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, May 7, 2016


1857 Scott 13 4p pale blue "Victoria"
Wmk 75 "Double Lined Numeral"
Quick History
Tasmania, an island just off south-eastern Australia, was one of the six British colonies that merged to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

The capital was Hobart, and the population was 172,000 in 1901.

But Tasmania, as the other Australian colonies, has a prior rich philatelic history, with stamp issues from 1853-1912.

Van Diemen's Land, the second British colony after 1788 New South Wales, was established in 1803.

In 1812, British convicts were sent to the island as a "prison without walls".

The first settlements include Hobart Town, Launceston, and George Town.

Van Diemen's Land 1852
The first 1853 stamps, known as "Couriers", after the Hobart Town Courier newspaper office, where they were printed, were issued as a 1p blue and a 4p orange. (All of the Tasmanian stamps had Queen Victoria's image until 1899.) Each stamp can be "plated", and CV is $500+ (4p) and $1300+ (1p). One can, however obtain a 4p for CV $25, cut to an octagonal shape. (However, I don't have any.)

The engraved Chalon Heads (portrait by Edward Chalon 1838) were issued in 1855, and used for the next 25 years. They are the "meat and potatoes" of Tasmania specialty stamp collecting: I count some 132 major/minor varieties in the Scott catalogue. They are also generally expensive for the WW collector, and, except for a representative collection, may need to be left alone.

Tasmania- Australia 1916
The Chalon Heads come in different papers (wove, pelure), imperforate, various perforations, pin-perf, various roulettes, serrated, many different shades, unwatermarked, three watermarks, and reprints.

Van Diemen's Land was changed to Tasmania in 1856, which appears on the Chalon Heads in 1858.

The typographic "Sidefaces" appeared in 1870, and are similar in design to those from Nova Scotia.

They were issued through 1891, and offer different watermarks (five), perforations and shades. The 28 major Scott numbers for the "Sidefaces" are generally not as expensive CV- wise as the preceding Chalon Heads.

Tasmania joined the U.P.U. in 1891, and the Victorian "Keyplate" issue was launched in 1892, and used throughout the 1890s.

Postal Fiscal stamps were also used between 1882-1890.

The "Pictorials"- scenes around Tasmania- were issued between 1899-1912. They were produced by engraving, lithography, and typography, and have different watermarks (three), shades, and perforations.

The "Roo" stamps for Australia were not issued until 1913, even though Tasmania and the other Commonwealth states had joined together in 1901. Consequently, Tasmanian stamps were used until as late as 1914.

1878 Scott 61 2p deep green
Wmk 77 "TAS"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Tasmania 1853-1912, 123 major number descriptions. There are also many minor numbers because of perforation changes and color shade variations. For the major number count, I did not include the 35 "AR" postal fiscal stamps stamps in the catalogue.

Of the major number count, only 5 (4%) can be found @ CV $1+. Raising the bar to CV $10, yields 35 stamps, or 28%. Clearly, the early classical era Tasmania issues are somewhat expensive for the WW collector who wishes to obtain a representative collection. The very early 1853-1868 issues (50 major numbers) are expensive ( $27-$60+) to very expensive ($ Hundreds- $ Thousands). But those early listings are specialty territory anyway.

Be aware that some eleven different watermarks were used, and there can be many different perforation varieties. All in all, a pretty complicated and expensive country. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1864 Scott 29 1p carmine "Victoria"
The Chalon Heads were issued between 1855-1868, and there are some 49 major Scott numbers. They can be found especially with multiple perforation and roulettes, as well as imperforate.

The Chalon Heads are specialty territory.

Pen cancels (as above), are valued at a lesser CV.

1871 Scott 56 3p red brown "Victoria"
Wmk 76 "Barred TAS"
The "Sidefaces" were issued in 1870, and continued through 1891.

Tasmania has many different watermarks- I count eleven.

The 3p denomination (above) can either be Wmk 76 "Barred TAS" or Wmk 77 "TAS".

Wmk 75 Double Lined Numeral; Wmk 76-Barred TAS
The "Barred TAS" is distinguished by the lines connecting the "TAS" letters above and below.

The Double Lined Numeral watermark can be found on the Chalon Heads.

1878 Scott 60 1p rose "Victoria"
Perf 14; Wmk 77 "TAS"
The 1878 issue of three stamps is found with perforation 14, and the plain (not barred) "TAS" watermark.

1878 Scott 62 8p violet brown "Victoria"
Perf14; Wmk 77 "TAS"
The three stamp 1878 set ranges in CV from $3-$10+. I don't usually show many pen cancelled stamps, but they are not uncommon. 

1891 Scott 75 2 1/2p on 9p light blue "Victoria"
The single surcharged 2 1/2p on 9p stamp of 1891 has two varieties. Scott 74 is perf 11 1/2, with the surcharge 14 mm high. The Scott 75 (illustrated) is perf 12, with the surcharge 15 mm high. 

The CV is $9+ and $7+ respectively.

1892 Scott 77 2 1/2p magenta "Victoria"
The Victorian "Keyplates" were issued between 1892-99. There were 10 stamps in the set.

Note the town cancellation of Launceston.

1899 Scott 80 10p red brown & green "Victoria"
CV for the Victorian "Keyplates" range from $4+-$40+ for eight stamps.

1892 Scott 81 1sh rose & green "Victoria"
Note another town cancellation for Launceston. It was and is the second largest city in Tasmania next to Hobart.

Clock Tower Post Office Building
The Post Office building in Launceston is topped by a Clock Tower.. This landmark was completed in 1910.

 1904 Scott 100 1 1/2p on 5p blue & brown
In 1904, the 1 1/2p keyplate was surcharged as shown. One can also find surcharges on the keyplate series between 1889-1891 on eleven stamps.

1899-1900 Scott 87 1p carmine "Mt. Wellington"
Engraved; Perf 14; Wmk 78 "Multiple TAS"
Between 1899-1900, an eight stamp "Pictorials" engraved issue was released.

The watermark on the paper was Wmk 78 "Multiple TAS". Perforation is 14.

The "Mount Wellington" 1p stamp was based on a painting by Australian artist Haughton Forrest.

Rincarooma is a small town in north-eastern Tasmania.

1902-03 Scott 94 1/2p green "Lake Marion"
Lithography; Wmk 70 "V and Crown"
The 1902-03 second issue of "Pictorials" on six stamps had the same scenes as those for the first issue, bur printed by either lithography or typography. Perforations can be 11, 12 1/2, 11 X 12 1.2.

The paper watermark is Wmk 70 "V and Crown"  

Wmk 78 "Multiple TAS";  Wmk 70 "V and Crown"
Here are the watermarks found for the first two "Pictorial" issues.

1905-08 Scott 105 3p dark brown 
"Spring River, Port Davey"
Typography; Wmk 13 "Crown & Double-lined A"
Between 1905-08, another "Pictorial" issue, using typography, on ten stamps was released. The watermark is Wmk 13 "Crown & Double-lined A".

Wmk 13 "Crown and Double-Lined A"
Shown is the watermark for the 1905-08 "Pictorial" issue.

1912 Scott 117 1p on 2p bright violet
Red Surcharge; "View of Hobart"
The last stamp produced for Tasmania was this one. The surcharge was put on a redrawn 1911 2p bright violet (Scott 114).

Deep Blue
1892-99 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has nine pages for the stamps of Tasmania, and, for the most part, has spaces for all the major varieties. I did find some half dozen instances where bolded minor numbers or bolded suffix major numbers were not given a space. I did set up a quadrilled page for those. Chances are, I have nothing to worry about, as these stamps are expensive (hundreds-thousands). !!

If one is collecting the numerous minor number shade colors, or minor number perforation changes, Steiner will need to be expanded significantly.

1899-1900 Scott 88 2p violet "View of Hobart"
Engraved; Wmk 78 "Multiple TAS"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, located between Tannu Tuva and Thrace, has 27 spaces.

Coverage is 22%.

The 40s editions offer two less spaces for the 1870-96 issue, and three less spaces for the 1892-99 issue, compared to the '69 and later editions.

There are eight "expensive" (CV $10+-$20+) stamp spaces, and one "most expensive" (CV $35) stamp space. See the specific listing under the "comments" section after the checklist.

The "1892-1911" BB section have up to three issue choices for one space.

The "1865-68" one penny (illustrated) space has ten choices!

The "1870-96" one penny (illustrated) space has six choices.


One Penny (Illustrated): 4 or 7 or 10 or 11 or 17 or 23 or 29* or 35 or 39 or 45,

One Penny (Illustrated): 49 or 51 or 53* or 60 or 67 or 72,
2 pence: 48c or 48 or 54d or 54 or 61,
56a or 56 or 63, 69 or 73, 62, 70,


86 or 94 or 102, 87 or 95 or 96 or 103, 89, 91 or 106 or 115, 88 or 97 or 104 or 114,
90 or 105, 92, 93 or 107 or 116,

74 or 75,




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1864 Scott 29 1p carmine ($20+)
1864-69 (Scott 25) 4p blue ($20+)
1878 Scott 62 8p violet brown ($10+)
1869 Scott 69 4p bister ($20))
1899 Scott 80 10p red brown & green ($20+)
1892 (Scott 82) 2sh6p brown & blue ($35)
1899-1900 Scott 89 2 1/2p dark blue ($10+)
1899-1900 Scott 92 5p ultramarine ($20+)
1905-08 Scott 107 6p lake ($10+)
B) * 29 & *53- the least expensive among multiple choices.
C) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
D) *1892-1911- The space offers one choice for three issues.

1905-08 Scott 106 4p ocher "Russell Falls"
Typography; Wmk 13 "Crown & Double-lined A"
Out of the Blue
At one point in my collecting years, I was interested in specializing in the Australian States. I never followed through with that intent, but I still see the attraction and the logic for such an interest.

Note: Maps and Launceston Clock Tower pic appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?


  1. Hi Jim quick question for you, how long did you need to wait for a reply from Scott regarding use of their catalogue numbers on this blog? I submitted a ruquest to them to use their ID numbers for another project earlier this week and have to this point (Fri 13th AM) not heard anything from them, and really do not know if I am just being impatient or of it is a bad augury regarding my request that I have not heard anything back.

    Great post as usual, on the home stretch now, will be sad not to have new posts from you for new countries each week by the end of the year. I know this has been an epic blogging experience for you, and the contribution you have made to the worldwide collector community as a result is damn near priceless as a resource.

  2. Gene - thanks for the kind comments. The end of countries will occur sometime within the next year, but it will definitely not be the end of blog topics. Stay tuned. ;-)

    I don't remember how long it was for a reply from Scott. But i do recall they were very professional about it, and I was pleased.

  3. Hi Jim. You have a minor but consistent spelling error here:Dieman's should be Diemen's. In 1642 the island was called "Anthoonij van Diemensland" by Abel Tasman (shortened and anglicized to Van Diemen's Land), in honor of the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies at the time. Van Diemen had sent Tasman to explore the Great Southland, though the previous governor, Hendrik Brouwer, who had himself been an explorer, had planted the seeds for this and many other explorations. Wikipedia has this interesting tidbit about the name change: "[Van Diemen's Land] became a byword for horror in England because of the severity of its convict settlements such as Port Arthur and Macquarie Harbour. The name had acquired such odium that when it became a self-governing colony in 1855, one of the first acts of the new legislature was to change its name to Tasmania. John West remarked at the opening of his History of Tasmania: "Tasmania is preferred, because 'Van Diemen's Land' is associated among all nations with bondage and guilt". But the old name lingered for many years—Tasmanians were referred to as Vandemonians until the turn of the century." Vandemonians and Tasmanian devils; there's a theme here..
    Arian (who seems to only be able to publish anonymously on your site)

  4. How did the Diemen spelling error get past me? ;-)

    Thanks for the great review about Van Diemen's Land and tne pejorative connotation that developed.