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...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jordan (Trans-Jordan)

1927-29 Scott 154 100 (m) light blue
"Emir Abdullah ibn Hussein"
Quick History
Trans-Jordan, the land east of the Jordan River, was part of the territory mandated as a British protectorate following the Arab revolt and the collapse of Ottoman rule during WW I.

The British Mandate for Palestine
Trans-Jordan in brown
Under the general Palestinian Mandate, the British carved out a separate administration east of the Jordan River, and had the House of Hashemite, Emir Abdullah, the eldest son of British ally Sharif Hussein of Mecca and the Kingdom of Hejaz, become the titular head. Abdullah's government was established in April, 1921.

And actually the first (overprinted) stamp set for the Jordan territory was issued in November, 1920.

Emir Abdullah's brother was briefly the King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria, before being expelled by the French in 1920. He, however, then became King Faisal of Iraq in 1921, another British mandate.

On the other side of the Jordan River-Palestine-, the British were tasked with creating a home for the Jewish people, while keeping the Arabs happy too. For another time, another post. ;-)

Big Blue visits the Jordan River
As an aside, Big Blue visited the Jordan River in 2008. In this desert climate, this not very impressive river is hugely important.

Trans-Jordan was under British control until 1928, although the Brits afterwards continued to maintain oversight on military, foreign policy, and some financial  issues. Full independence and formal elevation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan occurred in 1946. Jordan was admitted into the United Nations in 1955.

The Capital is Amman, and the population was 400,000 in 1940.

1925 Scott 134 5m orange "Type of Palestine, 1918"
Overprint reads "East of Jordan"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1920-1933, 271 major stamp descriptions in the regular, semi-postal, postage due and official categories. Of those, 85 are <$1-$2+, or 31%.

Before having their own stamp design issues beginning in 1927. there were overprints and handstamps using the stamps of Palestine and the Kingdom of Hejaz. A number of these overprinted or handstamped issues from 1922-23 (88 stamps) have a high CV ($10+-$2000). These fall more into the realm of the specialist collector, so I will say no more about them here.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
10 Milliemes = 1 Piaster
1000 Mils = 1 Palestine Pound (1930)
1920 Scott 9 9pi bister "Stamps and Type of Palestine, 1918"
Overprint reads "East of Jordan"
Fortunately, the first issue of eleven stamps produced in 1920 for Trans-Jordan has seven stamps with CV <$1-$3+.

The Palestinian overprinted stamp simply says "East of Jordan". Remember, this is before the Hashemite government had been established.

"EEF" means "Egyptian Expeditionary Forces".

1920 Scott 6 1pi dark blue
Silver overprint
The overprints during the early days of Trans-Jordan can be found in red, violet and gold. I believe the 1 Piaster dark blue shown above has the only silver overprint.
1924 Scott 119 3pi red brown "Coat of Arms"
Overprinted on stamps of Hejaz, 1922-24
Overprint reads "Arab Government of the East, 1924"
As mentioned, the Kingdom of Hejaz stamps were also overprinted during the 1923-24 era ( 28 stamps). Recall that Emir Abdullah"s father was the Grand Sherif of Mecca and the King of Hejaz.

Big Blue's Post for Hejaz is found here,

1925 Scott 137 8m red "Type of Palestine, 1918"
Overprint reads "East of Jordan"
A 15 stamp set was issued in 1925, overprinted on the designs of Palestine of 1918, and on the colors of the Palestine 1921 issue. CV ranges from <$1-$4+ for 12 stamps.
1927 Scott 148 5 (m) orange 
"Emir Abdullah ibn Hussein"
In 1927, and on the eve of greater autonomy from the Great Britain, a 13 stamp issue was produced with Emir Abdullah's portrait.
 1927 Scott 152 50 (m) claret
The 6 higher denomination stamps were issued in larger format as shown above.

The CV for the issue is <$1-$3+ for 8 stamps.

Abdullah had played a major role along with T.E. Lawrence during the Great Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule.

He was Emir and ruler of Trans-Jordan from 1921 to 1946, and then King of Jordan from 1946. He was assassinated in 1951 by a Palestinian gunman, who thought Abdullah was planning to make a separate peace with Israel.
1928 Scott 159 2 (m) rose, Perf 14
Overprint reads "Constitution"
In 1928, a Constitution was enacted for the country as Britain permitted a greater independence.

An 11 stamp set with the overprint so named was issued. CV is $1+ for 6 stamps.
1930-36 Scott 173 4m green,
17 1/4 X 21 mm
Beginning in 1930, a new similar definitive set was issued with 10 stamps. Note "MILS" or "L.P." is in the lower right corner. The money system had been changed to 1000 Mils = 1 Palestine Pound (1930).

 1930-36 Scott 180 90m bister
Again the six higher denominations are in a larger format. CV for the 10 stamp issue is <$1-$1+.

With these stamps, one might need the watermarking tray, the perforation gauge and a mm ruler, as one will see presently.

The above set is British Colonial watermark 4 - "Multiple Crown and Script CA". The perforations are 14.

1939 Scott 178a 20m olive green
17 1/4 X 21 mm; Perf 13 1/2 X 13
In 1939, an 8 stamp set, all assigned minor numbers by Scott, was issued in Perforation 13 1/2 X 13. The size of the stamp was the same as the 1930-36 issue, as well as the Type 4 watermark.

1942 Scott 203 5m orange yellow; Scott 205 15m deep blue
Lithography; Unwatermarked, Perf 13 X 13 1/2
For the classical collector that ends their collection at 1940, there are some confusing issues for this design that one should be aware.

In 1942, an issue using lithography (rather than engraved) was produced. These 8 stamps clearly have a cruder appearance, almost as if they are forgeries*. ;-) In addition, the inscription above the head is redrawn, as well as the Arabic "millieme" character  on the upper left.

Also, the set is unwatermarked, and has perforations 13 X 13 1/2.

* There might indeed be forgeries. See comment discussion. Thanks Keijo!

Addendum to blog post- May 1, 2013

Keijo, in his excellent post http://www.stampcollectingblog.com/transjordan-1942-stamp-forgery.php
suspects these are indeed forgeries of this issue, especially the "Scott 205 15m deep blue" illustrated above. The "Scott 203 5m orange yellow" also looks washed out, but I will concentrate on the 15m deep blue.

Let's look at genuine copies first....
1942 Scott 199 1m dull red brown; Scott 201 3m deep yellow green
Lithographed, unwmk, Perf. 13 X 13 1/2
The genuine lithographic copies certainly do not have the fine detail of the previous engraved specimens, but are not horribly crude either.

Now, let's look at a genuine 15m deep blue stamp I recently acquired, and compare it to the "crude" 15m deep blue shown already...
Left: Genuine 1942 Scott 205 15m deep blue
Right: Probable Forgery 15m deep blue
What can we say? (One might want to enlarge the image for close inspection)
• Stanley Gibbons characterizes the forgeries as on "whiter paper with rough perforations". That might be helpful in some cases, but here I really do not see an obvious difference.
• What is clear is the lack of fine detail on the face, the "blobby" appearance of his lower  left side of his face, as well as blotch running down to his left eyebrow and eye. 
• Then note the fine short horizontal lines surrounding the inner "MILS" tablet on the genuine, and compare to the crudeness, and the running together of these lines with the probable forgery. Note the paint blotch next to the inner frame line of "MILS".
• Note other small paint blotches along the inner and outer frame lines. Notice the outer frame line is wider and not as cleanly linear as the genuine lithographed stamp. Keijo suspects these irregular blotchy markings are the characteristics of a typographed, rather than a lithographed stamp. It is certainly compatible.

1943-44 Scott 208 2m Prussian green
Perf 12; 17 3/4 X 21 1/2 mm
Then in 1943-44, a 14 stamp engraved set was issued with perforation 12, and a different size (see above). The colors are a bit different than the original 1930-39 stamps. And the set was issued on white paper.

1947 Scott 234 15m dull olive green
Perf 12; 17 3/4 X 21 1/2 mm
Finally, another set of 6 engraved stamps in different colors was issued in 1947 with the same size and perforations as the 1943-44 set. This set is not on white paper.

So, to summarize, one will need to pay attention to:
Printing method
Forgeries of the 1942 lithographic set

I think that about does it. ;-)

Semi-postal 1930 Scott B5 10 (m) red
"Locust Campaign"
The only semi-postal set produced during the classical era is this "Locust Campaign" issue of 1930. The 12 stamp set has a CV of $1+ for 6 stamps.

This was not the last time Jordan has had problems with swarms of locusts..
AMMAN, Nov 21, 2004 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Chairman of Jordan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Khaled Sarayreh on Sunday ordered the armed forces to combat the arrival of locust swarms, the state-run Petra News Agency reported.
A meeting was held at the armed forces headquarters in the presence of the country's agricultural officials to discuss preparation and coordination between concerned parties to face the locust plague, the report said.
About 60 different kinds of vehicles and planes from Jordanian Air Force are mobilized in the campaign against locusts before the swarms devour crops, Sarayreh said.
He noted that according to received information from all operation sites, swarms of locusts have arrived at the south of Jordan.
For the first time in almost 50 years, millions of pink locusts originated in West Africa and were blown by strong wind across the Sahara Desert through Libya and Egypt to the eastern Mediterranean.
Deep Blue 
1925 overprinted Palestinian issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 18 pages for Jordan and follows the Scott catalogue nicely. As a bonus, the Steiner also provides spaces for the minor number 1939 Abdullah issue.

Because I don't have many of the expensive overprinted earlier issues, as well as no postage due examples, I have 9 empty pages in these categories. The Steiner definitely keeps one humble. ;-)

Semi-postal 1930 Scott B8 50 (m) claret 
"Locust Campaign Issue"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 38 spaces for regular and postage due categories. Coverage is 14%.

• The country is found in the 1940s editions of BB under "Trans-Jordan"
• BB does not include any of the expensive early overprinted issues, and no examples of overprinted Kingdom of Hejaz stamps. Probably a good thing. ;-)
• There are no stamps that reach the CV $10 threshold.
• The 1920 and 1925 issues are represented-which is good- but BB could have extended the stamp spaces somewhat for little increase in CV.
• BB includes the 1934 redesigned "Abdullah" stamps, but none of the other stamps issued between 1930-39 : seven stamps which are CV <$1-$1+. Although the issues are "tricky" (See discussion), one may want to provide some spaces for them.
• BB includes eight spaces for the nice 1933 pictorial issue. I just wish I had some. ;-)







Postage Due

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1934- There are plenty of other stamps of the redesigned "Abdullah" issue that are plentiful and inexpensive- and tricky (See discussion). One may want to provide some spaces for them.

1924 Scott 116 1pi dark blue "Coat of Arms"
"On Stamps of Hejaz, 1922-24"
Overprint reads "Arab Government of the East, 1924" 
Out of the Blue
Having visited Jordan in 2008, I have more than a passing interest in the country and its history. I now have a better understanding of its early philatelic history too.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain


Big Blue's trip to Petra, 2008


  1. @Jim... Thanks for another highly entertaining blog entry.

    Regarding this:

    "In 1942, an issue using lithography (rather than engraved) was produced. These 8 stamps clearly have a cruder appearance, almost as if they are forgeries. ;-)"

    You really read my mind on this, because I think at least one of your stamps is a fake. Thanks to this post I wrote about in on my blog. Hope you don't mind me quoting You there too ;)

  2. Ha-ha Good one. ;-)

    I had the feeling they looked fake, and that now makes two of us. ;-)

    My copies have less detail around the face than some of the George VI blog stamps referenced on your blog site.

    And my 15m certainly looks uneven around the edges like a typographed stamp.

    • Scott say "lithography", but were they actually typographed? (Scott has been wrong before about printing methods.) What does Michel say?

    • The George VI blog stamps still look crude. Our specimens look cruder. Is that enough? I would need more evidence. ;-)

  3. Yep - definitely a good one ;)

    These should be litho (both Michel and SG confirm that). Gibbons also had a footnote that explains a bit more about the characteristics of forgeries (rough perforations + white paper).

    BTW. Did you notice that both my 5m and your 15m have similar 'dummy cancels' that you can't make out?

    Finds like this make the worldwide collecting so pleasantly surprising :)