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, September 25, 2013


1871-80 Scott 16 5r black "King Luiz"
Red overprint
Quick History
Madeira and the surrounding archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean has been associated with, or part of Portugal since 1420 when Henry the Navigator and his sailors discovered the island.
Location of Madeira north of the Canary islands 
323 miles (520 km) off the African coast
The main city and Capital is Funchal, and the population was 150,000 in 1900. The origin of the archipelago is volcanic, and Pico Ruivo rises to 6,100 feet on Madeira. The largest island by far, Madeira is 35 miles by 14 miles in size.
Madeira, Porto Santo, and Desertas
As noted, the Portuguese have settled Madeira since 1420, and the island was granted administrative autonomy in 1895. Today, the archipelago is part of two Autonomous regions of Portugal, along with the Azores.

Stamps of Portugal can be found used on Madeira from 1853-1867. But, beginning in 1868, overprinted "Madeira" Portuguese stamps were produced. Thirty-two Scott major numbers are noted until 1881. A Vasco da Gama eight stamp common design issue for Madeira was issued in 1898.

And, between 1892-1905, one can also find stamps for Funchal issued.

But, in general, the stamps of Portugal were used on Madeira after the Vasco da Gama issue of 1898, and the Funchal issues through 1905.

There are several exceptions...
• In 1928, a 21 stamp "Ceres" issue was produced for Madeira. It was necessary for postal patrons to use the stamps on mail for six specific days in 1928 & 1929. This was to raise funds for a Museum building.
• Postal Tax and Postal Tax Due stamps were produced for Madeira in 1925.

1928 Scott 46 4c orange "Ceres"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1868-1928, 61 regular, and 7 newspaper, postal tax, and postal tax due major stamp descriptions. Total = 68. Of those, 26 are CV <$1-$1+, or 38%.

As noted, there are 27 earlier use Portuguese stamps from 1853-67 postmarked from Madeira, and listed in Scott with A1-A28 numbers. These are expensive (CV $60+-$5000), and would only interest the specialist collector.

Of the Portuguese administration "Madeira" overprinted stamps, those issued between 1868-1881 ( 32 major numbers) have a somewhat high CV. Some ten range from CV $4+-$35+, and are the least expensive. In other words, other than the 1898 Vasco da Gama and 1928 Ceres issues, and the "BOB" issues, the other stamps of Madeira are not cheap. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
1000 Reis = 1 Milreis
100 Centavos = 1 Escudo (1925)
1868-70 Scott 10 25r rose "King Luiz"
Black or Red Overprint
The first four stamp issue of January 1, 1868 had the above design, but imperforate, and with a black overprint. These have a high CV ($100+- $400+), and probably are out of reach of most WW classical collectors.

The next nine stamp issue of 1868-70 has perforation 12 1/2 and with a King Luiz motif, as illustrated above. This design bears a superficial familiarity to the next design, except here the horizontal tablet behind the upper numerals ends round with an up-turn, and the tablet behind the lower numerals ends round with a down-turn. (Not the only difference, but one of the easiest to spot.)

The CV for this overprinted issue ranges from $10+- $400+.

Scott has an ominous note about reprints: stout white paper, rough perforation 13 1/2; or thin white paper, clean perforation 13 1/2. A wide "D" and "R" on the overprint is noted. CV = $10. Check Scott for more information.
1871-80 Scott 23 25c rose "King Luiz"
Black or Red overprint
The 1871-80 issue is, as above, and consists of 16 major stamp descriptions. Note here the design has the upper and lower tablets behind the numerals end horizontal and "square". Perforation is either 12 1/2 or 13 1/2. Two types of overprints are found: One with a wider "D".

The CV is fairly high, but six stamps are $4+-$30.

The reprints have the same characteristics as the 1868-70 issue.

1880-81 Scott 34 25r pearl gray "King Luiz"
In 1880-81, three stamps with this 'King Luiz" design were overprinted for Madeira. (I must admit this particular example looks more like a werewolf than a king ;-) CV ranges from $10+-$20+.

Reprints as previously described are found.

1828 Scott 45 3c deep violet "Ceres"
In 1928, a 21 "Ceres" issue was produced for Madeira. Remember, at this time Portuguese stamps were generally used on Madeira. But this stamp issue was required to be used on six particular dates for Madeira postal patrons- for the purpose of raising funds for a Museum.

CV is <$1-$1+ for sixteen stamps.

Postal Tax 1925 Scott RA1 15c gray & black
Pombal Commemorative Issue- Common design type
Also, a three stamp Postal Tax and a three stamp Postal Tax Due set were issued in 1925. These are common design types. CV is <$1 for the Postal Tax issue.

Deep Blue
The 1928 Ceres Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (my Steiner album) has 5 pages for Madeira, and gives all the major Scott numbers a space. Quite straight- forward.
1928 Scott 54 40c yellow brown "Ceres"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69 has the spaces for Madeira, somewhat confusingly, listed after Lebanon, and on the same page as the beginning of the Leeward Islands. My '41 edition has Madeira on a full page between Madagascar and Malta.

The "41/"43/"47 editions also have spaces for Newspaper (1), Postal Tax (3), and Postal Tax Due stamps (3). These were dropped by the '69 editors. Since these seven stamps (The entire output for these categories) are inexpensive, the collector may want to add these back on a quadrilled page.

The '69 edition did add two more blank spaces, though, for the 1868-81 stamps.

The '69 edition then, has 25 spaces. Coverage is 37%.

• There are only two stamps that are expensive ($10+,$20+). None reach the $35 "Most expensive" threshold.
• As the early stamps are costly (1868-81), the only stamps BB could add (I found three) are $10+-$20+.
• The Ceres issue could have been completed- some five stamps for CV $1+-$5.
• One should consider adding back the seven BOB stamps cut by the '69 editors.


16, (23), 33, (35),




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1880-81 Scott 33 5r black ($20+)
1880-81 (Scott 35) 25r lilac ($10+)
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1928 Scott 52 25c violet rose "Ceres"
Out of the Blue
If you are interested in more about the stamp issues for the Madeira area, read the Funchal post also. ;-)

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

View of Funchal


  1. Your discourse on Madeira stamps made me recall a Flanders and Swann song about an old letch who tried to seduce a young thing with his stamp collection and madeira wine.
    The song begins:
    She was young, she was pure, she was new, she was nice
    She was fair, she was sweet seventeen.
    He was old, he was vile, and no stranger to vice
    He was base, he was bad, he was mean.
    He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
    To view his collection of stamps,
    And he said as he hastened to put out the cat,
    The wine, his cigar and the lamps:
    “Have some madeira, m'dear. You really have nothing to fear.

    You can find the remaining lyrics by Googling “Have some madeira, m’dear.” As the song progresses, you learn which of the two strategies – Madeira stamps or madeira wine – proved the more effective. Any guesses?

    Given the yawn that most Portuguese colonial stamps evokes, Madeira’s included, my money’s on the wine. But then, I doubt there are stamps elsewhere that fare much better.

    1. Unaware of the wiles of the snake-in-the-grass
      And the fate of the maiden who topes,
      She lowered her standards by raising her glass,
      Her courage, her eyes and his hopes.
      She sipped it, she drank it, she drained it, she did!
      He promptly refilled it again,

      Well, one could expect that from a ....philatelist. ;-)

  2. From a oenophile, too, and certainly from an oenophilatical philatelist!!!! (Someone should notify the OED).