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, November 24, 2013


1907 Scott J5 30c red/straw 
Quick History
Mauritania borders the Atlantic Ocean on the northwest coast of Africa. The Capital  now is Nouakchott (formerly Port Etienne), and the population was 372,000 in 1942.

Mauritania is mostly semi-desert, with flat arid plains. The nomadic Berber tribes in the area had already absorbed the Islamic traditions, when France began making the lands north of the Senegal river the "Civil Territory of Mauritania" in 1904. Prior, the area was loosely administered from Senegal.
French West Africa 1936
As one can see from the map, France had many colonies in the area: Senegal, French Sudan, French Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Dahomey (Benin), and Niger. Although Mauritania was initially separate from French West Africa, it was always tied administratively. In fact, Mauritania formally became part of French West Africa in 1920.
Stamp production, sharing the designs of the other territories, was initiated in 1906. Two large pictorial stamp series were produced from 1913-38 ("Crossing Desert"- 37 stamps), and 1938-40 ( Four designs- 34 stamps).

Mauritania eventually gained its independence in 1960.

1913 Scott 19 2c black & blue "Crossing Desert"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for 1906-1940 Mauritania, 145 major descriptions for regular, semi-postal, air post, and postage due categories. Of those, 102 are CV <$1-$1+. or 70%. Clearly, for the WW classical collector, many stamps are in the affordable range.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1906-07 Scott 2 2c chocolate "General Louis Faidherbe"
The first issue of 17 stamps had three designs: all of them also found for the other French West Africa colonies. The five lower denomination stamps showed "General Louis Faidherbe", Governor of Senegal between 1854-1861 and 1863-1865.  He had opened up the Gum Arabic trade for the French by securing the north bank of the Senegal river.

CV for the issue is a bit high, with only four stamps @ <$1-$1+.

1922 Scott 29 25c green & rose "Crossing Desert"
The massive "Crossing Desert" issue, some 37 stamps, was released between 1913-1938. All of them had this design. Certainly, more "local" than showing some queen or king. ;-) And the issue is quite inexpensive, with the group, save one, @ <$1-$3+.

1922 Scott 55 60c on 75c violet/pinkish "Crossing Desert"
Stamps and Type of 1913 Surcharged
Between 1922-25, a three stamp surcharged issue was released, as illustrated, with this "socked on the nose" specimen. Bogué is found along the north bank of the Senegal river. CV is $1+.

1927 Scott 61 1.50fr on 1fr blue & deep blue "Crossing Desert"
Another surcharged issue was produced between 1924-27 with seven stamps. Three stamps are CV <$1-$1+.
1937 Scott 72 50c dark brown & black
Common Design Types- Paris International Exposition Isuue
 The 1937 Paris International Exposition issue was overprinted for Mauritania in 1937. Lovely design.

1938 Scott 77 3c deep ultramarine "Camel Rider"
In 1938, a new 34 stamp pictorial issue was developed. "Camel Rider" is found on six lower denomination stamps.
1938 Scott 84 30c deep brown "Mauris on Camels"
"Mauris on Camels" design is shown on seven stamps. By the way the "Moors" or Mauri was the name given to the nomadic tribes of the area. Great design- I feel like the camel and rider are going to momentarily ride out of the stamp! ;-)
1938 Scott 102 2f rose violet "Mauri Couple"
The "Mauri Couple" is found on the eight highest denomination stamps. Wonderful pictorial!

1939 Scott 110 2fr bright violet
Common Design Types- Caillie Issue
For the centenary of the death of René Caillié,a French explorer, this common design type was used by Mauritania. CV is $1+ for the three stamps in the issue.

Semi- Postal 1915 Scott B1 10c + 5c rose & red orange
Surcharged in Red
Not many semi-postals released by Mauritania, but a two stamp set as shown was issued in support of the Red Cross between 1915-18.

Air Post 1940 Scott C3 4.50fr dark gray green
Common Design Type
Another common design type: this time for the 1940 Air Post five stamp issue. CV is <$1-$1.

Postage Due  1907 Scott J8 1fr black/pinkish
Along with the initial 1906-07 regular issue that was shared in design with the other West Africa French colonies, there was also a 1906-07 postage due issue that was released. The eight stamp issue varies in CV from $2+- $10+. The postage due design is certainly more intriguing than most postage due releases of the era.
Postage Due 1914 Scott J10 10c rose
In 1914, an eight stamp postage due issue was released as shown. CV is <$1-$1+ for the stamps.

1927 Scott J17 2fr on 1fr lilac rose
Type of 1914 Issue Surcharged
Two stamps were surcharged on 1914 postage due designs in 1927. CV is $2+-$3+.

Deep Blue
The 1906-07 Postage Due Issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue (Steiner) Album has 12 pages for Mauritania, and follows the Scott catalogue, offering a space for all the major numbers.
1938 Scott 78 4c rose violet "Camel Rider"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 3 1/2 pages, has 81 spaces for Mauritania. In the '69, the country section begins on the same page as Mesopotamia, and ends before Mauritius.

Coverage is 56%.

• Only one stamp meets the $10 threshold
• The 1913-38 "Crossing Desert" issue has 31 spaces, missing Scott 30,38,46,52, & 54 (CV $1-$3).
• The 1938-40 issue has 30 spaces, missing Scott 106,107,108 (CV $1+). Of interest, also "missing" is the 1940 Scott 99A 1.50fr red brown @ CV $100!!!.
• No Air Post or Postage Due stamps in the '69 BB, missing 13 stamps @ CV <$1-$1+. On investigation, it is clear that the '69 editors removed one page (16 stamps) with the semi-postals, air post, and postage due categories.  I added the stamps back to the checklist here for those that are interested.




Next Page




Next Page



Next Page




End of '69 edition

In '41/'43/'47 BB*



Air Post

Postage Due


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1928 Scott 47 1.10fr violet & vermilion ($10)
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *79- 5c "henna brown" in BB, "orange red" in current Scott.
D) *'41/'43/'47 BB- The semi-postals, air post, and postage due categories ( One page- 16 stamps) was removed by the '69 editors. I added them to the checklist here.
Semi- Postal 1918 Scott B2 15c + 5c dark brown & black
Surcharged in Red
Out of the Blue
Obscure (to me) parts of the world are made a little more real with the tangible pieces of paper in my collection.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.


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