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...

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Macao - Bud's Big Blue

General Post Office, Macao
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
I’m attracted to colonial post office architecture. Macao has preserved a gem! Many of BB’s Macao’s stamps passed through this grand old GPO. Built in 1929, it still functions as the city’s main post office.

Neighboring Hong Kong knocked down their GPO in 1976, replacing Edwardian gingerbread with modernist brutalism. Now the replacement faces demolition too, its harborfront real estate being too valuable for mere postal transactions (I suppose).

Macanese affection for their GPO led to a souvenir sheet featuring it -- issued in 2019 for the 135th anniversary Macao’s postal service. The sheet depicts a side view while the postcard focuses on the tower and corner entrance.


Issued in 2019 for the 135th anniversary Macao’s postal service.

Harbors, channels, and rivers played important roles in Macao’s postal history; much of the international mail was transported by steamer (paquebot) to Hong Kong or up the river to Canton. As a consequence, Macao cancels often appear on Hong Kong stamps. The reverse is true, too, although less frequently. Sometimes a Chinese (Canton) cancel can be found on a Macao stamp.

Macao (Macau) cancel on Hong Kong, Paquebot cancel,
Canton cancel on Macao

I found BB’s Macao spaces difficult and often expensive to fill, likely because the Macanese, and the Chinese in general, have become avid stamp collectors. For 1884-5 issues, mint stamps are more readily available than are interesting used examples. The number of world-wide stamp collectors in the 1880s exceeded the stamp-using population of Macao. 

Bisects, as is common in Portuguese colony collections, are plentiful. But the supplement pages (below) show only one such.

Census: 148 in BB spaces, 1 tip-in, 71 on supplement pages

Jim's Observations
Macao (Macau) , a small 6 square mile Portuguese Overseas Territory during the classical period, is located at the mouth of the Canton River off the coast of China, and close to Hong Kong. Today, along with Hong Kong, it is a special administrative district of the People's Republic of China.

(Note: Macao is the spelling used in the Scott catalogue, but Macau seems more prevalent.)


Macao today is known for tourism, and especially gambling casinos. Both Cantonese and Portuguese are official languages.

But back to history. The Portuguese had a permanent settlement by 1557. Portuguese trade and commerce was then restricted to the port of Macau in 1631 by the Chinese. In 1887, an agreement was reached with China that allowed a permanent occupation and government by Portugal in Macau.

During WW II, Macau was not formally occupied by the Japanese, but was required to have Japanese "advisors", none the less.

Portugal finally relinquished all sovereignty in 1999 to China.

Macao Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Ceylon 1861-1900 Victorian era - a closer look

1881 Scott 20 5p orange brown
Wmk 6 "Large Star"
Into the Deep Blue
Ceylon is a delight for WW collectors. But realistically, because it is an attractive British Crown Colony with stamp production from 1857-1949, CV prices are rather high, and there are some earlier stamps that are beyond the reach of many collectors.

But there are still many stamps that a modest wallet can collect.

With that in mind, I will present three Ceylon blog posts: this one (1861-1900); then 1903-1935; then 1935-1947. I hope the stamp journey will be found enjoyable.

Ceylon
From Gerben van Gelder's Stamp World History
Ceylon is just off the Indian mainland, separated by the Gulf of Mannar. It has been under British rule since 1796, and a crown colony since 1803. The capital was Colombo.

Original Ceylon Blog Post & BB Checklist

1861-1900 Victorian Era - A closer look
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
100 Cents = 1 Rupee (1872)
1881 Scott 20 5p orange brown "Queen Victoria"
Wmk 6 "Large Star"; White Paper; Clean-cut Perf 14 to 15 1/2
If I was to concentrate on a Victorian era stamp period, the 1857-1867 Ceylon issues with this classic portrait of the Queen would be very high on the list.

This engraved design (A1) is catalogued in Scott on 35 examples, with many more if one includes minor numbers. The issues are divided by printer (Perkins Bacon early, De La Rue later); paper (blued vs white); Imperf (1857-59) vs Perforated ( 1861-67); Types of Perfs (Clean cut Perf 14 to 15 1/2, Rough Perf 14 to 15 1/2, and Perfs 12, 12 1/2, 13); and watermark (none, Wmk 6 "Large Star", Crown Colony Wmk 1a, and Wmk 1b).

Needless to say, these issues are a bit complicated, although with examination, one should be able to sorted them out.

I count seventeen major number A1 design stamps that are over CV $100 ($120-$4000+). But there are also four stamps with CV of $10 or less.

Wmk 6 "Large Star"
All of the 1857 Imperfs (13 stamps) have Wmk 6, while the clean and rough Perf 14 to 15 1/2 issues of 1861 (21 stamps) are also Wmk 6 "Large Star".

The later issues (De La Rue printer) are either unwatermarked, or have two types of Crown Colony Wmk 1 (1a, 1b). Consult Scott and Stanley Gibbons for specifics.

1872 Scott 63 2c brown, Wmk 1
Perf 14
The 1872-80 typographic issue was on Crown Colony Wmk 1 paper, and consisted of eleven stamps, each with the same portrait of Victoria and a different frame design.

CV varies from $1+ to $70+.

1872 Scott 67 16c violet, Wmk 1
Perf 14
Here is another stamp in the 1872 issue, with a different frame design. These stamps and the rest of the Ceylon issues through 1927 were produced by De La Rue.

1872 Scott 71 48c rose; Wmk 1
Perf 14
And another 1872 issue example: Note that the currency has changed to Cents/Rupee.

1884 Scott 89 4c rose, Wmk 2
Between 1883-89, a ten stamp issue on Wmk 2 paper ("Crown and C A") was released. The five designs were based on the previously released 1872-80 issue. Some of the stamps are the same color as the 1872-80 issue, some of the stamps are in a different color. One may need to watermark (Wmk 1 vs Wmk 2) in order to place the stamp in the correct issue.

CV ranges from <$1 to $180.

1885 Scott 117 5c on 4c rose
Wmk2; Perf 14
Issues of 1883 Scott 88 4c lilac rose Surcharged 
Between 1882 and 1899 there were many stamps (56!) that were surcharged a different value.

In 1885, twenty-nine stamps were surcharged, using the issues of 1872-82. The above is an example.
CV is $6 to a high $3,000+!.

1885-87 Scott 124 5c on 8c lilac
Types of 1872-80 Surcharged
Between 1885-87, seven stamps were surcharged, using three surcharge types. The stamps, based on the 1872-80 issue, were also "types": they are a different color than the 1872-80 issue.

1886 Scott 131 5c lilac Type I
Thin Lines in background, Hair and Curl clear
Now, this is interesting. The 1886 5c lilac was a warhorse stamp - it was used a lot. Consequently, the plates became worn. Six plates were used between 1885 and 1901. Scott gives a minor number to examples from worn plates.

The fresher plates (Scott 131 major number) gave stamps with thinner lines and more detail.

1886 Scott 131a 5c lilac Type II
Thicker Lines, Heavier shading under chin
While the worn plates show heavier shading under the chin and thicker lines. Curiously, Stanley Gibbons mentions the changes the worn plates give, but does not give a special catalogue number to them. Yet, Scott gives a minor number (Scott 131a) for the changes.

1900 Scott 141 75c black & orange brown
Wmk 2
Between 1886-1900, a ten stamp issue with the above design was released.

CV is <$1 to $9.

1888-90 Scott 143 2c on 4c lilac rose
Issue of 1883-84 Surcharged
In 1888-90, two stamps (1883 4c lilac rose and the 1884 4c rose) were surcharged "2c" as shown.

1888-90 Scott 151 2c on 4c rose
Surcharged
Another example of the 1888-90 "2c" surcharges: Here on a 4c rose.

In total, for 1888-90, there were ten stamps with "2c" surcharges (five surcharge types).

CV ranges from <$1 to $37+.

1890 Scott 152 5c on 15c olive green
Scott 136 Surcharged
In 1890, a single stamp (15c olive green) was surcharged as shown.  Although the basic surcharged stamp CV is modest (CV $2+), Scott lists some eight errors with the surcharge, many with high CVs (up to $2,000+).

1892 Scott 155-156-157 
Issues of 1883-86 Surcharged
In 1892, Scott 88,69 and 139 were surcharged as shown. CV (unused) is $1+ to $7+.

1899 Scott 159 6c on 15c olive green
Finally, the 15c olive green was surcharged 6c in 1899. CV (unused) is $1+.

1900 Scott O9 2c orange brown
Regular Issues Overprinted in Black or Red
Between 1895-1900, the regular issues on Wmk 2 paper were overprinted in black or red for use as Official stamps. (The exception is the 1r12c claret, which is on Wmk 1 paper.)

1900 Scott O14 15c ultramarine
Overprinted
The 1895-1900 Official issue, overprinted "On Service", consists of eleven stamps.

1895 Scott O16 30c violet & orange brown
Overprinted
Clearly, the Official issue stamps are not rare, as the CV ranges from <$1 to to $4 for ten stamps.

Deep Blue
1886-1900 "Victoria" Issue; Wmk 2
Deep Blue (Steiner) has ten pages for the Victorian era (1857-1900) for Ceylon. All of the major numbers have a space, and the also the Wmk 1b minor number 1863-67 issue (10 stamps).

I should mention that the 1857-1867 issues on four pages (68 spaces) will, for the most part, be sparsely populated, as many are CV expensive.

1888-90 Scott 144 2c on 4c rose "Victoria"
Wmk 2; Issue of 1883-84 Surcharged
Out of the Blue
A study and sub-specialization of the Victorian era stamps of Ceylon would be rewarding. Inverted and reversed watermarks, overprint (surcharge) print errors, and multiple shades are just a few of the areas that are ripe for study.

Note:  I used Gerben van Gelder's map of Ceylon for this blog post. I had general permission from him to use his maps, and as his StampWorldHistory web site is not presently active, I have included it here.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Luxembourg - Bud's Big Blue

Grand Duke William III, The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Generalist collectors beware, Luxembourg stamps require specialization and, for many rare stamps, deep pockets. Worse, Luxembourg stamps remain unpopular. Apfelbaum Inc., a stamp dealer’s website, blames this disrespect on four factors: too many expensive stamps, too many cheap stamps, too many poorly designed and executed stamps in the classical era, and too many forgeries, especially among those overprinted “official.”

Throwing caution aside, I’ve forged ahead collecting whatever Luxembourgs I can find. I’m going to a stamp show tomorrow and, as always, missing Luxembourgs are on my list. The result so far amounts to nine supplement pages (shown below), four of them dedicated to official overprints. Some of the forgeries are marked.

Why, I wonder, are there so many “official” stamps? Luxembourg could not have had many government agencies in the classical era to use them. That’s why cancels on rare “official” stamps are scarce. Luxembourg “officials” offered via the internet are commonly frauds, although the sellers may claim otherwise.

Grand Duke William III (above) looks remarkably like King William III (below) on early stamps of The Netherlands. Jim explains why here.  Opposite profiles distinguished them, although. neither stamp bears the name of the issuing country

King William III, The Netherlands
Census: 268 in BB spaces, 2 tip-ins, 236 on supplement page.
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Jim's Observations
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the only remaining grand duchy, is a small western European country (1000 sq mi) nestled between the Belgium Walloon region, the German Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and the French Lorraine region. The population was 260,000 in 1914.

Luxembourgians speak Luxembourgish to each other, French for official business matters, while German is the first language learned in school. English is understood commonly.


During WW I, Germany occupied Luxembourg, but allowed the government to continue. 

In 1939, Luxembourg issued a specific proclamation of neutrality. But the Nazis invaded anyway on May 10, 1940. The Nazis ignored sovereignty, and treating Luxembourg as an extension of Germany, basically annexed the lands to the Rhineland-Palatinate in 1942.

Luxembourg Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!