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...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


1908 Scott 32 1p carmine "Seal of the Colony"
Quick History
Antigua, now part of the country of Antigua and Barbuda , is the largest island of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies in the Caribbean. Antigua is quite prosperous today because of tourism, two medical schools, and off shore banking. In 1967, it became an associated State of the Commonwealth, but disassociated itself from Britain in 1971. Earlier, it was one of the five Presidencies of the (British) Leeward Islands Colony. The other Presidencies were St Christopher, Montserrat, Dominica (until 1940), and the British Virgin Islands. The Capital is St John's and the population in the 1930s was about 34,000. Postal markings began in 1850, with the first stamp issue in 1882. Antigua stamps were discontinued from 1890-1903, when the stamps of the Leeward Islands were used. After 1903 until 1956,, both Leeward Islands and Antigua stamps were valid.

Trivia: Christopher Columbus in 1493 named the Island after Santa Maria de la Antigua.

Antigua and the Leeward Islands
Big Blue Picture
On two pages, Big Blue (1969) has, beginning with the 1873 issue, 39 stamp spaces.

The 2011 Scott Specialized 1840-1940 Catalogue has 89 major stamp descriptions beginning with the 1873 issue. Note:Stamp issues do begin with 1862, but the stamps are fairly expensive, so I am ignoring the coverage from 1862-1873 for counting purposes. Note: The specialized catalog does go up to 1952 for the British Commonwealth countries, so I eliminated post 1940 issues.

Coverage in Big Blue is 44%

A closer look...

As mentioned, the 7 varieties before 1873 are fairly expensive, although you can pick up the 1872 issues (Scott 5,6,7) for $10+ to $20+.

After 1873, there are no real inexpensive stamps, although Scott 33,35,36,60,71,72,93 are $5+.
Clearly, Antiguan stamps are valued by collectors.

1921-29 1 1/2p fawn & 2p gray "St. John's Harbor"
Big Blue Checklist  (1969 Big Blue edition)
1873-1886 Queen Victoria
18 or 8 ($2+-$10+) Note: Scott 18 is a 1p carmine from 1884. Scott 8 is a 1p lake from 1873
Blank space: suggest Scott 18or 8 to pick up the other choice, or Scott 10 ($10+), or Scott 11($10+)
Note: The purist in me prefers Scott 8, as that is a "real" 1873 issue. Scott 18, although the same design in a different color, really belongs to the 1882-1886 series listed below.

1882-1886 Queen Victoria
12 ($2+)
16($2+) or 15($10+)

1903-29  Seal of the Colony
31 or 21 ($2+)
Blank space: suggest 22 or 32 ($1+-$2+)

1921-29 St John's Harbor
42,43,44,46,47,48 (<$1-$2)
49 ($5+)
50 ($2+)
58 or 51 ($5+)
59 ($2+)
52 ($5+)

70,67,68,69 ($2+-$5+)
Blank space: suggest 71 or 72 ($5+)

1935 Silver Jubilee
77,78,79,80 (<$1-$2+)

1937 Coronation Issue
81,82,83 (<$1)

84,85,86,87,88,89,90,91 (<$1-$2+)  Note: shades are recognized by Scott on almost all stamps. Some major Scott numbers have shades that were issued after 1940, while the pre-1940 shade  is now catalogued with a minor number. In other cases, it is difficult/impossible to determine which shade Big Blue is listing. I am ignoring shades for the purpose of the checklist, so there could be Scott numbers listed here with color varieties issued after 1940. For the full discussion, see Big Blue Bottom Line-Antigua.

War Tax
MR1,MR3 ($1+-$2+)

1947 Scott Standard Catalogue has the same, but simplified numbers: no shades, minor varieties etc. Of course, it does not cover series stamps (1938-51) that were issued after 1947.

1938 Scott 85 1p scarlet "Nelson's Dockyard"
Kinds of Blue
The 1997 edition and the 1969 edition are identical.
Compared to the 1969 edition...

Addition (1947 and 1941 editions)
Scott 14 2 1/2 p ultramarine ($5+)

Addition (1947 and 1941 editions)
1903 Seal of the Colony Issue
Scott 22 1p carmine and black ($1+)

Additions (1947 and 1941 editions)
1908-12 Seal of the Colony Issue
Scott 31 1/2p green ($2+)
Scott 32a 1p scarlet ($2+)
Scott 33 2p orange brown and dull violet ($5+)
Scott 34 2 1/2p ultramarine ($10+)
Scott 35 3p ochre and green ($5+)

Addition (1947 and 1941 edition)
1921-22 St John's Harbor
Scott 45 1 1/2p orange ($5+)

Deletion (1947 and 1941 editions)
1973-84 stamp blank space

Deletion (1947 and 1941 editions)
1921-22 St John's Harbor
Scott 46 1 1/2p rose red ($2+)

Deletion (1947 and 1941 editions)
Scott 70 and a blank space ($5+)

FYI: I will  not note a change in blank spaces from edition to edition, unless it is impactful. Also, there is frequently a difference in layout from edition to edition. But I will  only discuss a change in stamp illustrations/descriptions.

1916-18 War Tax MR1 1/2p green & MR3 1 1/2p orange
Big Blue Bottom Line  
Antigua has attractive British colonial stamps; no wonder the area is popular. Of course there are no bargains to be had by the worldwide collector.

The 1908-12 Seal of the Colony issue is particularly attractive; Too bad it was dropped in the 1969 edition.

I would now like to discuss a bit of a dilemma that the British issues pose;especially those that start in the 1930s and continue even into the early 1950s,  The Antigua issue of 1938-51 is a good example. The problem is there are (often) several shades for each stamp depending on what year of issue.

Here is the Scott specialized listing for the 8 stamps found in Big Blue.
Scott 84    1/2 p yellow green
Scott 84a    1/2 p green (1942)
Scott 85      1p scarlet
Scott 85a     1p red (1942)
Scott 86     1 1/2 p red brown (1943)
Scott 86a    1 1/2 p chocolate brown
Scott 86b     1 1/2 p lake brown (1949)
Scott 87      2p gray
Scott 87a   2p slate (1951)
Scott 88     2 1/2 p ultra (1943)
Scott 88a    2 1/2p  deep ultramarine
Scott 89      3p  pale orange (1944)
Scott 89a      3p orange
Scott 90       6p purple
Scott 91      1sh brown & black
Scott 91a     1sh red-brown & black

Here is the 1947 version
84  1/2p green
85 1p  red
86 1/ 1/2p  brown violet
87 2p  dark gray
88  2 1/2deep ultramarine
89  3p orange
90 6p  purple
91 1s  red brown & black

Here are the descriptive colors listed for the issue in Big Blue-both 1969 and "Junior" 1941 ( The four other varieties  have pictures in Big Blue, and hence no color clues)

1 1/2 p brown violet
2p dark gray
2 1/2p deep ultamarine
1s red brown & black

What can we conclude?
1) The color clues follow the 1947 Scott standard catalog version

2) Some of the colors that are listed in Big Blue have been given a minor listing in 2011 Scott specialized: specifically 2 1/2 p deep ultramarine is now 88a, while 1s red brown & black is 91a. Scott 88 is now "ultra" - issued 1943, while Scott 91 is "brown & black"

3) Some colors described in Big Blue, and also described in the 1947 Standard catalog no longer "exist"- or the color descriptive name was changed. -Specifically 1 1/2p "brown violet" from Big Blue and the 1947 catalog. The colors are now "red brown" (43), "chocolate brown", or" lake brown" (49). Since this color -"brown violet"was already described in the 1941 "Junior" edition I have (as well as the 1969 version too), the color "red brown"(43) and "lake brown"(49) cannot be the same, as they obviously were issued in later years. But is "chocolate brown" -Scott 86a, the only color remaining- the same as "brown violet" as described in Big Blue? My first reaction is "No". But perhaps somebody with more knowledge of shades in this issue could help out?

Finally, the 2p "dark gray" found in Big blue and the 1947 catalog apparently no longer exists- at least as a description. In 2011 Scott Specialized we have Scott 87 "gray", and Scott 87a "slate" (51) I do suspect in this case that "dark gray" has morphed into "gray", but this is only a guess.

4) Then we have the dilemma that the 2011 Scott Specialized 1840-1940 covers the British Commonwealth in this catalogue until 1952 despite its name. :-) We also have a sentiment that Big Blue Volume 1 should indeed carry the issues of the British Commonweath until 1952, the logical breaking point for this area. As we see, the British commonwealth issues beginning in 1938 often carry on until the early 50s with new denominations for the series, and definitely new color shades. I know that Bob Skinner of the blog " Filling Spaces" http://globalstamps.blogspot.com/ has discussed the advantages of a "classical" album carrying the issues of the British Commonwealth until 1952.

5) Finally, how "much" should the worldwide collector worry about the various shades of this 1938-51 issue? Frankly, it appears to be a real headache "interpreting" the color descriptions. Major catalog numbers are now minor catalogue numbers. Some color descriptions appear not to exist at all, or the color description have changed so significantly, that it is difficult to interpret.

So what is a "generalist" to do? This is what I am going to do: I'm not going to worry about it. :-) If there is a space for a 1938-51 stamp from a commonwealth country, I will put it in. I'm O.K. with post 1940 "color" shades in Big Blue. If I get another color shade, I might add it on a supplementary page, and even try to determine its catalogue number. The checklist for the country will just have the major Scott number. I might mention there are shades available, and some were issued between 1940-1952, but I'm not going to ban them from Big Blue.

There, I feel better now. :-)

Note: Map, and 1933 Map image (below) appears to be in the public domain. The original for sale at pennymead.com

Antigua - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!

1933 Map of Antigua


  1. I think there is a typo, Jim: the 1921-29 St John's Harbor 3p issue should be "58 or 51", not "68 or 51".

    I really enjoy your blog and Bud's as well -- love all the details and the pictures! I'm using it to help organize my 1947 Big Blue collection, a combination from three Part I volumes and a bunch of estate sales. Thanks for all your fine work.

    1. Thanks Bob for the correction. It is interesting that the list for Antigua has been up for over eight years, and you were the only one that spotted it. ;-)

      Thanks for the kudos on Big Blue - it is nice to know that people appreciate the effort.

      And good luck and have fun with your '47 BB. !!