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...

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!


  1. Jim,

    I had a question about Cape of Good Hope stamps that you might be able to shed some light on. I have what appears to be a Scott#18, which does have the outer frame line, but clearly has a watermark #16 (anchor) instead of watermark #1 (crown and CC). According to my 2010 Scott's Classic Catalogue, all of the stamps with the outer frame line have watermark #1. I can not find any stamps with the outer frame line that has the anchor watermark anywhere in the Scott Catalogue. Any thoughts? Any suggestions what this might be?


  2. Hi Chris

    I would trust the anchor wmk (which should make it a later issue) , so then the question is, does it really show an outer frame line,- which would make it an 1864-65 issue? (I don't believe any of the other later issues show the outer frame line.)

    Unfortunately, at this time I have no examples with an outer frame line (1864-65 issue) to compare in my collection.

    Perhaps you could take a pic or scan and upload it to one of the stamp forums I show down the left column and verify if it is really has an outer frame line? Also, put wmk fluid on it, and take a pic of the wmk and upload also just to make sure. If so, and you have the anchor wmk, perhaps you have something unique. ;-)

    But I would first verify if indeed there is an outer frame line- both Scott and Stanley Gibbons have poor illustrations that do not show it well.

    Good Luck!


    1. Jim,
      Thanks for your reply. I will work on getting a good scan and post a question to one of the forums.

      Here's a good website that clearly shows the differences between those with and without the outer frame lines:


      I have several of the similar stamps and lined them all up and compared them. All were without the outer frame line and this one looks to me to have the frame line. I also check the information I have on fakes of these issues and it appears to me not to be a fake. But, I will post to one of the forums to get some opinions.


    2. Chris- it appears you have done some homework on the stamps- which is good. :-)

      Be prepared, though, for a good deal of skepticism. ;-)

      Probably the most knowledgeable general Stamp Forum for Cape of Good Hope is Stampboards.com based in Australia. The Community Stamp Forum, based in the U.S., is more easy going, and you could test the waters there first if you wish.

      Good luck!

    3. Jim,

      I just though I'd update you on what I have learned. I have been chatting with Greg Allan (expert on CGH stamps) about these. Here's what he said, "With the 6d Violet/Mauves, I think you’ll find that the 6d and the 1shiiling stamps never had the outer frame lines removed and occur in both Crown CC and Anchor watermarks, mine do."

      And I recently posted the question on Stampboards:

      "Here's what my SG lists:

      1864-77 (6d pale lilac with outer frame-line) wmk Crown CC
      1882 (6d mauve with outer frame-line) wmk Crown CA
      1884-90 (6d reddish purple with outer frame-line) wmk "Cabled anchor"

      It appears that the 6d all have the outer-frame line. The majority of the 1882-83 stamps lack the frame-line, as do the majority of the 1884-90 printings (the 1/- also have the outer frame-line

      1864-77 - SG25 pale lilac, SG25a deep lilac, SG26b violet
      1882 - SG 44 mauve
      1884 - SG 52 reddish purple, SG52a purple, SG52b bright mauve"

      Not to mention the clear "84" cancel on the stamp, which I really didn't even pay attention to!

      Seems like in this case, having a SG catalogue would have helped to solve the mystery.

      Thanks for your help and interest,

    4. Chris- Great work!

      I learned something too. :-)

  3. Jim

    I must object - being Dutch - to your stating that the Dutch were allies of Napoleon. The Netherlands were occupied by the French and a brother of Napoleon was put on the throne. The British took possession of the Cape Colony to prevent it from falling into French hands. When after the Napoleonic wars the Netherlands were reestablished as an independent country they did not have the power to reclaim all their former possessions and thus the Cape Colony remained British. Other than that: once again a great post. I sometimes think I master the English language fairly well, but when I read your posts I stand in awe.


  4. Gerben- so noted. ;-) I'm sure you know your Dutch history much better than me.

    Well, English (American) is my native language, I would not do so well with Dutch. ;-)

    BTW, my daughter, who is a diplomat (US State Department), is being posted to The Hague for three years, so I certainly will be visiting the Netherlands.


    1. Jim

      It's interesting how you make a distinction between English English and American English. I was taught the Queens English at school and American English was considered somewhat inferior. Reading American literature and getting to know Americans I found that there's a beauty to American English that I have come to respect. One of the things being that Americans are often able to phrase things in a very concise and precise way. For example your recent comment on Stampcommunity: 'the maps are information dense and reward careful study'. It sums up everything I try to do with my maps in under 10 words. Oh well, I guess I'm sidetracking.

      BTW: let's see how things develop, maybe we can have a cup of coffee together when you visit the Netherlands.

    2. My daughter - the one that is going to the Netherlands,- was the "American" representative in an all "English" English Department at the University in Aachen, Germany for four years. ;-)

      Gerben, I would indeed like to have a cup of coffee with you when I get to the Netherlands.

  5. I sometimes think I master the English language fairly well, but when I read your posts I stand in awe.

    You're not the only one ;)


  6. Keijo- as long as we are throwing complements around, I say, considering the grasp of all things WW philatelic, you are second to none. :-)

    1. Somehow it's great to see people with a common interest come together and share compliments. It's stimulates us all. ;-)