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, March 7, 2011


1919 Scott 6 5r brown "Aloe tree"
Quick History
Batum is a port on the Black Sea, and is the Capital of the territory of Adzhar. In1921, It became an autonomous republic of the Georgian SSR.
After the Treaty of Versailles,  stamps of Batum were issued between 1918-20  under the occupation of the British.

Stamps of Batum in Big Blue
Big Blue Picture
On two lines of one page, Big Blue (1997) has 12 stamps spaces for 1919 and 1920.
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 65 major stamp descriptions.
Coverage  by Big Blue is 18%.

Big Blue's coverage is reasonable for these fairly expensive stamps, but there are six  inexpensive stamps that could be included.
17,18,18 ($1+)
63,64,65 ($2+)

1920 Scott 65 50r dark blue  "Aloe tree"
Overprinted "British Occupation"
Big Blue Checklist

1920  (1919 issue overprinted "British Occupation")
57,58,59,60,61,62, ($2+)

Batum, or Batumi, is located in present day Georgia on the coast of the Black Sea
Kinds of Blue
The 1997,1969,1947 and 1941 editions are identical for content.

1919 Scott 5 3r violet "Aloe tree"
Part of the first issue
Big Blue Bottom Line
Stamps included by Big Blue are a bit costly ($2+-$10+), but reasonable. Left out were some inexpensive varieties ($1+-$2+).

Note: Unfortunately, some of these Batum stamps may be forgeries.
(Further Note: 7-30-2012: Actually, by sheer luck, considering the abundant forgeries, the images on this site all show genuine stamps.)

If one counts 7 dots-rather than 6- along the top of the right lower denomination box, probably a forgery. (Further Note 7-30-2012: Actually, if one counts 7 dots for the Kopeck values, then certainly a forgery.)

(Further Note 7-30-2012 : I am preparing a MAJOR blog on the "Aloe Tree" forgeries, which should help to clear the confusion. This should appear around November, 2012.)

(Final Note! ;-) - The "Aloe Tree" forgeries post is published! )

Note, Map  appears to be in the public domain.

Note: You will need to consult a Scott catalogue for specific pricing. I only give a very "ball park" price, and never the actual catalogue value.
<$1= less than a Dollar
$1+= more than a Dollar
$2+= more than two Dollars
$5+= more than five Dollars
$10+= more than ten Dollars
$20+..and so on.


  1. Don't know if it matters anymore, but as I was going about the acquisition of some Batum, alerted by your comment above, I did some internet searching.

    The six pearls versus seven only applies to Kopeck denominations. All three individual illustrations in this entry are ruble stamps, where the 7 pearls is okay on the right.

    The ruble stamps of the first series each have different "forgery" identifiers. The 5 ruble you illustrate first should have the TY touching.

    But that's just based on a cursory reading of what's on the web. I'm certainly not in a position to take a position on the stamps you show here.


  2. Just did a survey of what's on offer on EBay and bidStart and, out of about 30 or 35 stamps of the first series, I saw perhaps 3 or 4 genuine ones. The rest seem to be fakes but none of the sellers acknowledges that--including the sets where fakes intermingle with genuines. (Several of the sets appear to be all fakes).

    On the other hand, the going prices (about 1/2 to 2/3 Scott cv) probably are low precisely because everyone tacitly assumes that everyone knows that most of these are fakes??? Genuine Batum even in fine or f/vf condition would bring more like 100% of Scott cv?? In other words, as someone in one of the internet articles I read pointed out, a predominance of fakes has been factored into the Scott value??

    I'm just a rank amateur on this--perhaps what I wrote here is common knowledge. But it was news to me and it was Jim's passing comment at the end of this entry that first got my attention. Scott's Classic Specialized does not warn users that fakes are common--normally the catalogue does warn people. Odd.


  3. One more comment. I see that Scott Classic Specialized does have a counterfeit warning for Batum--I overlooked it.

    But, take a look at the stamp illustrating the first series, a 5 kopeck green aloe tree. It's a fake. The center tree branches go straight up and there are seven dots above the 5 on the right tablet.

    Can this be true? Or are these two criteria for "easily" detecting fakes for the kopeck stamps (not as easy for the ruble stamps), criteria that I found repeated several places on the web incorrect?

    Curioser and curioser.


  4. Dennis- Batum is filled with forgeries, and if I have the time- I do have the interest - I will revisit Batum with a look at the forgeries.

  5. Dennis, and others who take an interest in the Batum "Aloe tree" issues...

    I am preparing a blog (To come out around November, 2012) that will illustrate and clarify the genuine originals from the two major Forgeries around.

    Dennis, you are absolutely right about the rampant forgeries being sold on ebay.

    And the Scott classic catalogue not only illustrates one forgery, but two!

    I have written to them, and they will use my image of the genuine 5k green for the next edition.

    And if that is not surprising enough, Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth 1840-1970 catalogue also illustrates a forgery! I have alerted them.


  6. Thanks, Jim, for following up on this. I figured you'd not get to it for a while and hadn't checked back. That even Stanley Gibbons got taken underscores how widespread the problem is. I'll look forward to your post in November.


  7. Thanks Dennis

    For a foretaste on the Batum Forgeries, check out my posts on Stamp Community Forum.