$1-$2+.

Deep Blue
The "Navigation and Commerce" Issue in Deep Blue

Deep Blue (Steiner) has 16 pages, and follows the major Scott numbers for spaces. 

There are no extra spaces for the 59 bolded minor numbers for the error inscribed overprinted 1891 "Guadeloupe" stamps. A quadrilled page may be needed.

1924-27 Scott 90 1.05fr on 2fr vermilion
"Pointe-à-Pitre, Grand-Terre"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on four pages, has 124 stamp spaces for regular, semi-postal, and postage due categories. Coverage is a robust 62%.

A) BB, for the most part, presents a nice aggressive selection. For instance, the 1889 surcharged French colonial "Commerce" stamps are represented by five spaces!: 3,(4),(5),6,7. The Scott 7 10c on 40c red/straw is a $35CV, and on the "Most Expensive" list. In addition, the Scott 4 & 5, blank space choices, are CV $20+.
1891 Scott 22 30c brown/bister

B) The 1891 overprinted "Guadeloupe" French colonial "Commerce" stamps have eight spaces, including a blank space Scott 22 30c brown/bister ($30).

1905-27 Guadeloupe Pictorials

C) The 1905-27 pictorial series has 24 spaces. Missing though are 67,74,79,81, & 82 (CV $1+-$6).

D) The 1928-40 series has 33 spaces. Missing are 123,125,126,127,132,133,135,136,137 (CV <$1-$2+).

E) The Scott 7 ($35), mentioned above, is the only stamp to reach the $35 threshold. But there are 10 more stamps between $10-$30 CV in BB. See the specifics located below the checklist.









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Semi-postal stamps



Postage Due



A) Most expensive stamps ($10 threshold) include:
1889 (Scott 4) 15c on 20c red/green ($20+)
1889 (Scott 5) 25c on 20c red/green ($20+)
1889 Scott 6 5c on 1c black/lilac blue ($10+)
1889 Scott 7 10c on 40c red/straw ($35)
1891 Scott 18 10c black/lavender ($10+)
1891 (Scott 22) 30c brown/bister ($30)
1903 Scott 47 15c on 50c ($10+)
1935 Scott 142 40c gray brown ($10)
1935 Scott 143 50c dull red ($10)
1935 Scott 144 1.50fr dull blue ($10)
1935 Scott 145 1.75fr lilac rose ($10)

B) (  ) around a number is a suggested blank space choice

C) *B3 space in BB has "1.75 F + 90 C"; should say "1.75 fr + 50c".

D) There are some minor color descriptions in BB which have changed with the current Scott catalogue. I have made no mention, as the descriptions should not cause confusion.

1940 Scott 112 60c ultramarine & carmine
"Saints Roadstead"
Out of the Blue
Guadeloupe is an ideal French Colony for the WW classical collector. A nice variety of regular and surcharged classic stamps, and two long attractive pictorial issues. And generally inexpensive.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

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