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 28, 2011


National Republic 1919 Scott 1 10k & Scott 2 20k "Standard Bearer"
The thick grayish paper is a Soviet re-issue
Quick History
Located close to the very southern part of Russia in Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan was surrounded by Georgia, Dagestan, Persia, and  Armenia, with the Caspian Sea on the eastern border.The capital is Baku, and the population was 2 million in 1923.

After the collapse of the Russian Empire during WW1, Azerbaijan declared Independence in May, 1918, as the Democratic (National) Republic. But Lenin needed Baku's oil fields, and the Bolshevik 11th Red Army put an end to Azerbaijan's short independence.  The Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic was formed in 1922, lasting  through 1924, when Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia combined forming the Transcaucasian SSR. The National Republic issued stamps in 1919; then the Azerbaijan SSR issued stamps from 1922-1924.
Independence from the Soviet Union was declared in 1991.

Trivia: Nine out of the eleven Climate Zones exit in Azerbaijan.

1919 National Republic Scott 8 10r olive green, bister & black "Baku"
Thin white paper indicates first issue
The Soviet re-issue inverts the ornament column on the left on the 5r & 10r
Big Blue Picture
On two lines of one page, Big Blue (1969) has 10 illustrative/descriptive stamp spaces.
The 2011 Scott Classic specialized catalogue has 98 major stamp descriptions. (10 for the National Republic, the rest for the Soviet era through 1924).

Therefore, Big Blue (1969) has 10% coverage. Actually the coverage is misleading, as Big Blue has 100% coverage of the National Republic, while 0% coverage of the Soviet era.

Twenty-four Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic 1922-24 stamps that are inexpensive include Scott 15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,39($2+), 57,58,59($1+), 60,61,62($1+), 63($1+), B1,B2($1+); (<$1 except noted)

Big Blue Checklist
9,10 ($1+)
Note: Two issues; the National Republic issue is on thin white paper, while the Soviet re-printing is on thick grayish paper. In my experience, the thick grayish Soviet re-issue is far more common in collections.There was also a design change on the 5r & 10r stamps for the Soviet issue. Illustrated above.
The early white issues are valued by Scott @ 5X usual catalogue.

1918-20 Azerbaijan National Republic
Kinds of Blue
The 1997 edition and the 1969 edition are identical.
Compared to the 1969 edition, the 1947 edition is the same.

Compared to the 1969 and 1947 editions, the 1941 edition has these differences.

Big Blue Bottom Line
The history is what is really fascinating.
One might want to add a supplemental page for the Soviet era issues.

Note: Historical map in public domain courtesy of Azerbaijan24.com

Note: Thanks to Keijo and his wonderful blog http://www.stampcollectingblog.com for bringing to my attention the difference in paper and design types for the 1919 National Republic issue.

Azerbaijan and Forgeries: a closer look
Azerbaijan - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!


  1. Having the two volume set of Minkus Supreme album, I thought I would analyze it much the same as you are with Scott International Part I. Right off the bat I'm presented with spaces in the album for the Azerbaijan "famine relief" stamps, which I discover are bogus stamps. My old copy of the Minkus catalog also shows them. So, I have decided to use the Scott catalog. But I still don't like the spaces in the Supreme for non-existent stamps. After much deliberation, I am going to use the Scott 1997 Part IA1-IB2. Better paper and follows the Scott catalog. Stamps without spaces will have to go in a stockbook.

    1. Cchutt- the Scott 1997 edition will definitely work, and, I agree, it is easier to follow the Scott catalogue. Congratulations, and I will be most interested in your progress.

      It would be nice, of course, if the Minkus Supreme would get an analysis, but it would be tougher, as one will have to use a Minkus system, then translate to a Scott equivalent number practically speaking. Having bogus stamp spaces that are no longer in the catalogue is no fun, but the 1940s edition Big Blue likewise has this problem.

      Good luck!

  2. I just can't pull myself from researching the Minkus Supreme. So, I have renewed my focus and have begun. But a question arose (as they seem to do at every turn). The Supreme I'm using was printed in 1957. I'm trying to keep the space counting to 1840-1940, to be comparable to your Scott counts. I'm using the Scott catalog to tell me the year of issue. While looking at Aden in the catalog, I find the section of 1939-1948. Some major numbers, and some minor ones, have their year of issue listed in their description. I noticed you counted all the major #'s 16-27, but four of those were issued 1942 or later (16, 23A, 25 & 26). Am I reading the catalog correctly?

    1. cchutt- congratulations on your task of reviewing the Minkus Global Supreme!

      Are you going to do a checklist?

      Are you going to start a blog? (I think you should for this level of effort.) If not, I would be happy to publish your results here.

      As far as catalogue numbers, the cutoff for 1940 is always going to be a bit fuzzy. To not drive yourself crazy, I would suggest including any issue in the Supreme that starts before 1940, and continues past 1940, even if Big Blue Part I stops at 1940. (The Part II International 1941-49 will continue with some of the later stamps from an issue.)

      Again, I think a rough comparison between the Supreme and Big Blue for 1840-1940 is acceptable. I know when I tried to do some comparisons between the Supreme and Big Blue, it was not easy! (In general, the Supreme does a better job with more spaces, but not always.)

      Good luck- and let me know how it is going!


  3. Thanks for your thoughts. I won't be writing a blog but plan to provide my results to you. You may publish them here if you want. This assumes, of course, that I finish the task. Or at least a country or two :-)

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  4. Thanks. I may have some more questions before completing the first country.

  5. Why not note the many forgeries? They are in "focus on forgeries" book.

    1. I've not discussed them yet. ;-)

      I have in the works another blog post which will address the forgeries.