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 13, 2011


1927 Scott 34 1/2p green & black "Landing of Captain Cook"
Quick History
A Cook Island, almost an atoll, in the South Pacific. The main village is Arutanga, and today has a population of 2000. A dependency of New Zealand since 1901, New Zealand's stamps were surcharged for use in Aitutaki from 1903-1920. Then Aitutaki had its own engraved series until 1927. From 1932-1972, stamps of the Cook Islands were used on Aitutaki.

1903 Scott 1 1/2p green, red overprint
Stamps of New Zealand surcharged
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Aitutaki 1903-27, 31 major number descriptions. Of those, 15 are CV <$1-$5+. Only 4, or 13%, are CV <$1-$1+. Aitutaki stamps are a bit expensive for WW collectors, but a collection can be accumulated.

Aitutaki stamps consist of overprinted or surcharged New Zealand stamps, or designs shared with the Cook Islands (Raratonga) or Niue.

A closer look at the stamps and issues 
12 pence = 1 Shilling
1903 Scott 2 1p rose, blue overprint
Stamps of New Zealand surcharged
The first issue for Aitutaki was produced in 1903, and consisted of six overprinted/surcharged New Zealand stamps. Note the denomination is overprinted in the native language.

1903 Scott 3 2 1/2p blue, red overprint
Stamps of New Zealand surcharged
Lovely stamp, Yes? The CV for the stamps of the first issue is a moderately high $5-$60.

1918 Scott 24 2 1/2p dull blue , overprinted
Stamps of New Zealand 1909-19
The 1917-20 issue for Aitutaki had nine stamps, and mostly consisted of the "George V" New Zealand stamps of the era overprinted, as shown, in either red or dark blue. CV ranges from $1+-$10+.

1920 Scott 29 1p carmine & black "Avarua Waterfront"
In 1920, a six stamp pictorial set was issued for Aitutaki. The designs are shared by the Cook Islands (Rarotonga) and Niue issues. The "Avaruna Waterfront" is actually on Rarotonga.

1927 Scott 36 2 1/2p blue & black
"Rarotongan Chief (Te Po)"
Continuing the theme of using Rarotongan references for Aitutaki, here is a lovely 1927 issued stamp. Engraved, the design is truly stunning- click and enlarge for the full effect.

From 1932-1972, stamps of the Cook Islands were used, and specific Aitutaki stamp production ceased.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has two pages for the stamps of Aitutaki, and all the major Scott numbers have a space.

1917 Scott 26 6p carmine rose, blue overprint
On New Zealand stamps 1909-19
The Big Blue Picture
On 2/3 of a page, Big Blue (1969) has 20 stamp spaces + 2 blank stamp spaces = 22 spaces
Scott Specialized 1840-1940 has 31 stamp descriptions for the years 1903-1927.
Big Blue has 71% coverage.

And "rich" coverage it is, as some of the stamps are a bit pricey as we shall see.

I could find no stamps that clearly should be be added.

NASA map image of Aitutaki
Big Blue Checklist
1,2,3,4,5 ($5+-$20+)

7 ($1+)

10 ($2+)

19,20,21,22,23,24 ($1-$2+)
2 Blank spaces: suggest Scott 25&26. ($1+-$5+)

34(or 28) ($2+)
29(or 35) ($2+-$5+)
30,31,32,33,36 ($2+-$10+)

The Scott numbers are the same for the 1947 Standard catalogue

Aitutaki is the second largest Cook Island
Kinds of Blue
The 1997 edition and the 1969 edition are identical.
Compared to the 1969 edition, both the 1947 and 1941 editions have the same coverage.

1919 Scott 23 3p chocolate, blue overprint
Bottom Blue Line
Clearly popular with New Zealand and Commonwealth collectors, the stamps are expensive compared say with Afghanistan. Admittedly, the engraved series of 1920-27 are very attractive.

Note: Map and NASA image appear to be in the public domain.
Note: The "Into the Deep Blue" section and many of the scans were added February, 2014. A separate blog post with the new scans was published September, 2014.

Aitutaki - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!


  1. The 1997 edition of the Big Blue album has combined the issues of '1911' and '1913-16' into a single block for '1912-13'.