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...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dutch Indies - Bud's Big Blue

The Kali Mas, Soerabaja, late 19th century
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Diary entry, 21 July, 1881, our 187th day in Java

Since Dineka and Hieke arrived a week ago, life has been hectic. It is good to have our daughter and granddaughter helping us furnish the house. The furniture and supplies arrived on the same boat they came on, 42 days at sea via the Suez. Already it has been offloaded onto river barges and poled up the Kali Mas. We weren’t ready. So the Javanese workers are stacking it outside the front door. At least it won’t rain.

I needed to mail some letters, so I took Hieke with me to the post office. I found my favorite jitney driver, Sujita, for the ride. He told Hieke, in his broken Dutch, to watch out for big crocodiles. She looked frightened until I winked. I only recently learned that Soerabaja is named for fierce sharks and crocodiles. Sujita took me aside to say he was worried about his grandson, Jaya, who recently became a “Mahomedan”. Jaya and several other youths, he said, are obsessed by reports of recent uprisings in Hejaz against Christians. It’s a long way away, I told him. Not to worry. It won’t happen here. (Actually, it does worry me some. I’ll keep a watchful eye.)

The Kali Mas reminds me of canals back home. Water level is currently very low. Sujita says it will go lower before the rains come.

Census: 174 in BB spaces, 36 tip-ins, 35 on supplement pages.

The diary entry, inspired by the second stamp on page one, is fictive, although laced with historical and geographical facts.

Jim's Observations
I really enjoy Bud's inventive posts. Who says stamp blog narratives have to be stuffy? ;-)

The Dutch Indies stamps themselves have a classic elegant design with the three Numeral issues, and the many variations of the Queen Wihelmina issues. There are many overprints/surcharges which I find fascinating. The prices are quite inexpensive, with the exception of the 1883-90 Numeral Scott 21 5c green valued north of $25. But no "Most Expensive" candidates for the list.

Dutch Indies Blog Post and Checklist

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Note: Photo: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23325247.  Source: A. Cabaton. Java, Sumatra and Other Islands of The Dutch East Indies,1911. P. 64a.

Comments appreciated!


  1. This was a very inventive post of a story which provides an historically oriented introduction to the time period and the issues that were faced when the stamps were issued. Nice!

  2. Thanks. My effort at historical fiction was inspired by the cancellation date on the second stamp, page 1, which is my birthday (except not in 1881).