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


1929 C17 50c yellow green 
Quick History
Alaouites, a division of Syria, although under French Mandate, became independent in 1924. French stamps, under French mandate, were surcharged and  issued in 1925: more about that later. Syrian stamps, also overprinted or surcharged, were used for regular postage, air mail and postage dues during 1925-30. After 1930, Alaouites was renamed Latakia (which was the capital city in the region), and stamps were issued under the Latakia name. About 280,000 people lived in this region in 1930.

1925 Scott C5 2p dark brown
Additional overprint in green
On stamps of Syria, 1925, overprinted
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Alaouites 1925-1930, 73 major stamp descriptions in the regular, air post, and postage due categories. Of those, only one stamp is CV $1+. Moving up to the CV $2+-$4+ range, 28 additional stamps are found (38%). A collection can be formed if one is willing to spend a little more.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Piaster

The initial 21 1925 regular stamp issue under the French Mandate were surcharged French stamps. There was also 4 air mail and 5 postage due French surcharged stamps produced. By a quirk of collecting WW, I happen to have none of them. ;-)  All the examples I will show here will be overprinted/surcharged stamps of Syria.

1925 Scott 36 10p violet brown 
Stamps of Syria, 1925
Overprinted in Red, Black, or Blue
The initial overprinted Syrian issue had 13 stamps. The overprint was in French and Arabic. The CV is $1+-$3+ for 9 stamps.

1926 Scott 43 50p on 75c brown orange
In 1926, 8 stamps were surcharged using the preceding 1925 issue. CV is $2-$5.

1928 Scott 47 2p on 1.25p deep green
In 1928, four more surcharged stamps were issued, using Syrian stamps. The surcharges were in red.

1925 Scott C7 5p violet
Alaouites issue of 1925 with additional overprint in green
A green "avion" was added to four stamps from the preceding 1925 Alaouites issue for air mail  in 1925.

1926 Scott C10 3p orange brown
Red plane overprint applied to 1925 Alaouites issue
I sometimes think about "specializing" in WW by collecting air mail stamps, and this example is perfect to highlight the attractions of such a collection. ;-) Here, four stamps from the 1925 Alaouites issue had a red plane overprint applied, obviously for air mail.

1929 Scott C18 1p magenta, black overprint
Three additional stamps, two using the Alaouites 1925 issue, one from Syria, were overprinted as shown in 1929. I believe this example is the only Alaouites air mail stamp with a black plane overprint.

1930 Scott C20  2p on 1.25p deep green
Red airplane overprint
Two previously issued Alaouites stamps received a red plane overprint in 1929-30. This was the last air mail issue for "Alaouites", as the State than became known as Latakia in 1930.

1925 Scott J8 2p black/blue, red overprint
On postage due stamps of Syria, 1925
Any French mandated territory will have postage due stamps, and the Alaouites was no exception. Shown is a 1925 five stamp issue produced from 1925 postage due stamps of Syria. The overprint can be in black, blue, or red.

Deep Blue
1925 Alaouites issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has six pages for the Alaouites, and, as usual, provides a space for all Scott major number stamps.

1928 Scott 48 4p on 25c olive black
Big Blue Picture 
On 1+ page, Big Blue (1969) has 30 stamp spaces for overprinted/surcharged Syrian stamps during the years 1935-30. This includes regular, air mail and postage due stamp spaces.
Scott 2011 Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has 52 stamp descriptions for the same overprinted/surcharged Syrian stamp issues.
Big Blue has 58% coverage.

But the coverage in reality is less then that, because Big Blue has no spaces for the 21 French stamps surcharged under French Mandate in 1925. Ten stamps (Scott 1,2,4,5,7,12,16,17,18,19) are available for about $2+ each.

An additional seven Syrian overprinted/surcharged stamps ( 38,39,40,41,42,45,46) from 1926 and 1928 are valued at $2+.

1926 C11 5p violet "ALAOUITES"
Syria C32 overprint in red 
Big Blue checklist (1969 Big Blue edition)

25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36 ($2+)
37 ($5+)

43,44 ($2+)

47 ($5+)
48 ($2+)

1926 Air Post
C9,C10,C11,C12 ($5+)

1929-30 Air Post
C17 ($2+)
C21 ($50) !
C18 ($5+)
C20 ($5+)

1925 Postage dues
J6,J8,J9,J10,J7 ($2+-$5+)

Note: C21 valued at $50 seems high for Big Blue, but the description "15p on 25p Ultramarine" for 1929-30 Air Post issues clearly points to C21, in my opinion. See discussion below on Scott 1947 catalog.

1947  Standard catalog shows the same Scott numbers except for C21 which is listed as "C20 A4 15 pi on 25pi ultramarine (Bk+R)". Value in the 1947 catalog is $1.50, which is a healthy amount back then. A similarly priced item from the 1947 catalog, C19 ( $1.50), is now priced in 2011 at $35.   So that argues that Scott was aware of C21's  high price, but included it in the catalog anyway.

The "Alaouites" (Alawite area) region of Syria
Kinds of Blue
The 1997 edition and the 1969 edition are identical.
Compared to the 1969 edition, both the 1947 edition and the 1941 "Junior" edition have the same coverage.
1925 Scott 31 1.50p rose red 
Stamps of Syria, 1925, overprinted
Bottom Blue Line
A nice selection of stamps, especially the Air Posts, but a bit pricey. Big Blue could have included some French Mandate issues, as well as some additional Syrian stamps. The C21 Air Post is the highest valuation for Big Blue so far @ $50.

Note: Map appears to be in public domain.

Alaouites - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!


  1. The 1997 edition of the Big Blue album has rearranged the regular issues and combined the '1925', '1926', and '1928' sections into TWO sections: 1925 (9 stamps) and 1925-28 (8 stamps).

    1. Thanks for the heads up update on the '97 Al.