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...

Saturday, September 7, 2013


1871 Scott 20 12 1/2c carmine "Coat of Arms"
"Rouletted in Color"
Quick History
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the only remaining grand duchy, is a small western European country (1000 sq mi) nestled between the Belgium Walloon region, the German Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and the French Lorraine region. The population was 260,000 in 1914.

Luxembourg and its neighbors
Luxembourgians speak Luxembourgish to each other, French for official business matters, while German is the first language learned in school. English is understood commonly.

Being adjacent to large nation-states means
small countries become even smaller
The map illustrates the chunks taken out of Luxembourg: France (1659), Prussia (1815), and Belgium (1839). But the ultimate happy result was an affirmation of Luxembourg's independence by the 1839 and 1867 Treaties of London.

During WW I, Germany occupied Luxembourg, but allowed the government to continue. 

In 1939, Luxembourg issued a specific proclamation of neutrality. But the Nazis invaded anyway on May 10, 1940. The Nazis ignored sovereignty, and treating Luxembourg as an extension of Germany, basically annexed the lands to the Rhineland-Palatinate in 1942.

Luxembourg Today
Luxembourg was liberated in 1944, and was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945.

Today, Luxembourg's economy is closely associated with the Netherlands and Belgium (Benelux). And its GDP makes it the second richest country in the world.

And it had, and still has, Grand Dukes and Duchesses! More about that in the stamp reviews.

1934 Scott 194 2fr black "View of Clervaux"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Luxembourg 1852-1941, 217 regular, 119 semi-postal, 6 air post, 22 postage due, 177 official, and 41 occupation category major number stamps. Total = 582. Of those, 383 are CV <$1-$1+, or 66%. Luxembourg, is, overall, a quite affordable European country for the WW classical collector.

A closer look at the stamps and issues 
12 1/2 Centimes = 1 Silbergroschen
100 centimes = 1 Franc
 1859-64 Scott 7 10c blue "Coat of Arms"
The first three stamp 1852 engraved imperforate issue had the portrait of the the monarch, Grand Duke William III. He reigned between 1849-1890. Quite interestingly, he was simultaneously the King of the Netherlands. This explains, in part, the close history and relationship of the Netherlands and Luxembourg over the years. CV for the three stamps is $70+-$120+. I don't have any at the moment. :-)

The next issue, typographed, has two designs of the "Coat of Arms", and was issued with  nine stamps. The A3 design is illustrated here with the 10c blue. CV ranges from $20+-$350+.

1867 Scott 14 2c black "Coat of Arms"
Between 1865-71, a four stamp rouletted version was issued. The 2c black shows the A2 design.  CV is $20+-$30 for two stamps.
1869 Scott 18 1c orange "Coat of Arms"
Rouletted in Color
Notice the dotted lines around the roulette edges? That is characteristic of this next issue. Between 1856-74, an 11 stamp set was produced. CV is $3-$20+ for seven stamps.

1865-74 Scott 19a 10c lilac; Scott 19b 10c gray lilac
"Rouletted in color"
As with many 19th century issues, color varieties with minor numbers exist: Here, a lilac and gray lilac. The major number color is rose lilac.
1875-79 Scott 31 4c green "Coat of Arms"
"Narrow margins", Perforation 13
Up to and including this issue, all the stamps so far are Luxembourg Print. Here, the perforation 13 1875-79 issue-some 11 stamps-has the perforations close to the border of the stamp. This is known as the "Narrow margins" issue.
1881 Scott 40 1c yellow brown "Coat of Arms"
"Wide Margins"
This is the first production of the Haarlem Print. It was produced in 1880-81, and has eight stamps. It has 12 1/2 X 12 perforations, except the 5c and 12 1/2c have 13 1/2 perforation. It is known as the "wide margins" issue.
1882 Scott 54 20c orange "Industry and Commerce"
In 1882, a design was produced that looks remarkably like the 1876 French "Peace and Commerce" stamps. The set had 12 major number stamps, and many - some 33 stamps- with minor numbers because of perforation varieties. Most, but not all of the major numbers have perforation 12 1/2. Consult Scott for perforation details.
1891-93 Scott 63 25c blue 
"Grand Duke Adolphe"
Love the 'stache, although he looks a trifle dyspeptic. This 1891-93 engraved issue of 10 stamps (CV <$1-$2+ for 8 stamps) reflects a change in monarch, and a divergence from the Netherlands.

When King William III of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg died in 1890, his daughter Wilhelmina became Queen of the Netherlands, and reigned until 1948.  But Luxembourg required succession follow the Salic law, and that the monarch be a a male (at the time).  And hence Grand Duke Adolphe from the house of Nassau-Weiburg became Monarch. He was only distantly related to William III, being the 17th cousin, once removed (through the male line). It must have been like hitting the lottery. ;-)

1895 Scott 71 2c gray brown 
"Grand Duke Adolphe"
In 1895, a typographed five stamp set of Grand Duke Adolphe was produced. CV is <$1. The Grand Duke Adolphe would reign until 1905.
1907 Scott 78 5c green "Coat of Arms"
With the death of Adolphe in 1905, his son, Grand Duke William IV, assumed the role. This required a new stamp issue, and the lower denominations-  7 typographed stamps- had the "Coat of Arms" design. CV is <$1.
1906-26 Scott 82 10c scarlet
"Grand Duke William IV"
The remaining stamps in the issue were engraved with the new monarch's visage. These 12 stamps have a CV of <$1-$9+ for 11 stamps. He was a Calvinist, but married Infanta Marie Anne of Portugal, and became Catholic, as he believed a Catholic country should have a Catholic ruler.  He had six daughters, but no sons. He reigned until 1912.
1914-17 Scott 103 35c dark blue 
"Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide"
Well, as one can imagine with six daughters, the Grand Duke had the succession rules changed. With his passing in 1912, his daughter Marie Adelaide became Grand Duchess, the first female to rule Luxembourg.

A 15 stamp set was released between 1914-17 with her portrait. CV is <$1 for 14 stamps.

1922 Scott 117 6c on 2c olive brown (red surcharge)
1918 Scott 118 7 1/2c  on 10c lake 
During 1916-24, 13 stamps from previous issues were surcharged as illustrated. CV is <$1.

1921 Scott 125 15c rose
"Grand Duchess Charlotte"
In 1919, Marie Adelaide's sister Charlotte was elevated to Grand Duchess. What happened? During the German occupation of Luxembourg during WW I, Marie Adelaide was thought by many to be too friendly with them. She was forced to abdicate in 1919. She went to Italy and became a nun.

But a new issue was required. Therefore, some 19 stamp were produced in 1921-26 with the image of Grand Duchess Charlotte. CV is <$1.

1926 Scott 129 2fr dark brown 
"Foundriies at Esch"
Between 1921-34, a five stamp pictorial issue was released. CV is <$1-$8+. Note here the spewing, belching smokestacks. ;-)
1928 Scott 171 60c blue green
"Grand Duchess Charlotte"
A mammoth 27 stamp engraved issue was produced between 1926-1935 with a classic portrait of the Grand Duchess. CV is <$1, save one @ $1+. Grand Duchess Charlotte was beloved by her people. During the WW II occupation by the Germans, she lead the government in exile in London. She could be heard regularly broadcasting on the BBC, encouraging the resistance fighters.

1928-39 Scott 189 60c on 75c rose
 Nine stamps from preceding issue were surcharged during 1928-39 as illustrated. CV is <$1.

1939 Scott 208 70c slate green
""William II"
Ironically, on the eve of the Nazi invasion, Luxembourg had a 10 stamp issue produced in celebration of the Centenary of Independence. The portraits were the past rulers of Luxembourg.  CV is  <$1-$1+.

William II reigned from 1840-49, and was also the King of the Netherlands. He had a reputed attraction for both women and men.
1921 Scott B2 15c + 10c orange red
"View of Pfaffenthal"
Luxembourg has, compared to other countries, many semi-postal stamps issued during the classical era. And Big Blue has many spaces for the semi-postals. Consequently, I plan to present a representative sample.

The first issue in 1921, some three pictorial surcharged stamps, was intended to raise funds for a memorial for those soldiers killed in WW I. These attractive unused are at minimum CV, and seem abundant in collections.
1925 Scott B11 5c (+5c) dull violet
"Nurse and Patient"
A fine "Nurse and Patient" four stamp set was issued in 1925. Unused is <$1. Consider there were no antibiotics or intravenous fluid treatment during this era. The nurse was vital in keeping the wounds clean to prevent infection, and to provide fluids and nutrition.
1926 Scott B17 50c (+ 15c) lemon & black
"Prince Jean"
A five stamp set with the portrait of Prince Jean, Grand Duchess Charlotte's son, was released in 1926. He was five years old here. He actually did reign as Grand Duke between 1964-2000. His son Henri is the present Grand Duke since 2000. CV is <$1.
1927 Scott B25 10c (+ 5c) turquoise blue & black
"Princess Elisabeth"
The second oldest child of Grand Duchess Charlotte was Elisabeth, here also age five. This was celebrated with a five stamp set in 1927. The surtax was for Child Welfare societies. CV is <$1. She eventually married, and became the Duchess of Hohenberg.

1931 Scott B45 10c (+ 5c) brown orange & gray
"Princess Alix"
The Duchess then had three more children, each had there own semi-postal set: Marie Adelaide (1928), Marie Gabriele (1929), and Charles (1930). Finally, Alix, the last child of Charlotte,  had a five stamp issue in 1931 when she was two years old. She would marry, and become the Dowager Princess of Ligne. CV is <$1-$10+.
1932 Scott B50 10c (+5c) olive bister
"Countess Ermesinde"
Ermesinde was the Countess of Luxembourg between 1197-1247, and the only child of Henry IV, Count of Luxembourg and Namur.
The five stamp set issued in 1932 has a CV of <$1-$10+. 

1933 Scott B55 10c (+5c) yellow brown
"Count Henry VII"
From the House of Luxembourg, Count Henry VII was King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, and King of Italy variously during the years 1308-1313.
A five stamp set was issued in 1933 with CV of <$1-$10+.

1935 Scott B65D 20c orange "Engineer"
A 15 stamp issue ( with Scott numbers B65A-B65Q) illustrating professional occupations was produced in 1935. Although 8 stamps are inexpensive (CV <$1-$1+), the 5 higher denomination stamps are not (CV $20+-$170+). 

This issue has an interesting history in the Scott catalogue, because it was not listed until the 1970's. The possible reason may shock you- it shocked me. 

1937 Scott B79 10c (+5c) carmine & black
"Wenceslas II"
"Wenceslas II the Lazy" was a Duke of Luxembourg from 1383-1388. But he was also King of Germany (Holy Roman empire) between 1376-1400. He was also accused of "Futility, idleness, negligence, and ignobility", traits not usually desired in a King.

The map illustrated shows the Luxembourg lands (purple) during 1273-1378.

1939 Scott B98 10c + 5c red brown/buff
"Prince Jean"
The 1939 5 stamp issue (CV <$1-$4+) had Grand Duchess Charlotte, Prince Felix (her spouse), and the eldest child and son Prince Jean as subjects. Prince Jean was 18 years old here.

1931-33 Scott C4 1 1/4fr dark violet
"Airplane over  Luxembourg"
 Only one air post set was  issued during the classical era. This was a 1931-33 six stamp set, with design and pictorial as shown. CV is <$1-$1+.

1907 Scott J4 20c green & black "Coat of Arms"
The first postage due issue was released in 1907, and had 7 stamps. CV is <$1-$1+. Somewhat interesting, the 25c green & black is much less used ( CV $1+) than unused ($15+). This is in contrast to all other values, which are less expensive unused.
1921-35 Scott J14 30c green & red
"Arms Type of 1907"
The second set of postage dues had 13 stamps, and has a CV of <$1-$1+. A solid postmark on a stamp is  refreshing after viewing many unused examples. ;-)

1908-26 Scott O80 1c gray
"Regular issue of 1906-26 overprinted"
The official stamp category was abundantly used by Luxembourg. The first several issues (1875, 1875-76, 1878, 1878-80, 1881)- some 45 stamps- are from three printing sources (Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Haarlem), and are (with a few exceptions) expensive ($20+) to quite expensive ($2000+). These issues are not represented in Big Blue, and I don't have any.

Several more issues, with an "S.P." overprint produced in 1882, 1891-93, and 1895, - some 27 stamps total -are represented in Big Blue (7 spaces), and are generally not that expensive (CV <$1-$10+).  But I still don't have any. One reality for WW classical collectors - who by definition are spreading themselves quite thin- is lacunae in the collection. ;-)

But I do have the 1908-26 issue (illustrated above), which has a diagonal "Officiel" overprint on the regular 1906-26 issue. This includes the A9 "Coat of Arms", and the A10-"Grand Duke William IV" designs. There were 19 stamps in this production, and CV is <$1-$1+ for 14 stamps.

1915-17 Scott O112 2 1/2fr red
"Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide"
Overprinted on regular issue of 1914-17
The same diagonal overprint was used on the regular "Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide" issue, as illustrated. The overprinted official issue had 15 stamps, with a CV of <$1-$1+. 

1926-27 Scott O153 80c bister brown
"Grand Duchess Charlotte"
Overprinted on regular issues of 1926-27
Two more issues of official stamps were produced, using the same diagonal overprint.

• A 1922-26 issue (22 stamps- black overprint)), on the regular 1921-26 issue of Grand Duchess Charlotte. CV is <$1-$1+ for 19 stamps. An illustrated example is shown at the "Out of the Blue" header.

• A 1926-27 issue (16 stamps), using the regular stamps printed in 1926-27 of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The 80c bister brown is illustrated above. CV is <$1.

1928-35 Scott O173 1fr black
"Grand Duchess Charlotte"
Overprinted horizontally on regular issue, 1926-35
Beginning in 1928, the previous diagonal overprint was changed to a horizontal one for the 1926-35 regular issue.. This resulted in a 1928-35 official issue- some 21 stamps-being produced. CV is <$1-$1+ for 20 stamps
German Occupation 1940 Scott N1 3pf olive bister
Overprinted on stamps of Germany, 1933-36
With the occupation of Luxembourg on May 10, 1940, a 16 stamp set was released as shown. CV is <$1-$1+.
1940 Scott N18 4rpf on 20c orange
Also, a surcharged occupation issue was released in 1940 with 16 stamps. CV is <$1-$1+. The royal family had fled, and ultimately settled in London. Grand Duchess Charlotte lead broadcasts on the BBC to her besieged country. Prince Jean- the future Grand Duke-joined the Irish Guards, and was known as "Lieutenant Luxembourg". 
1941 Scott NB3 5pf + 3pf yellow green
Overprinted on semi-postals of Germany, 1940
There were even some semi-postals released in 1941. This 9 stamp overprinted set has a CV of <$1-$1+.

The German military occupation lasted until 1942, when the country was annexed to Germany. The residents of Luxembourg were declared German citizens, and the French language was forbidden. The eligible men were required to serve in the German army, and 2,900 Luxembourgians lost their lives.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue's 1926-35 Grand Duchess Charlotte
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has 38 pages for Luxembourg, and all the major Scott numbers have spaces.

For the 1882 issue with various perforations and  minor Scott numbers (some 32 stamps), one will need quadrilled pages. And the very expensive first 2 1/2 pages of the Officials will probably remain blank for most WW classical collectors.  
1936 Semi-postal Scott B74
"Wenceslas I, Duke of Luxembourg
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 8 pages, has 125 regular, 89 semi-postal, 6 air post, 20 postage due, and 28 official stamp spaces. Total = 268, or 46 coverage%.

First, the good news..
• Luxembourg is inexpensive in BB. Only one stamp reaches $35, another $20+, and 14 with CV $10+.
• The semi-postals: a large part of Luxembourg's output, are generally inexpensive, and BB includes a generous selection.
• The complete "Charlotte" 1926-35 issue ( 27 stamps-CV all <$1, save one $1+.) are included.
• All the air post ( six stamps), and almost all of the postage due (20 stamps) are included.

Now the problems...
1929 semi-postal Scott B37 
75c (+30c) vermilion & black "Princess Marie Gabrielle"
• The Scott B37 75c (+30c) vermilion & black "Princess Marie Gabrielle" is listed twice- as an illustration, then as a description. A mistake by Big Blue. Just put B35 in the B37 illustrated space, which BB no doubt intended.
• BB has the 1875-79 "Narrow Margin" issue- but excludes the 1880-81 "Wide margin" issue by date- and that issue is often less expensive. If one wishes to add the "Wide margin" issue as choices, the Checklist would look like this: 1875-1881: 29 or 40, 30 or 41, 31, 33 or 43, 36 or 46.
• Official "1919-22"- a real mess. First, there is no room for the 1915-17 fifteen stamp official issue (CV <$1 for 14 stamps). Then the "1919-22" dates do not exactly match any issue. I put in the 1922-26 official issue.
• No room in BB for the 1928-35 Official "Charlotte"with horizontal "Official" overprint (Scott O158-O178). CV <$1 for 18 stamps.
• As per usual, there are a number of series stamps left out. I detail some of them in the comments section.


7 or 19, 21






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131,132,133,134,125 or 136,139,141,




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Same surcharged with new values




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Official Stamps


(regular issues 1906-15 overprinted)

1919-22* (Actually here 1922-26)
(same overprinted on regular issue 1919-22 (actually 1921-25 here))

(same overprinted on regular issue 1926-30)

Postage Due




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A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1872 Scott 21 20c gray brown ($10+)
1878 Scott 29 1c red brown ($10+)
1875-79 Scott 30 2c black ($35)
1877 Scott 36 25c blue ($20+)
1932 Scott B52 ($10+)
1932 Scott B53 ($10+)
1932 Scott B54 ($10+)
1933 Scott B57 ($10+)
1933 Scott B58 ($10+)
1933 Scott B59 ($10+)
1934 Scott B63 ($10+)
1934 Scott B64 ($10+)
1934 Scott B65 ($10+)
1935 Scott B70 ($10+)
1935 Scott B71 ($10+)
1935 Scott B72 ($10+)
B) *1875-79, is the "Narrow Margin" issue- but BB excludes the 1880-81 "Wide margin" issue by date- and is often less expensive. If one wishes to add the "Wide margin" issue as choices, the Checklist would look like this: 1875-1881: 29 or 40, 30 or 41, 31, 33 or 43, 36 or 46.
C) *1906-08- missing in the series is 79,81,
B) *1918- missing are 114,115,116,119,121,124, during 1916-24.
C) *1921-22- other choices include 138,146,147,
D) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
E) *1921- missing are 127,128,129,
F) *(1926-35)- other choices include 187A,191,192,193,
G) *1929- The Scott B37 75c (+30c) vermilion & black "Princess Marie Gabrielle" is listed twice- as an illustration, then as a description. A mistake by Big Blue. Just put B35 in the B37 illustrated space, which BB no doubt intended.
H) *1919-22- a real mess. First, there is no room for the 1915-17 15 stamp official issue (CV <$1 for 14 stamps). Then the "1919-22" dates do not exactly match any issue. I put in the 1922-26 official issue.

1922-26 Official Scott O115 3c olive green
""Grand Duchess Charlotte"
Overprinted on regular issues 1921-26 
Out of the Blue
Generally inexpensive, and nicely designed, historically themed with royalty both past and present, what a delight! :-)

Note: Maps and historical images appear to be in the public domain



  1. Hi. I love your blog. I've dreamed about buying an old album and just filling spaces. With your focus on the classics, how do you go about acquiring stamps? I very rarely see lots of classic stamps on eBay. Usually it's more modern stuff.



  2. Hi Mark

    Hard to answer just as a comment, but...
    1) Try to acquire several WW classic albums with stamps- actually ebay or a dealer are good sources. 8000+ stamps
    2) Next, country collections or albums can supplement- I've found most through dealers, local stamp club,regional stamp shows, and ebay.
    3) Want lists for a country- this works best with dealers that specialize in the country or area,or alternatively collectors getting rid of duplicates (stamp club).

    Good Luck!

    1. Thanks Jim. Actually that helps a lot. I'd been looking at mixtures and box lots but will start searching for larger collections to start. And I'll make friends with some dealers too. :)


  3. The distinction of wide(1880-81)and narrow (1875-79) margins had slipped by my sleepy eyes until I read this post. As it turns out, I have two narrow and three wide, so I'm in the market for Luxembourg again, having thought I was done with that. Count me as a descendant of Wenceslas the Lazy.

  4. LOL

    The perforations are slightly different too.

  5. Very nicely done on the 'comments' section especially. Handsome stamps even if they run through every royal imaginable and don't have enough stamps about history, culture, etc. Fairly common with Classic Era stamps which are sometimes royally self-indulgent. But at least these look good and are well designed. I always find German occupation stamps jarring and out of place, but I suppose they might belong.

    One typo. You write cleverly about "Grand Duke" Adolphe, "He looks a trifle dyspepsic" when you meant "dyspeptic." He looks like a math teacher I once had, and he was really cranky.

  6. Dyspepsia is not one of my better words. ;-) I corrected it.