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...

Monday, February 14, 2011


1938 Scott 3 50c violet overprinted in red
The French overprinted 1930-36 Syrian stamps
Quick History
Alexandretta was founded by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. It is  located on the Mediterranean Sea in what is now known as Iskenderun in the Hatay Province of Turkey. After WW1, it was occupied by French troops, and in 1921 was establish as the Sanjak of Alexandretta within French controlled Syria. Population during the 1930s was 220,000.  The Syrian stamps of 1930-36 were overprinted or surcharged and used in 1938 in Alexandretta. The name was changed to Hatay in latter 1938, and stamps were issued under that name. Finally, France returned the territory to Turkey in 1939.

Trivia: In the Film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", Jones claims the Holy Grail is in the "canyon of the crescent moon outside of Alexandretta"

1938 Scott 2 20c brown orange
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Alexandretta 1938, 17 regular, 8 air post, & 6 postage due major descriptions. Total = 31 stamps. Of those, thirteen (42%) are CV $3-$4+. There are no $1-$2 CV stamps for Alexandretta, but raising the bar slightly does yield a representative selection for the WW classical collector.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Piaster
1938 Scott 1 10c violet brown "View of Hama"
Stamps of Syria 1930-36, overprinted
Scott 1-9 stamps were issued April 14, 1938. Syrian stamps were overprinted as shown. The only issue year 1938 reflected the short life of Alexandretta.

1938 Scott 7 4p yellow orange 
"Square at Damascus"
As the territory was on the border between Turkey and Syria, one would expect a fight over which nation would obtain sovereignty. If you wish to read more about the machinations, view my Hatay post.

1938 Scott 10 75c orange red 
"Mosque at Homs"
Scott 10-12 were issued September 2, 1938. The CV for the entire issue ranges from $3-$10+.

1938 Scott C1 1/2p dark violet, red overprint
"Ancient Citadel at Aleppo"
An eight stamp air post issue was produced by overprinting Syrian 1937 air post stamps. CV ranges from $3-$10+.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has three pages for Alexandretta, and includes spaces for all the issued stamps.

"Sandjak d'Alexandrette" Scott 11 2.50p on 4p yellow orange
Big Blue Picture
On two lines on one page, Big Blue (1969) has 5 stamp illustrations/description spaces and 3 blank spaces for 8 total spaces for the year 1938.
The 2011 Scott Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has 31 descriptions for regular postage, air post and postage due.
Big Blue offers 26% coverage.

Stamps that could be added by a Big Blue collector (using up to $4 catalogue value as a cutoff) include three air post stamps ( C1,C2,C3 -$2+ each), and a postage due (J1-$2+).

1938 Scott 4 1p bister brown
"Citadel at Aleppo"
Big Blue Checklist
1,2,3,4,5, ($2+)
3 spaces: suggest 6,10,11 ( $2+)

1947 Standard catalog - no change in Scott numbers.

 Alexandretta (Iskenderun) is located today in the Hatay Province of Turkey.
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

1938 Scott 5 2p dark violet, red overprint
"View of Antioch"
Bottom Blue Line
The real fun in examining the obscure territories with small stamp runs- is learning the history. :-)

Note: Map in public domain.
Note: The "Into the Deep Blue" section, as well as many of the scans, were added March, 2014.

Alexandretta - Bud's Big Blue

Have a comment?


  1. A slight correction - the Turkish name is Iskenderun, not Iskenderma. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%B0skenderun

    As a grad student at Ohio State working on my PhD in history (specialty Ottoman-Modern Turkish history) I visited Hatay and still have a couple friends who live in Iskenderun and I can safely say that the Arab influence in the region remains striking even 75-plus years after the handover of the province. In both Iskenderun and Antakya (the biblical/classical Antioch) you can still hear Syrian Arabic spoken (mainly by Alawis, though also some Sunni Muslims as well) and the food of the region is very much influence by Arab Levantine cuisine - use of mint & sumac which is rare in other parts of Turkey, and some of the best hummus in Turkey. Beautiful region, which if it was not bordering a war zone currently would draw the kind of tourist traffic that other coastal regions of Turkey attract. DJCMHOH

  2. Thanks DJCMHOH for your insight- and you have visited Hatay!

    I have corrected the spelling, and much appreciated. :-)