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...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bermuda - A Closer Look 1865-1934

1866 Scott 2a 2p bright blue "Victoria"
Perf 14, Wmk 1
Into the Deep Blue
The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Bermuda 1865-1949, 147 major descriptions. Of those, 50 are CV <$1-$1+, or 34%. Raising the bar to CV $5, yields 72, or 49%. A representative collection is attainable, but Bermuda is popular with British Commonwealth and North American collectors, so one may need to spend more.

The handstamped/surcharged specimens of 1874-1875 (six stamps) range from CV $300+ to CV $19,000, and needless to say, are more the province of specialists/ well healed collectors - we ordinary WW collector types may need to take a pass. ;-)

There are also the Postmaster stamps of 1848-1861, some of the great rarities in philately (CV $38,000 - $$225,000).

Basic historical information about Bermuda, as well as coverage of Big Blue is available at:

Bermuda Blog Post and BB Checklist

This blog post (Part A) will give close-up views of the stamps issues of 1865-1934.

The following post (Part B) will cover the 1936-1951 pictorials.

Bermuda: A Postal History
Groten & Pitts; 2017 Publication APS
If the reader would like to further pursue Bermudan philatelic history, especially the 17th to early 19th century postal history, may I suggest the above publication, recently available from APS? Fascinating.

More information about the stamps of Bermuda are available at:

A closer look at the stamps 1865-1934
4 Farthings = 1 Penny
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1874 Scott 5 6p lilac "Victoria"
Perf 14, Wmk 1
The first issue for Bermuda consisted of six denominations released between 1865-1874. The 1p, 6p brown lilac, and the 1sh were issued on September 25, 1865. The 2p (1866), the 3p (1873), and the 6p lilac (1874) were issued later. The 1p rose red was for the internal rate, while the other denominations were for the overseas rate.

The typographic issue is from De La Rue in London, and has the same Victoria portrait on all stamps, accompanied by various frame designs. The watermark is "Crown and C C" (Wmk 1). The usual perforation is 14. There are Perf 14 X 12 1/2 stamps extant for the 3p, 6p, and 1sh, issued between 1882-1903 with a much higher CV.

CV(used) for the 1865-1874 issue range from $1+ for the 1p rose red, to $90 for the 6p brown lilac.

If we could go back in time, what advice we we give for those that saved stamps?  Keep them on the cover! Values for stamps range from 5X to 30X more if they remain on cover for early issues!

1880 Scott 17 4p orange "Victoria"
Wmk 1
In 1880, two additional denominations (1/2p, 4p) were released.

CV is $2+-$5+.

Note here the "Hamilton" (Capital) postmark.

British Colonial and Crown Agent Watermarks
Top Row: Wmk 1 "Crown and C C"
Bottom Row, Left: Wmk 2 "Crown and C A"
Bottom Row, Right: Wmk 3 "Multiple Crown and C A"
For a refresher, here are the first three British Colonial watermarks referenced on this blog post for Bermuda. The Wmk 4 "Multiple Crown and Script C A" is not shown, but should cause little confusion. If you need to see an example of Wmk 4, refer to the Gibraltar post.

1898 Scott 21 2p brown purple "Victoria"
Wmk 2
Between 1883-1904, eight stamps were released on Wmk 2 ("Crown and C A") paper. Some of the stamps were the same color (1p,2p), some were different colors (1/2p, 2p brown purple, 3p, 4p,1sh), and there was one new denomination and design (2 1/2p ultramarine).

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

1901 Scott 26 1f on 1sh gray "Victoria'
Black Surcharge
On January 11, 1901, a one shilling stamp was released with a black "One Farthing" surcharge. The stamp design and watermark (Wmk 2) were similar to the 1893 one shilling release, but the color was changed from olive bister to gray.

CV is $1+.
1906 Scott 37 2 1/2p blue & brown "Dry Dock"
Wmk 3 "Multiple Crown and C A"
In 1902-03 (three stamps - Wmk 2) and in 1906-10 (nine stamps- Wmk 3), a mostly bi-colored typographed issue was released featuring a "Dry Dock" design.

These were the first stamps of the British Empire that did not show the monarch's portrait (in this case, Edward VII).

CV is <$1-$4+ for eight stamps.
Bermuda Floating Dock under construction in England
Towed to Bermuda in 1869 

The Royal Navy Floating Drydock "Bermuda" 
at the Royal Navy Dockyard, 1869 
Of interest, the porous limestone of Bermuda prevented a conventional drydock, so a floating drydock was constructed in England and towed to Bermuda in 1869.

1913 Scott 45 3p violet/yellow "Caravel"
Wmk 3
Between 1910-1924, a nine stamp engraved issue with a "Caravel" design was released on Watermark 3 ("Multiple Crown and C A") paper. In addition, the higher denominations (six stamps) had a large format bi-color "George V" presentation. also on Wmk 3 paper.

CV for the Caravel stamp design issue is <$1-$10+.

The "Caravel" design is considered to be from the Seal of the Colony.

A actual caravel type sailing ship, originally developed and used by the Portuguese, was popular for exploration voyages during the 15th and 16th centuries. Christopher Columbus used caravels.

I'm not sure exactly why the stamps of Bermuda depict  a "caravel", as Bermuda's history is more directly linked to "The Sea Venture", built in Aldeburg, England, as the first single timbered armed merchant ship, and launched in 1609. Her maiden voyage was supposed to be to Jamestown, Virginia.

The Sea-Venture, the flag ship of Virginia Company, was subsequently ship wrecked on Bermuda in 1609. The ship, part of the third supply mission to Jamestown Colony, Virginia, was driven onto the reefs of Discovery Bay in eastern Bermuda. All 150 people landed safely ashore. Thus began the fledgling settlement of Bermuda.

The Sea Venture ship wreck was thought to have been the inspiration for The Tempest, by Shakespeare.

1920 Scott 55 1/2p brown, Wmk 3
"Seal of the Colony and King George V"
In 1920-21, a six stamp (Wmk 3) and a three stamps (Wmk 4) typographed issue was released for the "Tricentenary of Representative Establishment of Institutions", apparently originating in 1620.

The stamp is rather busybody, and, in fact, was designed by an amateur, the Governor of Bermuda, General Sir James Willcocks.

1920 Scott 67 1p rose red, Wmk 4
"Seal of the Colony and King George V"
CV for the six stamps total is <$1-$30+.

1921 Scott 75 2 1/2p ultramarine, Wmk 3
"King George V"
In 1921, an engraved  "George V" design, also commemorating the "Tercentenary of Establishment of (Local) Representative Institutions", was issued with three stamps (Wmk 4, lower denominations) and six stamps (Wmk 3, higher denominations).

1927 Scott 92 1sh black/emerald "Caravel"
Wmk 4
Between 1922-1934, thirteen engraved stamps were issued similar to the 1910-24 Wmk 3 "Caravel"stamps, but on Wmk 4 paper.

I must admit, this is really a lovely classical design - and engraved also!

CV ranges from <$1 to $1+ for ten stamps.

1922 (T I) & 1928 (TIII) 1p carmine "Caravel"
Wmk 4
The one penny carmine actually has three types in the catalogue.

Type I (Scott 83b) was issued in 1922 (CV <$1), Type II (Scott 83a) in 1926 (CV $7+), and Type III (Scott 83) in 1928 (CV <$1).

1p carmine TI & TIII Scroll
Both Scott and Stanley Gibbons mention the Type I and Type II stamps have a scroll at top left that is "very weak". The Type III scroll is redrawn, and the scroll is completed with strong line.

I could not find the area they were talking about for awhile, until I focused on the area of the scroll design over the "B" of BERMUDA. Let's take even a closer look....

Type I (and Type II) Characteristics for top left of Scroll:
Note the top horizontal line of the scroll to the left of the "U shaped" dip
 is weak and not completed
Note the horizontal line to the left of the "U shaped" dip is weak, and not attached to the left curly cue portion of the scroll.

Type III Characteristics for top left of Scroll:
Note the top horizontal line of the scroll to the left of the "U shaped" dip
 is strong and completed
In contrast, Type III shows a horizontal line in the same area that is redrawn, and is strong and completed to the left curly cue portion of the scroll.

Obvious now, isn't it?

1p carmine TI - TII- TIII
Scanned from Stanley Gibbons Catalogue
The second major sign for TI-TII-TIII is the shape of the "1 d" denomination, which varies by type.

As I do not have a Type II from my own collection to show, I am using the Stanley Gibbons illustration from their 1840-1970 catalogue.

Type I: Figure "1" has pointed serifs
Type II: Figure "1" has square serifs, and "1 d" is thicker
Type III: Figure "1" has long square serifs. (Recall also that the scroll has been redrawn.)

1p carmine TI & TIII 1d
Looking at my own stamps, I believe the left stamp is a Type I (pointed serifs). Also the cancellation date on the stamp appears to be "1924" which precedes the other two types.

The right stamp has long square serifs (and shows the scroll has been redrawn) - Type III.

This is fun!
1926 (TI) & 1932 (TII) 2 1/2p ultamarine "Caravel"
Wmk 4
The 2 1/2p ultramarine likewise exists as Type I (Scott 87a) & Type II (Scott 87).

Both types are CV <$1.

2 1/2p ultramarine TI & TII
Type I: shorter "d", thick figures of value
Type II: taller "d", thinner figures of value

1924 Scott 96 10sh red & green/emerald
"King George V"
The four higher denominations, issued between 1924-1932,  have a "George V" design with large format, are engraved, and are on Wmk 4 chalky paper. (Earlier, this design was also used between 1910-1922, was typographed, and was on Wmk 3 chalky paper.)

CV(unused) is $50+-$300. Genuinely used have a higher CV.

However, many of these large format stamps have revenue cancellations (as does my example). Apparently these stamps were often utilized as "Head Tax" for travelers leaving the country. 

Deep Blue
1922-34 "Caravel" Wmk 4 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has twelve pages for the 1965-1949 stamps of Bermuda. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1927 Scott 95 2sh 6p red & black/blue
"King George V"
Out of the Blue
I'm only scratching the surface with the Scott catalogue presentation. The Stanley Gibbons 1840-1970 catalogue has many more minor numbers (color shades, wmk inverted specimens etc), and considerable information/illustrations on plate flaws found with the Bermuda issues.

The next blog post will discuss/illustrate the pictorials of 1936-1951. More fun soon!

Note: The scan of types of the 1p carmine "Caravel" 1922-34 Wmk 4 issue is from the Stanley Gibbons 1840-1970 catalogue, and is used here for educational purposes. The map and Pic scans of the Drydock "Bermuda" and the Hamilton Panorama appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Hamilton Panorama, 1911

Saturday, June 16, 2018

French Oceania - Bud's Big Blue

Gauguin in Stamps
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Paul Gauguin’s art must have influenced French Polynesia’s stamp designers long before his paintings actually show up on their stamps. Enraptured by the natural beauty of Tahiti and island peoples, the designers entirely omit colonial founders and dignitaries. Early French Catholic missionaries don’t make the cut, nor does the first European visitor, Ferdinand Magellan. No James Cook, no Louis Antoine de Bougainville. The romance of the 100+ island collectivity prevails utterly, philatelically speaking, except for a few common designs shared among the colonies.

Papeete cancels are common. The first scan shows an Auckland NZ cancel, Auckland being where many mail ships originated.

Census: 104 in BB spaces, 37 on supplement pages. On a separate page in the “T” section, BB reserves three additional spaces for Tahiti overprints.

Jim's Observations
The French Oceania colony stamps began in 1892 with the familiar "Navigation and Commerce" issue. They were imprinted as "ÉTABLISEMENTS DE L'OCEONIE". French Oceania continued until 1946, when the Polynesians were granted French citizenship. Then the islands status became an overseas territory, and the name was changed to Polynésie Française. 

Blog Post for French Oceania and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Belgium 1915-1919 Issue Part B - The Engraved Pictorials

1915 Scott 116 35c brown orange & black
"Cloth Hall of Ypres"
Into the Deep Blue
A closer look at the stamp issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
Part A, which was recently published, featured the varieties of the King Albert stamps of the 1915-22 Issue.

This Part B will continue with the wonderfully engraved pictorials from the 1915 Issue.

1915 Scott 116 35c brown orange & black
"Cloth Hall of Ypres"

The seven higher denominations of the 1915 issue are pictorials, and are gorgeously engraved.

Close-up 1915 Scott 116 35c  "Cloth Hall of Ypres"
Digital Microscope
The "Cloth Hall of Ypres", one of the largest commercial market buildings in the middle ages, served as the main center for the Flemish cloth trade. It was completely destroyed in WW I, as Ypres was the epicenter of five major battles between 1914-1918, with hundreds of thousands of casualties.

It was completely rebuilt between 1933 and 1967.

Cloth Hall in Flames WW I
Today, it houses In Flanders Fields Museum

I've visited, and it is profoundly disturbing (as all war is up close), yet brings reconciliation and peace too.

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row, / That mark our place, and in the sky, / The larks, still bravely singing, fly, / Scarce heard amid the guns below." John McCrae 1915

1915 Scott 117 40c green & black
"Bridge of Dinant"
Dinant in 1914 had a population of 7,000, and there was a strategic crossing of the Meuse river there, the Bridge of Dinant.

Bridge of Dinant 1914
The Citadel of Dinant arises on the right
On August 23, 1914, German forces massacred 674 unarmed Belgian civilians in Dinant, which became known as The Rape of Belgium.

The bridge was destroyed in the battle.

1915 Scott 118 50c carmine rose & black
"Library of Louvain"
The Library of Louvain, more specifically the Catholic University of Louvain Library, was destroyed on August 25, 1914 during WW I, as fire was set to the town with the loss of 300,000 books.

Louvain Library WW I
Wow, this is stunning. The first three pictorial stamps of the set are a lament to historical landmarks and lives lost.

Close-up 1915 Scott 118 50c  "Library of Louvain"
Digital Microscope
Here is a close-up of the stamp surface for the "Library of Louvain" stamp. A binocular microscope (on loan from a friend) and a digital  microscope provide another window into the world of stamps, not available by only utilizing stamp scans.

1915 Scott 119 1fr violet
"Scheldt River at Antwerp"
This is  a happier scene, showing the Scheldt River at Antwerp.

CV for the seven engraved stamps of 1915 are <$1 to $20 for six stamps. The remaining stamp (Scott 121 5fr  deep blue) @ CV $125 is a special case, which I will discuss in a moment.

Also of interest, the seven engraved stamps of the 1915 issue are found with perforation 14 (major numbers), and perforation 15 (minor numbers). I have all perforation 14 stamps. The Perf 15 stamps are worth somewhat more CV wise.

Antwerp and the River Scheldt 1900
The River Scheldt and it's development is what has made Antwerp the major port it is today - presently second largest in Europe.

1915 Scott 120 2fr slate
"Antislavery Campaign in the Congo"
King Leopold II (reign 1865-1909) is infamous for personally owning the Congo Free State (1885-1909), and extracting rubber, ivory, and minerals for personal enrichment, while inflicting virtual slavery and genocide on the native peoples. Ten million Congolese people died.

The international scandal became so large, that the Belgium parliament forced Leopold to give up control of the colony in 1908. It then became known as the Belgian Congo.

Of interest, the Belgians largely forgot Leopold II's horrible history ("Great Forgetting") with the Congo Free State, and remembered him rather fondly as the "Builder King" for the many public work projects that came to be during his reign.

This stamp's subject and allegory I don't think is an admission by Belgium of wrongdoing by Leopold II, but rather a commemoration of the suppression of slavery by Arab traders in the Congo Free State. Disingenuous to say the least.

1915 Scott 122 10fr brown
"Kings of Belgium Leopold I, Albert I, Leopold II"
The three kings of Belgium. No doubt reminding Belgians (who are deeply divided culturally between the Flemish north and the French south) of their shared heritage, and to stir up some nationalist feelings, with WW I very much at their doorstep.

CV is $20.
1919 Scott 138 5fr deep blue
"King Albert I at Furnes'
Type of 1915 inscribed "Frank" instead than "Franken"
I have been a little harsh on the Belgians ( and specifically Leopold II) with some of my remarks.

In King Albert's great moral favor, the successor to Leopold II, he could have allowed access to the Germans for them to cross Belgium in their conflict with the French at the beginning of WW I. He refused. Consequently, the country was invaded, and 90% of Belgium was occupied by the Germans with grave damage inflicted.

Furnes, a town in Flanders, was the center of resistance by the Belgians during WW I. There, City Hall became the headquarters of the Belgian army under Albert I.

Photograph of French President Raymond Poincare
meeting with King Albert I at Furnes in 1920
The original "King Albert I at Furnes" 5kr deep blue stamp was issued on October 15, 1915. It has "Franken" spelled out for the denomination. The CV is $125.

A reissue was released of the 5kr blue in December, 1919, but with "Frank" as the denomination. This stamp has a CV of $1+.

1918 Scott B41 35c + 35c light violet & black
"Cloth Hall of Ypres"
Types of Regular Issue of 1915 Surcharged in Red
The seven pictorials from 1915 were reissued as semi-postals on January 15, 1918, but in different colors, and surcharged in red. The extra funds were intended for the Red Cross.

CV is $10 to $500. !!

Deep Blue
1915-22 King Albert Types Page in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) nicely provides a page for all the recognized types of the 1915-22 King Albert stamps. This additional page clearly goes beyond the Scott catalogue. Bravo Steiner!

1915 Scott 115 25c blue "Albert I"
Type I
Out of the Blue
Wow! What an interesting issue, with the King Albert types, and the beautiful ( and tragic, because of the destruction wrought by WW I) engraved images on the pictorials.

Note: Pic scans all appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!