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, May 30, 2011

Caroline Islands

1901 3pf brown and 5pf green
Quick History
The Caroline Islands ("Karolinen" in German), is an  archipelago of over 500 small islands 1200 miles apart in the west Pacific Ocean north of New Guinea.  In 1899, Spain sold the Islands to Germany, which administered them as a German Colony along with German New Guinea. Stamps were produced for "Karolinen" from 1900-1919. The population was reported to be 40,000 in 1915.  Japan occupied the Islands in 1914, and after WWI, received a Mandate in 1920 from the League of Nations. After WWII, the Islands became Trust Territories of the United States. Finally. the Islands gained their independence. The eastern portion became part of the Federated States of Micronesia (1986), and the western portion became part of Palau (1994).

1900 Scott 1 3pf dark brown
Stamps of Germany 1889-90 Overprinted in Black
Overprinted at 56 degree Angle
Into the Deep Blue - a closer look
100 Pfennig = 1 Mark
1900 Scott 4 20pf ultramarine
Stamps of Germany 1889-90 Overprinted in Black
Overprinted at 56 degree Angle
The first issue for the Caroline Islands consisted of 1899-1900 stamps of Germany that were overprinted "Karolinen" in black at an angle.

The 1900 six stamp issue (major numbers) were overprinted at a 56 degree angle. They are the more common variety, and the CV ranges from $10+ to $50+. "Used" is valued at a slightly higher CV than "unused".

But there was a minor number issue, also with the same six denomination stamps, that has a 48 degree angle, and was released in 1899.  CV is much higher, ranging from $60+ to $1,600+ (unused).

1901 Scott 12 30pf orange & black 
Kaiser Yacht "Hohenzollern"
The 1901 issue consisted of thirteen stamps, and has the familiar "Kaiser Yacht" design seen with German colonies of the time. This issue is unwatermarked.   CV is relatively modest for unused, with a CV of $1+ to $10 for twelve stamps. Only the 5m denomination stamp lies outside with a CV of $160.

I should mention that there is a rarity for the Caroline island:  Issued on July 12, 1910, a 5pg (from a handstamp) surcharging a 3pf brown. CV today? $5,500!

Through stamp collecting, the Kaiser's yacht "Hohenzollern" sails again!
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97 on two rows of one page has 7 stamp spaces. the 2011 Scott Classic specialized catalogue has 23 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 30%.

The one illustrated stamp space for the "1889" issue presents two problems.

First, the illustration cut is unclear to me if it represents the Scott 1 3pf ($10+) or Scott 2 5pf ($10+). Generally, the '97 edition stamp cut illustrations are often over-dark, so I am in the habit of checking the other editions. But that didn't help here. I chose the 3pf.

Second,  The 1899 issue was overprinted at a 48 degree angle (Scott 1a-6a); while the 1900 production was overprinted at a 56 degree angle (Scott1-6). Big Blue labels the one illustrated stamp space "1899", but it is clearly a 1900 issue with the overprinted 56 degree angle. Good thing, as the 1899 issue stamps are quite expensive.

If one is interested in  Additionals....
The 1899 issue with the 48 degree angle overprint issue is expensive: $60+ at least, so not a good candidate for BB.

The 1900 issue with the 56 degree overprint has Scott 2($10+) and Scott 3($10+); which might be acceptable if one is interested in German Colony stamps.

1900-15 Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern"

Big Blue Checklist
1899 overprinted "Karolinen" German 1889-90 stamps
Scott 1 3pf dark brown($10+)
Note: See discussion in Big Blue Picture section.

1900-15 Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern"
Two blanks spaces: suggest 11 and 12 ($1+)

The Caroline Islands
Kinds of Blue
The '41,'47,'69, and '97 are all identical in content.

Big Blue Bottom Line
An interesting history/geography lesson, and a refreshing change from the British/French/Portuguese/Spanish colonies. Four additional stamps in the "Hohenzollern" series can be picked up for $1+-$2+.

Note: Map in public domain.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cape Verde

Classic Ceres design from Cape Verde
Quick History
Cape Verde (Cabo Verde), a former Portugeuse Colony, is a group of ten islands in the Atlantic Ocean located 350 miles west of Senegal. The Capital is Praia, and the population was 181,000 in 1940. Cape Verde achieved independence from Portugal in 1975.

Cape Verde History and Trivia:  Because of location, Cape Verde was an important port in the Atlantic slave trade. Pirates, including Sir Francis Drake, twice attacked in the 1580's. Charles Darwin visited the islands in 1832. Finally, Cape Verde is not particularly "green".  Rather the  archipelago were named for Cap Vert on the Senegal coast.

The 1921 Scott J14 3c orange Postage Due
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on seven pages covering 1877-1938, has 121 spaces for Regular, Air Post, Postage Due, Postal Tax and Postal Tax Due stamps . The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 287 major stamp descriptions. Big Blue's coverage is 42%.

Cape Verde's stamp prices are quite reasonable, although not rock bottom "cheap". If you would like to explore deeper into Cape Verde's catalogue, there are plenty of additional issues and stamps. In fact I found 127 stamps; more than what Big Blue offers in total!

Additionals...... (<$1-$2+)
1877 Crown of Portugal
4,7,8or 8a,9,(<$1-$2+)

1881-85  Crown of Portugal

1886 King Luiz

1894 King Carlos

1898 King Carlos

1902 overprinted "provisorio"

1902 surcharged ( on 1886 issue) Issue not in BB

1902 surcharged ( on 1894 issue) Issue not in BB

1911 overprinted "republica"

1912 overprinted in carmine or green "republica"

1913 Vasco Da Gama Issue overprinted/surcharged (Issue not in BB)
On Macao stamps
On Portuguese Africa stamps
On Timor stamps



1914-26 Ceres A6 design
choices listed in checklist and..

1915 (1902 issue overprinted "republica"in carmine) Issue not in BB

1921 surcharged (Issue not in BB)

1922 surcharged  (Issue not in BB)

1925 surcharged

1931 Surcharged

1934 Ceres A7 design

1938 Vasco Da Gama


Air Post stamps

Postage Due

1911 overprinted "republica"

1921 overprinted "republica"

Newspaper stamp

1911 Scott 94 115r orange brown on pink, and Scott 95 130r brown on straw
Two of the many additional stamps if one would like to go beyond the Checklist
Big Blue Checklist
1877 Crown of Portugal
5r black: 1 or 1a ($1+)
20r bister: 3 or 3a ($1+)
Note: Minor numbers are different perforations.

1886 King Luiz

1894 King Carlos

1898 King Carlos

1902 overprinted "provisorio"

1903 King Carlos

1911 overprinted "republica"
Blank space: suggest 92(<$1)

1912 overprinted in carmine or green "republica"
100,101,102,103,104,105($1+),106, (<$1 except noted)

1914-26 Ceres Update Note
The 1914-26 "Ceres" issue presented initially was based on the 2011 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue. But the 2014  catalogue revises the listings into 1914 "chalky paper" Perf 15 X 14; 1916 "ordinary paper" 15 X 14; 1920-26 "ordinary paper" 12 X 11 1/2; and 1922-26 "glazed paper" 12 X 11 1/2 major number categories. 
For those with older catalogues (~2011), I will first present the "old" numbers. I will then present the current (~2014) numbers.

Old numbers....

1914 Ceres A6 design

1922 Ceres A6 design
Blank space: suggest 176($1+)

1926 Ceres A6 design
Two blank spaces: suggest '26 issues 181($10+) and Scott 182 10e pink ($40)!
Note: I'm giving the choices for the '26 Ceres issues as that is clearly the intent of BB.  But Scott now lumps all the A6 designed Ceres together under the "1914-26" dates. So if one wants to insert ANY A6 Ceres choice, then (alternative suggested) 165(<$1) and 168($2+) could be put here.

Current numbers...

1914 (-1916*)
1/4c olive brown: 144 or 160 or 162 (Old:144)
1/2c black: 145 or 163 (Old:145)
1c blue green: 146 or 164 (Old:146)
1 1/2c lilac brown: 147 or 166 (Old:148)
2c carmine: 148 or 167 (Old:149)
2 1/2c light violet: 149 or 168 (Old:151)
5c deep blue: 150 or 161 (Old:155)
7 1/2c yellow brown: 151 (Old:159)
Next Page
8c slate: 152 (Old:160)
10c orange brown: 153 (Old:161)
15c plum*: 172 (Old:163)
*Note 1916 issued stamps are included, as the 15c plum color, called for by BB, is a 1916 issue, and the 1916 issues are “close enough” time wise to be included, pragmatically speaking. On the other hand, the 1920-26 issues are not included here.

1c yellow green: 165 or 175 (Old:147)
3c orange: 169 or 180 (Old:152)
4c rose: 170 or 181 (Old:153)
4 1/2c gray: 182 (Old:154)
5c bright blue: 183 (Old:156)
6c lilac: 183A (Old:157)
7c ultramarine: 183B (Old:158)
12c blue green: 183F (Old:162)
15c brown rose: 154 (Old:164)
30c gray green: 183K (Old:169)
40c turquoise blue: 183L (Old:171)
60c dark blue: 183N (Old:174)
Blank Space: 171/183P/183Q/183S (Old:176)

2c gray: 178 (Old:150)
24c ultramarine: 183I (Old:166)
25c chocolate: 183J (Old: 167)
50c  violet: 183M (Old:173)
60c rose: 183O (Old:175)
1e deep blue: 183R (Old:179)

Two Blank Spaces: 183T/183U/183V (Old: (181), (182))

1934 Ceres A7 design

1938 Vasco Da Gama
Two blank spaces: suggest 244,245,(<$1)

Air Post stamps
C1, C2,C3,(<$1) Note: C1 "scarlet" in BB is "red orange" in Scott
Two blank spaces: suggest C5(<$1) and C6($1+)

Postage Due
Blank space: suggest J3(<$1)

1911 overprinted "republica"
Two blank spaces: suggest J13,J14,(<$1)

1921 overprinted "republica"

Postal Tax
RA1,RA2,RA3, ($1+)

Postal Tax Due

The 1914 Ceres Scott 161 10c orange brown
Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47, and '41 are identical in content.

Big Blue Bottom Line
Forced by a blank space, we have a classic 1926 Ceres design Scott 182 10e pink for $40. Otherwise, filling Cape Verde stamp spaces should not be hard cost wise for Big Blue collectors. As mentioned earlier, one can easily double the collection without much more expense.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cape of Good Hope

"Hope" Seated One Penny
Quick History


Located on the very southern part of South Africa, the Capital is Cape Town, and the population was 2,500,000 in 1911. Cape of Good Hope, together with Natal, Transvaal, and the Orange River Colony, formed the Union of South Africa in 1910. The Dutch East Indian Company were first in the area when in 1795 the British used Cape Town as a naval base. The British subsequently obtained possession of the area by the Treaty of Vienna in 1814, as the Dutch had been allies of Napoleon. In 1836, the Dutch Boer farmers moved- known as the "Great Trek"- north of the Orange River because of the British abolition of slavery. In 1871, Cape Colony added Griqualand West, and in 1877 part of Transvaal. Finally, British Bechuanaland was absorbed in the 1890's. The Dutch Boers were defeated in the South African War, and the colonies were united in 1910.
Cape of Good Hope began issuing stamps in 1853; "Hope" Seated- the world's first triangular stamps.

Apocryphal?:  Supposedly, the Triangular stamps were produced so that post office sorters could quickly distinguish outgoing from incoming mail.

Place the Scott 57 2 1/2 ultra in the row with the differently designed 1/2p yellow green and it's siblings; the 1892  2 1/2p "illustration" below is reserved for the Scott 56  2 1/2p sage green.
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97 has, on one page, 30 stamp spaces, including two triangular spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 68 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 44%.

Who doesn't dream of having Cape of Good Hope Triangular stamp in their collection? For that reason alone, collecting classic worldwide in Big Blue is GREAT. Except for the high cost of the Triangulars, the rest of the Cape of Good Hope's Big Blue stamp selection is quite reasonable cost wise indeed.

There are  two cautionary tales I will mention here in placing the Colony's stamps in Big Blue's Album. Be aware that the A13 design Scott 57 2 1/2 ultramarine is placed in the 1896-98 "Hope" Seated  row with all the differently A6 designed stamps. Big Blue gives no indication that one should do that. See the illustration above. The "obvious place to put the stamp"-the 1892 2 1/2p illustration cut below the row- is NOT where the stamp is placed. That space is reserved for Scott 56 2 1/2p sage green.

The second cautionary tale is from personal experience. I was ready to put-what looked like to me a nice chocolate brown  2p- in the 1896-98 "Hope" Seated row. See illustration below. I noticed it should have a watermark 16- an "anchor" (which by the way is quite easy to see with the Cape stamps usually-just turn the stamp over on a dark background). Image my surprise when it was watermark 2 - the Crown and C A. So this stamp was a 1864-87 Scott 35 2p "bister"! Probably a 35a color variation- "deep bister". I've lost some confidence in my ability to categorize by color. So even though Big Blue does not require- or even encourage-watermarking; it's a very good idea! :-)

Additional Cape stamps to consider for the Big Blue collector......
1853-64 Imperf (Triangulars) "Hope" Seated (For those who dream)
Other choices listed in the Checklist, and...
1858 Scott 5 6p pale lilac($230+)
1858 Scott 6 1sh yellow green ($220+)
1863-64 Scott 14 6p purple ($290+)

1864-87 "Hope" Seated
Other choices listed in the Checklist.

1879 Red surcharge

1880 Surcharge

1882 Surcharge

1896-98 "Hope" Seated

 The Two Pence is a Scott 35a 2p "deep bister" with watermark 2 (Crown and CA) rather than the Scott 45 "chocolate brown" with watermark 16 (Anchor)
Big Blue Checklist
1853-64 Imperf (Triangulars) "Hope" Seated
One penny (Illustrated)
1863-64 Scott 12 1p dark carmine ($210 Mint) or 1853 Scott 1 1p brick red/bluish paper ($230+) or 1855-58 Scott 3 1p rose/white paper ($230+) or "wood block" 1861 Scott 7 1p vermilion ($2,600+)

Four penny "blue" (designated)
1855-58 Scott 4 4p blue ($60)
Note: because of designated color, BB's only strictly correct choice; but other 4p issues include the 1863-64 Scott 13 4p dark blue ($60+), 1853 Scott 2 4p deep blue/lightly blued paper($120+), or "wood block" 1861 Scott 9 4p milky blue ($3000+).

1864-87 "Hope" Seated
1/2p (illustrated)
41 1/2p gray black($1+) or 33 1/2p gray black($2+) or 23 1/2p gray black ($10+)

1p "rose": 16(<$1) or 43(<$1) or 34($2+)
2p "bister": 44(<$1) or 35($1+)
3p "claret": 36($1+) or 26($2+)
4p "blue": 27(<$1) or 17($2+) Note: Scott 47(<$1), a '90 issue, ruled out for date.
6p "bright violet": 37($1) or 18($1+) Note: Scott 49(<$1) "violet" color ruled out.
1s "yellow green": 19($4+) Note: Scott 51($5+) is ruled out for date ('94) and color (blue green).
Note: stamp spaces include 1864-65 Scott 16-18 wmk 1; 1871-81 Scott 23-27 No Frame Line around stamp; 1882-83 Scott 33-37 wmk 2; 1884-86 Scott 41-44 wmk 16-anchor.
Note: I included the "No Frame Line around stamp" 1871-81 Scott 23-27 as choices, although the "illustrated" cut in BB shows (I believe) the Frame line. If you don't agree, remove these choices.

1896-98 "Hope" Seated
1/2p "green" Scott 42 (<$1) Note: "yellow green" in Scott
2p "chocolate brown" Scott 45($1+)
2 1/2p "ultramarine" Scott 57 (<$1) Note: Caution! Different design (A13) than others in the row(A6)-see Big Blue Picture for discussion.
3p "red violet" Scott 46 ($1+)
4p pale olive green Scott 48($2+)
1s yellow buff Scott 52 ($2+)

1891 Surcharge

1892 "Hope" Seated (A13 design)
2 1/2p Scott 56 sage green(<$1)
Note: the other A13 design, the 2 1/2p Scott 57 ultramarine(<$1) is put in the designated "2 1/2p ultra" space in the row above; the 1896-98 "Hope" Seated row: see Big Blue Picture for discussion.

1893 Surcharge

1900 Table Mountain and Bay;Coat of Arms

1896-1902 "Hope" Standing

1902-04 King Edward VII
63,64,65,66($2+),67($1+),68,69,70($1+) (<$1 except noted)

"Hope" Standing
Kinds of Blue
The '97 and '69 editions are identical.
The '41 and '47 are also identical to the "69 and ''97 for content.
However, The '69 and '97 editions have a color change for two stamp spaces compared to the '47 and '41 editions.
Specifically the 1864-87 "Hope" Seated Issue..
6p Scott 18 and 37 "bright violet" in '97,'69, and 2011 and 1947 Scott catalogues is "violet" in '47 and '41 editions.
1s Scott 19 "yellow green" in '97,'69, and 2011 and 1947 Scott catalogues is "green" in
'47 and '41 editions.
Obviously, Scott changed the colors in the catalogue for these stamps sometime prior to 1947, and Big Blue then changed the color listing sometime later: certainly by 1969.

Big Blue Bottom Line
We have a new leader in the "Most Expensive stamp in Big Blue" list: the iconic Cape of Good Hope triangular design 1863-64 Scott 12 1p dark carmine ($210 Mint). What a gorgeous stamp!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cape Juby

1940 Scott 91 2c olive green,"Mail Box", red overprint
On stamps of Spanish Morocco, 1940
Quick History
Cape Juby is on the northwest coast of Africa in Spanish (Western) Sahara. The Capital was Villa Bens  (now Tarfaya), and the population was 9,800. With the agreement of France, Spain's possession of Sahara was extended north to include Cape Juby, and troops occupied the territory in 1916.

 Cape Juby: a strip of land between Spanish (Western) Sahara and French Morocco
For administration, it was attached to Spanish Sahara, formerly known as Rio de Oro. The 1916 issue consisted of overprinted/surcharged stamps of Rio de Oro. Later issues were overprinted from stamps of Spain or Spanish Morocco. The territory became part of Morocco in 1958.

Reality Check: Lots of issues, small population. Many of the stamps were sold to people like you and people like me.

100 Centimos = 1 Peseta
1934 Scott 40 1c bright rose "Street Scene in Tangier"
Black overprint; On stamps of Spanish Morocco 1928-33
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue ('97), on four pages, has spaces for 68 stamps from 1919-1939. The categories include regular,semi-postal, air post, and special delivery stamps. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 140 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 49%.

In my opinion, Big Blue has more than enough Cape Juby spaces. Pretty obscure place. But that's the fun of classic era world wide collecting. ;-)

If you are in the mood for more, I did find 25 stamps for no more than $2+.

The least expensive 1916 overprinted Rio de Oro stamps (Scott 1 or 2 ) are $10+.

1919-25 Overprinted Spanish issues of 1876-1923

1940 Overprinted  Spanish Morocco 1940 (This inexpensive issue is not in BB)
90,91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99,100, (<$1)

1926 Overprinted Spanish issue 1926

Air Post
1938 Overprinted C1-C10 Spanish Morocco

Special delivery
1919 Overprinted Spanish stamp
E1 ($2+) 
Comment: Why was the 1934 issue E2($10+) chosen by BB rather than this less costly choice?

1937 Overprinted Spanish Morocco

1940 Overprinted Spanish Morocco
E5 (<$1)
1935-36 Scott 54 2c green "View of Xauen"
Red overprint; On stamps of Spanish Morroco, 1933-35
Big Blue Checklist
1919-25 Overprinted Spanish issues of 1876-1923
8,9,25($2+),10,26($2+), (<$1 except noted)
Two blank spaces: suggest 7 Imperf (<$1) and 11($2+)

1929 Overprinted Spanish issue 1929

1934 Overprinted Spanish Morocco stamps
43A($2+) or 43($5+)
44 15c orange brown ($20+)
48 40c deep blue ($30+)
Blank space: suggest Scott 50 1p yellow green ($50)! (Other choices are $100+ and $120+!)
Note: Blank space requires a horizontal format; there is a Scott 53 @ $2+, but a vertical format stamp, and doesn't fit!

1935 Overprinted Spanish Morocco 1935
Scott 57 25c crimson with black overprint ($85 used or mint)! A designated space.

1937 Overprinted Spanish Morocco 1937
Blank space: suggest Scott 76 25c magenta with black overprint (<$1): other choices are Scott 82-85 @ $70+ apiece!

1939 Overprinted Spanish Morocco 1939

1926 Overprinted Spanish issue 1926

Air Post
1938 Overprinted C1-C10 Spanish Morocco
Two blank spaces: suggest C5 and C6 (<$1)

Special delivery
1934 Overprinted Spanish Morocco

1935 Overprinted Spanish Morocco
1937 Scott 74 15c bright blue "Harkeno Rifleman"
Black overprint; On stamps of Spanish Morocco, 1937
Kinds of Blue
The '69 and '97 editions are identical for content.

The '47 and '41 editions LACK 10 stamp spaces found in the '69 and '97 editions.


The'69 and '97 editions have designated spaces for the 1937 Scott 77,78,79,80,81, and a space for blank space choice Scott 76. The '47 and '41 editions do NOT have spaces for these 1937 issue stamps.

The'69 and '97 editions have designated spaces for the 1939 Scott 86,87,88, and 89.
The '47 and '41 editions do NOT have spaces for these 1939 issue stamps.

1926 Semi-postal Scott B2 2c rose "Queen as a Nurse"
Black overprint; On stamps of Spain, 1926
Big Blue Bottom Line
This obscure territory (to me) has yielded two expensive stamps for Big Blue. Forced by a blank space choice, the first expensive stamp is a 1934 overprinted Spanish Morocco Scott 50 1p yellow green for $50.
The Scott 1947 catalogue values Scott 50 @ $1; which is about $10 today based on inflation rates. So clearly, the stamp price has increased much more.

The second expensive entry is a 1935 overprinted Spanish Morocco stamp Scott 57 25c crimson for $85 mint or used! The 1947 catalogue values this @ 75 cents, or ~$7.50 in today's prices. Again, a large increase above inflation. But since only a few spaces in my Big Blue have Cape Juby stamps, it will be awhile before I  need them. :-)

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Canal Zone

Canal Zone overprints of Panamanian stamps
Quick History
Canal Zone is the site of the Panama Canal and extends through Panama from the Atlantic to the Pacific. From 1904, the 10 mile wide strip was a United States Government Reservation, administered by the Secretary of War. The Panama Canal was finished in 1914, a huge engineering feat that cost 5,600 worker lives. The population of the Canal Zone was 51,000 in 1940. In 1979, the Canal Zone was put under joint control of the Republic of Panama and the U.S., with Panama handling postal services. Finally, the Canal reverted to Panama in 1999.
Overprinted Panama and U.S. stamps were issued from 1904-1931, with some U.S. overprints continuing through 1939. The first non overprinted stamps were issued in 1928.

Canal Zone construction history and tropical medicine: Yellow fever was the first virus shown to be carried by mosquitoes. This was demonstrated and proven by Dr.Walter Reed after Carlos Finlay, a Cuban doctor, first proposed this in 1881. Mosquito control by physician William Gorgas allowed completion of the Panama Canal by the U.S., after a French effort failed, in part, because of the high incidence of yellow fever.

Big Blue Picture
Big Blue ('97), on 4 pages has space for 104 regular, air post and postage due stamps. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue lists 183 major stamp descriptions. Coverage is 57%.

Good coverage, but the stamp prices range from $1+ to $20+ and up, as this area has U.S. collector interest. I did find 14 regular and postage due stamps that might be added by the Big Blue collector for <$1-$5+.

1904-06 Overprint on Panama stamps

1912-16 overprint Panama reading up




1933 Overprint U.S.
115(<$1) Not in BB!?

1939 Overprinted U.S.
118,119,(<$1) Not in BB!?

Postage Dues


The 1924-33 U.S. issues: Type "A" (shown here), has a flat top in the "A" letter of the overprint; while Type "B" has a sharp pointed top in the "A" letter
Big Blue Checklist
1904-06 Overprint on Panama stamps

1905 Surcharge on Panama stamps
Note: There are six different surcharge overprints.

1906 Overprint on Panama stamps reading down

1909 Overprint on Panama stamps reading down

1909-10 Overprint on Panama stamps reading up



1924 Overprinted Panama "Coat of Arms"

1915 Blue overprint Panama

1921 Overprint Panama reading up

1924-33 Overprinted U.S. stamps
Note: two overprint types-"A" and "B": BB only illustrates "A".  But 3c violet only comes in type "B"; and BB's dates encompass all of type "B"'s issues.  So besides Type "A", I am including Type "B" as a choice.
1/2c olive brown: 70(<$1)
1c green: 71 "deep green" in Scott($1+), or 100($1+)
1 1/2c yellow brown: 72($1+)
2c carmine: 73($1+) or 101($1) or 84($8) or 97 ($10+)
3c deep violet: 102($2+) or 85($3+) or 98($4+) Note: all listed "violet" in Scott
5c dark blue: 86($3+) or 74($5+) or 103($10+)
10c orange: 99($5+) or 104($10+) or 87($10+) or 75($20+)
12c brown violet: 88($10+) or 76($30+)
14c dark blue: 116($3+) or 89($10+) or 77($20+)
15c gray: 90($2+) or 78($30+)
Note: Type "A" is Scott 70-78: the rest are Type "B".

1928-31 regular issue

1939 Panama Canal 25th Anniversary Issue
120,121,122,123($1+), (<$1 except noted)

Air Post

1931 (Note: this series was active until 1949!)
Blank space: suggest C11(<$1) or C13($1+) or C14($1+)
Note: All blank space choices are '31 issues.


Postage Due

1924-25 Overprinted U.S. Postage Due stamps
J14 10c deep claret ($50)!


J21,J22,J23,J24, ($1+-$2+)

1931 Scott C7 5c yellow green "Gaillard Cut"
Kinds of Blue
The '41,'47,'69, and '97 editions are identical.

Big Blue Bottom Line
Interesting area and history; at least for the U.S. collector.
A bit on the expensive side also. The overprinted 1924-25 "Canal Zone" J14 U.S. 10c deep claret postage due is $50.
On the other hand, Big Blue didn't include the 1933 and 1939 overprinted U.S. stamps (Scott 115 3c deep violet, Scott 118 1/2c red orange, Scott 119 1 1/2 bister brown ) for <$1. A curious omission for a U.S. customer based Album.

Comments appreciated!

Friday, May 20, 2011


1888-93 "Small Queens"
Quick History
Canada is located  north of the border with the United States on the North American continent. The Capital is Ottawa, and the population was 11,500,000 in 1941. The government is a self-governing dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Areas of Canada which formerly has stamp issues include British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. The Province of Canada began issuing stamps in 1851.

Language: 58% speak English, 22% speak French, and 18% speak both languages.

1898 "Map of the British Empire"
Big Blue Picture
On 10 pages in Big Blue('97), there are 211 stamp spaces for regular, air post, special delivery, postage due, and war tax categories. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 280 major descriptions in the same categories. Coverage by Big Blue is 76%.

The coverage is really really good. True, many collectors of Scott Volume 1 have a natural interest in the stamps of Canada, so the editors made the right choice. But if the Big Blue collector wants to fill the early classical issues, be prepared to spend serious green.  ;-)

Setting aside the heavy cost of classic Canadian for the moment, what jaw dropping magnificent stamps!

The "Queens" 1868-93, both "Large" and "Small", are in the top rank of Victoria designs. And who does not like the "Beaver" motif of 1851, 1852-57, and 1859?

The 1897 Jubilee's are lovely, but I suspect  they were influenced by the long- and expensive- 1893 American  "Columbian Exposition" issue.

The 1898 "Map of the British Empire" stamps with the quote;"WE HOLD A VASTER  EMPIRE THAN HAS BEEN".  Truth...and hubris?

The Canadian commemorative 1897-1939 (generally large stamp) designs are classic and elegant. The most iconic in my view is the 1929 Scott 158 50c dark blue Schooner "Bluenose" ($60+). Wow!

Now for some cautionary notes...

If you have the '69 or '97 editions, you are probably aware that there was a mistake in the layout of  the 1897 Jubilee issue introduced by the '69 editors. (The error is not in the '47 or '41 editions.) There are two spaces (an 1/2c illustrated space and a blank space) on the first page, and then on the next page an illustration again for the 1/2c, designated spaces for the 1c, 2c, 3c, and 5c; and then three blank spaces as choices. What to do?
1) Leave blank the "error" spaces.
2) Fill the spaces on the first page with "cheap" Jubilee's. Recommend the 3c($2+) and the 1c($5+).
I will probably use this strategy as I have a few extra's.
3) Fill the spaces with the "correct" denominations. Costly though :The 1/2c is $110+!
4) Use the opportunity to have even more Jubilee's- choices include Scott 58 15c steel blue ($180+), Scott 59  20c vermilion ($180+), or Scott 60 50c ultramarine ($180+). The Bill Gate's approach.
Your choice....  ;-)

Also,  the "1912-18" King George V issue spaces show evidence of Big Blue NOT getting an editing upgrade that is evident in the recent Scott catalogues. Based on dates, Big Blue calls for a '12 wet printing 20c olive green($2+), which now has a minor number-119c- in the Scott catalogue.  Scott reserves the  major number 119  for the 20c olive green a '25 dry printing ($1+). There is no space for the major number stamp. Similarly, the '12 wet printing 50c "gray black" in BB ( now "black" in Scott) is a minor number-120a; while the major 120 number is a black brown '25 dry printing. Again, no space for the major number stamp. So either look for the stamps BB calls for; or change the "date" headline to "1912-25", and put in the major number 119 and 120.

Finally, Big Blue includes only two of the 1916 War Tax stamps (MR1,MR3), not including MR2 and MR4. All of the stamps are <$1!   :-)

Big Blue did a through job of covering the classics. Not much to add.  Be glad, though,  that Big Blue left out nine $1,000++ 1851-59 stamps, and a few of the $1000+ 1897 Silver Jubilee's.

But, if you are interested in the classics, and have a large budget for Canada, consider 12 1/2c Scott 18 yellow green ($110+) and 17c Scott 19 blue ($18+0).

1877 "Small Queens"
Scott 40 10c dull rose lilac($70+)

1897 The "older" Queen
Scott 71 6c brown ($30+)

The "coils": BB does not provide spaces for the Canadian coils. Some are quite inexpensive, you may already have them in your collection.
1912-24 Coil stamps

1930-31 Coil

1933 Coil

1935 Coil

1937 Coil


War Tax
MR2,MR4 (<$1)

Big Blue does not cover the Canadian Official stamps, which are regular issues perforated O.H.M.S.- "On His Majesty's Service". Beginning in 1912, there are 144 of them listed in the Scott catalogue.  Most are fairly expensive, but here are a few possibilities... ( Also check one's collection for "hidden treasure" O.H.M.S. perforated stamps.)

1937 King George VI
OA231, OA232, OA233, ($5+)

1937 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth

1933 Scott 204 Steamship Royal William
Big Blue Checklist
Three pence red "Beaver"
1852-57 Scott 4 ($220+) or 1851 Scott 1($1,000+)

1859 Scott 14 1c rose Queen Victoria ($80+)

1859 10c (illustrated)
Scott 17 red lilac ($140+) or Scott 16 black brown ($5,400+)

1859 Scott 15 5c vermilion "Beaver" ($30+)

1868 "Large Queens"
1/2c black Scott 21 ($7+)
1c Scott 22 brown red ($100+) or Scott 23 yellow orange ($200+)
2c green Scott 24 ($90+)
3c red Scott 25 ($30+)
6c dark brown Scott 27 ($120+)
12 1/2c blue Scott 28 ($100+)
15c Scott 29 gray violet ($50+) or Scott 30 gray ($50+)

1870-89 "Small Queens"
1/2c Scott 34 black ($10+)
1c Scott 35 yellow ($1+) or 35a orange ($5+) or  35d orange ($10+)
2c Scott 36 green ($2+) or  36d blue green ($2+) or 36e green ($20+)
3c Scott 37 orange red ($2+) or 37c dull red ($2+)or 37e red ($10+)or 37a rose ($10+)or 37b copper red ($50+)
5c Scott 38 slate green ($20+) or 38a slate green($50+)
6c Scott 39 yellow brown ($20+) or 39d brown ($20+) or 39b yellow brown ($60+)
Note: 35d, 36e ,37e, 38a, 39b are Perf 11 1/2 X 12, while rest are Perf 12.

1888-93 "Small Queens"
3c Scott 41 bright vermilion (<$1) or 41a rose carmine ($10+)
5c Scott 42 gray ($2+)
6c Scott 43 red brown ($10+) or 43a chocolate ($20+)
8c Scott 44 violet black ($2+)
10c Scott 45 brown red ($50+) or 45a dull rose($50+) or 45b pink ($50+)

20c Scott 46 vermilion ($100+)
50c Scott 47 deep blue ($70+)

1897 Jubilee ( '69 and '97 editions)
1/2c Scott 50($120+)
Blank space: suggest Scott 51 ($5+)
Note: These spaces are repeated again on the next page in the '69 and '97! See Big Blue Picture for discussion.

1898 Map of British Empire

1897 The "older" Queen
68,69,($2+- $1+)
Scott 73 10c brown violet ($70+)

1897 Jubilee issue
1/2c Scott 50 black ($110+)
1c Scott 51 orange ($5+)
2c Scott 52 green ($10+)
3c Scott 53 bright rose ($2+)
5c Scott 54 deep blue ($40+)
Three blank spaces: suggest Scott 55 6c yellow brown ($170+) and Scott 56 8c dark violet ($60+) and Scott 57 10c brown violet ($110+)
Note: The '69 and '97 editions also have 2 spaces on the preceding page ( 1/2c and blank) for the Jubilee issue. See Big Blue Picture for discussion.

1899 Surcharge
87 ($5+)

1898 The "older" Queen  (Numerals on bottom corners, rather than maple leafs)
80 6c brown ($40+)

1901-02 The "older" Queen
84 20c olive green ($100+)

1908 Quebec Tercentenary Issue
99 5c dark blue ($50+)
100 7c olive green ($100+)
Blank space: Suggest Scott 101 10c dark violet ($120+) or Scott 102 15c red orange ($120+)


1903-08 King Edward VII
94 20c olive green ($50+)
95  50c purple ($170+)

1912-18 King George V
113 ($2+) Note: olive bistre in BB is yellow ocher in Scott
119c 20c olive green '12 wet printing ($2+) Note: Scott now has major number 119 20c olive green a '25 dry printing ($1+).
120a  50c  "gray black" now "black" in Scott for '12 wet printing ($5+). Note: Major number 120 50c black brown is '25 dry printing ($2+). See discussion of 119c/120a in Big Blue Picture.

1917-24  King George V
122 $1 orange ($10+)

1924-25 King George V
114 7c red brown ($10+)
115 8c blue ($10+)
118 ($2+)

1923-24 Imperf  Note:spelled "Imperfect" in BB  ;-)
Scott 136 ($30+) 1c Note: "yellow" in BB is "orange yellow" in Scott
Scott 137 2c green ($30+)
Scott 138 3c carmine ($10+)

1926 (surcharged)



1928 King George V & pictorials
155 ($2+)
158 50c dark blue Schooner "Bluenose" ($60+) Iconic design!

1930 King George V & pictorials

1930-31 (King George V)



1932 King George V






King George V & pictorials
220(<$1) Note: 4c "yellow" in BB is "yellow orange" in Scott

1937 George VI



Special delivery








1939 (surcharge)

Air Post stamps





Postage due




War Tax
MR1,MR3, (<$1)

1915-16 War Tax  stamps: Big Blue has two spaces
Kinds of Blue
The '69 and '97 editions are identical for content.

The '47(and '41) gives a space for "small queen" 1889 2c "blue green"($2+) - now a Scott minor number: 36d. The '69 editors (rightfully) removed this stamp space, so it is not found in the '69 and '97 editions.

Of note is Scott 41 3c "bright vermilion" in the '47 and ''41 editions becomes "vermilion" in the '69 and '97 editions.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the '69 editors added two spaces ( Scott 50 1/2c black "illustration", and blank space) on the first page for the 1897 Jubilee issue, while NOT editing out the spaces for these stamps on the next page. This error remains in the '97 edition.

The '69 (and '97) has a space for the 1939 special delivery Scott E9 ($6+). The '47 and '41 editions do not.

The '47 and '41 editions had a space for two 1875-79 Registration stamps (F1($5+) and F2($5+)). The spaces were removed in '69 (and '97) editions.

1897 Jubilee 1c  Scott 51 orange
Big Blue Bottom Line
Great coverage of Canada by Big Blue. Really not in the same league as Big Blue's "the rest of the world" coverage. But thirteen stamps over $100, some WAY over with the 1852-57 Three pence red "Beaver" Scott 4 @ $225. Should I laugh or cry? :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


French Occupied Cameroun stamp of 1916-17
Quick History
Cameroun  (In English-Cameroon) is located on the African west coast. The Capital is Yaounde and the population was 2,500,000 in 1938. Since 1884 until WW1, Kamerun (German) was a German Protectorate. During WW1, the country was occupied by Great Britain and France, and then in 1922 was mandated to them by the League of Nations.
The stamp issues of 1897-1915 are under German Dominion. Then there are both British and French occupation stamps with overprints from 1915-17. Provisional French Mandate stamps were issued in 1921, and permanent Mandate stamps in 1925. In the British portion, the stamps of Nigeria were used.
In 1960, the French part of Cameroun became independent from France. The northern British section voted to join Nigeria, while the southern portion joined the French part of Cameroun.

Name trivia:  Portuguese sailors in 1472  found mud lobster in the river there, and hence named it "Rio dos Camaroes" - "River of Shrimp".

Big Blue Picture
Big Blue('97) on 6 pages has 117 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 355 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 33%.

I must admit, I find the Cameroun French designed stamps highly attractive; and they are also inexpensive. Big Blue has a nice selection; but as a "representative" album, there are more stamps that the Big Blue collector might want to consider.

1900-15 Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern"

1915 British occupation stamps of German Cameroun surcharged and overprinted "C.E.F."
Note: This issue is not in BB

1916-17 Stamps of the Middle Congo issue 1907 overprinted "Occupation Francaise"

1921 Provisional French Mandate overprinted "Cameroun"

1925-38 French Mandate Protectorate pictorials
183,186,190,191,193,196($1+),204,(<$1 except noted)

1926 surcharged

1931 Colonial Exposition
Note: not in BB

1936-40 pictorials

1940 Stamps of 1925-40 overprinted "Cameroun Francais 27.8.40"
Note: not in BB

Postage Due

1900 German Scott 8 5pf green & Scott  9 10pf carmine "Kaiser's Yacht"
Big Blue Checklist
1897 German stamps overprinted 'KAMERUN"
1 ($11)
Blank space: suggest 2 or 3 or 4 ($2+-$5+)

1900-15 Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern"
8 or 21 ($1+-<$1)
9 or 22 ($1+-<$1)
10 or 23 ($2+)
Two blank spaces: suggest 11($1+) and 12($1+)
Note; Scott 21-23 are wmk 125

1916-17 Stamps of the Middle Congo issue 1907 overprinted "Occupation Francaise"

1921 Provisional French Mandate overprinted "Cameroun"


1925-38 French Mandate Protectorate pictorials
177 or 178 or 179 (<$1)
185($1) Note: "ultramarine & red" in BB is "lilac & red" in Scott
198 or 200 or 201 (<$1)
Blank space: suggest 207($1+)


1937 Paris International Exposition

1939 New York World's Fair

1939 Mandara Woman & Falls in M'bam River
234,235($2), 236, 237, 238($2+), (<$1 except noted)

1939-40 Elephants & Man in Yare'
239($2+), 240,241,(<$1 except noted)
243($1+),244,245,246($1+),(<$1 except noted)


Postage Due
J5,J6,J7($1+),J8($1+), (<$1 except noted)
Blank space: suggest J12($2+)

Blank space: suggest J20(<$1)

 1921 Provisional French Mandate Scott 150 5c dull red & orange
Kinds of Blue
The 1997 and 1969 editions are identical.

1939-40 issue (Compared to '41, eight stamp advantage for '47 -and '69 and ''97 BB)
The '41 has 2 illustrative, 4 descriptive and 2 blank spaces= 7 total spaces
The '69 has 2 illustrative, and 13 descriptive spaces= 15 total spaces
Therefore the '47 ( and '69 and '97) have spaces for 247,248,249,250,251,252,253,254, missing from '41.

Big Blue Bottom Line
Interesting philatelic history with German, British, and French (mainly) stamps issued. Very attractive French Mandate stamps. Of the 117 stamp spaces in Big Blue, 70 are quite inexpensive(<$1). If you like the country, there are an additional 45 stamps for a reasonable cost that could be picked up.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Most expensive stamps in Big Blue: Aden-Burma

Bolivia 1894 "Coat of Arms" Scott 46 100c brown rose

I'm done with the 42 countries listed alphabetically from Aden to Burma in Big Blue, and it might be of some interest to rank the most expensive stamps. Obviously, the ranking will change significantly as I get further along in the countries. Most of the stamps listed now will drop down or out, having been replaced by more expensive brethren. I plan to update the ranking after each alphabet letter; next would be the C's.

A few comments first...
A) Big Blue has generally done a good job of keeping the costs down despite a "lot" of classic stamps that are represented. With a $35 cut-off to get on the list, NO stamps from Brazil,the regular issues of Belgium, or the "pricey" British Crown Colonies (Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Guiana) appear on the list. That is good news, because that means one can have a great collection of classic 1840-1940 issues without breaking the bank. Perhaps it will encourage others to take up classic collecting without worry. Of course there are no Brazil "Bull's Eyes" or British Guiana  "Magentas" either. :-)

B) I'm not going to include the United States, as we all know that Big Blue was more comprehensive with the "home" country, and there are a lot of costly 19th century stamps listed. Certainly, not least would be the  Scott 2, the 10c black George Washington valued at $1200. Also some (many?) collectors keep their United States collection in other albums. I probably will not include Canada either,as again, there is a North American bias for the "home" area. Finally, I will probably not include the Penny Black, Scott 1 1p valued at $325. Any album that claims stamp listings from "1840-1940" will necessarily include the Penny Black, but not for reasons of appropriateness.

C) The Country has to be on the roster of the "97 Big Blue, my reference. So Bremen and Brunswick are out.

D) The stamp will need to be actually the least expensive choice that works for the space provided by Big Blue. Yes there are quite expensive stamps that can be put in Big Blue, but if a cheaper stamp definitely works within the "intentions" of the space, the more expensive stamp doesn't count.

E) Finally, just for fun, I will put together a separate list eventually of ALL the countries-German States, U.S., Canada, Penny Black, and any stamps from the rest of the world (which is 95% of the contents of Big Blue) that are valued over $100. Won't be pretty for " the rest of the world", but some might be interested.

The List.....

#1) $105 Austria 1854 Scott 1d  1kr yellow "Coat of Arms" Imperf
The other choice is 1850 Scott 1 for $115. A nice classic; and I'm glad that my #1 stamp so far is a Scott 1!

#2) $65 Andorra (Spanish administration) 1933 Scott 19a 30c olive brown
A surprise, as the rest of the 6 stamps in the series are $1-$6. Did Big Blue actually intend to put this expensive stamp in? The alternative,1929 Scott 19 is $160; and should perhaps actually have preference for inclusion as this is a 1929 series.

#3)(new) $57+ Belgium 1933 Scott B132 semi-postal 5c + 5c dull green "View of Old Abbey". Intended for the restoration of Orval Abbey. Big Blue includes four more stamps in the set (B133,B134,B135,B136) for $52+ each: $263 total! Of interest is that the '97 Big Blue cut out the 1939 "Restoration of Orval Abbey" semi-postals (B250-B253) priced at only $2+-$3+, but kept this set in. Note to self: Be careful what you wish for; you wanted the semi-postals restored. ;-)

#4) $52 Austria: Lombardy-Venetia 1864-65 Scott 21 3s green
A classic issue, the other choice for the space is the 1863 Scott 16 3s green for $125.

#5)  $50 Alaouites 1929-30 Air Post Scott C21 Syrian stamp 15p on 25p (Bk & R) surcharged and overprinted, with additional overprint of plane.
Actually an attractive collectible stamp with the airplane overprint. Not too surprised, as all nine of the Alaouites Air Post stamps in Big Blue are not cheap.

#6) $44 Australia 1913 Scott 7 5p orange brown "Kangaroo"
(Also $35 Australia 1913 Scott 6 4p orange "Kangaroo")The classic first issues of Australia, I love 'em!

#7)(new) $40 Bolivia 1894 "Coat of Arms" Scott 46 100c brown rose "thin paper"
There are plenty of "thick paper" 1894 :Coat of Arms" series stamps fraudulently cancelled in Paris with heavy bars forming an oval. Value of set:$5  Unfortunately, the Bolivian 100c brown rose illustrated above is of that variety.

#8)(new) $40 Bahrain 1933-34 Scott 13 2r brown-orange & carmine-rose
( Stamps of India, 1926-32, overprinted in Black: BAHRAIN)
This is a large blank stamp space in Big Blue, and this is the least expensive choice for the space.

#9) $37 X 5= $185 Albania 1940 Postage Dues Scott J40- J44 (Issued under Italian Dominion)
$37 Scott J40 4q red orange
$37 Scott J41 10q bright violet
$37 Scott J42 20q brown
$37 Scott J43 30q dark blue
$37 Scott J44 50q carmine rose

There are 12 Albanian Postage dues for $1-$4 that are NOT in Big Blue, and Big Blue puts this expensive series in. An odd choice.

#10)  $35 Argentina 1939 Scott 472  1.50p dark brown  "record and winged letter"
Somehow issuing stamps for the mailing of phonograph records turned out not to be very popular. ;-)  So Argentina has a comparatively "rare" stamp instead.

For fun, here are the German States stamps that are not "eligible" for the list as they are not in the '97 Big Blue. These are their "rankings" if they were in the top ten list....

1) $125 Bremen 1866-67 Scott 15 5 sgr green
2) $110 (mint) Bremen 1866-67 Scott 12 5gr black/rose
5)$62+ Bremen 1866-67 Scott 11 2gr orange
9) $50 Brunswick 1862-63 1sgr blk/orange

Have any comments  Readers? Are you surprised that Big Blue has been successful, it appears, in providing spaces for the "classical era" without costing a fortune? Of course, we are only done with the A's and B's.....

Note: I make exception to the general price listing policy for the "most expensive stamp" list in BB, as it constitutes only a vary small part of the catalogue.

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.