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 by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, January 23, 2014


1922 Scott 45 1fr black/yellow "The Rock of Monaco"
Quick History
The Principality of Monaco, hugging the French Riviera coast at less than one square mile, is known for its gambling tables ( Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo established 1858), as a tax haven ( no income tax - except by France if one is a French citizen), and generally as the richest location on earth (GDP $153,000 presently).
Principality of Monaco
Monaco was a Protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1814-1861, which explains why Italian and Monégasque (related to Italian), are spoken, in addition to French. Monaco used the stamps of Sardinia from 1851-1860, when, by the Treaty of Turin, Sardinia relinquished the protectorate.
Coat of Arms
France recognized Monaco's sovereignty by the Franco-Monégasque Treaty of 1861. French stamps with Monaco or Monte-Carlo postmarks can be found until 1885, when Prince Charles III visage was used on the first stamps of Monaco. And with the success of the casino, the House of Grimaldi  stopped collecting income tax from its residents in 1869, insuring that Monaco would be the playground of the Rich and Famous.

The Princes were absolute rulers until 1910, when a constitutional monarchy was founded. Nevertheless, the Princes still have considerable power.

In 1919, Monaco affirmed its reliance on French military protection, and that  it would not have a separate foreign policy.

Population was 24,000 in 1939.

During WW II, first the Italians, and then the Germans occupied Monaco.

In 1949, Prince Rainier III ascended the throne, and was involved personally in Monaco's philatelic issues, raising the awareness of its stamps among collectors.

For those of us of a certain age, his royal marriage with actress Grace Kelly in 1956 is  a warm memory. ;-)

1926 Scott 87 1.05fr red violet 
"St. Devote Viaduct (Bridge of Suicides)"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Monaco 1885-1946, 193 regular, 50 semi-postal, 1 air post, and 28 postage due major stamp descriptions (Total = 272). Of those, 142 are CV <$1-$1+, or 52%. I was pleasantly surprised by the affordability of Monaco stamps, although, naturally, the earlier issues and the semi-postals are at "European" cost levels. But, overall, a very attractive country because of the designs, and the modest number of issues, and, well, it is Monaco! ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1885 Scott 3 5c blue "Prince Charles III"
Charles III had been Prince of Monaco and ruler since 1856, so it was most appropriate that the first stamp issue show his visage. The 10 stamp issue of 1885 was produced when Charles III was 67 years old.  In this portrait, he looks a bit younger, no? ;-) He would continue to rule until his death in 1889. The famous "Monte Carlo" district was named for him: he was the founder of the famous casino in 1858.

CV ranges from $10+-$40+ for six stamps, with the 5fr rose/green @ $2000!.

1891 Scott 12 2c dull violet "Prince Albert I"
Prince Albert II is currently on the throne, but the original Albert- Albert I- began his reign in 1889 after his father's death (Charles III). He was interested in oceanography, and also founded the "Institute for Human Paleontology". He became a member of the British Academy of Science in 1909. He died in 1922.

Between 1891-1921, a 19 stamp issue was produced as shown. CV is <$1-$10 for 10 stamps.

1921 Scott 30 5c light green
Stamps of 1901-21 overprinted or surcharged
With the birth of Princess Antoinette, who was the elder sister of Prince Rainier III, three stamps commemorated the occasion. CV is <$1-$5+ for two stamps.

1923 Scott 42 30c scarlet "Oceanographic Museum"
A ten stamp issue, the first issue of Monaco with pictorials, was produced between 1922-1924. Here, on the 30c scarlet, is the "Oceanographic Museum", a legacy of Prince Albert I. Other pictorials have "The Rock of Monaco" (shown at the post header), and the "Royal Palace". CV is <$1-$4+ for seven stamps.

1923 Scott 55 50c ultramarine "Prince Louis II"
The son of Albert I, Louis II, became prince of Monaco in 1922, and reigned until 1949. His childhood was spent in Germany, as his mother disliked Monaco (and was unhappy with her husband Albert I), and so had left. Louis II first saw his father at age 11, when he was required to return.

When he became Prince in 1922, he was 51 years old. Five stamps were issued in 1923-24 with two portraits of  Louis II. CV is <$1.

1924 Scott 59 85c on 5fr dark green
Stamps and Type of 1891-1921 surcharged
In 1924, three of the Albert I issue were surcharged, as illustrated. CV is <$1.

1924 Scott 64 10c blue
"Grimaldi Family Coat of Arms"
Between 1924-33, a long 33 stamp  issue was released, of which the five lower denominations had the "Coat of Arms" design. CV is <$1-$1+.

1924 Scott 69 25c rose "Prince Louis II"
Most of the middle values- some 19 stamps- have this Prince Louis II portrait. Although he never quite matched his father in reputation, the Monaco Football Club was formed in 1924, and the Grand Prix of Monaco was first held in 1929.

CV is <$1-$1+ for these 19 stamps.

1925 Scott 77 60c yellow brown 
"Prince Louis II"
The other portrait of Louis II is only found on two stamps of the issue. CV is <$1.

1925 Scott 89 2fr violet & olive brown
"View of Monaco"
Thew four highest denominations for the issue has this "View of Monaco" pictorial. Lovely, no? CV is $1-$10+.
1926 Scott 98 1.25fr on 1fr blue/bluish
Type of 1924-26 surcharged with new value and bars
In 1926, seven stamps from the preceding issue were surcharged as shown. CV ranges from <$1-$8+.

1932 Scott 119 90c red "Prince Louis II"
Between 1932-37, a 21 stamp issue was released with both pictorials and a portrait of the prince. Four stamps show Louis II. CV is <$1-$10 for these stamps.

But what happened during WW II? Prince Louis was pro-(Vichy) French, but tried to remain neutral. However, most of the population in Monaco was of Italian decent, and supported the fascist Mussolini. The Italian army invaded in 1943, and set up a fascist government. With the collapse of fascist Italy, the German army then occupied Monaco. Prince Louis vacillated, pleasing no one. This caused a break with his grandson Rainier, heir to the throne, who unconditionally supported the Allies.

1932 Scott 117 65c blue green
"Gardens at Monaco"
The seventeen pictorials in the issue with six designs have classic scenes around Monaco. CV for the pictorials range from <$1-$140! ( For comparison, what is the most expensive commemorative during the 1930s for the U.S.?  The Imperf 1935 National Park flat plate printing Scott 765 10c gray black "Great Smokey Mountains" @ $3+! )

1937 Scott 132 10c violet
Postage Due 1925-32 surcharged or overprinted
In 1937-38, fourteen postage due stamps were surcharged or overprinted as shown. CV is $1-$7+ for twelve stamps.
1939 Scott 150 15c violet "Grimaldi Arms"
The Grimaldi coat of arms were on twelve stamps of a twenty stamp issue between 1937-1943. (The other stamps in the issue show Louis II.) CV is <$1-$2+ for seventeen stamps.

1939 Scott 160 20c rose lilac 
"Cathedral of Monaco"
A lovely 35 stamp pictorial issue was produced between 1939-46. There are six scenes shown. Beneath the placid exterior of this set is the tumultuous WW II occupation of Monaco.

1939 Semi-postal Scott B26 5c + 5c brown black "Lucien"
Some 50 semi-postals were issued by Monaco from 1914-1940. They tend to be fairly expensive, and I don't have many. ;-)

But shown is a stamp from a ten stamp issue of 1939- Lucien, Lord of Monaco 1505-1523, and House of Grimaldi, who murdered his brother Jean II to obtain the throne. Rough justice was served, however, as he was assassinated by his nephew in 1523.

1905 Postage Due Scott J3 10c rose
Look familiar? ;-) One has to remember that Monaco's stamp designs are heavily French influenced: never more than here. The 1905-43 sixteen stamp issue has a CV of <$1-$1+ for thirteen stamps. Of interest, the 1909 Scott J4 10c brown has a CV of $120+!

1910 Scott J17 10c light violet
"Prince Albert I"
Have you ever seen any modern day males with a beard cut like that? ;-) In 1910, a small three stamp postage due issue was produced as shown. The 1c olive green and the 10c light violet are nominal CV, but the 30c bister is CV $150+!

1925 Scott J21 1c gray green
Back to the French lookalikes with a 1925-32 six stamp set- these are actually "Recouvrements"
stamps, where charges due were recovered from the sender if the mail was refused or undeliverable.

Deep Blue
1891-1921 Prince Albert I issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has 19 pages for Monaco. Of interest, because the last pictorial issue was produced between 1939-46, the classic Steiner pages cover this issue until 1946. Since the Steiner follows the modern Scott catalogue, there is a space for every major number.

1932 Scott 118 75c deep blue 
"Fortifications and Harbor"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on five pages, has 143 spaces- coverage is 53%.

• There are five stamps that break the "Most Expensive" $35 threshold, and fourteen more between $10+-$30+. Eleven of the stamps are semi-postals, which, generally, are moderately expensive for Monaco.
• Although, naturally, there are a few holes, BB does a good job of covering the less expensive Monaco.
• The 40s editions are on four pages, and have a different layout. Although I did not do a formal evaluation, it appears the '69 edition has a little better overall coverage.








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1937-38 (actually 1939)


160,161,162 or 162A,163,165, 166 or 166A,168,

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Postage Due

B1,(B2),B3,B4,(B5),(B11*),B9, (B10),



Air Post


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1885 Scott 1 1c olive green ($10+)
1885 Scott 2 2c dull lilac ($20+)
1885 (Scott 3) 5c blue ($35)
1891 Scott 17 15c rose ($10)
1927 Scott 90 3fr rose & ultramarine/yellow ($10+)
1932 Scott 122 1.50fr ultramarine ($10)
1937 Scott 124 1.75fr carmine rose ($10+)
1919 (Scott B2) 2c + 3c lilac ($30+)
1919 Scott B3 5c + 5c green ($20)
1919 Scott B4 15c + 10c rose ($20)
1919 (Scott B5) 50c + 50c brown/buff ($39)
1920 (Scott B11*) 2c + 3c on B6 ($40)
1920 Scott B9 2c + 3c on B4 ($40)
1920 (Scott B10) 2c on 3c  on B5 ($40)
1937 Scott B22 2fr + 2fr violet ($10+)
1938 Scott B24 65c + 25c deep blue green ($10+)
1938 Scott B25 1.75fr + 50c deep ultramarine ($10+)
1939 Scott B31 1fr + 1fr ultramarine ($20+)
1933 Scott C1 1.50fr on 5fr ($20+)
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *85 1.50fr blue/bluish space is placed before Scott 84 1.25fr blue/bluish. Curious.
D) *B11 ($40) can be put in, but B6 ($175!) is the more logical choice based on issue space sequencing of BB. But, in the interests of economic pragmatism, I offer B11. If you don't agree, feel free to put in B6. ;-)

1943 Scott 172C 4.50fr bright violet
"Palace of Monaco"
Out of the Blue
What great stamps and issues! I love them! This is why I collect WW classical era stamps. ;-)

Note: Map and Monaco pic appear to be in the public domain.


Modern day Monaco

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