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...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


1893 Scott 29 40c red/straw "Navigation and Commerce"
Quick History
Between the 17th and 19th century, the land on African's west coast by the Gulf of Guinea was ruled by the Kingdom of Dahomey. The area was known as the slave coast, because of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In 1892, the slave trade was banned, and France made it a Possession. The stamps of the French colonies were used from 1892-1894. The Capital was Benin with an area population of about 500,000. In 1895, Benin became part of the Dahomey colony. Then in 1899, the land became part of the French West African colony.

 In 1960, Dahomey became independent. After some years of Marxist-Leninist dictatorship and turmoil, it was renamed the Republic of Benin in 1991.

Historical Fact: The Kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to the 19th century sold their war captives into slavery; otherwise the captives would have been killed in a ceremony known as the Annual Custom.

Big Blue Picture
Big Blue (1997), on one line of one page offers 7 stamp spaces for the 1893 and 1894 French Colony issues.
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue  has 49 major stamp descriptions beginning with the handstamped "Benin" issues of 1892. Coverage is 14%.

In the '69, edition, Benin is located at the end of the page with Bavaria and Batum, and before Bechuanaland Protectorate. Of interest, Benin is not listed in the "Sequence of Countries in this Album" list in the '69. !

The 1892 issue is fairly expensive ($20+-$1,000+), so Big Blue does not provide coverage. But for $5+, there are six additional stamps from the 1892 and 1893 issues ( Scott 23,24,29,30,37,38) that might interest the Big Blue collector.

Closeup of 1894 Scott 33 1c black/bluish "Navigation and Commerce"
Note the change in Name
Big Blue checklist
1893 Navigation and Commerce
20 1c black ($2+)
21 2c brown ($2+)
22 4c claret ($2+)

33 1c black ($2+)
34 2c brown ($2+)
35 4c claret ($2+)
36 5c green ($2+)

Benin, Dahomey, French West Africa, Dahomey, Benin
Kinds of Blue
The 1997,1969,1947 and 1941 editions are identical for content.

Big Blue Bottom Line.
Part of the French colonies, and therefore no true bargains. But reviewing the area history, a sobering reminder what man will do to man.

Note: Stamp image (Scott 29), map appear 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.

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