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, January 11, 2014

Middle Congo

1924 Scott 40 50c  blue & green
 "Bakalois Woman", red overprint
Quick History
The area north of the Congo River in Africa has been under French influence since 1880.

In 1888, the French Congo (1891-1904) was joined with Gabon  (Although Gabon  had its own stamp production).

But, the Gabon-Congo area was renamed Middle Congo (Moyen-Congo) in 1903. Then in 1906, Gabon and the Middle Congo were separated, and the "French Congo" as such no longer existed. Subsequently, the colonies (Middle Congo, Gabon,) were re-united in 1910 as "French Equatorial Africa", but had their own stamp production until 1933.

This post will cover the Middle Congo colony 1903-1910 years, as well as the Middle Congo 1910-1933 years, when, as "French Equatorial Africa", Middle Congo continued to have its own stamp production.

After 1936, the amalgamated colony French Equatorial Africa (AEF) produced stamps exclusively.


Moyen Congo
I couldn't find an individual map of "Moyen Congo".  But here, one can see it was a section of "French Equatorial Africa" in 1920.

 French Equatorial Africa (Purple) in 1922
"Moyen Congo" is the lower section next to Belgian Congo
The Capital was Brazzaville, and the population was 740,000 in 1936.

The economy was based on natural resource extraction.

When the Nazis occupied France during WW II, Brazzaville was the center of  the African "Free France" resistance between 1940-43.

Today, the lands are part of the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville).

1907 Scott 4 5c dark green & blue "Leopard"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Middle Congo 1907-1933, 123 major descriptive numbers for regular, semi-postal, and postage due categories. Of those, 71 are CV <$1-$1+, or 58%. One should be able to have a nice collection without a large cost. But these are French colony stamps, so not dirt cheap either. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1917 Scott 8 10c brown violet & rose "Leopard"
The first issue for the Middle Congo was a 22 stamp production for 1907-22. The three designs ( Leopard, Bakalois Woman, Coconut Grove) were initially introduced on the 15 stamp 1900-04 French Congo issue. The "Congo Française" inscription on the French Congo stamps was changed to "Moyen Congo". But who's complaining? - They are lovely stamps!

The "Leopard" is found on the nine lower denominations of the series. CV is <$1-$4.

1907 Scott 17 50c blue-green & red
"Bakalois Woman"
I was not able to find out more about the Bakalois- probably a member of the Kongo ethnic group.

The "Bakalois Woman" design is found on the ten middle denominations. The CV is $1+-$2 for 7 stamps. Incredible portrait.
1924 Scott 28 10c carmine & gray
Stamps of 1907-22 overprinted
Ten stamps, using the "Leopard", were produced with overprint, as shown, between 1924-30. Although the colony had been under the French Equatorial Africa administration since 1910, it was only on this late date- 1924- that it was apparent on the stamps. CV for the 10 stamps is <$1.

1924 Scott 34 30c rose & pale rose
Blue overprint
Twelve more stamps were overprinted with the "Bakalois Woman" portrait. The overprint can be found in black, red, or blue. CV is <$1-$2+ for 11 stamps.

1924 Scott 45 1fr green & violet
"Coconut Grove", overprinted
The "Coconut Grove" drawing was initially used on the 1907-22 stamps for the three franc denominations. CV is a rather high $10+-$30+. Then, the overprinted 1924-30 stamps used the design on the six higher denominations. CV is $1+-$4+ for four stamps.

Of interest, the 1924-30 overprinted issue has, at least, nine new denominations or colors that are not found with the original 1907-22 issue. In other words, these new colors and denominations are only available with the "Afrique Equatoriale Française" overprint.

1924 Scott 51 25c on 2fr violet & gray green
Surcharged with new values
Two values- the 2fr and 5fr- were surcharged with 25c in 1924. CV is $1+.  BTW, Big Blue does not provide spaces for these stamps- notable, because BB did a great job otherwise.

1927 Scott 57 1.50fi on 1fr ultramarine & blue
Types of 1924-27 surcharged with new values in black or red
Between 1925-27, eight stamps were surcharged with new values as shown. Note the nice "Brazzaville" and "Moyen Con-" postmark? ;-) CV is $1+-$3 for six stamps.

1931 Scott 62 50c violet 
Colonial Exposition Issue
In 1931, there was a common design "Colonial Exposition Issue" for many French colonies. The CV for the four Moyen Congo stamps is $3+-$4+.

1933 Scott 67 4c olive green 
"Viaduct at Mindouli"
In 1933, a 24 stamps issue was produced with three designs: The Viaduct drawing (above), and a drawing of the Pasteur Institute and the Government Building in Brazzaville respectively. This was the last large regular issue for the Middle Congo. CV is <$1-$2 for 17 stamps.

1916 Semi-postal Scott B2 10c + 5c carmine & blue
Surcharged in red
Only two semi-postals were produced for the Middle Congo- both in 1916. And both have a CV of $1+.

1928 Postage Due Scott J9 1fr brown red
Stamps of France, overprinted
I think it is somewhat surprising- and amusing- how many of the French colonies have a large number of issued postage due stamps. Did they really need that many? ;-) Here, the Middle Congo has a total of 33 postage due stamps.  Meanwhile, a literate country like Norway got by with 12 stamps during the same era.

The 1928 postage dues, which are overprinted French stamps as shown, consists of 11 stamps. CV is <$1-$2+ for 7 stamps.
1930 Scott J12 5c deep blue & olive
"Village on Ubangi, Dance Mask"
An 11 stamp postage due issue was released in 1930. The French, to their credit, use interesting local designs generally on their colonial postage due stamps.

1933 Scott J23 5c apple green
"Rubber Trees and Djoue River"
Just three years later, another 11 stamp postage due set was released. CV for this set is <$1-$2+ for 7 stamps.

As mentioned, by 1936, only French Equatorial Africa stamps were issued, and stamps from the Middle Congo ceased.

Deep Blue
1933 "Viaduct at Mindouli"   stamps in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has Middle Congo on 10 pages. No problem with recognition, as the Scott catalogue is followed closely for the major number spaces.

1924 Scott 52 25c on 5fr blue & rose
"Coconut Grove", blue overprint
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on four pages, has 97 spaces for regular and postage due categories. Coverage is a large 78%.

Observations
• Two 1933 issue blank spaces give the most expensive stamps ($20+,$30+) for the Middle Congo.
• Excellent coverage by BB! I could only find seven stamps CV $1+ that are not in the album.

Alert: BB space error: Scott 15 is 40c dull green & brown "Bakalois Woman", a vertical stamp. And BB presents a horizontal space for it! This BB space error has persisted at least since the 1940s editions. The practical solution is to put the vertical stamp-Scott 15- in the horizontal space. It will have to be fudged a bit to fit, and put partially in the margins - especially for the '69 editions and later editions where, because of the redesign of spaces,  there is less space for it. As an alternative, you could also substitute the 1907 Scott 9 20c brown & blue "Leopard", a horizontal stamp, in the space. The 20c brown & blue was, in fact,  placed in the 1928 Scott International in this space.

Checklist

1907-22
1,2,3,4,
5,6,8,15*,
10,11,13,14,18,

1924
23,24,25,26,
27,29,30,
33,34,37,38,39,40,

Next Page

1924-30
28,31,32,
35,36,41,
42,43,44,45,46,
47,48,49,50,

1925-27
55,56,57,

Next Page

1933
65,66,67,
68,69,70,71,
72,73,74,
75,76,77,78,
79,80,81,
82,83,84,85,
(86),(88)

Next Page

Postage Due
1928
J1,J2,J3,J4,J5,J6,J7,J8,

1930
J12,J13,J14,J15,
J16,J17,J18,J19,
J20,J21,J22,

1933
J23,J24,J25,J26,
J27,J28,J29,J30,
J31,J32,J33,

End

Comments
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1933 (Scott 86) 5fr slate blue ($20+)
1933 (Scott 88) 20fr dark brown ($30+)
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *15 is 40c dull green & brown "Bakalois Woman", a vertical stamp. And BB presents a horizontal space for it! This BB space error has persisted at least since the 1940s editions. The practical solution is put the vertical stamp-Scott 15- in the horizontal space. It will have to be fudged a bit to fit, and put partially in the margins - especially for the '69 editions and later where there is less space for it. As an alternative, you could also substitute the 1907 Scott 9 20c brown & blue "Leopard", a horizontal stamp, in the space. The 20c brown & blue was, in fact,  placed in the 1928 Scott International in this space.

1930 Scott J13 10c deep red & brown
"Steamer on Ubangi River"
Out of the Blue
French design stamps never cease to attract- and they provide a window into African life some 80 years before. What's not to like? ;-)

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments?

4 comments:

  1. Jim,
    I came up with 97 spaces in the 1997 Big Blue.
    Joe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Done! Thanks Joe.

      Joe- I meant to tell you that there was two typo errors in your (Excellent!) Excel list of countries.

      Liberia should be 144 spaces rather than 44
      Cayman Islands should be 51 spaces rather than 21

      Jim

      Delete
    2. Jim,
      Thanks! I fixed the sheet. Also, I've updated it with the correct numbers through the N countries you've done. Here's the link (for anyone to use):
      http://www.musicbyjoelill.com/BigBlue.xls

      Joe

      Delete
    3. Thanks Joe for the link!

      I will be publishing a statistical sheet of my collection, probably next January, and I will include your link in this blog post.

      Delete