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. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Netherlands Semipostals

1925 Scott B9 2c (+3c) green & orange
"Arms of North Brabant"
Quick History
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands reigned from 1890-1948. When she abdicated in 1948, because of advanced age, in favor of her daughter Juliana, she was the only remaining survivor of the 16 European kings and one queen that were on the throne when she had her coronation in 1898.

Wilhelmina wearing her coronation robe in 1898
She was one tough queen. Churchill is said to have described her as the as the only "real man" among the governments-in-exile in London. 

She had ambivalent attitudes toward the United Kingdom. She resented the annexation of the Republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State in the Boer War. The Boers, of course, were Dutch colonists.

At the end of WWI, Kaiser Wilhelm fled to the Netherlands, where he was granted political asylum, partially due to familial linkage with Queen Wilhelmina. When the Allies still tried to apprehend him, the Queen called in the ambassadors, and lectured them on the rights of asylum.

On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and the Queen and her family retreated to the United Kingdom at the invitation of King George VI, where she took charge of the Dutch government in exile. She was the figurehead of resistance for the Dutch, as she broadcast messages to the people over Radio Oranje.

The many stamp images and issues of Wilhelmina found for the Netherlands are now, one hopes, visualized with real flesh and bones.

1927 Scott B22 5c (+3c) olive green & yellow
"Arms of Groningen"
Into the Deep Blue
This blog post will feature a sample of the semipostal issues of the Netherlands between the years 1906-1934.

Semipostals, stamps where one pays a premium over the printed postal denomination, are popular in many countries as a means to raise funds for charities, or for special projects. The United States has never issued semipostals. Consequently, the U.S. collector is not all that familiar or comfortable with them. Scott places them in the "Back of the Book" section, rather than among the "regular" issues. They are viewed as something "optional" to collect. And true, by their very nature, they will be more expensive for the collector to accumulate than regular issues. Most Big Blue albums reasonably filled, will still have mostly empty pages for the semipostals.

And semipostals are often the most strikingly designed stamps for a country. Witness the semipostals of the Netherlands:- well, let's look for ourselves. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Gulden
1906 Scott B2 3c (+3c) pale olive green "Combating Tuberculosis"
The first three stamp semipostal issue for the Netherlands was produced in 1906, and the surtax aided the Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis. It has four symbolical designs featuring the four chief means for combating Tuberculosis: namely, light, water, air, and food.  Many of the sanatoriums in Europe were located in light airy places- such as mountain retreats. (Witness The Magic Mountain - Der Zauberberg- by Thomas Mann.)

Even today, Tuberculosis requires a multi-chemical cocktail for treatment to prevent resistant strains from emerging.

Note this particular stamp has an "Amsterdam  31,07 10-12N" postmark?  These are CTO varieties, and are worth much less

1923 Scott B4 2c (+5c) violet blue 
"Symbolical of Charity"
The second set of semipostals-two stamps- were not produced until 1923, and were for the benefit of charity. I love this design, where the supplicants and the almsgiver lean toward each other.

1926 Scott B15 15c (+3c) ultramarine & yellow
"Arms of Friesland"
Much like the Switzerland "Coat of Arms" semipostals, the Netherlands likewise had a set of stamps yearly between 1925-27 featuring  "Arms" for various districts and towns. The surtax was dedicated for Child Welfare Societies. The sets were also issued as syncopated perforation varieties.

Here, an example is shown from the 1926 four stamp set. Stunning, No?

1927 Scott B20 15c (+5c) ultramarine & red
"Red Cross and Doves"
For the 60th anniversary of the Red Cross Society, a five stamp issue was released in 1927. This stamp has designs of doves outlined within the red cross. But look at the center of the design. I swear it has the image of the Nepal "Siva Mahadeva", a Hindu Deity. !

Nepal 1929 Scott 30 2p dark brown "Siva  Mahadeva"
Is my imagination running away with this? ;-)

1928 Scott B30 10c (+2c) scarlet "Running"
The 1928 Olympic Games were held in Amsterdam, and the Netherlands released an eight stamp semipostal set to help defray expenses. No doubt this set was and is popular with the Olympic Games topical collectors. CV ranges from $1+-$10+.

Johnny Weissmuller (of Tarzan movie fame) won two gold medals in swimming, and Paavo Nurmi of Finland won his ninth gold medal in the 10,000 meter race.

1928 Scott B36 12 1/2c (+3 1/2c) ultramarine 
"Christian Huygens"
In 1928, a four stamp portrait series was published for the benefit of Child Welfare Societies. Christian Hugens (1629- 1695) was featured on this 12 1/2c ultramarine stamp. Among his accomplishments, were the telescopic observations of the rings of Saturn, and the invention of the pendulum clock.

1930 Scott B41 5c (+5c) blue green
Rembrandt and His "Cloth Merchants of Amsterdam"
For the benefit of the Rembrandt Society, a three stamp set was released in 1930 with the drawing by Rembrandt (1606-1669) as above.

It is interesting that the drawing features Amsterdam merchants, as the Dutch were particularly adept at commerce.

1930 Scott B46 6c (+4c) claret "Autumn"
"The Seasons"- four stamps representing the seasonal calender - was released in 1930, and dedicated for child welfare work. I like the old man of Autumn, getting long in tooth, carrying the possibility of rebirth- a new child.
1932 Scott B59 5c (+3c) red orange & ultramarine
A particularly lovely four stamp set was issued in 1932 showing different children and flowers- furze (gorse), cornflower, sunflower, and Christmas rose. Are the designs of today as lovely and poignant as these?

1933 Scott B64 6c (+4c) deep green
"Lifeboat in a Storm"
For the aid of Sailor's Homes, a four stamp set was produced in 1933. "Reddingswezen" means "rescue work".

1933 Scott B67 5c (+3c) dark brown & ocher
"Child Carrying the Star of Hope"
This four stamp set issued in 1933 might be considered one of the earlier Christmas themed designs. The "Star of Hope" is symbolical of Christmas cheer.

1934 Scott B72 6c (+2c) blue 
"Dowager Queen Emma"
Queen Emma, the mother of Queen Wilhelmina, and her regent between 1890-1898, while Wilhelmina was still a child, is featured on this 1934 stamp. The surtax was for the Fight Tuberculosis Society. Queen Emma also died in 1934- I don't know if this stamp was for that purpose.

King William III and Queen Emma
The licentious old King- 41 years her senior- married her in 1879. But the marriage was reported as happy, and she did give birth to Wilhelmina in 1880, the King's eventual heiress presumptive.

Deep Blue
1928 Olympic Games issue in Deep Blue
There are some 133 semipostals issued up to 1940, and they are presented on 11 pages in Deep Blue. I noted in the first blog post on the Netherlands, that a number of issues had "syncopated perforations". This is true also for the semipostals. Deep Blue provides two pages for these minor varieties for the 1925-33 issues.

1929 Scott B39 6c (+4c) scarlet "Child on Dolphin"
Big Blue
As I mentioned in the first Netherlands post, Big Blue is exceedingly generous in its coverage of the semipostals- lacking only eight semipostals with the five page coverage. The good news is that Netherlands semipostals are not horribly expensive, with ten @ CV $10+, and one @ CV $20+. And true, many of the semipostals are in the $1+-$5+ range.

For a checklist of the semipostals, consult the first Netherlands blog post.

Now, what is this?
Feeder Big Blues and Deep Blue
Here's a pic of seven Big Blues (Albums or Country pages) getting fed into Deep Blue pages- the three ring binder on the front left. Good thing we have a spare bedroom, and my lovely Better Half lets me use it- No?
Both intriguing and horrifying. ;-)

1934 Scott B73 1 1/2c (+1 1/2c) olive "Poor Child"
Out of the Blue
Simply outstanding semipostal stamp designs from the Netherlands. Get some! ;-)

Note: Pic of Queen Wilhelmina, and pic of William III & Queen Emma appears to be in the public domain.

I like comments!

Monday, March 24, 2014


1852 Scott 2 10c lake "King William III"
Quick History
The Netherlands- literally "Low Country"- made even more so by centuries of peat extraction, borders the North Sea, Belgium, and Germany. It is technically only part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (which includes Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, and the special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba- all in the Caribbean). The Kingdom of the Netherlands existed during the 1815-1940 years, the period covered by this classical stamp blog. Even today, it is still a constitutional monarchy.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Capital is Amsterdam, the Seat of Government is The Hague, and the population was 8,700,000 in 1939.

This blog post will concentrate on the European Netherlands, and any relevant stamp issues by the other countries of the Kingdom will be reviewed at another time.

After the French withdrew in 1813, the country became a Kingdom with the proclamation of William I as King on March 16, 1815. He also became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. When William III died in 1890 without any male heirs, the union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands was severed. Queen Wilhelmina ruled for the Netherlands, but Luxembourg laws required a male at the time. See my Luxembourg blog post for more specifics.

Stamps for the Netherlands were issued beginning in 1852 with the portrait of King William III.

1871 Scott 17 1/2c red brown "Coat of Arms"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue, for the Netherlands 1852-1941, has 256 regular, 133 semi-postal, 12 air post, 7 marine insurance, 79 postage due, and 19 official major stamp descriptions. Total = 506. Of those, 307 are CV <$1-$1+, or 61%. The Netherlands is reasonably affordable for a European country.

I am going to split the discussion of the Netherlands into two blog posts.

The next blog post will feature a selection of the many and wonderful semi-postals that have been issued by the Netherlands.

This blog post will cover the rest. ;-)

However, I will mainly focus on the classical regular issues of 1852-1922.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Gulden
(Guilder or Florin)
1852 Scott 1 5c blue "King William III"
Wmk 158 - "Posthorn", Imperforate
In 1852, Netherlands issued three imperforate stamps - the 5c blue, the 10c lake, and the 15c orange yellow. King William III's image was in the vignette. A "posthorn" watermark was used on the paper- and it appears that the 1852 issue is the only one with that watermark. The paper is thick- almost like postcard. The stamp, in addition, has many minor numbers in Scott due to shades in color- Four for the 5c, four for the 10c, and two for the 15c. CV ranges from $20+-$100+.

1864 Scott 6 15c orange "King William III"
Unwmk, Perforated
In 1864, a new three stamp issue was produced on unwatermarked paper in the same colors and denominations- albeit perforated. CV is $8-$100.

One sees many of the early Netherlands issues with a "FRANCO" postmark stamp.

1869-70 Scott 8 10c lake "William III"
Perforation 14
Between 1867-70, a six stamp issue was produced of "William III", as shown.  These were issued with five different perforations, so Scott has many minor numbers for these stamps. CV ranges from $2+-$160 for the major numbers.
1869-70 Scott 9a 15c orange brown "William III"
Perforation 14
One will note here the 15c perforation 14 stamp is a minor number, while the 10c perforation 14 stamp shown before is a  major number. The 15c, 20c, 25c, 50c denominations are listed as Perf 12 3/4 X 11 3/4 for the major number.
1869 Scott 18 1c black "Coat of Arms"
The "Coat of Arms" design was used for the 1869-71 issue- some six stamps. CV ranges from $2+ to $70+.
1872 Scott 27 15c brown orange "William III"
Then between 1872-88, an eleven stamp issue was produced with, yet again, the portrait of William III.

William III was the son of William II and Anna Pavlovna of Russia. He succeeded to the throne in 1849. He initially married his first cousin Sophie, a liberal intellectual. William III was conservative, and admired the military.  Queen Victoria ( of the United Kingdom) considered him an "uneducated farmer". He was also notorious for his appetite for extramarital affairs.

He was not particularly happy that he was saddled with a constitution agreed to by his father,William II. He would rather have governed as an enlightened despot.

In 1877, Queen Sophie died, and he married Princess Emma- 41 years his junior- of the small German Principality, Waldeck and Pyrmont. ( He really wanted to marry a French opera singer, but society disapproved too much for him to succeed with that idea.)

But the marriage was happy, and Wilhelmina was born in 1880. She became the heiress presumptive in 1884, when the last of his sons died from the previous marriage.

1894 Scott 48 25c dull violet 
"Princess Wilhelmina"
Between 1891-94, an eleven stamp set was produced with Princess Wilhelmina's visage portrait. Her father, William III, had died in 1890. As Wilhelmina had not yet reached age 18 (which occurred in 1898), her mother Emma was appointed regent. Note that the portrait shows Wilhelmina when she was eleven years old. ;-)
1896 Scott 52 1g gray violet
"Princess Wilhelmina"
Between 1893-96, a similar bi-colored issue was produced for the four higher denominations. CV for the entire "Princess Wilhelmina" 1891-96 issue ranges from <$1-$20+, save for three stamps.

As the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg could only be inherited through the House of Nassau male line, Wilhelmina could not succeed as ruler there. Instead, Adolphe, Duke of Nassau, who was William's 17th cousin, once removed, assumed the title! His branch still governs the Grand Duchy today.

1920 Scott 79 40c green & orange
"Queen Wilhelmina"
Wilhelmina Helen Pauline Maria then became Queen from 1890-1948- some 58 years!

A new portrait stamp of the (now 18 year old) Queen was first issued in 1898, and continued through 1924. The 27 stamp issue featured the queen, as shown: many are in bi-colors. CV ranges from <$1-$10+.

I should mention that the six lower denominations have a "numeral of value" design-shown elsewhere on the blog post.
1899 Scott 85 5g claret "Queen Wilhelmina"
Four higher values were also issued between 1898-1905, and had this design, as illustrated. The 1g, 2 1/2g, and the 5g are a modest CV <$1-$5+, but the 10g is CV $600+. ! And, be on the lookout for a "Type I" 1g, which has a more robust "1" size numeral, and has a CV of $100+. !

1907 Scott 89 2 1/2c vermilion "
"Admiral M.A. de Ruyter and Fleet"
The first commemorative set- three stamps- for the Netherlands was issued in 1907. The set  honored Admiral De Ruyter (1607-1676), who was a naval hero during the Anglo-Dutch wars.

1913 Scott 96 25c pale blue "King William I"
For the centenary of Dutch independence, a 12 stamp issue was released with  portraits of King William I, II, III, and Queen Wilhelmina. CV ranges from <$1-$40+ for all stamps, save one.

William I ruled the Netherlands ( and Luxembourg) beginning in 1813, and proclaimed himself King of the Netherlands in 1815. He was quite conservative, and when a constitution was forced upon him in 1840, he could not abide, and he abdicated. His eldest son, William II, then acceded to the throne.

1919 Scott 103 60c on 30c , black overprint
Between 1919-21, five stamps of the "Queen Wilhelmina" variety were surcharged in various ways.  Some are quite inexpensive ($1+-$3+), but several others are $80+-$100: rather pricey indeed.

1922 Scott 111 5c carmine rose, Imperforate
"Queen Wilhelmina"
In 1922, several imperforate stamps (5c gray, 10c carmine rose), and a 5c gray perforate stamp of the 1898 Queen type were issued. The imperforate stamps should pose no problems for identification, but what about the 5c that is found perforated? I don't have an  illustration here, but the 5c gray (both perforate and imperforate) are drawn with the horizontal lines behind the queen's head much wider apart. ;-)

In the next blog post, which will concentrate on the semi-postals, perhaps I will say more about Queen Wilhelmina, especially during the trying WW II years. Stay tuned. :-)

Deep Blue
1898-1924 "Queen Wilhelmina" issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 39 pages for the Netherlands. All of the major Scott numbers have a space. In addition, Steiner provides spaces for the many minor number syncopated perforations- a bit overkill for the classical generalist, but no doubt welcomed by the Netherlands specialist.

1926-27 Scott 173a 6c orange brown "Wilhelmina"
Syncopated Perforations Type A ( 2 sides), 12 1/2
Speaking of syncopated perforations, I thought I should show an example. ;-) They were used on issues during 1925-33, and were for use in stamp vending machines They come in three types: Type A (2 sides), Type B (4 sides), and Type C ( 2 sides-corners only). They are given minor numbers in the Scott catalogue. They generally are valued more than the ordinary perforated stamp issues.

The 1941 "Gull type of 1924-26" issue is found in the Scott Classic catalogue, but not in the "classic' Steiner pages. One can either use a quadrilled page, or "borrow" the pages from the "regular" Steiner pages.

1894 Scott 37 2 1/2c violet
"Numeral of Value"
Big Blue
Big Blue "69, on 10 pages ( Five for the semi-postals), has 140 spaces for regular, 7 air post, 35 postage due, and 125 semi-postal spaces. Of interest, BB only misses 8 semi-postal spaces.

Total = 307
Total coverage = 61%.

Of the expensive stamps in BB, there is one (1891 Scott 50 1g gray violet ($77+) ) that crosses the $35 threshold, and 21 between $10-$30+.  Of those, eleven are semi-postals. See the "comments" section for specifics.





17,18 or 19, 21,




1896-98 (actually 1899)

Next Page

1899-1921 (actually 1922)




Next Page



164, 142 or 165, 166,
143 or 168a or 168, 144,145or 169,146 or 171,
147,148,149,175,150 or 176,151 or 177,178,152 or 179,
180,153 or 181,182,154 or 183,184,155 or 187,188,
156 or 189,157 or 190,158 or 191,159 or 192,160,193,

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Air Post





Postage Due

J13 or J44, J45,J46,J47,J48,J49,J50,J51,





Next Page






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A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1852 Scott 1 5c blue ($30+)
1952 Scott 2 10c lake ($20+)
1864 Scott 4 5c blue ($10+)
1867 Scott 10 20c dark green ($20+)
1869 Scott 21 2c buff ($10+)
1888 Scott 24 7 1/2c red brown ($10+)
1872 Scott 31 50c bister ($10+)
1894 Scott 49 50c yellow brown ($20)
1891 Scott 50 1g gray violet ($77+)
1896 Scott 51 50c emerald & yellow brown ($10+)
1896 Scott 52 1g brown & olive green ($20+)
1906 Scott B2 3c (+3c) pale olive green ($10+)
1906 Scott B3 5c (+5c) gray ($10)
1932 Scott B48 1 1/2c (+1 1/2c) blue green ($10+)
1931 Scott B49 6c (+4c) carmine rose ($10+)
1931 Scott B53 12 1/2c (+3 1/2c) ultramarine & deep orange ($20+)
1932 Scott B56 7 1/2c (+3 1/2c) bright red & black ($10+)
1932 Scott B57 12 1/2c (+2 1/2c) ultramarine & black ($10+)
1932 Scott B61 12 1/2c (+3 1/2c) ocher & ultramarine ($10+)
1933 Scott B65 12 1/2c (+3 1/2c) ultramarine ($10+)
1933 Scott B69 12 1/2c (+3 1/2c) dark blue & silver ($10+)
1934 Scott B76 12 1/2c (+3 1/2c) ultramarine ($10+)
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) * 1867- there are also many minor numbers for Scott 7,8,10, based on different perforations.
D) *45- is yellow brown. BB asks for "orange brown"- 45a.
E) *1924-29- choices are unwmk vs wmk 202 "Circles".
1898 Scott 59 2c yellow brown "Numeral of Value"
Out of the Blue
The Netherlands classical issues, unlike some other European nations, are quite reasonable in price- considering they are indeed classics. And, to my eye, they are attractive indeed.

And, the Netherlands also issued many quite attractive semi-postals. We will have a look at those with the next entry.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Comments are always welcomed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


1917 Scott 16  2a brown
"Sripech and Crossed Khukris"
Telegraph Use
Quick History
Situated in the Himalayas between India and Tibet in South Asia, Nepal lays claim to eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, including Sagarmatha in Nepali (Mount Everest).

The population was ~5,600,000 in 1940, and the Capital is Kathmandu.

The religion is Hinduism.

The Kingdom of Nepal, under the Royal Family Rana Dynasty, and their hereditary powerful Prime Ministers, had a close relationship with the British Empire from 1846 until 1951. In fact, I note that Nepal is listed in the British Empire section of my 1947 Scott catalogue.

Stamps were introduced in 1881. Of interest is that Nepalese stamps were only valid in Nepal up to 1937,when they became valid in India and certain border cities in Tibet. They then became valid world wide in 1959, when Nepal joined the UPU.

The early classic design was printed at Chhapakhana Press in Katmandu.

1907 Scott 26 2p brown
"Siva Mahadeva"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Nepal 1881-1935, 43 major stamp descriptions. Of those, 6 are CV <$1-$2, or 14%. Raising the bar to $10, yields 19 stamps (44%). But the earlier stamps ( 1881-1917 Scott 1-24) are not particularly common in collections, and are rather expensive. So, although true, that a number of the 1907-1935 stamps are reasonable, they still need to be found.

Used stamps (Scott 9-49) are actually valued as telegraph cancels ( usually crescent shaped) in the Scott catalogue. Older remainder postage stamp stocks, beginning in 1917, were used to pay telegraph fees.

I am somewhat fortunate, because a member of the local stamp club is a Nepal specialist.

Here is a note Frank sent me about the stamps of Nepal...

Going by Scott catalogue numbers is difficult because one number covers several varieties. 

In general there are three types.  The first 1881 issue is on European wove paper.  The second series that runs from 1886 to 1907, and is on native paper.  The third series, that was used for telegraph forms, can be found from 1917 to approximately 1930.  The second and third issue have the black half Anna stamps.

In actuality there are about 30 printings of the 1 Anna and 2 Anna stamps from 1881 to 1930 and about a dozen of the 4 Anna stamps.  These stamps were all printed from the original 1881 plates.

The telegraph canceled stamps are fairly common, as the sometimes would use whole sheets of stamps on a telegraph form.  The rate was something like 2 pice per word. 

1 Anna = 4 pice and the first issue had 1, 2, and 4 Anna stamps.

The first Sri Pashupati issue had 2, 4, 8, and 16 pice that replaced the ½, 1, 2, and 4 Anna stamps.  They kept the postal rates fairly constant for a long time.

Comment: Thirty printings! No wonder early Nepal stamps are definitely specialty territory, requiring intensive study, and a very good reference collection of books! And the stamps were all printed from the original- or retouched- 1881 plates! And as fact, the known settings total 85 for the 1a (28), 2a (31), 4a (12), and 1/2a (14).

So, unless the WW collector wishes to dive deeply into Nepal, I'm afraid a superficial acquaintance, based on the (inadequate for specialists) Scott catalogue, is all one can hope to accomplish. 

Therefore, I will present the stamps at the level of the Scott catalogue here, with comments added from the specialty materials.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
4 Pice (Paisas) = 1 Anna
64 Pice (Paisas) = 16 Annas = 1 Rupee (Rupaiya)
1881 Scott 2 2a purple "Sripech and Crossed Khukris"
European Wove Paper; Pin-perf
The first three denomination issue for Nepal in April, 1881 was on European white wove paper. They can be found either with pin-perf, or imperforate.

They were probably issued on April 14, which is the Nepalese New Year's Day.

Denominations and colors are the 1a ultramarine, 2a purple, and 4a green. Specialty reference catalogues (such as Hellrigl/Vignola "The Classic Stamps of Nepal"- 1984)  lists 3/2/3 shade colors respectively.

They are printed clearly and distinctly.

CV for pin-perf is $300-$500, imperforate is $175-$275. 

Obviously, expensive.

1881 Scott 5 2a purple
European Wove Paper; Imperforate
The 2 annas stamp, shown here, was used for letters within Nepal weighing up to 2 tolas ( 1`tola = legal weight of the British-Indian rupee = 11.66 grams).

The Devanagari script at top reads "Shri Gorka", and at bottom "Sarkar", translated as "Government".

Sripech (Upper half)
and Crossed Khukris (Lower half)
The central panel consisted of a crude drawing of a Sripech (jewelled headdress) and Crossed Khukris (Gurka knifes).

Surenda Bikram Shah - King of Nepal (Reign 1847-1881)
Wearing a Sripech
A Sripech had diamonds and emeralds, and a plume made of feathers taken from the bird of paradise.

The Khukri, a curved sword or knife, is the national weapon of the Gurkhas.

EK  ANA (1 anna); DO ANA (2 annas); CHAR ANA (4 annas)
How does one tell the denomination?

Look at the side panels.

DO ANA (2 annas)
Note for the 2 annas stamps shown above, the symbol for DO ANA is inscribed on the side panels.

1886 Scott 8 2a violet
Native Wove Paper; Imperforate
Beginning in 1886, native wove paper was used, producing the imperforate three denominations. as before. The paper was derived from the inner bark of a native evergreen from the mountains of Nepal.

The issue (with multiple printings) was continued until 1907. Many of the printings (and settings) are characterized by various different marginal inscriptions on the outside of the sheet. This would interest the specialist.

As one would expect, the plates continued to show more wear and tear. Note the detail for this 2a violet shown above is not nearly as clear and distinct as earlier.

Now, how can one tell the difference between the European wove paper stamps and the native paper types?

Upper row: European wove paper
Lower row: Native paper
The European paper is white, and the paper has a regular tight mesh-like wove quality.

The native paper appears more haphazard, with possible strands of fiber seen. The color is off-white, and can vary from thick to thin (tissue paper). The paper is tough, and doesn't tear easily, The poorest quality paper may show bark and parts of insects.

1886 Scott 9 4a green
Native Wove Paper; Imperforate
This 4a green (actually yellow green, a known shade in the specialty catalogues) is probably an early printing (1886-89). It shows a very clear impression, on thin to medium paper of good native paper quality.

The 1886 Scott 7-9 stamps have a CV of $20+-$50+.

1886 Scott 9 4a green
"Sripech and Crossed Khukris"
Here is another example of the Scott 4a native paper in a darker shade of green. This could be a 1898-1907 era production, as the printing is quite blurred, and the paper appears to be of poorer quality.

1899 Scott 10 1/2a black
"Siva's Bow and Two Khukris"
This stamp was produced in 1899, and is shown here, a 1/2a black. Two varieties- imperf (1899-1907) & pin-perf (1900-1903) - on Native wove paper were issued (CV $10+).

This design was not used again, except for a 1/2a red orange imperf (CV $400) released in 1917.

1898-1917 Scott 13 1a pale blue
Type of 1881; Imperforate
(Cancel, probably from telegraph use, indicates a later date of use for this example)
Scott lists a "Type of 1881" issue between 1898-1917 consisting of 1a pale blue, 2a gray violet, 2a claret ('17), 2a brown ('17), and 4a dull green denomination-color combinations. Each denomination-color combination exists as imperforate and pin-perf, all with major numbers (Scott 13-22).

Note this 1a pale blue specimen is quite blurry.

CV varies from $10-$150.

1898-1917 Scott 14 2a gray violet
Type of 1881; Imperforate
This 2a gray violet appears to have a more clear impression, suggesting an earlier printing.

1917 Scott 16  2a brown
"Sripech and Crossed Khukris"
The telegraph period lasted between 1917-1930.  At first, the remainder stock, stored since 1907, was used. But then plates were again used to produce more stamps to pay for telegraph fees. The impressions range from slightly blurred to very blurred.

Notice the crescent mark? This is characteristic of a telegraph cancellation. These telegraph cancellations are common. As mentioned, Scott actually values the used Scott 9-49 for telegraph cancels.

1917-18 Scott 29A 1a bright blue
The Scott 29A 1a bright blue, according to Scott, was issued in 1917-18. 

The issue has a slightly altered design compared to the previous issues. Scott has a note that 29A may not have been used postally. This design (A4) was designated for telegraph use, but was valid for postal use.

1917-18 Scott 29Ab 1a indigo
This is the minor number variant with color indigo.

1907 Scott 27 4p green
"Siva  Mahadeva"
In 1907, a four stamp issue from Perkins Bacon in London was produced with the "Silva Mahadeva" (Pashupati), a Hindu Deity image. Note the five characters on the bottom tablet read "Gurkha Sirkar". The date divided in the lower corners reads "1964". This script is characteristic for the 1907 issue.

The CV is a modest <$1-$3.

1929 Scott 36 1r orange red
"Siva  Mahadeva"
The 1907 issue was redrawn in 1929, with a production of eight stamps. This time, the nine characters on the bottom tablet read "Nepal Sirkar", and the date divided in the lower corners reads "1986".

The CV is <$1-$4 for seven stamps.

1935 Scott 38 2p dark brown
Engraved, Perf 14, "Siva Mahadeva"
In 1935, an engraved redrawn 1929 issue was produced with six stamps. The 1935 issue has "`1992" date characters in the lower corners. CV ranges from <$1-$8.

The Perfs are 14 which help distinguish this issue from the similar (in design) "typographic" 1941-46 issue.

And the "aluminum foil" test reveals this issue as definitely engraved.

1941 Scott 46 8p rose red
Perf 11, Typographed, ""Siva Mahadeva"
Between 1941-46, a typographic issue was produced with seven stamps.

This issue, similar to the 1935 Perf 14 engraved issue,  has the "1992" date characters in the lower corners. CV ranges from <$1-$10+.

 The typographic process in this case produced stamps without much detail.. If in doubt, the "aluminum foil" test will show these stamps are not engraved. And the ragged perforations are 11 here, compared to the 14 for the preceding engraved stamps.

It should be mentioned that the Nepalese did not leave anything to waste, and all stamps between 1917 and the 1950s are more common with telegraph use.

Deep Blue
The "Siva Mahadeva" issues in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has three pages for classic era Nepal. All of the major numbers have a space.

For the "Siva Mahadeva" stamps, I added the 1941-46 "typographic" issue to the page, as this issue can definitely get confused with the 1935 engraved issue, which is similar in design.

1929 Scott 33 16p dark red violet
"Siva Mahadeva"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page has fourteen spaces. Coverage is 32%.

Note: I have updated the CV discussed here to the 2017 catalogue. There has been a significant increase since the last valuation (2011).

Nepal in Big Blue
There are several problems with the coverage.
• The redrawn 1935 issue (six stamps) is not given a space.
• Then BB gives a space to a very expensive stamp- namely the 1881 Scott 5 2a purple Imperf @ $200 used! If one elects to ignore color, then Scott 8 violet ($30+) & 14 gray violet ($60) & 19 gray violet ($90) are available. If one further ignores date criteria, then  four more stamps (1917 Scott 15,16,20,21) are available. Your choice. 



(Image- "Sripech and Crossed Khukris") 1a space*
1881 Scott 1 1a ultramarine Pin-Perf, or
1881 Scott 4 1a blue Imperf, or
1886 Scott 7 1a ultramarine Imperf, or
1898 Scott 13 1a pale blue Imperf, or
1898 Scott 18 1a pale blue Pin-Perf

2a "Purple" space*
1881 Scott 2 2a purple Pin-Perf ($375!), or
1881 Scott 5 2a purple Imperf ($200 used!)
(Alternative choices if ignore BB's color criteria...)
1886 Scott 8 2a violet Imperf ($30+), or
1898 Scott 14 2a gray violet Imperf ($60)
1898 Scott 19 2a gray violet Pin perf ($90)

4a "Green" space*
1881 Scott 3 4a green Pin Perf
1881 Scott 6 4a green Imperf
1886 Scott 9 4a green Imperf

10 or 12,


1931-34 (Actually 1929)*


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1881 Scott 5 2a purple Imperf ($200)
1886 Scott 9 4a green Imperf ($50+)
B) *1a space- multiple choices are available- Scott 7,13, or 18 are CV $10 or more.
C) * 2a Purple space- BB's criteria for the purple color means that Scott 5 ($200) is the least expensive choice! If one ignores color, then Scott 8 ($30+) & 14 ($60) & 19 ($90) are available. If one also ignore's BB's dates, then  four more stamps (1917 Scott 15,16,20,21) are available for $10 or more.
D) *4a green space- least expensive by far is the Scott 9 4a green Imperf ($50+). Other choices (Scott 17 & 22) are the wrong color.
E) 1931-32 (Actually 1929)- there is no room in BB for the redrawn 1935 stamps (Scott 38-43).

1946 Scott 49 32p deep blue  
Perf 11, "Typographed","Siva Mahadeva"
Out of the Blue
I am - to my regret- not a mountain climber (although I did once scramble up the 10,000+ foot Middle Sister in Oregon ;-), but I have always been fascinated with  mountain climbing expedition literature, and have read my fair share of that genre.

Now I have added stamps to the equation.

Thanks to Frank, a Nepal specialist, who helped critique this blog post.

Further Reference:
Nepal and Tibet Study Circle
First Stamps of Nepal: "Conquering Early Stamps of the Himalayas"
By Joseph Iredale, The American Philatelist, Page 536-538, June, 2017

Note: Map, Annapurna range pic appear to be in the public domain.

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Annapurna Range