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, August 26, 2013

Lourenco Marques

1915 Scott 138 1/4c on half of 5r orange "King Carlos"
Bisect!: Note the diagonal perforations dividing the stamp in two
Quick History
Lourenco Marques (Named after the Portuguese navigator and explorer)  was part of the Portuguese East Africa Colony (Mozambique Colony), and is located in southeast Africa in the southern part of Mozambique.

The reality was that, within the Mozambique Colony, settlements were scattered, and these outposts by necessity had their own stamps. One can find issues for Lourenco Marques (1895), Inhambane (1895), Zambezia (1894), Quelimane (1913), Tete (1913), Mozambique Company (1892), Nyassa Company (1898), and Mozambique (1877) for the Portuguese East Africa lands. Eventually, the stamps of Mozambique were exclusively used: for Lourenco Marques- in 1920.

Confused? ;-) Take a look at the Mozambique Area Transition Chart at the Dead Countries Stamps website. Thanks Michael!
Map of Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) 1922
One will find on this 1922 map "Lourenzo Marques" (now the Capital city Maputo) in the southern portion of Portuguese East Africa. One can also find the geographical location of Inhambane, Mozambique Company, "Quilimane", Tete, "Nyasa Company", and the off shore island of Mozambique.

The modern map of Mozambique has Maputo (Name changed from Lourenco Marques in 1976 after independence from Portugal ), and the Inhambane, Zambezia, Tete, and Niassa regions.

The permanent town of Lourenco Marques dates from about 1850. Because of the growing importance and settlement of nearby Transvaal, the town flourished.  A railroad was built to Pretoria, Transvaal in 1895.

In fact, Lourenco Marques became the capital of Mozambique in 1898. Prior, the island of Mozambique (just offshore in northern Mozambique) had been the capital.

With a good harbor, Lourenco Marques became a popular port for British, Portuguese and German vessels during the early 20th century. The area's population was listed as 474,000 in 1947.

The first stamps were produced for Lourenco Marques in 1895 with the "King Carlos" colony design. After 1920, the stamps of Mozambique were exclusively used.

1915 Scott 143 130r on 150r carmine/rose
Provisional Issue of 1902 Overprinted in Carmine
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Lourenco Marques 1895-1921, 162 regular, 12 semi-postal, and 2 newspaper stamp descriptions. Total = 176.

Of those, 86 are CV <$1-$1+, or 49%.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
1000 Reis = 1 Milreis
100 Centavos = 1 Escudo (1913)
1895 Scott 6a 50r light blue "King Carlos"
The first 1895 issue, "King Carlos", some 12 stamps, has a CV of <$1-$4. The issue can be found with perforations 11 1/2, 12 1/2, 13 1/2. Here, the 50r light blue is minor number 6a with perforation 13 1/2.

1895 Scott 14 10r green "King Luiz" 
"St. Anthony of Padua  Issue"
Mozambique 1886 issue, Overprinted
The subsequent 1895 issue consisted of overprinted Mozambique stamps. This issue, in honor of St. Anthony of Padua, has 9 stamps for the 1886 "King Luiz" Mozambique issue, and 7 stamps for the 1894 "King Carlos I"  issue. CV is a rather hefty $10+-$100+. 

1898-1903 Scott 44 100r dark blue/blue "King Carlos"
The familiar colony design "King Carlos" stamps were produced for Lourenco Marques between 1898-1903. This 23 stamp set has a CV of <$1-$1+ for 17 stamps.

1899 Scott 53 5r on 10r green & brown "Coat of Arms"
A "Half" specimen
In 1899, there was a four stamp issue with the surcharge on both the upper and lower part of the stamp. The stamp can be divided, and only "half" used. This is an example of an upper half.

1903 Scott 72 25r sea green 
Issue of 1898-1903 overprinted
A four stamp "Provisorio" overprint was released in 1903. CV is <$1-$1+.

1911 Scott 79 10r light green 
Overprinted in carmine
With the October 5, 1910 revolution in Portugal, the regime was abolished, and a "Republic" was established. Consequently, a new 15 stamp set was released as shown. CV is <$1-$1+ for 14 stamps.

1913 Scott 106 10c on 100r bister brown
Surcharged on stamps of Portuguese Africa
"Vasco Da Gama Issue"
There was a change in denomination to Centavos/Escudo in 1913, and consequently an acute need for stamps reflecting this change. For Lourenco Marques, 8 stamps from Macau, 8 stamps from Portuguese Africa, and 8 stamps from Timor were all surcharged. The stamps were from the common design type "Vasco Da Gama" issue.
1913 Scott 112 5c on 8a dark blue
Surcharged on stamps of Timor
"Vasco Da Gama Issue"
The 24 stamp (in total) surcharged issue has a CV of $1+- $4. Rather lovely stamps, and a brief respite from the usual Portuguese colony definitive issues. ;-)

1914 Scott 120 2c carmine "Ceres"
The famous "Ceres" issue was released for Lourenco Marques in 1914 with 16 stamps. CV is <$1-$4.

1914 Scott 136 130r on 80r yellow green
Provisional issues of 1902 overprinted locally in carmine
The 1902 surcharged issue (The 1902 issue has not been previously shown on this post) was subsequently overprinted "Republica" in 1914 on 6 stamps. Of interest though, this overprint was done locally- no doubt because of a stamp shortage?- and differs in the usual "Republica" overprint normally applied in Lisbon. CV is <$1.
1915 Scott 140 155r on 10r red violet
Provisional issue of 1902 overprinted
In 1915 stamp supplies must have arrived, as there was a 4 stamp set issued, this time with the Lisbon (not local) overprint. CV is <$1. 

(An aside, why are the "Reis" denominations being used in 1914-15?- I thought the denomination had been changed to "Centavos" in 1913? Perhaps both could be used? )

So what is the difference between the "local" and the Lisbon "Republica" overprint? Let's look...

"Local overprint": 1914 Scott 134 115r on 300r blue/salmon
"Lisbon overprint": 1915 Scott 141 115r on 200r blue/blue
"Local" overprint has:
• No serifs (feet) on bottom of letters.
• The "R" shape is rounded.
• The local overprint is shorter-22.5 mm vs 24 mm.

There are other differences, but this should suffice.

1915 Scott 139 1/4c on half of  1/2c black, pair
Bisect!: Note the diagonal perforations dividing the stamp in two
There were other interesting surcharges found in 1915: This time splitting the stamp in two (bi-sects)! One example is illustrated above, while the other is found at the post header. I like it. ;-)

1916 Scott 154 500r black & red/blue
Overprinted on 1898-1903 regular issue
Note "local" carmine overprint
The supply chain to Lourenco Marques must have been slow indeed, as more stamps were locally overprinted in 1916. This 10 stamp set is CV $1-$5.

1917 Scott 157 400r on 75r rose
On 1902 surcharged issue
Overprinted locally in carmine
In 1917, two more stamps were locally overprinted as illustrated. Perhaps someone with more philatelic historical  knowledge than I can explain the circumstances that lead to these abundant local "Republica" overprints?

I do note that other colonies also had "local" overprints.

•Inhambane 1917 (Appears to be the same script as Lourenco Marques)
•Timor None
•Portuguese India 1913-15 (Different script than Lourenco Marques)
•Portuguese Guinea None
•Quelimane None (But had little issue output)
•Zambezia 1917 (Appears to be the same script as Lourenco Marques)
•Portuguese Congo 1914-18 (Different script than Lourenco Marques?)
•Mozambique 1915 (Appears to be the same script as Lourenco Marques)
•Mozambique Company 1911 (Different script than Lourenco Marques)
•Nyassa Company None ( Didn't use the usual Portuguese design stamps)

Obviously, other colonies were affected also. And it appears that the local overprint script used for Lourenco Marques can be found for Inhambane, Zambezia, and Mozambique.

1920 Scott 159 4c on 2 1/2c violet 
Type of 1914, surcharged in red
In 1920-21, some four stamps were surcharged. An example is illustrated. These stamps were also valid throughout Mozambique.
Semi-postal 1918 Scott B4 2 1/2c violet 
Used in place of regular issues March 9, 1918
Lourenco Marques only has 12 stamps in the semi-postal category, all of the 1918 issue. It appears to be a Red Cross set. If one mailed a letter on March 9, 1918, then one needed to use it. ;-)

Newspaper 1893 Scott P1 2 1/2r brown
Finally, here is an example of the newspaper stamp for the Portuguese colonies. Bland, but functional.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue's page for the 1911 "Republica" overprinted "King Carlos" Issue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 14 pages for the classical issues of Lourenco Marques. As there is no confusion on the major issues in the Scott catalogue, so Steiner follows suit. Easy and logical.

1913 Scott 105 7 1/2c on 75r violet brown 
Surcharged on Stamps of Portuguese Africa
Vasco Da Gamma Issue
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 46 spaces for the issues of Lourenco Marques. Coverage = 26%. This is cut down from 1 1/2 pages in the '41/'43/'43 editions where 1920-21 Scott 159-162, semi-postal 1918 B1-B4, (B5), and newspaper 1895 (actually 1893) P1 were included. In summary, 10 spaces were eliminated , and Lourenco Marques is accommodated on one page. Certainly, these stamps could be added back on a quadrilled page or similar.  (The remaining 1/2 page was also cut out by the '69 editors as Lubeck was removed.)

• No expensive stamps (CV $10+) in Big Blue
• There are some 30 more stamps CV <$1-$1+ that could be added.
• None of the "Local" overprints for 1914,1916,1917 (18 stamps) are included in BB. Eleven of them are CV <$1-$1+.







92 or 100 or 108, 93 or 101 or 109,  94 or 102 or 110, 98 or 114, 99 or 115,
95 or 111, 96 or 112, 97 or 113,

Update note: The 1914-18 Ceres Issue was parsed by Scott in ~2014 into perf 15 X 14 chalky paper and perf 15 X 14 ordinary paper varieties: all given major numbers, The original (old) numbers were in the 2011 catalogue. I will provide both the "old" numbers, and the current numbers here...

Old numbers....

1914 Ceres Issue

Current numbers...

1914 (-1918*) Ceres Issue
116 or 131C, 117 or 131D, 118 or 131A or 131E, 119 or 131F,
121 or 131B or 131H, 122 or 131I, 123 or 131J, 124 or 131L, (120 or 131G), (126 or 131M),


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1913- Choices are the surcharged stamps of Macao, Portuguese Africa, or Timor
D) *1914 (-1918) Ceres Issue- The ordinary paper varieties (now with major numbers) were
produced in 1918. I included them here.

1921 Scott 162 1 1/2c on 2 1/2c violet "Ceres"
Out of the Blue
Lourenco Marques offers, with the "local" overprints, and the bisects, an intriguing selection. And ask anybody you know, that is not a WW classical collector, where "Lourenco Marques" is, and watch the blank stares. ;-)

Note: Maps and  postcard pic appear to be in the public domain.

Postcard view of Lourenco Marques, Circa 1905


  1. Lourenco Marques does not offer a very interesting set of stamps to collect, so I don’t bemoan that many of them were omitted by BB. The same is true for the other subdivisions of Mozambique, too. Had all the images of King Carlos for all the Portuguese colonies been included in BB, they would have squeezed out many superior stamps. Your speculations about slow supply chains necessitating local overprints add some interest. I was in the former Lourenco Marques a few years ago, and it’s as drab as the stamps, principally because of the residuals of oppressive Portuguese colonialism and a war-besot transition into state socialism of the 1970s and 80s, not to mention prolonged drought. Of the Mozambique subdivisions, I find LM the easiest to collect and Tete the hardest. The building in your postcard still stands, I think. I recall it, or something like it,as an interesting example of Portuguese colonial architecture

  2. Bud

    Thanks for the "on the ground" insights- I didn't know you were acquainted with that part of the world!

  3. I'd have to agree with Bud's comments. Some (not all) of these old colonies were not only exploited pretty ruthlessly by their European colonizers and left fairly devastated after independence (Mozambique was one) but in this regard they weren't even provided with very colorful or unique stamps to collect! And the stamps were, of course, not locally produced.

    When colonial stamps are good it's because they depict local scenes. When they're not so good it's often because they repeat the same image over and over, usually of the reigning monarch or some such thing. I suppose I'd do the same thing the Scott publishers did with LM's stamps -- and with the other Portuguese colonies -- and provide limited spaces for a "representative" sampling, as Scott says. Too many of the same stamps with the same images isn't that interesting.

    The overprints add some interest, I think, especially because at least they are locally produced even if the stamps were not. It's all a bit sad to think of how so many of these places which were exploited for whatever resources they had, even if only briefly (longer in the case of Portuguese colonies which were centuries old) and held onto for the prestige of having an empire, were lated abandoned to inept governments and misery. The remnants of empire include these stamps which is one thing that we can use to remember them. But I wouldn't want to see my albums filled with repetitive heads of King Carlos, overprinted or not.

    I wonder how often stamps were used by the local people? Was most of the use of stamps business and government mail out of the colony? In that regard, used stamps may be fairly few in number, so there's an area of interest.

  4. Thanks Drew for the comments.

    I agree a nice postmarked used stamp from a colony has a story to tell- but collectors seem to be enamored with unused. ;-)