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, January 20, 2013


1938 Scott 102 3p ultramarine "Father Theobald Matthew"
 Temperance Crusade, Centenary
Quick History
The Irish Free State, originally an autonomous state within the British Commonwealth, was created by government act in 1922. The name was changed to Eire in 1937. The duties of the British Monarch were removed in 1949, and Ireland was declared a republic.  Commonwealth membership was terminated.

The Capital is Dublin, and the population was 2,900,00 in 1943.

Ireland is also an island, divided between the (now called) Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom.
The bland introduction belies the tumultuous history between Ireland and Great Britain.

Ireland was part of the United Kingdom from 1801 until December 6, 1922. 

From 1845-49, the Great Famine caused 1 million deaths, with another 1.5 million emigrating primarily to the United States.

After the Irish War of Independence, a revolt begun in 1916, and then a guerrilla war initiated in 1919 by the Irish Republican Army against the British government, a ceasefire was agreed to in July 1921. This lead to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December, 1921. The treaty allowed Northern Ireland to opt out of the Free State, and indeed that is what they did.

On February 17, 1922, stamps of Great Britain, 1912-19, were overprinted in Irish Gaelic "Provisional Government of Ireland". And so began the Irish stamp issues.

1922-23 Scott 76 1sh light blue "Sword of Light"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1922-1942, 133 major stamp descriptions. Of those, 29 or 22% are CV <$1-$1+. Irish stamps are moderately expensive for the classical collector.

Stamp Gallery
1922 saw a significant number of stamps, all overprinted on British stamps, with Irish Gaelic inscriptions.

They are differentiated by the inscription, the color of the ink, or the size of the overprint. Let's take a look...

1922 Scott 1 1/2p green "Provisional Government of Ireland"
1922 Scott 9 2 1/2p ultramarine, carmine overprint
This issue, beginning on February 17th,  some 13 major numbers, was overprinted by Dollard, Ltd. The overprints can be found in black or gray black, or red or carmine. The CV for 4 stamps is $1+-$3+. The above illustration shows a black and a carmine overprint.

The stamps are easy to identify, as there is no period after the "1922".

1922 Scott 16b 2p orange, Die I
Overprinted in black, measures 14 1/2 X 16 mm
Also issued on February 17, 1922 by Alex. Thom & Co., these stamps have a period after the "1922". They consist of 4 stamps, with the distinguishing feature of a black overprint. The 2p orange, illustrated above, in addition, is found as two Die types. More about that later.

CV for the 4 stamps is $2-$20+.
1922 (July-November) Scott 28 3p violet, blue-black OP
1922 (December) Scott 40 1p scarlet, has wider OP
The two issues above are distinguished from the preceding issue, and from each other by several signs.

• The OP ink for these issues are shiny to dull blue-black, or red. This can be tricky. For the 1 1/2p red brown, 2p orange, 6p red violet, and 1sh bister, note if the ink is black or blue-black. If black, then a member of the preceding issue; if blue-black, then a member of these issues. I didn't say it was easy. ;-)

The (July-December) 1922 issue has 13 stamps, and the OP is 14 1/2 X 16 mm (Important).
The CV is $2-$8+ for 6 stamps.

• The (December) 1922 issue has an overprint measuring 15 3/4 X 16 mm, so wider than the (July-December) issue. Note the difference above. This 5 stamps issue has a CV of $1+-$15 for 4 stamps.

1922 (July-December) Scott 26b 2p orange, Die I
1922 (July-December) Scott 26 2p orange, Die II
The 2p orange is found with two Die types. (Enlarge for careful examination.) Die I has four horizontal lines above the King's head in the oval vignette. Die II has three lines. Die I shows heavy colored lines above and below the bottom tablet. Die II has thinner lines.

1922-23 1/2p green "Irish Free State"
Finally, a change in inscription marks the 15 stamps 1922-23 overprinted issue. This issue should be easy to identify. CV is $1+-$5+ for 8 stamps. Note Big Blue does not provide spaces for this issue.

1922-23 Scott 66 1p carmine rose "Map of Ireland"
Scott 71 4p slate "Coat of Arms", wmk "SE in Monogram"
1922-23 saw the first designed issue for Ireland, some 12 stamps. CV is $1+-$6+ for 8 stamps.
For the classical stamp collector, this issue, with the "SE in Monogram" watermark, will need to be distinguished from the later 1940-42 issue, with the "Multiple e" watermark. And from a two stamp 1966-67 issue (More about that soon).

1941 Scott 108  1 1/2p claret "Map of Ireland"
1940-42 Scott 115 9p violet "Coat of Arms" 
Watermarked " Multiple e"
The later 1940-42 issue is shown above. This 12 stamps issue has a CV of $1+-$3+ for 11 stamps.

Well, what about the watermarks?
Top row: Wmk 44- SE in Monogram
Bottom row: Wmk 262- Multiple "e"
The watermarks are similar in shape, so don't get fooled by a cursory glance. ;-) Otherwise, quite easy to tell.

Then there was a small (literally) two stamp issue in 1966-67.

1922-23 Scott 70 3p ultramarine "Celtic Cross"
1966-67 Scott 225 2p ultramarine (smaller stamp)
The 3p ultramarine was issued in 1922-23 (wmk 44), 1940-42 (wmk 262), and in 1966-67 in a smaller size. ;-)
1940-42 Scott 113 5p deep violet "Sword of Light"
1966-67 Scott 226 (17 X 20 1/2 mm size)
The 1922-23 and 1940-42 issues were 18 X 22 mm size, while the 1966-67 two stamp issue was 17 X 20 1/2 mm. Here the 5p deep violet is shown. Now you know. ;-)

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 13 pages for the coverage of Ireland, all following the Scott listing.

Classical Deep Blue has coverage for 1941-1950
Of interest, the 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue only covers the issues through ~ 1942. But Ireland was technically a member of the British Commonwealth until 1949. Deep Blue (Steiner) covers up to ~1950 in the classical pages.

1929 Scott 82 9p dark violet "Daniel O'Connell"
Catholic Emancipation in Ireland, Centenary
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page has, from 1922-1939, 34 stamp spaces. Coverage (for the time period) is 26%. 

Big Blue condenses the 64 possible major stamp numbers for the OP 1922-23 issues into 7 spaces. And BB does not provide any space for the "Irish Free State" overprinted 1922-23 Scott 44-55 stamps. I unravel the various choices in the "comment" section following the checklist.

There are only three stamps that cross the $10 threshold.

1/2p green: 1 or 19 or 23 or 29
1p scarlet: 2 or 20 or 24 or 40
1 1/2p red brown: 15 or 21 or 25 or 41
2p orange: 16 or 16b or 22 or 22a or 26 or 26b or 42
2 1/2p ultramarine: 3 or 9 or 27
3p violet: 4 or 28
4p slate green: 5 or 10 or 10A or 29 

65 or 106, 66 or 107, 67 or 108, 68 or 109, 69 or 110, 70 or 111, 72 or 113, 73 or 114,
74 or 115, 75 or 116, 76 or 117,











A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1922-23 Scott 76 1sh light blue ($10+)
1938 Scott 102 3p ultramarine ($10+)
1939 Scott 104 3p deep blue ($10+)

B) *1922 issues- The illustration is for the Dollard Ltd printed February 17, 1922 issue with no period after "1922". But some descriptive spaces (1 1/2p red brown, 2p orange) are for other 1922 issues with the period after "1922". So all "Provisional Government of Ireland" OP stamps are admitted to these spaces. What is not admitted are the "Irish Free State" OP issue of 1922-23. For the 2p orange, both Die I and Die II can be put in. Also coil stamps (Scott 20-22) are admitted. Finally, the 2 1/2p ultramarine and the 4p slate green descriptions admits either a black or red/carmine colored overprint. This is what happens when BB condenses 28 choices into 7 spaces. ;-)

C) *1922-40- Both the 1922-23 and the 1940-42 issues, differing by watermark, are admitted.
Note the 4p slate (Scott 71 or 112) is not given a space.

1932 Scott 86 3p bright blue "Cross of Congress and Chalice"
International Eucharistic Congress
Out of the Blue
Because of the large Irish immigration into the United States, the stamps of Ireland are quite popular here. Perhaps I need to brush up on Irish Gaelic to understand the inscriptions. ;-)

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Comments are appreciated!

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