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, August 23, 2016

Turks Islands

1889 Scott 55 1p on 2 1/2p red brown "Victoria"
Quick History
Two groups of islands in the northern Caribbean (The larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands), separated by the Turks Passage (2,200 m or 7,200 ft deep), have always been associated with each other. But Grand Turk Island was the first island colonized by Bermudians for the salt industry in 1681. Cockburn Town became the capital in 1766, and Grand Turk Island- sometimes referred to historically as "Grand Cay" - remains the cultural and historical center of the islands group.

Turks Islands & Caicos Islands
Stamps were issued for the island groups under "Turks Islands" from 1867-1894, while "Turks and Caicos Islands" labeled stamps were issued after 1900. As the Scott catalogue has separate discrete sections for each era, I will focus on "Turks Islands" here, and the next blog post will take up the "Turks and Caicos Islands" issues.

As mentioned, the Turks Islands were noted for salt, which was mined by raking salt among the shallow waters around the islands, and that industry drove the initial settlement in 1681. After the American War of Independence, British loyalists were the first settlers in 1783 on the Caicos Islands.

The Islands group became part of the Bahamas in 1799. (Bermuda and the Bahamas had both desired the islands for themselves, and "ownership" was disputed between the two throughout the 18th century.) The Turks and Caicos became a separate colony in 1848, under the supervision of Jamaica. Then the Islands group was annexed to the Jamaica colony in 1873. They remained a dependency of Jamaica until 1959.

The Islands group has never had much of a population. Even today, Grand Turk Island has only 4,000+ people, while Providenciales Island, with the largest population in the Caicos, has 33,000+.

Presently, the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory, and, since 2002, the inhabitants have full British citizenship.

Location of  Turks and Caicos Islands in the northern Caribbean Sea
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Turks Islands 1867-1894, 58 major number descriptions.

Of those, eight stamps are CV $2-$5. (14%)

The catalogue for Turks Islands, based on CV, can be divided into two sections.

I) The 1867, 1873-79 & 1881  "Queen Victoria" stamps (all the same A1 design) for Turks Islands, and then the many surcharged stamps of 1867-79 based on these "Victoria" A1 issues (43 stamps total), are all quite expensive ($50+ minimum-$hundreds-$thousands). This is clearly an arena for the wealthier specialist.

II) 1881-1894 issues- A1, A2, A3 "Victoria" designs (15 stamps) are generally much more modest in cost ($2-$10+ for 11 stamps).

I don't have any of the 1867-81 stamps (I category), but have some of the 1881-94 stamps ( II category).

Postage stamps inscribed Turks and Caicos Islands were then used after 1900. The next blog post will cover those issues.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
1889 Scott 45 1p carmine lake "Victoria"
A1 design
The more affordable stamps for the WW collector begin with the 1882-95 Wmk 2 issue- ten stamps. Several (Scott 45-47) are the A1 design with CV $2+-$4. These are a bargain for the WW collector, considering that the earlier A1 design stamps are quite pricey. ;-)

1882 Scott 49 2 1/2p red brown "Victoria"
Die A (SG Die I)
The rest (six stamps) of the 1882-95 issue are the  De La Rue Victorian key types (design A2)  for Turks Islands.

They consist of Die A (SG Die I) and Die B (SG Die II) types.

1894 Scott 51 1/2p gray green "Victoria"
Die B (SG Die II)
One will need to become familiar with the Die A/B key types for "Victoria". The 1/2p 1882 blue green (Scott 48a) and 1885 dull green (Scott 48) are Die A. The 1894 Scott 51 1/2p gray green (illustrated) is Die B. I don't think color is enough of a consistent characteristic to always separate these stamps: hence the need to know the Die A/B key types.

For the six 1882-95 Victorian Die A/B key type stamps, CV is $2-$10+. 

1889 Scott 55 1p on 2 1/2p red brown
Die A (SG Die I)
In 1889, the 1882 Die A 2 1/2p red brown was surcharged "One Penny".

O.K., but what about the key type differences? Let's take a good look, based on combining information extracted from the Scott and Stanley Gibbons catalogue. (I've also added my own interpretations.)

1889 Scott 55 1p on 2 1/2p red brown close-up
Die A (SG Die I)
1) The groundwork lines vary in thickness, and are not uniformly straight.
2) The vertical color line in front of the throat stops at the sixth line of shading on the neck. (I find this one of the better signs.)

1894 Scott 51 1/2p gray green close-up
Die B (SG Die II)
1) The groundwork lines are thin and straight.
2) The vertical color line in front of the throat stops at the eighth (? or ninth?) line of shading on the neck. (One of the better signs, in my opinion.)

1889 Scott 55 1p on 2 1/2p red brown close-up
Die A (SG Die I)
3) The seventh and eighth lines from the top, in the groundwork, converge where they meet the head.(I find the eight and ninth lines a better example here.)
4) In the band of the crown, there is a small dash in the upper part of the second jewel.
5) The ball of decoration on the second point of the crown have two prominent curvy vertical lines. There is no horizontal separate "smiley" line. (This is my own interpretation. ;-)

1894 Scott 51 1/2p gray green close-up
Die B (SG Die II)
3) The seventh and eighth lines from the top, in the groundwork, are parallel- actually all the groundwork lines are parallel.
4) In the band of the crown, there is no dash in the upper part of the second jewel.
5) The ball of decoration on the second point of the crown have no curvy vertical lines. There is a prominent separate horizontal  "smiley" line. (This is my own interpretation. ;-)

1889 Scott 55 1p on 2 1/2p red brown close-up
Die A (SG Die I)
6) The white space in the coil of the hair above the curl is in "the shape of a pin's head". (Actually, for me the shape is more like a key.)
7) There is a long continuous dark vertical shading line in the white area that separates the front hair from the bun.

1894 Scott 51 1/2p gray green close-up
Die B (Die II)
6) The white space in the coil of the hair above the curl is oblong, with a line of color partially dividing it at the left end.
7) There is only an incomplete short dark vertical shading line in the white area that separates the front hair from the bun.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has three pages for the 1867-1894 stamps of Turks Islands. All of the major Scott numbers have a space. The first two pages cover the quite expensive CV 1867-1881 issues, and most WW collectors will have not much on those pages.


Turks Islands in '47 BB
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two lines, shared on the same page with Tahiti and the beginning of Turks and Caicos Islands, has seven spaces. All of the spaces are from the less expensive 1882-1894 era.

There is one "most expensive ($35)" stamp- the 1883 Scott 44 1p orange brown. Since BB specifies the "orange brown" color for the 1p, by rights, this expensive stamp should be put into the space. But there also was an 1889 Scott 45 1p carmine lake (perf 14), and an 1887 Scott 54 1p carmine lake (perf 12) issued. Perhaps they could be candidates for the Turks Islands blank spaces in BB.

Of interest, the 40s BB editions also have an 8th space, which is a blank space, under the 1894-95 year heading (illustrated above). The blank space in the 40s editions is puzzling. Both the current 2014 Scott catalogue, and the 1947 Scott catalogue only show one 1894 stamp (Scott 57) available, and there are no further entries after 1894. What would one put in there?

Checklist

1882-93
44*,46,48 or 51*,52,(45),(47),

1894

57,

Comments
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1883 Scott 44 1p orange brown ($35)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *44 is a 1p orange brown, the color specified by BB, and is CV $35. But the 1889 Scott 45 1p carmine lake, the same denomination and design, is CV $2+! I suggest using the 1p carmine lake as a blank space choice.
D) *48 or 51- choice is Die A vs Die B.

Turks and Caicos National Museum, Grand Turks Island
Out of the Blue
I've never been to any of the Caribbean islands, but, with the multiple blogs I've posted for this portion of the world, I feel like I have a certain familiarity. ;-)

Note: Maps and National Museum pic appear to be in the public domain.

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