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...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Bosnia & Herzegovina Pt A - a closer look

1916 Scott B9 5h (+2h) green
"Wounded Soldier"
Into the Deep Blue
Bosnia & Herzegovina, first occupied (1879-1908), then absorbed as provinces of Austria-Hungary (1908-1918), was at the epicenter of the onset of WW I with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo.

Bosnia & Herzegovina 1878
For more on the history, and the BB checklist, go to the original blog post.

For a nice overall map of the Austro- Hungarian Empire up to 1918, check out  Stamp World History.

This blog post (and the next) will take a closer look at the 1879-1918 stamp issues of Bosnia & Herzegovina, all bearing a close design relationship with those of Austria-Hungary.

The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Bosnia & Herzegovina 1879-1918, 193 major number descriptions. Of those, 122 are CV <$1-$1+, or 63%. The earlier issues, of course, tend to be more expensive. Some of the later issues have a higher CV used than unused.

If you like perforation varieties, you will love B&H, because the earlier issues (1879-1906) have multiple minor number perforation varieties. My understanding is many of these perf varieties were manufactured for the philatelic trade. For me, then,, I find myself not really interested in pursuing  B&H perf varieties.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Novcica (Neukreuzer) = 1 Florin (Gulden)
100 Heller = 1  Krone (1900)
1879 Scott 6 5n rose red "Coat of Arms"
Lithographed; Type I; Perf 12 1/4
The first 1879-1898 design issue, depicting the Habsburg "Coat of Arms" for B&H, is a specialist's delight.

Note the stamp has no country text identification.

It was printed both lithographed and typographed.

It can be found with Perf 9 to 13 1/2 and Compound. The Michel Klassik Europa 1840-1900 lists 12 perf varieties for Type I. And for compound - 36 variations!

It can be found with Type I, Type II, & Type III design variations.

Scott gives the 1879-94 Type I* issue ( nine stamps) major numbers.

(*Note: the 1/2n doesn't exist as Type I: it is always Type II. )

The 1894-98 Type II issue (nine stamps) and the 1898 Type III 5n stamp are given minor numbers.

Surprisingly, the Scott Austria Specialty album only has one denomination space for the 1879-1898 B&H issue.. No breakdown by types. Terrible!

Meanwhile, Scott, for U.S. has the 1851-57 1c blue "Franklin" with types I, Ib, 1a, 1c, II, III, IIIa, IV, ALL with major numbers! Overkill for the U.S., and nothing for Bosnia & Herzegovina (Austria). !!

Fortunately, Deep Blue (Steiner) provides spaces for the types for this issue.

Type I Close-up
The three heraldic eaglets on the right escutcheon are blank
The eye of the lion is indicated by a very small dot (or no dot at all)
For the WW collector, a 10x loupe examination should be sufficient to differentiate types.

Note, for the nine stamp lithographic 1879-1894 issue, the center shield area of the "Coat of Arms" holds the clues for type I stamps. The three "eaglets" along the right side of the shield are blank inside. And the "eye" of the lion is marked by a small dot (or no dot at all).

Admittedly, there seems to not be a lot of good information (in English) on this issue. I noted, while checking the 'Bay, that there were multiple examples of type II stamps being sold as type I.

CV for the lithographic 1879-94 issue (Type I, except litho 1/2n is Type II) is <$1-$10+.

1894 Scott 7a 10n blue "Coat of Arms"
Typographed; Type II; Perf 10 1/2
Between 1894-1898, a nine stamp "Coat of Arms" issue was produced, using typography. These stamps also differ in design, being Type II. They can be founded perforated from 10 1/2 to 13 and compound.

And yet, despite the fact that this 1894-98 issue differs in design (Type II) and printing (typographed), they only have minor numbers in Scott ( 1a-10a). !!

Note one can get a clue that the above stamp was typographed, as the corners of the frame show a squeezing out of the ink.

CV for the typographic 1894-98 Type II issue is <$1-$10+.

Type II close-up
The three heraldic eaglets on the right escutcheon show a colored line
across the lowest eaglet, and sometimes on the middle eaglet
The eye of the lion is represented by a large dot that touches the head outline above it
Type IIs, when one knows what to look for, are fairly easy to determine.

The "eaglets" show a colored line in the lowest eaglet, and sometimes in the middle eaglet.

The "eye" of the lion is represented by a large dot, which touches the head outline above it.

1894 Scott 1a 1/2n black "Coat of Arms"
This stamp is typographed; Type II; Perf 10 1/2
(1/2n black stamps are only found as Type II: either 
(1st) printing lithographed (sub-type G), or (2nd) printing typographed ( sub-type H)
The 1/2n black represents a special case, as it was only produced as Type II.

One must then determine if the stamps was printed by lithography (1879-94 issue) or by typography (1894-98 issue).

Note here in the above example that the corner frames are squeezed out - probably typographed.

Type II close-up
The three heraldic eaglets on the right escutcheon show a colored line
across the lowest eaglet, and sometimes on the middle eaglet
The eye of the lion is represented by a large dot that touches the head outline above it
Note this stamp has the markings of a Type II: a line noted in the lower eaglet, and a large dot attached to the upper head outline for the "eye" of the lion.

But since all 1/2n stamps are Type II, this doesn't help much. ;-)

1/2 Novcica
There is a black dot on either side between the curved ends of the 
ornaments near the lower spandrels
Sub-type H: The dots stand clear of the curved lines - specifically the right dot, and 
stamps of this (2nd) printing are typographed
But fortunately, there is an additional sign to determine if the 1/2n black is a member of the 1879-94 lithographed issue (has the "G" sign), or a member of the 1894-98 typographed issue (has the "H" sign).

The "H" sign (illustrated here) has the right dot standing clear of the curved lines.

In contrast, for the "G" sign, the right dot would be attached to the curved line above.

1898 Scott 6b 5n rose red Type III; Perf 12 3/4
The eaglets and the eye of the lion are similar to Type I
The large eagle's feathers have two lines of shading
There is also a Type III, found only for the 5n rose red, and issued  in 1898.

Note this example has an 1898 cancel.

The large eagles's feathers also look different: cruder, with little cross hatching in the feathers ( compare with other examples shown for this blog post).

I believe this is a probable Type III, although, with the very crude large eagle feathers, I did entertain the notion if this stamp could be a forgery.

Type III is also supposed to have the same characteristics as Type I in the shield, and this stamp appears to have that.

The lowest feather does not touch the line below it
Another characteristic of Type III is the lowest feather of the large eagle does not touch the line below it. In this case, it does not. In contrast, in both Type I and Type II stamps, the lowest feather of the large eagle does touch the line below it.

CV for 1898 Scott 6b 5c rose red (Type III) is <$1.

1911 Reprint: lighter colors; very white paper; Perf 12 1/2
"Scott 5a 3n green"
Typographed; Characteristics of Type II
Another complication for the 1894-98 Type II stamps:  Typographic reprints issued in 1911!

The reprints are quite ubiquitous in feeder albums (CV for the nine stamp set: $30+).

They are on very white paper.

They were printed in lighter colors.

If one isn't sure if one has a reprint- check the perfs: they are always 12 1/2.

Reprint has Type II characteristics
And the reprints always have characteristics of Type II: a colored line within the lowest eaglet and sometimes the middle eaglet, and a large dot for the "eye" of the lion.

This doesn't exhaust the varieties for the 1879-98 "Coat of Arms" issue: there are differences in the numerals for "2", "3","10", "15". Check the Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue, or better yet, a Michel Specialized, or an Austrian Specialized catalogue.

1900 Scott 11 1h gray black, Perf 12 1/2
New design; New denominations; Typographed
In 1900, there was a change in denomination to Heller/Krone, and consequently, a new "Coat of Arms" fourteen stamp issue was released, eleven which had the above design.

This issue wasn't as complicated as the preceding issue (no "types"), but can be found with Perf 10 1/2, 12 1/2, and compound. It also exists with ribbed paper.

CV is <$1-$10+.
1911 Reprint: "Scott 17 20h rose", Perf 10 1/2
Scott 17 (20h), Scott  19 (30h), Scott 20 (40h) were reprinted in 1911
Lighter colors, very white paper
Three of the stamps (20h, 30h, 40h) were reprinted in 1911 with lighter colors and on very white paper. The 20h and 30h are Perf 10 1/2, while the 40h is Perf 12 1/2 for the reprints.

The reprints have a CV of $5, which is less than the original stamps (CV $10+). For myself, I only have reprints of these stamps.

1900 Scott 22 1k dark rose "Coat of Arms'
The three higher denominations for the 1900 issue are in a larger format with the illustrated design.

CV is <$1-$3+.
1901 Scott 27 35h blue "Coat of Arms"
Numerals in Black, Perf 12 1/2
Between 1901-04, five stamps were added with the "Coat of Arms" motif, but with the numerals in black.

CV is <$1-$1.
1906 Scott 44 2k gray green "St. Luke's Campanile"
Engraved; Perf 12 1/2
On November 1, 1906, an iconic (with collectors) sixteen stamp engraved pictorial set was released.

The entire 1906 pictorial set is shown below under the "Deep Blue" section.

In Scott, the Perf 12 1/2 stamps are given major numbers.

CV is <$1-$8.
1906 Scott 40a 40h orange red "Mail Wagon"
Perf 9 1/4
The 1906 issue is famous (infamous?) for the variety of perfs one can find. As I mentioned earlier, many of these perf combinations were apparently "philatelically inspired".

Scott lists twelve (minor number) groupings in their catalogue with a certain defined perforation. All are given a CV (often high), so obviously there is demand. In total, there are some 178 minor numbers listed.

Although, I'm not into actively collecting perf variations for this issue, I do have a quadrilled page with various perf examples harvested from feeder albums.

1906 Scott 45 5k dull blue 
"Emperor Franz Josef'
"Demonetized" 1906 Issue
I have in the collection about ten stamps from the 1906 issue that are doubly hole punched. It turns out these are examples of the 1906 issue that were "demonetized' in 1912.

1916 Scott B10 2h (+2h) magenta 
"Blind Soldier"
Turning to some interesting semi-postals, there was a two stamp set issued on March 1, 1916 showing a blind soldier (illustrated above), and a wounded soldier (see the "Out of the Blue" header for the 1918 issue version).

If one ponders the scene, and the implications for that soldier (and his family), it is a profoundly moving and sobering reality depicted on the stamp

CV is <$1..
1913 Scott P1 2h ultramarine "Bosnian Girl'
Typographed Imperforate
The four stamp imperforate 1913 Newspaper stamp issue "Bosnian Girl" is lovely indeed.

CV is <$1-$3+.

But many of us may not see this detailed portrait. Why?

"1913 Scott P4 20h green"
Lithographed Forgery
Because of the very common forgeries found for this issue! Apparently made for the packet trade in Italy, Varro Tyler estimates that the forgeries outnumber genuine stamps in collections by about 5:1.

Note the overall blurry appearance. There is also a horizontal line found jutting out into the thin white space surrounding the portrait across from the left "20" numeral: characteristic for the forgery.

Yugoslavia 1918 Scott 1L19 10h rose "Bosnian Girl'
Typrographed; Perf  11 1/2
Be aware that the B&H 1913 Newspaper imperforate stamp set was subsequently perforated, and used as regular postage by Yugoslavia in 1918. Also be aware that the B&H imperforate "Bosnian Girl" forgeries were subsequently perforated, and passed off as these Yugoslavian stamps.

Deep Blue
1906 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has fourteen pages for the 1879-1918 stamps of Bosnia & Herzegovina. All of the major Scott numbers have a space. In addition, the Steiner provides spaces for the Type I (major number), & Type II - Type III (minor number) stamps for the 1879-1898 "Coat of Arms" issue.

One will, no doubt, need to add a quadrilled page for the 1911 reprints of the 1894-98 & 1900 "Coat of Arms" issues. And additional quadrilled pages may be needed for the many perf variations (minor numbers) found among the 1879-1906 issues.

1918 Scott B17 15h (+10h) red brown 
"Wounded Soldier"
Out of the Blue
The 1879-1898 "Coat of Arms" stamps, with three design types, reprints, and multiple perf variations, would be a fascinating issue to study further.

There is more to come on B&H stamps in the next post. !!

Note: 1878 B&H map scan appears to be in the public domain.

Bosnia & Herzegovina - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!


  1. Bosnia is one of my favorite areas, especially because of the wonderful 1906 issue. Each stamp not only has a different scene (landmarks or postal delivery methods), but different and elaborate frame designs. I think these are the first stamps to depict mosques (on the 25h and 1k). Many of the monuments shown were deliberately destroyed or heavily damaged during the Bosnian fighting in the 1990s. The old bridge at Mostar (on the 20h) was destroyed after it had stood for over 400 years, but has since been rebuilt. The rebuilt bridge is shown on lovely 2005 Bosnian stamp, and is, I think, an important monument to peace. A very interesting postal collection could be built around the landmarks and their history.

    1. Michael - I agree, the 1906 issue is iconic.

  2. Long a favorite of mine as well. The state Printing house ('Staatsdruckerei') in Vienna printed the Coat of Arms Issue, and the literature seems to indicate that the Director, a fellow named Hesse, created many perf varieties for governmental officials and personages at the Court of Franz Joseph. These are particularly evident in the perf 6 1/2/imperf combinations. Articles I have read sometimes lay the entire perf variety initiative to the Director as a way of 'anticipating' the needs of the 'customer', or as the direct request of some individuals. The general outside philatelic trade perhaps figured in as the secondary market for the many combinations.
    With the Landscape series, it rather came back to them in a different way. The Landscapes were printed in many compound and straight perfs. The straights (9.25, 10.5, etc) may have been defensible as 'experiments', but the compounds were printed either at the behest of individuals or, again at the initiative of Hesse.
    However, the shipment to Sarajevo of the Landscapes (in the intended perf of 12.5) in time for the November 1 1906 release somehow got waylaid at the frontier station of Brod (on the Sava River). The PO at Sarajevo let Vienna know that the original shipment was not yet arrived. Vienna, rather than take the time to find/cure the delay at that particular time, wrapped up all the compounds intended to be released in Vienna for the more privileged folks and sent them to Sarajevo to meet the release date.
    Thus the compounds were issued in normal service across the counter and are absolutely viable postage.
    Have to also mention Ferdinand Schirnbock, the master engraver who engraved the landscape series, and to Koloman Moser, the designer. The borders on the right and left edges are Moser's inspiration and are all indigenous embroidery patterns.
    Among other aspects, the Landscapes are the first engraved stamps in the Austro-Hungarian empire and are among the very first stamps issued world wide that show scenes of the country, as opposed to sovereigns.
    Truly noteworthy stamps, and a great introduction to a fascinating part of the world.

    Roy Gelder

    1. Roy - appreciate the details on how the perfs came to be for the 1906 issue.

  3. Jim

    I would just like to give you my thanks for not just this excellent article but all your others too. I have only recently come across your site. Amazing amount of effort and detail that I really appreciate. I never paid much attention to my Bosnian stamps but I am now, and it is very entertaining following your notes to try and figure out which of my coat of arms is which.

    I particularly like that you explain things in an easy to understand way (across all your articles) - e.g. that the lighter reprints are reprints of the Type II only, something I missed on my first reading of the small paragraph in Scotts.

    Thank you for making collecting this period so enjoyable!

    David (from the UK)

    1. Thank you David - you made mt day!

      As I am also a WW collector, I try to explain stamp differences in simple terms that I can understand myself. ;-)