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...

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Montserrat - Bud's Big Blue

Montserrat #s 75-77 -- green, red, and orange brown
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Rarely do stamp designs feature ghost towns. Even more rarely does a thriving city illustrated on a stamp, in subsequent years, slip into ghostdom.

Plymouth, Montserrat, provides the exception. Spry and bustling when in the 1932 series came out (see above), it was buried alive in 1995 and 1997 by a series of pyroclastic lava flows from a volcano that had lain dormant for 300 years. You can see the sleeping volcano, Chances Peak, on the stamps hovering over Plymouth.

#76, red, close-up
Note Clock Tower (partially obscured by cancel)

#76,red, close-up 2nd example
Note War Memorial Clock Tower

Magnification shows some of Plymouth’s landmarks. In the center is the War Memorial clock tower flanked by government buildings (partially obscured by cancel in the 1st example). Plymouth was Monserrat’s capital and sole port of entry. It still is the government’s official location, although no one lives or works there -- the world’s only phantom capital. Fire and ash rendered Plymouth uninhabitable. Thankfully, all residents evacuated safely then resettled in the northern part of the island or elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Plymouth and Chances Peak during an eruption, from perspective similar to the 1932 series
Copyright © 2020 BBC

Plymouth’s War Memorial clock tower before and after devastation, a postcard

Phantom philately -- collecting stamps cancelled in ghost towns -- has a specialized following. They look for cancels from the likes of Sixteen, Montana and Thistle, Utah, or from towns with ghostly names such as Gnaw Bone, Indiana and Dead Woman Crossing, Oklahoma. In my locale, a large “haunting” of philatelists collect cancels from dead post offices (“haunting” is the collective noun for ghosts). Plymouth cancels struck during the eruptions should command high prices, if there are such, for the post office is now certainly dead.

Monserrat’s stamps remind me of another spooky matter -- a pernicious myth circulating on the internet about atrocities supposedly perpetrated against Monserrat’s early Irish immigrants. Yes, many of them were indentured servants. But allegations that equate their circumstances to horrors endured by African slaves are false, deceitful, and lacking in evidence, according to knowledgeable historians. Montserrat’s 1903 series (#s 12 thru 20) appropriately honors the island’s Irish heritage -- Erin, the female personification of Ireland holding a harp, clinging to a cross, and looking rather prosperous. The image was soon adopted as Monserrat’s coat of arms (1909).

Scott #12, green

I find the false aggrandizement of white indentured servants’ suffering disturbing, in a chilling sort of way, because some of my own ancestors were indentured servants. One of them married his master’s daughter -- a practice forbidden to African slaves. Although some indentured whites were ill-treated, reparations were commonly available once their servitude was completed. Not so for chattel slaves. For them, suffering was perpetual and hereditary.

 Census: 43 in BB spaces, 19 on supplement page.

Note: the BBC pic (above) is copyright, and is used here for educational purposes.

Jim's Observations
Montserrat (10 miles by 7 miles) was named by Christopher Columbus in November, 1893, after the Monastery of Montserrat in (now) Spain.

The English, though, had control of the island by 1632, and Montserrat became known as "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean": partially for its lush greenery, but more because the Irish were transported there as slaves, servants, and prisoners.

Page 1





Page 2


Page 1

Comments appreciated!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A Review of 2020: What I added to the collection January-July


Southern Rhodesia 1931 Scott 25 10p carmine & ultramarine
"George V"
Into the Deep Blue

The year 2020 was anything but normal as we all know. Frankly, I was distracted from the hobby for most of the period, with the disruption in our usual lives because of COVID. 

The reader will note, though, that it didn't prevent Bud and I (Jim) from publishing some 60 blog posts this year. 😎

Still, I did achieve the goal of adding ~50 stamps roughly per month to my collection. The total for the year was 613 new stamps for Deep Blue (Steiner pages), with 85 of them also having a space in Big Blue.

For interest, here is the summary for 2019 and 2018.

Recall, I collect 1840-1940 WW & 1840-1952 British Commonwealth. The easy pickings are long over, as I have some 51,000 stamps out of 83,000+ major number Scott catalogue possibilities for the era (61%). For specifics, see this post.

How did I do it? Well, as you probably guessed, it was not though browsing Dealer's tables at stamp shows (The shows were cancelled), or through Club stamp auctions (No club meetings).

And, although my plan was to target missing stamps through want lists, I mostly didn't do that either, save for the first and second issues of Hungary

No, I mostly resorted to my tried and true habit of obtaining country collections/accumulations/albums, and using them as feeders for my main collection.

For fun, let's look at what happened month by month. As there too many stamp images to present in one blog post, I will cover January-July here, with the next post looking at August-December.

Let's begin...

January 51

(Hungary 18, Southern Rhodesia 24, Tripolitania 8, Japan 1)

The Hungary accumulation will be addressed next month. The majority of the stamps this month (Southern Rhodesia, Tripolitania) were from a selection I obtained from a local dealer a year ago, and now being worked up.

Southern Rhodesia 1924 Scott 13 2sh6p black brown & blue
"King George V"
This rather heavily cancelled stamp has a CV of $70 (used). I would most likely not target an expensive stamp like this for a want list. But here it is as part of the Dealer's offering.

Southern Rhodesia 1935 Scott 17 1p scarlet "George V"
Perf 14
The collector that previously had these Southern Rhodesia's stamps was fastidious. All Perfs were checked and labeled. This (above) yielded the main Scott number.

Southern Rhodesia 1933 Scott 17b 1p scarlet "George V"
Perf 11 1/2
And Perf 11 1/2 is a minor number.

Southern Rhodesia 1931 Scott 17c 1p scarlet "George V"
Perf 12
And so is Perf 12. In fact, based on issue dates, the Perf 12 was the first 1p scarlet in 1931.

Southern Rhodesia 1931 Scott 25 10p carmine & ultramarine
"George V"
These lovely engraved stamps of 1931-37 were produced by Waterlow and Sons, Ltd, London.

Southern Rhodesia 1937 Scott 54 5sh green & blue
"King George VI"
The 1937 issue (13 stamps) for George VI consisted of this design. CV (used) is <$1 to $8.

Southern Rhodesia 1951 Scott J1 1/2p emerald
GB Stamps 1938-51 Overprinted in Black
On Great Britain stamps, the 1951 overprinted six stamp postage due issue is as shown. CV (unused) is $2+-$3.

February 67

(Hungary 67)

March 56

(Hungary 45, Bermuda 4, USA 3, Australia 2, Barbados 2)

I picked up a loaded Hungarian collection from an Oregon dealer in January: at least it was prior to the COVID lockdown. 

Hungary 1874 Scott 17 20k greenish gray; Perf 13
"Crown of St Stephen"
Hungary is one of those countries where the WW collector probably has a lot of earlier stamps, as many are CV inexpensive. But there are many Perf variants and watermarks to sort out. Have you done that? I find it is helpful to recheck stamp identification as one obtains more feeder albums and develops a more sophisticated understanding.

This rather tired looking 1874-76 "A2" design 20k greenish gray filled a space (CV $10+). 

Hungary 1898 Scott 46 50k dull red & orange
"Crown of St Stephen"
The "A3" designs of 1888-1899 need parsing (Wmks, Perfs). A space was found for the 50k dull red and orange (CV $15).

Hungary 1908 Scott 83 5k violet brown
"Franz Josef Wearing Hungarian Crown"
Perf 15; Wmk 136
Another space filled (CV $7+). There are some five catalogue numbers (major and minor) for this design: check the Perf and Wmk.

Hungary 1920 Scott 330 10k violet brown & red violet
Scott Nos 214-222 Overprinted in Black
I was lacking the 10k denomination (CV $9). Unfortunately, a review of Varro Tyler's "Focus on Forgeries" reveals that this overprint is a forgery. The genuine would have 5-7 very short horizontal shading lines placed between "1919" and the left edge of the frame around "1919".

That brings up the downside for Hungary: The numerous forgeries, especially with the overprinted examples.

Hungary 1936 Scott C44 5p dark blue "Airplane"
The 1936 Air Post issue of ten stamps has three designs, and shows a Fokker F VII airplane on all designs. CV varies between <$1 and $10+.

April 50

(Hungary 48, Burma 2)

May 50

(Hungary 47, Colombia 3)

Although I added a number of Hungarian stamps in other categories, a prime reason I obtained the collection was for the extensive Hungarian occupation issues. Let's take a look...

Issued under French Occupation: Arad Issue
1919 Scott 1N22 10f scarlet "Charles IV" (A11 design) , Blue Overprint
Overprinted on 1918 Issue
Now a MAJOR caveat.

Almost all of the overprinted occupation issues were overprint counterfeited. 

First Transylvania Issue - Romanian Occupation
Newspaper Stamp 1919 Scott 5NP1 2b orange 
The Scott catalogue states: "The overprints...have been extensively forged. Education plus working with knowledgeable dealers is mandatory in this collecting area"

Second Transylvania Issue - Romanian Occupation
1919 Scott 6N4 16b gray green "Turul and Crown of St Stephen"
On Stamps of 1913-16
In fact, any collection of Hungarian occupation issues that has not been expertised should be assumed to be mostly counterfeits.  That is reality.

So what should a collector do? For me, I am content to fill the spaces with (probable) overprint counterfeited stamps until..... at some point ( and perhaps never!) .... either I obtain the specialized knowledge, or get expertised stamps. !!!

Temesvar Issues - Under Serbian Occupation
1919 Scott 10NJ5 30f green & red
Postage Due stamps of 1914-15 Overprinted type "a" in Black
Yes, I would love to have the knowledge to tell, but I haven't seen where it is readily available. Life is too short, so I will fight, at this time, other easier counterfeit battles. ;-)

June 52

(Colombia 52)

July 50

(Colombia 50)

At the same time I picked up Hungary, I obtained a nice Colombia collection. (This was before the COVID lockdown.)

Actually, most of the Colombia collection was already discussed and published in 2020.


Colombia 1902-02 Scott 243 10c dark blue/salmon
Laid Paper; "Iron Quay at Sabanilla"
Barranquilla Issues
This is what I said about this issue..

"The 10c design was also issued between 1903-04 in dark blue on six different colored papers - each given a major number (Scott 240-245) for imperforate examples. There are also minor numbers for Perf 12 examples.

These stamps were on horizontally laid paper."

1918 Scott 353 1/2c on 20c gray black
On 1908 Scott 330 Surcharged in Red
Colombia, in my view, is in the top 2-3 counties in South America for philatelists. I sometimes regret collecting WW, as that limits me (time wise) when I have the desire to specialize - such as now. ;-)

1938 Scott 464 2c rose "Oil Wells"
Lithographed; Types of 1932
I show the 2c "Oil Wells" example, because it has three printings: the 1938 lithographic imprinted "Litografia Nacional Bogata" stamp (above); the 1932 engraved imprinted "Waterlow & Sons, Ltd, Londres" stamp, and the differently designed (but similar) 1935 engraved imprinted "American Bank Note Co." stamp. All inexpensive. All fascinating.

1921 Scott C25 5c orange yellow
"Plane over Magdalena River"
The 1921 eleven stamp air post issue (one of two designs shown above) and the 1923-28 thirteen stamp air post issue are a gateway into the extensive SCADTA - Consular overprints using these stamps. Of course, the SCADTA overprints are a major sub-specialty for Colombian philatelists.

Out of the Blue
Hope you enjoyed this little "show and tell' into the 2020 January - July stamp acquisitions.

The next post will look at August - December, 2020 additions. 

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Montenegro - Bud's Big Blue

Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

An art museum that limits its collection to portraits of only one person would bore me. If the portraits ranged over a long lifetime, maybe I’d be less fatigued, maybe even energized if the lifetime were interesting. 

That’s how I feel about Big Blue’s Montenegro pages -- a gallery of selfies -- boring at first glance and yet, after a hard look, strangely puzzling, intriguing, even thought-provoking.

The portraits all depict Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš (Nicholas, hereinafter) first as a tousle-haired prince, then a portly King, and finally a timeworn king-in-exile -- one face, many facets. The tousle-hair design was repeated with minor differences for three printings plus an overprinted series; the first (1874) with seven values is the more difficult to collect (see supplement pages for examples, first two lines). 

Montenegro #4 (1874, light violet), #40 (1898, dull blue), #41 (1894, maroon), #24 (1893, red), all with tousle-hair

Nicholas was Montenegro’s one and only king. In addition to being a much loved and mostly capable ruler, he also wrote poetry.

At the outset of World War I, he chose an alliance with Serbia against Austria-Hungary, a right decision but one with poor results for him. After a defeat in 1916 he surrendered to the Austrians and fled first to Italy, then to France. When the Serbs were eventually victorious in 1918, instead of restoring him to power, his former subjects and allies deposed him, then joined Montenegro to Serbia. Nicholas died in France, 1921.

Montenegro #102 (deep rose), #105 (deep blue), the portly King

The only exceptions to stamps with Nicholas’s portrait are the postage dues and the colorful series depicting the monastery at Cetinje, the latter easily being the most frequently found Montenegrin stamps in feeder albums. The monastery houses the royal mausoleums where Nicholas’s remains were buried on October 1, 1989, along with those of his wife, Queen Milena, and two of his twelve children. Originally buried at a Russian Orthodox church in San Remo, Italy, they were repatriated and, at long last, given a state funeral.

Michael Adkins provides a helpful description of Montenegrin stamps in his Dead Country website (http://www.dcstamps.com/montenegro-kingdom-principality-1878-1916/). All of these are shown on the BB page scans below and, on the supplement pages, follow the post exilic Gaeta issues (so called because they were issued in the Italian city of Gaeta), the Austrian occupation stamps, and the overprinted French stamps that were used by the government in exile. The Gaeta stamps bear the overprint СЛОБОДНА ЦРНА ГОРА (Free Montenegro).

Gaeta issues, the timeworn King

Montenegro in Exile #s 7 and 5, France

In a sense, though, Montenegro has refused to die philatelically: in 1922 it became a part of Yugoslavia where it remained uncomfortably through various rebellions and wars until 2006 when, following a referendum, it declared independence. During these years, various stamps of other nations were issued with Montenegro overprints -- Italian, Serbian, Austrian, German, Yugoslavian, etc. Deep pockets are required for collecting some of these. After independence, Montenegro again issued stamps of its own, but the likeness of Nicholas did not reappear until 2014.

Issued for the 25th anniversary of the repatriation of remains, 2014

Burial chaple at Cetinje

Census: 115 in BB spaces, 58 on supplement pages, 4 tip-ins.

Jim's Observations

Except for the very early issues (1874, 1879), most of the Montenegro stamp issues proper had to be abundantly supplied to the philatelic trade, as the CV for these stamps some 127-102 years later is at low to minimum. Remarkable.

But the stamps themselves are well designed and lovely. Truth be told, in the philatelic world, there is generally little correlation between the intrinsic beauty of a stamp and it's catalogue value.

Here one can have beauty at rock bottom prices.

Page 1




Page 2





Page 3




Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Comments appreciated!