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, January 14, 2013


1923-25 Scott 3 1 1/2a carmine lake
"Motif of Assyrian Origin"
Quick History
The territory of Mesopotamia, a province of Turkey, became a Great Britain Mandate in 1920, and the name was changed to Iraq. The mandate lasted until 1932, when the Kingdom of Iraq became independent. The Capital was and is Bagdad, and the population was 3,600,000 in 1940.

The Tigris and Euphrates, the "cradle of civilization", runs through the center of Iraq, and this fertile  river valley was the origin of writing. law and the wheel.

Map of Iraq
Bordered by Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran
Iraq has seen Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Chaldean empires. The Abbasid Caliphate built Baghdad in the 8th century, and was the leading city for five centuries in the Arab and Muslim world, until overrun by the Mongols.

The Ottoman Empire controlled the territory from 1533-1918. During WW I, the area was occupied by the British, and Mesopotamian stamps were issued from 1917-1920.

Iraq stamps proper, under British mandate, began in 1923. The mandate was terminated in 1932, and the Kingdom of Iraq, under King Faisal I and King Ghazi, continued with both regular and official stamp issues through 1938.

1924-28 Scott 73 50f deep brown "King Ghazi"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for 1923-38, 78 regular and 89 official category major stamp descriptions. Of the total 167 descriptions, 108 are CV <$1-$1+, or 65%.

16 Annas= 1 Rupee
1000 Fils= 1 Dinar (1932)

A Stamp Gallery 

1923-25 Scott 2 1a brown "Gufas on Tigris"
Under the British mandate, the first Iraq issue of 13 stamps is a lovely pictorial selection of 8 designs. Look at this charming and bucolic scene on the Tigris river. The first 9 values in the issue are CV <$1.

1931 Scott 18 2a orange "King Faisal I"
1931 Official Scott O27 1a chestnut, overprinted
The 1931 issue is found both as regular and official varieties. The regular issue has 13 stamps, 8 with CV <$1-$1+. The official (overprinted) issue has 12 stamps, 5 with CV <$1.

1932 Scott 30 4f on 1a (green overprint)
1932 Official Scott O43 10f on 2a orange
With the beginning of the independent Kingdom in 1932, and the change in denomination, the previous issue was surcharged as above. The regular issue had 16 stamps with a CV of <$1-$1+ for  9 stamps. The official issue had 16 stamps also, with 4 stamps CV <$1.

1932 Scott 50 15f deep blue "King Faisal I" 
1932 Official Scott O56 3f green, overprinted
The 1932 issue had values in "Fils" and "Dinars". The regular issue, 17 stamps, has a CV of <$1-$1+ for 13 stamps. The official issue has 17 stamps, 14 stamps with CV <$1-$1+.

1934-38 Scott 64 4f purple brown "King Ghazi"
1934-38 Official Scott O77 8f deep red, overprinted
With King Ghazi on the throne in 1934, a new issue was produced. The regular issue of 18 stamps has 15 stamps with CV <$1. The official issue has 18 stamps, 14 with CV <$1=$1+.

1923 Official Scott O1 1/2a olive green "Sunni Mosque"
Overprinted "On State Service"
The first official issue of 12 stamps utilized the first regular issue, overprinted as shown. Nine stamps are CV <$1-$1+.

1924-25 Official Scott O17 3a deep blue
"Ctesiphon Arch", overprinted
The second official issue changed the overprint, as illustrated. The 13 stamp issue has a CV of <$1  for 8 stamps. The Ctesiphon Arch was built by the Parthian Persians in 400 A.D. 110 feet high, the arch is the largest single-span vault of un-reinforced brickwork in the world.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 11 pages for Iraq 1923-38. All the major numbers have a space, and follow the Scott catalogue sequence.

1924-25 Scott O16 2a brown orange 
"Assyrian Winged Bull", overprinted
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 54 stamp spaces, all regular category. Coverage is 32%. Why the comparatively low coverage? Because the 49 Official stamps found in the '41/'47 editions were cut out in the '69 edition. :-(   

A shame, as all these stamps are inexpensive. I am including the Official category stamps found in the '41/'47 as an add-on in the checklist.






Next Page


End of '69 edition

('41/'47 edition)







A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1923-24 Scott 8 8a olive bistre
"Colors of the Dulaim Camel Corps"
Out of the Blue
Nicely designed first pictorial issue. Big Blue collectors might want to add back the official stamps found in the '41/'47 editions.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.



  1. Small typo? It says "1934-28 Scott 73", shouldn't it be "1924-28"?