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, December 13, 2018

Grenada - Bud's Big Blue

From WWI era Chocolate Tin
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Jim’s postings for this blog are careful, descriptive, and insightful; moreover, they’re unruffled and level headed. Many collectors say so. My comments, on the other hand, are impulsive, sometimes fitful to the point of being crotchety. This can be expected, of course, because I’m older than Jim and have earned my brass curmudgeon medal.

And so, as I write this, my yo-yo jerks to the downside.

My funk doesn’t so much spring from Grenada’s classical era stamps. As more or less standard British colonial issues, they’re adequate, unobjectionable, boring; although they do have some interesting overprints (see supplement page). Jim describes Grenada’s stamps admirably in the main part of this blog and the late Gerben van Gelder served our hobby well by detailing the postal history of this small island. (Jim's Note: Sad to say, Gerben's web site is, at present, not active.)

Several stamps bear the Grenada coat of arms, which is a curious bit of heraldry. A sail boat approaching an island is a common enough colonial image, but what can the motto Clarior e tenebris mean? What is it about Grenada that is “light from obscurity” or “brighter through darkness.” Perhaps the chocolate industry? (The above example was scavenged from a WWI era chocolate tin.)

If not the classical era stamps, what then provokes my funk? Well, I would like to have seen BB’s Part One Grenada section chock-full of Plutos, and Mickey and Minnie mice, and Marilyn Monroes, and space ships. Why should collectors of post-1970s Grenada stamps have all the fun? (Grumble. Fume.)

Census: 57 in BB spaces, 23 on supplement page.

Image is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA. Permission for use is granted.

Jim's Observations
Grenada became a British colony during the Seven Years' War  in 1763.

Nutmeg was introduced in 1843; and today Grenada is known as  the "Island of Spice", as it supplies 40% of the world's nutmeg.

In 1861, Grenada issued the 1p green and the 6p rose with the iconic "Chalon Head" portrait of Queen Elizabeth. Other countries that have issued the "Chalon Head" include Canada, Nova Scotia, Tasmania, New Zealand, The Bahamas, Natal, New Brunswick, Queensland, and Prince Edward Island.

Grenada remained a Crown Colony from 1877-1950, when moves towards autonomy by Grenadians - both peaceful and violent- occurred. Independence was granted in 1974.

In 1983 the U.S. lead an invasion to overthrow the  "People's Revolutionary Government".

Today Grenada is a member of the commonwealth.

Comment: For myself, when Grenada began mainly featuring Disney characters, it went off the stamp rails for me. But the stamp hobby is a large tent, and big enough for everyone. ;-)

Grenada Blog Post and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

My WW Collecting: I'm Going Back to 1840-1940

Jamaica 1860-63 "Victoria"
Wmk "Pineapple"
Into the Deep Blue
I'm back to collecting 1840-1940 WW primarily.


Let me explain.

Close-up of Jamaica 1923 Scott 99 5sh ocher & blue
"Isle of Wood and Water"
My goal for the last several years was to expand the WW collection to include the 1940-1969 years.

And if I had started this ambitious project, say, when I was in my forties - no problem.

But I am of the age where I must take out the Required Minimum Distribution from retirement accounts each year. ;-)

Jamaica 1875 Scott 15 5sh violet
And we have four grand kids (ages 1 year to 5 years) nearby. We pay lots of attention to them.

Jamaica 1907 5p yellow & black 
"Arms of Jamaica"
Chalky paper, Wmk 3
The past several years my collecting strategy was to find and obtain country specialty collections that had stamps through the 1950s-1960s ( and sometimes 1970s-1980s).

Usually, the 1840-1940 segment of the collections offered some stamps I didn't have , while the 1940-1970 portions were mostly new to me.

Jamaica 1908 Scott 49 4p red brown "Victoria"
Ordinary paper, Wmk 3
It is actually a great way to obtain a decent collection for a country, and one is usually only paying in the teens CV wise for the stamps. I recommend it for WW collectors as long as one is also collecting into the 1970s. Many of the stamp filled country specialty albums that are available for sale do seem to stop around 1970, give or take ten years.

To date, I have some 30,000+ WW stamps for the 1940 ~ 1970 years.

Jamaica 1919 Scott 70 5sh carmine & green/yellow
"George V"; Chalky paper
To be more specific, I've obtain collections for Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Belgium, Japan, Portuguese colonies, Turkey, United Nations, Israel, Argentina, Cambodia, Cuba, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Albania, Bulgaria, Spanish colonies, Philippines, Algeria, Poland, Russia, Austria, Italy, Canada, United States, Korea, Vietnam, Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Australia, Romania, Saar, Salvador, Thailand, Vatican, Venezuela, and Jamaica, to name some of them. ;-)

( For interest, I'm posting some of the Jamaican stamps obtained last week from the Jamaican collection.)

Jamaica 1921 Scott 76 1p orange & carmine 
"Arawak Woman Preparing Cassava", Wmk 3
So if obtaining country collections is a great way to expand one's WW collection, why are you having second thoughts about this approach, Jim Jackson?

Time and Tide wait for no man.
Geoffrey Chaucer

Jamaica 1905-11 Issue, Wmk 3

When I obtain a country collection - say Mexico - I first go through the 1840-1940 portion and add those stamps to the Deep Blue (Steiner) 6,500 classical era pages that I already have housed in some 58 Lighthouse Vario F & G binders. I also upgrade stamps if the newer collection has better copies.

I also attempt, with the extra copies of 1840-1940 stamps that I have, to add them into the spaces found for that era in my Minkus Global Supreme album.

Then I look at the 1940 - 1970 (or so) portion of the country collection, and add them to the Minkus Global Supreme pages, using hinges or  mounts. 

..or not.
Jamaica 1920 Scott 83 1sh bright orange & orange
"Statue of Queen Victoria", Wmk 3
I simply do not have the time to do this justice.

Lately, I find I'm leaving the 1940 ~1970 stamps in the original country albums. Too much work to remove them.

Jamaica 1920 Scott 84 2sh brown & blue
"Memorial to Admiral Rodney", Wmk 3
But that means I have a room (fortunately a spare room) that is getting stocked full of country albums, with some stamps removed, and the rest (extra copies of 1840-1940 stamps & 1940~1970 stamp era) left in the country albums. 

It all feels unresolved and unfinished.

Every time I walk past that room, I'm reminded that the second law of thermodynamics suggests there will be a gradual decline into disorder (entropy).

Jamaica 1921 Scott 99 5sh ocher & blue
"Monument to Sir Charles Metcalfe", Wmk 4
Are there alternatives?

Yes, if I was a younger lad, I would think about putting the 1940-1970 era stamps into Steiner pages. 

But the shelf space required would be rather large, and I don't want to start a new "stamp housing" project. And if I don't have the time to put the stamps into the Minkus Global pages ( or Big Blue pages if I elected that), why do I think I would be able to put them into Steiner pages?

I could have started out my WW collection by gradually accumulating Scott Specialty Country albums, and used them as the basis for the WW collection. Too late for that now.

I could put the 1940-1970 era stamps into Vario pages. I just can't work up much enthusiasm for doing that.

Jamaica 1916 Scott MR2 3p violet/yellow, Wmk 3
True, I really like the stamps during the 1940-1970 era, to say nothing of the history they represent.

But something has to give.

So to constrain the stamp hobby within time and space parameters, I am going to no longer actively collect the 1940-1970 stamp era. 

Want lists for the 1840-1940 era will assume more importance, and country collections (especially those that offer not much new for 1840-1940) will now be ignored.

Jamaica 1912-20 Issue "King George"
Out of the Blue

I have returned to my first love, the 1840-1940 stamp era.

And that slice of philately, as we know, takes a lifetime (and more!) to study.

Comments appreciated!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Bulgaria 1879-1901 - a closer look

1879 Scott 1 5c black & orange
"Lion of Bulgaria"; Wmk 168; Laid paper
Into the Deep Blue
The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Bulgaria 1879-1901, 71 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 29 are CV <$1-$1+, or 41%. However, the first two issues - the 1879 and 1881 "Lion of Bulgaria" stamps  (11 stamps) are desirable but more expensive. Raising the CV between $6+ - $40 for major numbers would yield seven stamps for these classic issues. All in all, a not very expensive country for WW collectors.

Bulgaria (Yellow) 1899
The original post on Bulgaria with the BB checklist is here.

A post on the 1902 "Battle of Shipka Pass" issue and the forgeries is here.

For a closer look at Bulgarian issues, we will split the coverage into two posts.

For this entry, we will do an overview of the 1879-1901 era. The next post will focus on the 1901-1920 issues.

A closer look 1879-1901
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
100 Stotinki = 1 Lev (1881)
1879 Scott 4 50c black & blue
"Lion of Bulgaria"; Wmk 168; Laid paper
I should mention at the outset that Bulgaria was nominally a principality under the Sultan of Turkey when the first issue (1879) was produced. However, the Treaty of Berlin (1878) affirmed the autonomy of the Principality of Bulgaria. In 1885, Bulgaria was joined by Eastern Rumelia. Formal independence from Turkey was recognized in 1908.

The first five stamp typographic issue was released May 1, 1879, and featured the "Lion of Bulgaria". The bi-colored stamps were denominated in Centimes/Franc.

CV ranges from $40 to $200.

Laid paper & Wmk 168
The 1879 issue (5 stamps), the 1881 issue (6 stamps), and the 1882 issue (7 stamps), all with the "Lion of Bulgaria" design and Perf 14 1/2 X 15,. are on horizontally laid paper, and with Wmk 168 (Wavy lines and EZGV in Cyrillic).

1881 Scott 7b 5s black & yellow
"Lion of Bulgaria'
The April 10, 1881 six stamp issue, necessitated by a change in denomination to Stotinki/Lev, is also bi-colored.

There are minor number shade differences for a denomination recognized in the catalogue. Shown above is Scott 7b "black and yellow", while the major number is "black & orange".

1881 Scott 9a 15a carmine & pale green
"Lion of Bulgaria"
CV for the six stamp 1881 issue is $6+-$20 for five stamps.

1882 Scott 16 25s blue & pale blue
"Lion of Bulgaria"
The December 4, 1882 seven stamp bi-colored "Lion of Bulgaria" issue is in different color combinations compared to the same denomination for the 1881 issue. There should be, therefore, little confusion between the issues.

Remarkably, the CV for the 1882 issue is only <$1-$1+.

1885 Scott 23 1s gray violet & pale gray
1886 Scott 25 1s gray violet & pale gray
The 1s gray violet & pale gray stamps of 1885 and 1886 differ in subtleties.

Scott 23 -25 Closeup
Five letters vs four
The 1885 Scott 23 has 5 (Cyrillic) letters in the lower left oval.
Then, the 1886 Scott 25 has 4 letters at the same location in the oval.

The CV is $9+ and <$1 respectively.

1885 Scott 24 2s slate green & pale gray
1886 Scott 26 2s slate green & pale gray
Likewise, the 2s slate green & pale gray of 1885 and 1886 deserve close inspection.

Scott 24-26 Closeup
Note differences in last letter for the left three letters
Note the last letter of the left three letters in the oval is "A" for the 1885 Scott 24.
In contrast, the last letter for the 1886 Scott 26 is "b" with a cross bar in the upper half.

CV is $6+ and <$1 respectively.

1889 Scott 33 15s orange
Wove paper; Unwmk
We now switch over from laid paper to wove paper (unwatermarked) for the ten stamp 1889 issue.  The "Lion of Bulgaria" is a much smaller vignette with this design.

Scott lists five different perfs for this issue (10 1/2, 11, 11 1/2, 13, 13 1/2), but gives no further information.

There are also many shades that can be found for the issue, although Scott gives no information on this either.

CV is <$1-$1+.
1894 Scott 39 10s red
Pelure paper
The 10s, on wove paper for the 1889 issue, can also be found on pelure paper, issued in 1894.

1896 Scott 42 3 l black & buff
In 1896, two more Lev denominations (2 l, 3 l) were issued. Scott notes that the paper is watermarked "Coat of Arms in the Sheet", but I found nothing on my my two example stamps. Scott states that stamps from sheet edges show no watermark.

1896 Scott 45 15s purple
"Coat of Arms"
In 1896, a four stamp "Coat of Arms" issue was released. This issue was to commemorate the baptism of Prince Boris. (He reigned as  Tsar between 1918-1943.) 

CV is <$1-$1.
1901 Scott 54 15s yellow green
"Cherry Wood Cannon"; Lithographed
For the 25th anniversary of the Insurrection of Independence of April, 1876, a a two stamp issue release was prepared.

"Cherry Wood Cannon" Close-up
It was lithographed (forgeries exist), but I find the design particularly appealing. During the uprising, the Bulgarians used 52 cherry wood cannons against the Ottomans.

1901 Scott 56 10s on 1889 50s green
In 1901, the 1889 issue 3s bister brown and the 50s green were surcharged "5s" and "10s" respectively. CV is $1+.

I should mention that surcharges on 19th century Bulgarian stamps has also been the playground of forgers. Specifically, the eight stamp surcharged issues of 1884 and 1885 (in black, carmine, or vermilion), Scott 19-22, which have high CVs ($80-$2,000) have been extensively forged.

Postage Due 1896 Scott J6 50s blue
The only other category of stamp (besides regular issues) that existed during the Bulgaria 1879-1901  era was the postage due.

This illustrated postage due design was used on three typographic stamp denominations (5s, 25s, 50s) for the 1884 issue (Large Lozenge Perf 5 1/2 to 6 1/2), the 1886 issue (Imperf. - shown above), and the 1887 issue (Perf 11 1/2).

CV for the three stamp Imperf 1886 issue is $10+-$20.

1887 Scott J8 25s lake
Perf 11 1/2
And here is an example of the 1887 Perf 11 1/2 issue.

CV for the three stamp issue is $6-$10+.

Scott J8 closeup
30 Horizontal Lines
Check out the horizontal lines - 30.

1892 Scott J11 25s lake
In 1892, the 5s and 25s were redrawn and issued. The perf is @ 10 1/2 or 11 1/2.

Scott J11 Closeup
Redrawn - 24 Horizontal Lines
There are 24 horizontal lines ( not including the upper horizontal frame line of the same thickness).

Scanning the stamp makes it much easier to count!

1896 Scott J17 30s green
Perf 13
Finally, a smaller format postage due three stamp issue (with some design changes) was released in 1896.

CV is a modest $2+-$3+.

Deep Blue
1882 Issue "Lion of Bulgaria" in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has six pages for the 1879-1901 stamps of Bulgaria. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1901 Scott 53 5c carmine
"Cherry Wood Cannon"; Lithographed
Out of the Blue
Hope you enjoyed this overview.

Next up are the 1901-1920 issues...

Note: Map scan appears to be in the public domain. The links to Bulgarian forgeries is to the Stamp Forgeries of the World website. Thanks to Morten Munck (Denmark) for creating this resource.

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Greenland - Bud's Big Blue

Greenland Parcel Post Bears
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
If in the late 1930s you wished to go where polar bears roamed and icebergs floated by, booking passage to Greenland would have been a good choice. If you hadn’t the ready cash for such an excursion, collecting Greenland’s stamps offered a lesser but still alluring substitute. There are only twenty of them, all showing bears and/or ice. Moreover, back in the 1930s they were cheaper than Greenland trekking. The parcel post bears are pricey, but there are only eleven of those.

Today such cruises run from $6K to $40K to “please inquire,” still rather more costly than the stamps. But, sadly, Greenland is melting and polar bears are starving because of it. Cruise directors warn “don’t expect bear sightings”. So, given the choice, I’d rather buy stamps with the cash (that is, if I had it, which I don’t, unless I sell my stamps, which I won’t).

I suspect if one were to add up all the polar bears in stamp collectors’ albums their number would far exceed the human and bear populations of Greenland combined. People in 2017: 56,186. Polar bears in West Greenland: about 2,500; in the world 20,000 to 25,000. Linn’s Stamp News estimates about 250,000 people in the USA alone collect stamps. Do the math.

Some worry that the number of stamp collectors is declining, much like polar bears. A race to extinction, is it? I hope not.

Good cancels are scarce and usually more expensive than mint examples. The first two parcel post bears (above) have the more generic Grønlands Styrelse cancels while the third was cancelled in a northwestern village, Umanak, now spelled Uummannaq, which means heart-shaped in Greenlandic.

Census: seven in BB spaces, plus three parcel post bears. Contributions toward buying more of them are gratefully accepted.

Jim's Observations
Presently Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark.

According to the Icelandic sagas, Erik the Red and his family settled there, and called it "Greenland", in the hope that the attractive name would bring settlers. (Ironically. "Iceland" is mostly -if sparsely - green, while "Greenland" is ice, except around the edges.)

The 2017 Scott Classic specialized catalogue has nine regular stamps listed for 1938-46, and eleven major number, and seven minor number Parcel Post stamps for 1905-1937. The Parcel Post stamps are CV $20+-$600+; rather expensive, - I don't have any, but Bud does.

As noted, Greenland only issued a regular stamp set beginning in 1938.

Greenland Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!