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...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Belgian Congo Stamps Part I - A closer look

1910 Scott 54 1fr carmine & black 
"Hunting Elephants"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Belgian Congo 1886-1939, 229 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 140 are CV <$1-$1+, or 61%. Clearly, a representative collection is available for WW collectors for minimal cost.

Original Belgium Congo Blog Post and BB Checklist is here. In Big Blue, the country's entry is under "Congo".

The Belgian Congo is an interesting country, both historically and stamp design wise.

The country initially existed (1886-1908) solely under the private ownership of King Leopold II of Belgium, as Belgium itself was not interested. The exploitation of the natives in the rubber industry became a major scandal and embarrassment. To correct the worst abuses, Belgium annexed the territory as a colony in 1908.

Between 1894-1925, some 71 bi-colored engraved stamps were released, either with pictorial designs or additionally surcharged.

Most are quite CV inexpensive, even today. And they are quite lovely.

For this blog post, we will visit these 1894-1925 stamps and their designs.

But there were also some more interesting pictorials issued between 1920-1937. They are too good to ignore, so they will be featured with the next blog post.

Let's begin...
A closer look at the stamps
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1889 Scott 6 5c green "King Leopold II"
Independent State of the Congo
Before we get to the engraved bi-color pictorials that were first issued in 1894, let's look at the person that, with the help of explorer Henry Morton Stanley, acquired the Congo Independent State for himself: King Leopold II of Belgium.

He acquired the lands to enhance the prestige of Belgium, and, not insignificantly, enrich himself through the forced labor of natives by developing rubber plantations, and exporting ivory and minerals.

Joseph Conrad's 1899 "Heart of Darkness" novel was based on, in part, the human suffering occurring there.

The territory was named the "Congo Free State" on May 29, 1885.

He is featured on the 1886 five stamps issue, and the 1887-1894 eight stamp issue, pictured above.

Counterfeits exist for both issues.

Information on counterfeit stamps can be found on the stampforgeries.com website.

1895 Scott 15 5c red brown & black "Port Matadi"
Independent State of the Congo
The first engraved bi-color 1894-1901 issue for "Etat Independent Du Congo" consisted of thirteen stamps and six pictorial designs.

CV is <$1-$10+ for 12 stamps.

Port Matidi is up the Congo River 92 miles from the mouth, and was and is located just below where the Congo River has many rapids and becomes unnavigable. It was founded by Sir Henry Morton Stanley in 1879.

Port Matidi, on cover of trading cards from the Congo
The building (1890-1898) of the Matidi-Kinshasa Railway enabled transport of goods deep within the Congo to the Port of Matidi.

1894 Scott 20 25c yellow orange & black
"Inkissi Falls"
For the collector, the bi-colors of 1894-1898 can be confused with later issues which have the same pictorial scenes.

These 1894-1898 issue stamps are labeled  "Etat Independant Du Congo" during the era when Leopold II personally owned these lands. Later (after 1909), they will be labeled "Congo Belge" and/or "Belgisch-Congo".

Inkissi (Inkisi, Zongo) Falls
The Inkisi Falls (180 ft drop) are located about six miles up the Inkisi River, a tributary of the Congo River.

1896 Scott 27 15c ocher & black
"Climbing Oil Palms"
In 1896, two stamps with new designs were released.

The "Climbing Oil Palms" design was subsequently used on several 15 centime stamps with changing colors.

Of interest, the French Yvert & Tellier 1840-1940 catalogue use the term "cocotiers",meaning "coconut tree climbers", literally. I assume any climber of palm trees would be called a "cocotier" in French.

1909 Scott 42 10c carmine & black
Belgian Congo
River Scene on the Congo, Stanley Falls
When the colony was taken over formally in 1908 by Belgium, the country was renamed "Belgian Congo".

A four stamp issue, using four previously issued pictorial scenes, was produced in 1909.

CV is <$1-$20.

This four stamp issue is often misplaced in stamp albums.

The four stamps for the 1909 issue are only labeled "Congo Belge", in French.

But the next issue released in 1910 will have very similar stamps.  One difference is the 1910 stamps will have both "Congo Belge" in French and "Belgisch-Congo" in Flemish as labels.

Native Fisheries at Stanley Falls in 1925
Stanley Falls (now known as Boyoma Falls), was obviously named for the explorer Henry Stanley. It actually consists of seven cataracts, each one no more than 16 ft high,  extending for 60 miles along a curve of the Lualaba River.  Below Stanley Falls, the river is known as the Congo.

Lualaba River (In red)
Kisangani (Stanleyville) is where Stanley Falls ends
The stamp scene also shows the Stanleyville village area, now known as Kisangani. Kisangani is the third largest urban city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

1915 Scott 58 5fr ocher & black
"Bangala Chief and Wife"
The 1910-1915 issue consists of 15 stamps, Of the ten pictorial scenes, all are recycled from previous issues. But the frames are new for this issue, and will show both the French name "Congo Belge" and the Flemish name "Belgisch Congo".

CV is <$1-$20+ for 14 stamps.

Camp of Bangalas, Stanleyville
The Bangala language is a Bantu language, and today is spoken or understood by about 3.5 million people. It actually is a way to communicate (lingua franca) between tribes of different ethnic groups that border the Congo River.

1915 Scott 60 5c green & black
"Port Matadi"
The last non surcharged bi-colored issue was released in 1915, and consisted of three stamps: a 5c green & black, a 10c red & black, and a 25c blue & black. None of the pictorial scenes are new.

CV is <$1.

This 1915 issue looks very similar to the same denomination three stamps of the preceding 1910 issue, except this time, the denomination is included in numeral word format above "Congo Belge".

Note the "Cinq" above the "Congo Belge" in this example.

Such is the level of detail the collector must check to properly identify these bi-colors.

1921 Scott 64 5c on 40c bluish green & black, Red Surcharge
Stamps of 1910 Issue Surcharged; "Congo Canoe"
In 1921, six stamps of the 1910 issue were surcharged in red or black.

The scene is called "Congo Canoe" in Scott, but Y&T catalogue calls the scene "Embarcations indigenes", which like better.

1922 Scott 76 25c on 40c brown red & black, Red Surcharge
On 1915 Issue Stamps; "Congo Canoe"
In 1922, five additional stamps from the 1915 issue were surcharged in black or red as shown.

CV is <$1.
1918 Semi-Postal Scott B3 15c + 20c blue green & blue
Types of 1910-15 Issues Surcharged in Red
"Climbing Oil Palms"
In 1918, nine semi-postals were created, by surcharging in red, types of the 1910-15 issues.

"Types" means the underlying stamps are produced here in a different color combination than the original issue.

Isn't this lovely?
1918 Semi-Postal Scott B4 25c + 25c deep blue & pale blue
Types of 1910-15 Issues Surcharged in Red; "Inkissi Falls"
The 1918 semi-postal surcharged nine stamp issue has a CV of <$1-$3 for seven stamps.

Here, the stamps "type" is produced as deep blue & pale blue, while the original 1915 stamp is blue & black.

1925 Scott B11 25c + 25c carmine & black
Flemish Script; "Congo Canoe"
For Colonial campaigns 1914-1918
In 1925, two stamps with new frames were issued as semi-postals. The surtax was to erect at Kinshasa a monument for those who died in WW I.

The vignette scene here had been used on prior stamps.

The two new frames differ in that one is inscribed in French, while the other is in Flemish.

Monument du Souvenir , 1927
War Memorial
This may be the war memorial that was erected in 1927.

Deep Blue
1922 Issue with Surcharges on 1915 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 19 pages for the 1886-1939 stamps of the Belgian Congo. All Scott major numbers have a space.

1921 Scott 67 25c on 15c ocher & black
Red Surcharge; "Climbing Oil Palms"
Out of the Blue
A bit more history is gleaned by following the stamps.

Note:Internet pics, scans, and maps (Stanleyville, Luabala River, Stanley Falls, Inkissi Falls, Port Matidi) appear to be in the public domain.

Belgian Congo - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fiume - Bud's Big Blue

"A Frightful little gnome"

"A tragic gargoyle"
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Fiume generated a pile of stamps -- a typical result in new countries besot with social turmoil. Moreover, because stamps were hastily issued over the few years of Fiume’s existence, fakes and forgeries abound, especially for overprinted Hungarian stamps. Collectors relying on feeder albums commonly find problems. The problems crop up again in BBs Hungary section.

Irregular troops led Gabriele D'Annunzio, a poet and inspirer of revolts, took over Fiume in 1919. He hoped to annex it to Italy, thereby making Italy great again, but it didn’t happen as he wished. 

Historians say, however, that Mussolini picked up his ideas, and Hitler did, too. D'Annunzio’s nihilism, his poetic glorification of passionate beauty, and his pursuit of immediate sensual pleasure at any cost, especially if someone else pays for it, typifies Nazi aesthetics. Doting women gushed over the little man (see quotes above). Others thought him a jerk. Compare his picture to Scott #s 86 through 99 (page 2 and supplement).

I’ve not finished checking the scans for forgeries, but the few stamps I’ve looked at carefully seem to be OK. A great help in detecting Fiume forgeries can be found online: 

Jim's Observations
The allied troop occupation of Fiume (November,1918), the takeover by the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio and his legionnaires (1919), and the creation of The Free State of Fiume (1920-24), gave philatelists a stamp issuing entity that, during six years, issued 262 stamps!  Fiume, on the Adriatic Sea, consisted mostly of the city of Fiume.  The city became known as Rijeka after WWII, and today is in Croatia.

Fiume Blog Post and Checklist

Page 1 (Click and enlarge for examination)




Page 2




Page 3



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Comments appreciated!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bavaria "Coat of Arms" Issues 1867 -1911

1867 Scott 16 3kr rose "Coat of arms"
Embossed; Imperforate; With Silk Thread
Into the Deep Blue
Continuing our investigation into the early issues of Bavaria,, this blog post will look at the embossed "Coat of Arms" issues of 1867-1911.

The preceding Bavaria posts are here...

Bavaria Blog Post and Checklist
Bavaria 1849-1862 & the Mill Wheel Stamp Postmarks

The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue for the 1867-1911 "Coat of Arms" era, has 62 major number descriptions, and 16 significant minor number descriptions (Total 78 descriptions). Of those, 23 are CV <$1-$1+, or 29%. Raising the bar to CV $10+ yields a total of 58, or 74%. Clearly, interested collectors can accumulate a nice representative collection if they wish, provided they spend a bit.

There are also in the Scott catalog many minor number shade stamps that are listed.

An overview of the "Coat of Arms" issues looks like this..

Kreuzer Denominations
1867-68 Imperforate with Silk Thread (Eight descriptions)

The rest of the issues have no Silk Thread
1870-72 Perf 11 1/2; Wmk 92 (Eight descriptions)
1870-72 Perf 11 1/2; Wmk 93 (Eight minor number descriptions)
1874-75 (Mark values-two descriptions): Imperf + Perf 11 1/2, Wmk 92
1875 Perf 11 1/2; Wmk 94 (Five descriptions)

Pfenning/Mark  Denominations
1876-78 Perf 11 1/2; Wmk 94 (Ten descriptions)
1881-1911 Perf 11 1/2; Wmk 95v (Ten descriptions)
1888-1900 Perf 14 1/2; Wmk 95h; White paper (Ten descriptions)
1888-1899 perf 14 1/2; Wmk 95h; Toned paper (Twelve descriptions- four major, eight minor)
1911 Perf 14 1/2; Wmk 95v; (One description)
1911 Perf 11 1/2; Wmk 95h; (Four descriptions - all Mark values)

A bit of advice: I think this blog post will make a little more sense if one follows along by looking at the Scott catalogue at the same time.

Clearly, paying attention to Kreuzer/Pfenning denomination differences, Imperforate/ Perf 11 1/2/ Perf 14 1/2 differences, Watermark differences ( Wmk 92, Wmk 93, Wmk 94, Wmk 95v, Wmk 95h), and paper differences (white/toned) is necessary for the WW collector to properly identify these stamps.

But, in reality, it is not so difficult, at least at the level of the Scott catalogue. (For serious collectors, a Michel should be used also.)

One just needs to identify the denomination - simple!..either Kreuzer or Pfenning values.

And identify the perforation- either 11 1/2 or 14 1/2, or imperforate.

And then identify the watermark, which is usually fairly obvious.

And for some issues, splitting the paper into "white" or "toned" will give a major or minor number.

So let's begin.....

A closer look at the stamps and issues
60 Kreuzer = 1 Gulden
100 Pfennig = 1 Mark (1874)
Coat of Arms; Embossed
Used on Bavarian Stamps 1867-1911
All the Bavarian "Coat of arms" issues have this embossed design.

Embossed Shield Close-up

Coat of Arms Kingdom of Bavaria 1835-1918
I was unable to find an exact reproduction of the stamp design, but here is one rendition of the 1835-1918 Kingdom of Bavaria "Coat of Arms".

1867 Scott 15 1kr yellow green "Coat of arms"
Embossed; Imperforate; With Silk Thread
The first embossed issue of 1867-68 consisted of eight denominations. CV is $2+-$10+ for four stamps. The highest CV is for the 18kr red @ $140.

This is the only issue that is imperforated. There is a vertical silk red thread embedded in the paper on the reverse side, as we will see soon.

1867 Scott 15 6kr ultramarine "Coat of arms"
Embossed; Imperforate; With Silk Thread
With Type 1 "Mill Wheel" cancel
"Mill Wheel" cancels can be found on these stamps (both Type 1 & Type 2). For much more on the "Mill Wheels", see my preceding blog post.

According to Michel, the volume distributed for each denomination for this issue is...
1kr yellow green -20,800,000 CV $12 (These are 2017 Scott catalogue values.)
3kr rose -70,600,000 CV $2+
6kr ultramarine -3,400,000 CV $19
6kr bister -2,400,000 CV $50
7kr ultramarine -2,900,000 CV $16
9kr bister -1,300,000 CV $35
12kr lilac -663,000 CV $95
18kr red -261,000 CV $140

USA 1847 Scott 1 5c brown "Franklin" - 3,700,000 CV $375

1867-68 "Coat of Arms" Issue; Imperforate
Has Vertical Red Silk Thread Embedded
The back of the imperforate stamp should have a fairly obvious vertical red silk thread embedded. This is a good identification feature to verify that one has a legitimate 1867-68 imperforated issue.

12kr lilac "Coat of Arms"
Very stiff and thick cardboard
Probable Postcard Cut Square?
I have several stamps, a 6kr bister, and a 12kr lilac that are on very thick "postcard" like paper with printing on the reverse. Scott says nothing about them. I assume they are postcard cutouts? Readers?

1870 Scott 26 7kr ultramarine, Perf 11 1/2
Without Silk Thread
Wmk 92 "Longer Diamond"
Between July, 1870- January, 1873, an eight stamp perforated (11 1/2) issue with a "Longer  Diamond" (Wmk 92)  watermark was released. In Scott, the Wmk 92 stamps are given major numbers. CV is $1+-$6+ for five stamps. The highest CV is for the 12kr lilac @ $1,200 unused!

Note that these stamps do not have a silk thread embedded, and, in fact, none of the remaining "Coat of Arms" issues do.

This issue contrasts with the same time period issue of eight stamps that have a "Shorter Diamond" (Wmk 93), as we will see next.

1870 Scott 23a 1k green, Perf 11 1/2
Without Silk Thread
Wmk 93 "Shorter Diamond"
Along with Wmk 92, there was also Wmk 93 paper used between July, 1870 - January, 1873. Scott considers that the eight stamps with Wmk 93 as minor numbers, but actually they are "major" ("X" subset vs "Y" subset in Michel) in reality.

The Wmk 93 stamps command a higher to a much higher CV price in the catalogues.  But, the Wmk 93 1kr green and the 3kr rose stamps are only CV $2+-$9+, so the collector should check those denominations especially, as the collector could have the more elusive wmk 93 stamp.

Lets look at the 92 & 93 watermarks...

Left: Wmk 92 "Longer, Diamond" 17 mm wide
Right: Wmk 93 "Shorter Diamond" 14-15 mm wide
The "Longer Diamond" ( rhombus) watermark (Wmk 92) is 17mm wide. In contrast, the "Shorter  Diamond" (Wmk 93) is 14-15mm wide. I will say right now that it can be a bit confusing - I certainly have been fooled. Careful examination of these two watermarks may be necessary. Generally, Wmk 92 stamps are much less CV wise then Wmk 93 stamps. Also, in Scott, Wmk 93 stamps are minor numbers.

1875 Scott 32 1m violet; Perf 11 1/2
Wmk 92
Between 1867-1973, the only stamps issued were denominated in Kreuzers. However, in 1874, a 1 Mark violet imperforate stamp was released.  Then in 1875, a 1 Mark violet perforated (11 1/2) stamp was likewise released. Both of these stamps are on Wmk 92 paper.

Actually, the "Marks"  are "Goldmarks" (German Mark), which were valued @ 35 Kreuzer = German Imperial Goldmark.

1875 Scott 34 3kr rose; Perf 11 1/2
Wmk 94
In 1875, a five stamp issue was released of the "Coat of Arms" design on watermark 94 "Horizontal Wavy Lines Wide Apart" paper. This would prove to be the last of the "Kreuzer' denomination stamps.

CV is <$1-$30 for the five stamps. Since this issue was short lived, unused is much less CV wise than used. Fake cancellations exist.

Left: Wmk 94 "Horizontal Wavy Lines Wide Apart"
Right: Wmk 95v "Vertical Wavy Lines Close Together"

Here is a Wmk 94 "Horizontal Wavy Lines Wide Apart" example. Also shown is a Wmk 95v "Vertical Wavy Lines Close Together" that we will encounter on later "Coat of Arms"issues..These watermarks are usually fairly easy to determine.

1876 Scott 44 50pf scarlet; Perf 11 1/2
Wmk 94
The 1976-78 issue was the first to be denominated in Pfennig (100 Pfennig = 1 Mark).

The ten stamp issue is on Wmk 94 "Horizontal Wavy Lines Wide Apart" paper. 

CV is $1+-$10+ for seven stamps.

1881 Scott 52 25pf yellow brown; Perf 11 1/2
Wmk 95v
Perforated 11 1/2, a ten stamp (ten major descriptive Scott numbers) issue using Wmk 95v "Vertical Wavy Lines Close Together" paper was released between 1881-1901. If one includes minor number changes in paper (toned, white, translucent), the issue continued to 1911.

CV is <$1-$20+ for all ten major numbers. Some of the minor numbers (change to white paper or translucent paper) are rather CV expensive ($80-$175). See Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue for the details, if interested.

1900 Scott 67 30pf olive green; Perf 14 1/2
Wmk 95h
Another watermark was introduced for the Scott major number fourteen stamp 1888-1900 issue. This is the Wmk 95h "Horizontal Wavy Lines Close Together". 

This issue has perforations 14 1/2.

CV is <$1-$9+ for the fourteen stamps listed as "major numbers". There are also a number of denominations listed with minor number color shades.

There are paper differences: "white paper" vs "toned paper" for a number of denominations. More about that soon.

Wmk 95h: "Horizontal Wavy Lines Close Together"
Here is a good look at Wmk 95h. The watermark is rather easy to determine.

1900 Scott 68 40pf yellow; Perf 14 1/2
Wmk 95h
On White Paper
Remember, I said there also were "White paper" vs "Toned paper" differences for the 1888-1900 issue?

Scott has major descriptive numbers for ten denominations listed under "white paper". It then lists, under "toned paper" ( between 1888-1899), four major numbers and eight minor numbers. 

1888 Scott 69 50pf deep brown; Perf 14 1/2
Wmk 95h
On Toned Paper
As one may suspect, the white paper vs toned paper 1888-1900 "Coat of Arms" issue is rather complex in the Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue (no doubt influenced by the obsessive Michel listings).

Finally- not illustrated here specifically, but I will mention for completeness sake: There were five "Coat of Arms" stamps issued in 1911 (5pf on Wmk 95v paper- Perf 14 1/2; Four mark values on Wmk 95h paper-Perf 11 1/2). These can be differentiated from the preceding issued denomination/ same color stamps by a change in watermark.

1920 Scott 237 20pf on 3pf brown
Surcharged in Dark Blue
In 1920, a 20pf on 2pf brown stamp was issued. The surcharge is in dark blue. CV is <$1.

1876 Postage Due Scott J4 3pf gray
Type of 1876 Regular Issue; Wmk 94
Overprinted in Red
"Vom Empfanger zahlbar"
Postage Due stamps, based on the"pfennig" issue types of 1876, were issued in 1876 (Wmk 94), 1883 (Wmk 95v), 1895-1903 (Wmk 95h), and 1888 (Wmk 95h, Rose-toned paper).

The overprint said "To be paid by recipient".

1908 Official Scott O3 10pf carmine
Regular Issue of 1888-1900
Overprinted Red or Green
Official stamps were issued in 1908. The five overprinted stamps had an "E" for "Eisenbahn", for use of railway officials. CV is <$1-$4+.

Deep Blue
Part of 1888-1900 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has four pages for the "Coat of arms" Bavarian issues of 1867-1911.

There are some missing spaces that the collector might want to add by perhaps including a quadrilled page or two.

The 1870-72 eight stamp major number Wmk 92 issue has spaces. The 1870-72 eight stamp minor number Wmk 93 spaces are not provided.

For the 1888-1900 Perf 14 1/2 Wmk 95h issue, all the major numbers are given a space. This includes ten stamps on white paper and four stamps on toned paper. But the eight other stamps on toned paper that have minor numbers are not given a space.

1900 Scott 54 1m rose lilac; Perf 11 1/2
Wmk 95v
Out of the Blue
I think the presentation here makes the "Coat of Arms" issues appear more complicated than they are when confronted by these stamps.

As said, if one checks perforations (Imperf, Perf 11 1/2, Perf 14 1/2), denominations (Kreuzer vs Pfennig), watermarks (Wmk 92, Wmk 93, Wmk 94, Wmk 95v. Wmk 95h), and paper (white, toned, translucent), it is not too difficult, at least at the level of the Scott catalogue. !!!

Note: Bavarian Coat of Arms pic appears to be in the public domain.

Bavaria - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!