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...

Friday, March 4, 2011


Quick History

Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles, 60 miles east of the Windward islands and the Caribbean Sea. The Island is about 21 X 14 miles, the Capital is Bridgetown, and the population in 1947 was 200,000. Barbados was named by the Portuguese, meaning "bearded one". But the Island has been under continuous British rule and settlement since 1627, when it was claimed in the name of James l. Only in 1966 did Barbados become independent, although still a member of the Commonwealth.

Originally settled by the Scots and English, African slaves were imported to work for the sugar cane plantations. By the end of the 18th century, most of the population was of African descent.

Today, tourism is a large part of the economy.

Trivia: There are 4 Farthings to a Penny.

Big Blue Picture

On two pages, Big Blue (1969) has 54 illustrated/descriptive stamp spaces and 3 blank spaces for a total of 57 stamp spaces.
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogues 210 major numbers for 1940 and earlier.
Big Blue's coverage is 27%.

What a disappointment.  Big Blue neglects the first 30 years of Barbados's stamp issuing history, not including ONE of the magnificently designed "Britannia" stamps. Not a few issues either, but 59 Stamps! Sure some are expensive, but many fit Big Blue's criteria. I count 10 under $5, and and 15 more; the most expensive costing $20+.  Here is my list of inexpensive "Britannia's":

1852-1882 "Britannia's"
(Scott 13,15,16,19,20,21,24,28,29,31,32,33,35,39,42,45,46,48,50,51,52,53,54,55,56,)

Sadly, the coverage is  weak even for Big Blue's  listed issues. Here is the 31 stamp "additional want" list:

62,65,64 ($1+-$2+)

73,76 ($1+-$2+)




1916 Seal of the Colony
131,132,133,134,135 ($1+-$5+)  Five of these large magnificently designed stamps not in Big Blue!

1920 Victory issue
143,145,146,147 ($2+)  Iconic set. Four not in. Wow!



1935 No Silver Jubilee issue!

193A,194A,195A,196A,197A,199A, (<$1) Note: issued after 1940, but part of series.

Big Blue Checklist
60,61 ($1+)

70,91,71,72 or 93, 74 or 96 (<$1)
Note: 1892-03 wmk 2, and 1904-10 wmk 3 series

1897 Victoria Jubilee
81,82,83 (<$1)
Note: Minor "a" on bluish paper for >$30+.

1905-07 Nelson Centenary issue
102 or 110($2+-$5+)


1912 King George V
Two blank spaces: suggest 119($2+) and 120(<$1)

1916 Seal of the Colony
127,128,129 (<$1)

1920 Victory issue
140,141,142 or 151 (<$1)

Blank space: suggest 156($1+)


165,166,167,168,169,170,171 (<$1)

1937 Coronation
190,191,192 (<$1)

193,194,195,196,197,198 ,199, 200a or 200,(<$1)
200a 1sh olive green ($2+) ! Note: color specified in Big Blue; while 200 1sh brown olive is <$1.

202,205,206 ($2+)

Postage Due
J1,J2 ($1+)

War Tax

Kinds of Blue
The 1997,1969,1947 and 1941 editions are identical for content.

Big Blue Bottom Line

Big Blue's goal is "a representative collection", so they don't have to include any and all stamps. And for the most part expensive stamps are not in Big Blue. But to see all the inexpensive wonderfully designed and engraved Barbados stamps left out - it hurts! :-(

Note: I looked at the 1947 Standard catalogue, and the 1sh olive green is Scott "200". Clearly Scott demoted the color to Scott 200a (now-$2+) at some later date, with the color "brown olive"(<$1) given the Scott 200 number. As I have discovered before, once Scott lays down the colors for an issue in Big Blue, they never re-edit the color at a later date; even if their own catalogue now sees the color as a minor-and more expensive-variety.

$20+..and so on.


  1. My experience with Barbados is typical of why I broke away from the Big Blue: too many omissions. Your highlighted example of the 1920 Victory issue is well-chosen. Such omissions led me first to supplement the Big Blue with additional pages, the result being that the Big Blue is even bigger now--four large binders, still blue. Then, for countries like Barbados, I started albums totally separate from the Big Blue. That brings me to a question: the one Barbados semi-postal that fits within the Big Blue time frame: Barbados B1. Any comment on why the value for the invert is lower than for the regular, non-inverted stamp? Thanks for any input.

    1. Bert- Yes, the Barbados selection in BB is one of the most egregious in terms of missing stamps.

      It is interesting what has gone on with B1 in the Scott catalogue. The "upright" (not inverted) surcharge is the major number (B1), and has increased in value from CV $3.75 unused in 2011 to CV $7 unused in 2017. Meanwhile the "inverted" surcharge stamp (B1b) has remained @ CV $2 from 2011 to 2017.

      The story of the inverted surcharge is an interesting one. A sheet of inverted surcharges was found in the initial supply. In order to devalue for stamp collectors any inverted surcharge stamps, an entire large printing of inverted surcharge stamps was produced on Feb 25, 1907. They are now quite numerous, and, in fact, as you noticed, are less valuable CV wise than the upright surcharge.

    2. Bert-
      BTW, I plan to update the Barbados blog post with a more in depth discussion of Barbados issues with two new blog posts scheduled for early next year (2018).

    3. Great! Looking forward to them. Thanks for the swift replies. I had a hunch we were looking at a 1907 Dag-Hammarskjold event.

  2. Jim, the circa 1917 version of BB has spaces for 3 stamps from 1852-78: (1, 2, 3, or 4), (the 1/2 penny as in illustration A2), (the 1p blue). Lots of options here that add some of the earlier issues you note are lacking in later versions of BB, at a cost that isn't too prohibitive.

    There are also 3 additional stamps from 1882-85 and 1892: 62, 65, and 69.

    Also 84 and a blank space for the Victoria issue of 1897; another blank space for the Nelson issue of 1905; 91 and 95 of the 1909 reissue of the Badge Type of 1892-1903; 119-121 of the King George V issue of 1912; 130-31 of the Seal of the Colony issue of 1916; and a single semipostal (listed as 'charity stamp'), B1.

    Agree that the cuts/omissions for Barbados are particularly egregious!

    1. Tom, your 1917 BB version is a revelation. !!

      Thanks for sharing all the changes, and the stamp spaces that were there.

      For myself, I never explored the BBs earlier than the 1941 edition, so this is news to me. !!

  3. Thanks, Jim - I'm enjoying the process of going through the 'shades of Blue' to see where stamps could be added back in from earlier editions, should one desire. Most of the deletions from earlier additions seem to be because of space, not cost.

    I'm keeping track of things in a spreadsheet and would be happy to share the results publicly when done, if of interest.

    I do have a question: I've been checking eBay for a complete copy of the '69 (or later) edition but can't seem to find one that isn't full of stamps (and therefore expensive). It would be great to have one as a point of reference. Empty copies of the '41-'43 are rather plentiful on eBay, it seems, but not the later ones. Any pointers on where I might be able to find one?

    1. Hi Tom

      Sure, when you are done with your comparisons, I would be happy to share your results, or, if you wish, you could have a "guest post" and give your own story.

      The '69 edition is the one that subsequent editions were based on, so, yes, it would be good for you to have a '69 edition. My checklist is based on the '69, and Bud's Big Blue album is also based on it.
      They are not as common as the '41, '43, or '47 editions, so you may have to hunt for awhile to find one with few stamps. If this was not the age of COVID, I would recommend attending stamp bourses/shows, where dealers might have one for sale.