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, March 17, 2013


1921-23 Scott 90 1 1/2p green 
"WWI Contingent Embarking for Overseas Duty"
Quick History
Jamaica, an island 146 miles by 50 miles in size, is located in the Caribbean Sea 90 miles south of Cuba.

The Capital is Kingston, and the population was 1,200,000 in 1943.

Jamaica has been under British influence since 1655, with independence achieved in 1962. Jamaica is still part of the Commonwealth.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Jamaica was heavily dependent on slaves to work in the sugar cane fields, with about a 20:1 population ratio of blacks to whites.

Full emancipation from slavery was declared in 1838.

Although British stamps with a Jamaican recognizable numeral town cancel can be found beginning in 1858, Jamaica's first Victorian issue- with a pineapple watermark-was issued in 1860.

1901 Scott 32 1p red & black "Llandovery Falls"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1860-1952, 152 regular, 3 semi-postal, 11 war tax, and 4 official major descriptive stamp categories: Total 170.

Of those, 86 are CV <$1-$1+, or 51%. Not surprisingly, the catalogue values are higher with the island's close proximity to the United States, and the fact it is a British Commonwealth country.

But it has no extensive rarities, so it can be completed to a high degree by the assiduous classical collector.

A closer look at the stamps and issues 
12 pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
I'm not going to do a general survey here, but rather focus on interesting aspects of the Jamaican stamps and issues.
All 1p blues
1860, 1870, 1884 issues
Jamaica has some 40 Victorians issued between 1860-1911, and naturally there is much overlap in color and design.

The difference between the 1860-93 issue (6 stamps), the 1870-71 issue (6 stamps) and the 1883-90 issue (8 stamps), is mainly one of watermark.
Pineapple, Wmk 1 Crown and CC, Wmk 2 Crown and CA
As one would expect, there are large differences in value between the issues, and the watermark determines that. Here the 1p blue is CV $10+, <$1, $5+ respectively for the 1860, 1870, and 1884 issue stamps.

Of unique interest, Jamaica's first issue uses the Pineapple watermark.
1875 Scott 14 2sh red brown Perf 12 1/2
Besides watermark, there are also some differences in perforations. Here the 1875 2 Shilling red brown has a perforation of 12 1/2, while the 1897 red brown exists as a perforation 14.
Three Pence: three colors
1870, 1886, and 1910 issue stamps
Various colors on the same denomination design are not infrequently encountered. The three pence is found in green (1863), green (1870-71), olive green (1886), olive green (1907), sage green (1907), pale purple on yellow (1910), and violet on yellow, chalky paper (1910).
1890 Scott 27 2 1/2p on 49 red brown
In contrast to a crown colony such as Ceylon, Jamaica only had one surcharged Victorian stamp. The "Two Pence Half Penny" is shown above.
1905-11 Scott 45 5sh violet & black 
1906 Scott 59 1p carmine "Arms of Jamaica"
A new design with the "Arms of Jamaica" was first issued in 1903. The stamps can be found with either the
Crown and CA"  or the the "Crown and CA Multiple" watermarks.

In addition, there are two designs as illustrated above.
1910 Scott 40 4p black on yellow, chalky paper
1911 Scott 50 4p red on yellow, ordinary paper
Of interest, besides the "Arms of Jamaica" stamps, the 1905-11 issue also had Victorians, ten years after her death! ;-) The eleven different Victorian stamps can be found with either chalky or ordinary paper. This should not pose a problem for the collector, though, as the stamps differ in color. Here I show a nice example of a four pence stamp in two colors.
1911 Scott 2p gray "Edward VII"
The only Edward VII stamp issued - and posthumously at that- is illustrated above. He had no stamps issued during his reign (1901-1910) by Jamaica.
1913 Scott 66 4p scarlet & black on yellow, chalky paper
1914 Scott 72 4p scarlet & black on yellow, surface colored paper
Jamaica did produce some 15 George V stamps of this design between 1912-1927. The problem is there can be both chalky and surface colored specimens. Above is an example. If the stamps are turned over, one would observe a yellow color for the chalky stamp, while the surface colored paper stamp would be non colored (white).
The 1sh black on green turned over
1912 Scott 68 ( chalky paper); 1915 Scott 73 (surface colored paper)
A picture is worth a thousand words. Here is an example of what one would see. Too bad i'm not showing the front of these nice stamps. ;-)
1912-20 Scott 67 6p red violet & dull violet, wmk "Crown and CA, Multiple"
1921-27 Scott 102 6p red violet & dull violet, wmk  "Crown and Script CA, Multiple"
For the George V stamps, there are some watermark differences also. 
Watermark 3: "Multiple Crown and C A"
Watermark 4: "Multiple Crown and Script C A"
The Crown Agents watermarks are shown here as a refresher.  ;-)
1922 Scott 89 1p orange & carmine 
"Arawak making Cassava"
A large pictorial definitive issue (12 stamps) was produced in 1919--21 with wmk 3, and another issue (13 stamps) with wmk 4 was produced between 1921-23. Except for the watermark, these issues are the same, although the 1921-23 issue does have a 6p blue & black "Port Royal in 1853" jumbo sized stamp.

The pictorial design I elected to show, though, shows a native Arawak making cassava. The Arawaks were the indigenous peoples of the West Indies. British colony classical stamps tend not to show many natives, at least not up close, so this pictorial is a real treat.
1929-32 Scott 103 1p red "George V", Type I
1932 Scott 103a 1p red, Type II
Jamaica has a second design for George V, and they (three stamps) were issued between 1929-32. The 1p red, though, is found as two types. Type II has cross shading below JAMAICA, while Type I does not- enlarge the image and compare. Since both types are at minimum catalogue value, there is a good chance one will find both types in a collection. ;-)
1938-51 Scott 125 1sh dark brown & bright green
"Sugar Industry"
As is usual for many British colonies, a George VI pictorial issue was released in 1938. Eight of the 13 stamps are in bi-color, and are nicely done.
1949 Scott 141 £1 purple & brown
"Tobacco Growing and Cigar Making"
Certainly a nice feature of the Scott Classic Specialized catalogue, as well as the classic Steiner PDF album pages, is they have all the stamps of the George VI era through 1952.

Here is a pictorial about cigar making. I think today one wouldn't find this subject on stamps very much.
1916-19 War Tax stamps: four overprints
Jamaica has eleven major number war tax stamps with four different overprints on them. What a bonanza! All are inexpensive, save for the MR3 3p violet on yellow (surface colored paper) @ CV $10+.

Deep Blue
The early Victorians in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 14 pages for Jamaica 1860-1952, and follows the modern Scott catalogue format exactly. I appreciate having spaces for all the watermark different stamps.

1938-51 Scott 128 10sh dark myrtle green
"King George VI": Note "Supreme Lord" !
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on four pages, has 78 spaces for regular, semi-postal, official, and war tax stamp categories.
Coverage is 46%.

• Jamaica has only one stamp space that crosses the $10- threshold.

• BB excludes a number of the later Victorians by date criteria. I followed BB's criteria here, but one can always expand the dates and include them.

• As is usual for BB, watermark varieties will only have one space. But, it is wise to watermark what you have, as values can be quite different.

• BB does miss some stamps: specifically, the 1919 war tax stamps with red overprint are not given spaces.

• In two instances, BB asks for the (now) minor number. Per protocol, I include the major number as a choice in the checklist.


13, 1 or 7, 2 or 8, 4 or 10, (9 or 11 or 12),






58,59,46,48a* or 48,


61,62,63,64a* or 64,65* or 71,66 or 72,67,68 or 73,

Next Page

75 or 88, 76 or 89, 77  or 90,78 or 91,80 or 93,
79 or 92, 81 or 94, 95, 83 or 96,

103 or 103a, 104,105,




Next page

121* or 152,122,

Next page


Official stamps

War Tax



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1872 Scott 10 4p brown orange ($10+)

B) (  ) around a number(s) indicates a blank space choice.

C) *1860-72 dates in BB for the Victorians here will exclude some later stamps.

D) *1883-90 dates in BB for the Victorians here will exclude some later stamps.

E) *1889-97 dates in BB for the Victorians here will exclude some later stamps.

F) *1903-04 dates in BB excludes 1905-11 "Arms of Jamaica" stamps

G) *48a or 48-BB calls for the (now) minor number. Therefore, per protocol, I include the major number.

H) *64a or 64-BB calls for the (now) minor number. Therefore, per protocol, I include the major number.

I) *65 or 71- the surface colored paper stamps are included as choices here.

J) *1919-22- BB includes both watermark issues here. Scott 89 & 92 differ slightly in design from Scott 76 & 79, which BB illustrates. If you want to  be strict, do not put in 89 & 92. ;-)

K) *Scott 121 3p green & light ultramarine is the more correct choice. Scott 152 3p rose red & green issued in 1952 is the lesser choice.

Semi-postal 1923 Scott B3 2 1/2p blue & black
"Native Boy and Girl": Sold 1/2p over face value
Benefited the Child Saving League of Jamaica
Out of the Blue
Jamaica has just the right amount of differentiation between issues to keep an obsessive-compulsive such as myself interested and happy. ;-)

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?


  1. Typo on the next to last image -- 1838 ----> 1938