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 14, 2011

Bechuanaland Protectorate

1932 Scott 105 1/2p green "George V, Cattle and Baobab Tree"
Quick History
Bechuanaland Protectorate was located north of the Union of South Africa, east of South-West Africa, and bounded by Angola and Southern Rhodesia. The country of 120,000 (In 1904) with a capital of Vryburg ( to 1895), then Mafeking, was a "Protectorate" of Great Britain until it achieved its' independence as the Republic of Botswana in 1966. Initially, the stamps of Bechuanaland were overprinted "Protectorate" in 1885. Yes a bit confusing. A southern part of the Protectorate with a population of 70,000 (1891),  was divided off, called "British Bechuanaland", ( including the former  Stellaland), and  also issued stamps until it was eventually annexed to the Cape of Good Hope Colony in 1895.

Big Blue Picture

On one page, Big Blue (1997), beginning in 1898,  has 36 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue lists 91 major stamp descriptions beginning in 1888.

Coverage by Big Blue of the Bechuanaland Protectorate issues is 40%. I'll have more to say about that in a bit.

I found an additional 15 stamps (including earlier coverage and postage dues) that are reasonably priced (<$1-$10+) , and could be considered by the Big Blue collector. (Scott 60,61,67,68,72,74,82,91,131,J1,J2,J3,J4,J5,J6).

But the real scandal is no apparent coverage by Big Blue of Bechuanaland! The Scott catalogue lists 42 major varieties between 1885-1897. I found 22 stamps valued between <$1-$10+ that appear quite collectable. (Scott 5,6,7,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 23,25,31,32,33,34,35,36,38,39,40,41,).

No room in Big Blue for British Bechuanaland!
Big Blue Checklist
1898-1901 overprint
69,75,70,71 (<$1-$2+)

1904-12 overprint

1912 overprint
82 (<$1)

1914-26 overprint (King George V issues)
83 or 96, 84 or 97, 85,86,87,88, 89 or 102, 90 or 103($50+), (<$1-$5+ except noted)
Note: consists of Scott 83-90 1913-24 wmk 33; Scott 96-103 1925-27 wmk 35
Note: Some stamps in the series are ruled out because of different color than Big Blue specifies.

105,106,107,108,109,110,111 (<$1)

1935 Silver Jubilee

1937 Coronation


1932 Scott J4 1/2 p olive green Postage Due: found only in '47 and '41 editions.
Kinds of Blue
The 1969 and 1997 editions are identical.
The 1947 (and 1941) editions include Postage Due 1932  J4($5+) and J5($5+) that are NOT in the 1969 (and 1997) editions.
( I did check all the editions('97,'69,'47,'41); and indeed there is no coverage of Bechuanaland)

Big Blue Bottom Line
As usual, Big Blue could have been more generous with the coverage of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. But there is NO coverage of Bechuanaland, ... and never has been.

Bechuanaland Protectorate - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!


  1. Jim, weighing in with the 1917 BB census - and, lo and behold, there is Bechuanaland coverage! Interestingly, stamps for both British Bechuanaland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate are located under the latter. Below are the Bechuanaland stamps - there are six of them in total - located just above the Protectorate issues:

    10 (Great Britain 111 overprinted, inexpensive!)
    1/2p Cape of Good Hope overprint, either 4 or 5 ($10-40)

    33, 34 (GB overprints, inexpensive)
    39, 39 (Cape of Good Hope overprints, also cheap)

    So far, so good. But then, to open the Bechuanaland Protectorate section of the page, we run into trouble...

    with the double overprint variety of 1888-90! The cut is clearly of 51 (astronomical CV), as the P in Protectorate isn't out of alignment as in 52, nor is the word smaller like in 53. (I can see why the editors dropped this one!)

    Then there's 67, another Cape overprint, which is somewhat more affordable (>$5 for mint, far more used).

    After this, coverage is more or less the same as in the later editions of BB up until the date limit, with some additional stamps thrown in, like 75 and 78.

    The double overprint is an intriguing stamp, although I'm leaving it off my want lists, give the price. But now those wishing to create a Bechuanaland supplement can work off the 1917 BB and put together a nice representative collection for a relatively affordable price.

    1. Tom - thanks for the detailed report - So British Bechuanaland does have spaces in the '17!

      Scott 51 is $275 unused, so yes a bit pricey. ;-)

      One reason British Bechuanaland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate seem to be joined at the hip in stamp albums is because both areas were administered from the same location.