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...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


1917 Scott 16  2a brown
"Sripech and Crossed Khukris"
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 and India up to 1959.
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, 15 are CV <$1-$2, or 35%. Raising the bar to $10, yields 26 stamps (60%). But the earlier stamps ( 1881-1917 Scott 1-24) are not particularly common in collections. So, although true that a number of the stamps are not expensive, 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.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
4 Pice = 1 Anna
64 Pice = 16 Annas = 1 Rupee
1886 Scott 9 4a green
"Sripech and Crossed Khukris"
Between 1881-86, there was a nine stamp issue on European or Native wove paper in pin-perf or imperf types. The design is shown above. Many are expensive (CV $100+-$450), and some are modest ($8-$12).

1899 Scott 10 1/2a black
"Siva's Bow and Two Khukris"
The next stamp was produced in 1899, and is shown here, a 1/2a black. Two varieties- imperf & pin-perf- on Native wove paper were issued (CV <$1-$7). This design was not used again, except for a 1/2a red orange imperf issued in 1917. 

1917 Scott 16  2a brown
"Sripech and Crossed Khukris"
As mentioned, the stamps are  found on European wove paper, Native wove paper, imperforate, pin-perf., different denominations (1a,2a,4a), and various colors. The three major issues are 1881 (six catalogue numbers), 1886 (three numbers), and 1898-1917 (ten numbers). 

Notice the crescent mark? This is a telegraph cancellation, which is quite common.

1917-18 Scott 29Ab 1a indigo
The Scott 29A 1a bright blue ( I have the minor number variant with color indigo) was issued in 1917-18 with 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.

1907 Scott 27 4p green
"Siva  Mahadeva"
In 1907, a four stamp issue 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 40 8p bright red
"Siva Mahadeva"
In 1935, a redrawn 1929 issue was produced with six stamps. The 1935 issue has "`1992" date characters in the lower corners. CV ranges from <$1-$8.

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.

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

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 @ $150 used! If one elects to ignore color, then Scott 8 violet ($10) & 14 gray violet ($10) & 19 gray violet ($12) are available. If one further ignores date criteria, then  four more stamps (1917 Scott 15,16,20,21) are available for $10 or less. 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 ($200!), or
1881 Scott 5 2a purple Imperf ($150 used!)
(Alternative choices if ignore BB's color criteria...)
1886 Scott 8 2a violet Imperf ($10), or
1898 Scott 14 2a gray violet Imperf ($10)
1898 Scott 19 2a gray violet Pin perf ($12)

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 ($150)
1886 Scott 9 4a green Imperf ($12)
B) *1a space- multiple choices are available- Scott 7,13, or 18 are CV $10 or less.
C) * 2a Purple space- BB's criteria for the purple color means that Scott 5 ($150) is the least expensive choice! If one ignores color, then Scott 8 ($10) & 14 ($10) & 19 ($12) 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 less.
D) *4a green space- least expensive by far is the Scott 9 4a green Imperf ($12). 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).

1935 Scott 43 32p dark ultramarine
"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. ;-)

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

I like comments!
Annapurna Range


  1. Nepal's always been one of my favorites. I like the minimal issues policy and find the crudeness of the early stamps interesting. And it's from an area in Asia I've always found interesting.

    It looks like Scott didn't put in its best efforts in designing these pages for Nepal. Not sure why they would include an expensive stamp in place of more common ones. I suppose decades ago when the pages were designed, it was the same situation.

    BB collectors could add a blank page to deal with the problem, but I wish there were some way to replace pages which don't have good selections with pages that do.

    I don't suppose Scott is going to be forthcoming and offer "improved" replacement upgrades for all their pages that include expensive stamps while omitting more common ones. It would nice to think they'd do that, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Maybe with computer technology, scanning, and so forth we'll be able soon to do that and add spaces where we need them and just replace pages like this one? Of course the page size may preclude doing that easily unless it's possible to print on a blank Scott page.

    Interesting write-up as always.

  2. Thanks Drew for your interesting comments.

    I suspect we will have to live with the reality of BB's Nepal coverage.

    For me, I will be sorely tempted to put the $10 stamp in rather than the $150 stamp. We cannot change what Scott has done, but we can make our own decisions about what stamp to put in, ;-)