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. Interested? So into the Blues...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bulgaria

"Fighting at Shipka Pass"
Quick History
Bulgaria is in southeastern Europe on the Black Sea. The population was 6,500,000 in 1940, and the Capital is Sofia. Bulgaria, originally a Principality under the leadership of the Sultan of Turkey, was joined by Eastern Rumelia in 1885. Independence from Turkey occurred in 1908. The first "Lion of Bulgaria" issue began in 1879. Bulgaria became a communist nation in 1945 under the Soviet bloc. Freedom was expanded in 1990 with the development of open elections.

Interesting Fact: Bulgaria has high educational standards, and its students rank second in the world in average SAT test scores.

The 1s has 4 letters below the left star; while the third letter below the left star in the 2s is an "A"
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97 on 13 pages ( 10 pages for BB '69), has 315 stamp spaces for regular, semi-postals, air post, postage due, special delivery, and postal tax stamp categories. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 490 major numbers. Coverage for Big Blue is 64%.

Bulgaria's stamps are really inexpensive, and the Big Blue collector should have a field day. Big Blue's coverage is on the whole good, marred by dropping inexpensive series too early. I did find 119 stamps for less than $2+ that are not in Big Blue.  68 of them are less than $1; most close to the 20c minimum catalog value. I decided to leave a running commentary in the "Additionals" section just below. There I outlined particularly Big Blue's "good but not great" coverage for Bulgaria; but as you probably know, this holds true for many countries in the Album.

Caution:  Please examine carefully the 1885-88 "Lion of Bulgaria" issue on the second line of the first page.
There are just two stamp spaces, so this does not require sustained concentration, just careful attention to the illustrations.
The first illustration is for a 1s denomination stamp. Close examination shows that the word - in Cyrillic- below the left star has 4 letters. So Big Blue would like Scott 25(<$1) gray violet& pale gray rather than Scott 23($5+) which has 5 letters below the left star.

The second illustration is for a 2s stamp. Here the third letter below the left star is an "A". So Scott 24 ($2+) slate green & pale gray should be put in. Left out is Scott 26, a "third letter below left star is "b" with cross bar in upper half" design, and valued at a bargain <$1! So Scott puts in the $2+ stamp, and leaves out the <$1  stamp. C'est la vie.

I also found an illustration printing error in Bulgaria's pages that's been embedded in Big Blue's DNA since at least 1941. See separate Blog about this printing error.

Additionals.....
1881-82 "Lion of Bulgaria"
7($2+),18(<$1) Note: Scott 18 50c blue&pink for <$1 left out of series!

1885-88 "Lion of Bulgaria"
23($5+)
26(<$1) Note: This selection left out because illustration shows Scott 24,a $5 stamp!
27($2+)

1889
36,37(<$1) Again Scott cut off a series too quick.

1894
39(<$1)

1896
41,42 ($1+-$2+)

1901 "cherry wood cannon" Beautiful stamps: why did Scott leave out?
53,54,($1+)

1901 (surcharge) Cheap "surcharged" stamps are often left out of BB.
55,56 (<$1)

1901-06 Tsar Ferdinand
65,66($1+),67($2+),68,69($2+) (<$1 except noted) The end of the series not in BB.

1903 surcharge
73(<$1) 10s on 15s Scott 62  claret & gray Tsar Ferdinand

1907 Ferdinand in 1887 and 1907  Series final stamp left out by BB.
76($1+)

1911 Tsar Ferdinand and Pictorial series The end of the series not in BB.
99,100,(<$1-$2+)

"1910" in BB (actually 1912) Tsar Ferdinand.  BB has one stamp,  leaving out the rest of this nice issue.
102,103,($1+-$2+)

1915-16 (Types of 1911 re-engraved)  BB includes 4 stamps of the series, and leaves out four more <$1 valued stamps. I find these "orphans" plastered all over the Big Blue's I have.
114,116,118,120,(<$1)
Note: Scott 114,115,116,118 overprinted with Cyrillic characters and "1916-1917" are Romania Nos 2N1-2N4. Mistakenly, commonly mounted  in  Bulgaria.

1917-18 Pictorials The last stamp of the series not included in BB.
127($1+)

1921-23 Remnants of series not in BB
160<$1)
Choices from checklist: ( 161or162,163or164, 165 or 166)
169($1+)
170($2+)

1924 Postage due of 1919-22  surcharged. More cheap surcharged stamps not in BB.
182,183,184,185,(<$1)

1924 surcharged  I have some in my collection. No place in BB.
186,187,188,189,(<$1)

1927-29 Lion Type of 1881 This is particularly egregious by BB; leaving out the 15s black & orange- <$1 valuation- of this four stamp set.
208(<$1)


1931-36 (actually 1937) Tsar Boris lll  (BB gives one space for four <$1 valuation stamps- which one will you pick? :-)
Blank space: suggest 229,230,232,235,(<$1)
The stamps included in BB were 1931 issues. The stamps left out were '34,'37','37,'37 issues respectively.

1931 Balkan Games Issue. Here BB provides one space for two issues (1931 and 1933) in different colors.
Either just put in the 1931 issue, leaving the 1933 issue out or on a separate page; or mix and match and write "1931-33" in BB for the issue dates.
1931 Scott 237-241 or 1933 Scott 244-248

1933
251(<$1)

1934
252(<$1)

1934 (For Shipka Pass Battle Memorial unveiling)
Two issues: Scott 253-258 and Scott 259-264 are in different colors; pick one or the other for inclusion in BB.

1935 Series stamp left out.
277($2+)

1935
279,280,(<$1)

1935 Series stamps left out.
284,285,($1+)

1935- a bad year for leaving out cheap stamps in BB.
286,287,(<$1)

1935
291,292,($2+)

1935-36
293,296,297,299,300,(<$1) Note: These cheap stamps are ruled out of BB because of dates ('37&'39)

1937-1939
Getting tired of all the griping? Big Blue has 60 stamps with spaces without missing one!

1940 Tsar Boris lll Too late for inclusion in BB?
364,365,367,370,372,377,(<$1)

1940 500th anniversary of the printing press. Nice stamps! Too bad not in BB.
384,385,(<$1)

Semi-postals
1920 Why would BB not finish the series with these <$1 valued stamps?
B7,B8,B9,B10,(<$1)

1939 Not in BB.
B12,B13,B14,B15,B16,(<$1-$1+)

Postal tax stamps
1925-30
Choices from Checklist, and RA8,RA9,(<$1)

Air Post
1930 Series could have been extended by BB to include these inexpensive stamps.
C10,C11,($1+)

1940 A series extension could have included these.
C29,C30,(<$1+-$2+)

Postage Dues
BB's coverage begins in 1896. There are postage Due issues though for 1886,1887,1892,1893,and 1895.
1886
J4($2+)

1887
J7,J8,J9,($1+)

1892
J10,J11,($1+)

1893
J12($2+)

1895
J13,J14,($1+)

1901-04 Earlier part of series in BB.
J23($2+)

1915
J24,J25,J26,J27,J28,(<$1)

1919-21 Seven of the stamps are in BB; the eighth-and final stamp- for <$1- is not.
J36(<$1)

1932
J39(<$1)

1933 Six of the stamps are in BB; the seventh-and final stamp-for <$1-is not. Deja vu all over again.
J46(<$1)

"Lion Type of 1881" The 15s is not invited to the Party.
Big Blue Checklist
1879-82 "Lion of Bulgaria"
3s (illustrated) 6($2+) red & silver or 12(<$1) orange&yellow
5s "green" 13($1+) Scott describes "green& pale green"
10s "rose" 14($1+) Scott describes "rose&pale rose"
15s "red violet" 15($1+) Scott describes "red violet&pale lilac"
15s "blue" 16($1+) Scott describes "blue&pale blue"
30s "violet&green" 17($1+)
Note: Some possibilities R/O because of BB's color criteria.

1885-88 "Lion of Bulgaria"
1s (Illustrated=A8="word below left star has 4 letters) Scott 25(<$1)  gray violet&pale gray.
Note: A6 design="word below left star has 5 letters" Scott 23($6) is R/O.

2s (Illustrated=A7= third letter below left star is "A") Scott 24($2+) Scott 24 slate green& pale gray.
Note: A9 design-"third letter below left star is "b" with cross bar in upper half" Scott 26, a <$1 stamp, is R/O!

Note: The following series are out of date order, as that is BB's presentation.
1896 "coat of arms"
43,44,45,46($1+) (<$1 except noted)

1892-95 (surcharge)
38,40($1-<$1)

1889
28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,(<$1) Note: Scott 34 "dull blue" in BB, is "blue" in Scott.

1901-06 Tsar Ferdinand
57,58,59,60,61,62,63,(<$1)
Blank space: suggest 64 (<$1)

1909 surcharged
77,78,79,80,81,(<$1)
(surcharged)
83,84,85,(<$1)
Note: Scott 84 is 10s on 15s(Bl) on Scott 62 claret & gray black Tsar Ferdinand. The same as the 1903 Scott 73, except different perforation?

1902 Fighting at Shipka Pass (Magnificent stamps!)
70,71,72($2) (<$1 except noted)

1907 Ferdinand in 1887 and 1907
74,75($1+)

1910 surcharged
87,88,(<$1)

1911 Tsar Ferdinand and Pictorial series
89,90,91,94,(<$1)
92,93,96,97,95,98,(<$1)

1913 overprinted
104,105,107,108,110,109,111, (<$1)

"1910" in BB (actually 1912) Tsar Ferdinand
101(<$1)

1915-16 (Types of 1911 re-engraved)
112,115,117,119,(<$1)

1917-18 Pictorials
122,123,124,125,126,(<$1)

1918
128,129,130,131,132,133,(<$1)

1919  Pictorials and Tsar Boris lll
134,135,137,138,139,140,(<$1)
141,142,143,144,126A,(<$1)

1920 70th birthday of Ivan Vaziv, Poet
147,149,151, (<$1)
148,152($1),150,(<$1 except noted)

1921
153,154,155,(<$1)

1921
156,157,158,165 carmine or 166 deep blue '22,159,(<$1)
161orange or162 dark blue '23,167,168($1+), 163 dull violet or164 deep blue '23,171,172,(<$1 except noted)
176,173,174,175,177,(<$1)
Note: 166,162,and 164 choices are 1922-23 issues and technically not eligible by dates. You decide.

1921
178,179,(<$1)

1925
191,192,193,194,(<$1)

1925-26
196, 197,198,(<$1)

(1926) Bulgarian Lion (center embossed)
Scott 202 6 l deep blue& pale lemon (<$1)
Scott 203 10 l brown black& brown orange(<$1)
Caution: The "rightful" Scott 202 space has a Scott 203 Illustration. Put it in anyway. Also, see separate Blog about this Big Blue printing error.

1925-28
199 or 195, 201 (<$1)
204,205,206,(<$1)

1927-29 Lion Type of 1881
207,209,210,(<$1)

1929 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turks
213,215,219,214,(<$1)
216,217,218,220,221,222,(<$1)

1930 Royal Wedding
223,224,225,226,(<$1)

1931-36 Tsar Boris lll
227,228,231,233,234,(<$1)
Blank space: suggest 229,230,232,235,(<$1)
236(<$1)

1931 Balkan Games Issue
Note: A dilemma, as there is also a 1933 issue in different colors; I'll include them here, although technically ineligible (by date) in BB.
238 or 245 (<$1-$1+)
237 or 244 (<$1)
240 or 247 ($1+)
241 or 248 ($2+-$10+)
239 or 246 (<$1-$1+)
(1931 Scott 237-240)
(1933 Scott 244-248)

1934 (For Shipka Pass Battle Memorial unveiling)
253 or 259 (<$1)
254 or 260(<$1)
255 or 261 (<$1-$1+)
257 or 263 ($2+)
258 or 264 ($5+)
256 or 262 (<$1)
Note: Scott 253-258 and Scott 259-264 are in different colors.

1935
265,266,267,(<$1)
269,268,($2+-$1+)
273,274,275,($1+-$2+)
Blank space: suggest 276($2+)
281,282,(<$1)
283,288,($2+-<$1)
289,290,(<$1-$2+)

1935-36
294,295,298,(<$1)

1936
301,302,303,(<$1-$1+)

1937
304,305,306,307,308,(<$1-$1+)

1937-39
310,311,312,313,336,337,(<$1)
338,339,340,321,320,322,(<$1)
323,330,331,334($1+),335($1+),326,(<$1 except noted)
327,316,317,318,319,(<$1)
324,325,328,329,(<$1)
332,333,($1+)
346,347,348,349,(<$1)

1938-40
341,342,343,344($1),345,357,(<$1 except noted)
352,353,354,355,356($3+),358,(<$1 except noted)
359,360,361,362,363,(<$1)
378,379,380,381,382,383,(<$1)
350,351,368 or374,369 or375,(<$1)

Semi-postal stamps
1920
B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B6,(<$1)

Postal tax stamps
1925-29
(Illustrated): RA1or RA3or RA5(<$1)
RA2,RA4,RA6 or RA7,(<$1)

1930
RA10 or RA11 or RA12,(<$1)

1935
RA13,RA14,RA15(<$1)

Air post
1927-28
C1,C2,C3,C4,(<$1)

1931
C5,C6,C7,C8,C9,(<$1)

1938
C15,C16,C17,C18(<$1)

1940
C20,C21,C23,C27,C28,(<$1)
C19,C22,C24,C25,C26,(<$1)

Special Delivery
E2,E1,E3,E5,E4,(<$1)

Postage Due

1896
J15,J16,J17 (<$1)

1902-03
J19,J20,J21,J22,(<$1)

1919-22
J29,J30,J31,J32,J33,J34,J35,(<$1)
Note: Scott J33 "gray-blue" in BB is "blue" in catalogue

1932
J37(<$1)
Blank space: suggest J38(<$1)

1933
J40,J41,J42,J43,J44,J45 (<$1)

Kinds of Blue
The 1997,1969,1947 and 1941 editions are identical for content.

1882 "Lion of Bulgaria" issue
Big Blue Bottom Line


Very inexpensive stamps, and quite attractive. You might very well have stamps in your collection for which Big Blue does not provide spaces. I found 68 stamps close to the minimum catalogue value that are not included. But Big Blue DOES have 315 spaces-not bad for this interesting country!

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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