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...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

German New Guinea - Bud's Big Blue

"The South Seas are the Mediterranean of the Future"
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Germans were late entrants in the colonial land-grab race. While other European nations were claiming vast territories, Germany busied itself with German unification. Even in the 1880s Bismarck was engrossed with Europe and social reform, not Africa or the South Pacific. The above cartoon shows a contented Bismarck, his smoke blinding him to what’s happening south of the equator -- namely, representatives of other nations grabbing land. The caption reads “The South Seas are the Mediterranean of the Future.”

Procolonial interests eventually compelled the reluctant Bismarck to suit up and protect German shipping and trading. During 1884, the year the cartoon was published, Germany’s privately administered colonies, including New Guinea, hatched rapidly.  Annexation by the German Empire followed when private arrangements failed.

German stamps with numerals and eagles were overprinted for use while the private German New Guinea Company held authority. The yacht stamps appeared after the German Empire took over, the Company having fizzled in 1899.

Authentic cancels are costly. The Stephansort cancel (8 March 1902, below) was struck at a trading post for German investors in the Bismarck Archipelago. Like Bismarck himself, Stephansort no longer exists, but the Archipelago ironically still bears his name.

Some yacht stamps are said to be forgeries, their identifying feature being connected serifs on the word “Guinea.” Fake “G.R.I.” overprints are common on British Occupation issues, but BB has no spaces for these. So far as I know, none on these scans are fakes.

Cartoon credit: Wilhelm Scholz, caricaturist. “Die Südsee ist das Mittelmeer der Zukunft,” Kladderadatsch, 13 July 1884, page 128.

Census: 14 in BB spaces, three tip-ins.

Jim's Observations
Big Blue,'69, on two lines of one page, provides four spaces for the 1897 issue, and ten spaces for the 1900 (actually 1901) issue. Coverage is 61%. A nice representative selection, marred only by no room for the 1914-19 issue. (One could stuff them into the spaces reserved for the "1900" issue, but that is a stretch.)

There are no "expensive" stamps, although the 1897 issue has three stamps in the $8-$9+ range.

German New Guinea Blog Post and BB Checklist

Page 1

Comments appreciated!


  1. I like the design and colors of the German colonial stamps, but l'm always suspicious that the unused ones were never really intended for postal use. Most likely they never made it anyway close to the colony, and I read somewhere that Berlin kept printing them up even after the colonies had been taken over by Germany's various enemies in WW1.

    1. You are certainly correct - in this instance with the New Guinea 1914-19 (Wmk Lozenges) issue - as it was never placed in use. Australian troops occupied the territory in 1914. Scott acknowledges this reality, only listing unused CV.