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...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Belgium 1923-40 Parcel Posts: separating the sheep from the goats

What's wrong with this picture?

There are 35 stamp spaces covering a page and a half  in Big Blue for the Belgium Parcel Post 1923-31 issue. O.K., a challenge but really it's just a matter of putting them in. Right? But what's this? A green 10c? My 2011 Scott Classic says vermilion. Oh, here's a 30c., a "brown-violet"? Looks sort of O.K., I'll put it in. Wait, this other album has one that actually looks violet-like, rather than that brownish color. Let me check the Scott Classic again to make sure there is not another issue. Well, there is a "B inside a oval" overprint  issue printed in 1940; but hard to mistake those, and besides the colors are the same. Uh?

.......light bulb slowly turning on.......

I guess I had better check for issues newer than 1940... Lets see...What's this?  Scott Q239-262 1941 (Types of 1923-40).

Yes, a 1941 24 stamp issue the same as "1923-31" in Big Blue, except differing in color. The "goats".

I compared all the denominations, and their colors, and fortunately MOST of the 1941 issues differ significantly. So all one needs to do is pay particular attention to the colors for the "1923-31" issue, and few mistakes should be made.

Here are possible troublemakers...
a)30c brown violet (correct) from 30c fawn ('41 issue)
b)5fr brown violet (correct) from 5fr rose lilac ('41 issue)
c) 60c orange (correct) from 80c orange ('41 issue)

The larger problem is most Big Blues- at least the ones I've acquired- have many of the '41 issues plastered in or around the stamp spaces.. Be aware.

So how does a proper "1923-31" album look?

The "sheep" resting comfortably in their assigned "1923-31" spaces.



  1. Jim: You're probably aware of the illustrated parcel post stamps on http://alphabetilately.com/TOC/belgium.html#toc, but in case you're not, check it out.


    1. Alphabetilately has moved - now
      Thanks for the mention
      Bill Senkus

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks Bud- very nice. What a thorough presentation. Since I'm not yet done with accumulating all the Belgium PP,I can certainly use that site.

    After I figured out my problem (another PP issue in 1941),I double-checked the colors at Dr Chang's web site- the BOB pages for Belgium.

    Dr Chang's web site and the Antonius Ra world collection site have been helpful at times.


    Note: I removed the preceding comment because of a typo.

  4. Jim. There is a link at the top of the Alphabetilately site (titled: More about Belgian Railway Stamps) to an interesting debate about whether or not all railway parcel post stamps are Cinderellas. The author takes the narrow view that they all are Cinderellas because they were not issued by a "postal authority." But then he backs down when he gets a response from someone in Belgium saying that the railway, postal service, telegraph and telephone were (variously) all publically owned and that both the post offices and train stations sold the parcel post stamps. It points to dangers of over generalizing American experience, a vice Big Blue collectors want to avoid. One wonders if the Scott Catalog intentionally omits the similar railway stamps from Germany and France or if it is oversight. -- bud

  5. Bud-VERY INFORMATIVE - I now have a good understanding of the Belgium Railroad/parcel post integration with their Post Office services. The explanation makes me feel even better about the validity of these stamps.

    By the way, I have some of the "Chemins de Fer" 1879-82 and 1882-84 issues on a supplementary page as Big Blue doesn't begin its PP coverage until 1895. All have a smaller hexagonal cancellation rather than the long rectangular one later used. I find them the most attractive of all.