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, June 6, 2011


"The Pearl of the Indian Ocean"
Quick History
Ceylon ( present day Sri Lanka), is an island on the Indian Ocean off the Indian subcontinent.  Ceylon was under the British from 1796-1948, and a Crown Colony since 1803. The Capital was Colombo, and the population was 6,100,000 in 1943. The Portuguese gave the name Ceilao to the Island in 1505, which was transliterated into English as Ceylon. The British East India Company took over the coastal areas from the Dutch in 1796, establishing British rule. The European colonialists established Plantations; producing cinnamon (native to Ceylon), coffee, indigo, Ceylon tea, and rubber. Independence finally came in 1948 for Ceylon; and in 1972 the name was changed to Sri Lanka.

Language: Sinhalese and Tamil are official; while English is spoken by 10% of the population.

1935 2c carmine rose & black "tapping rubber"
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on three pages has 78 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 310 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 25%.

Nice, nice classic British crown colony stamps in Big Blue. Not expensive either, except for the 1857 imperforate large Queen Victoria Scott 3 one penny deep turquoise for $40+. If you like classic Ceylon stamps, I have good news. There are a LOT of Queen Victoria stamps that could be picked up by the Big Blue collector. I counted 28 for less than $10, 17 of them surcharged!

Unfortunately, four War Tax, and three Official spaces were dropped in the '69 and '97 editions. You will want to pick these inexpensive stamps back up.

Now a warning; there are TWO printing errors in Big Blue.
A) In the Victorian stamp section, one will find under "1886-93" a designated space "30c violet and orange brown". This is for A24 design Scott 140 30c violet and orange brown ('93). No problem there; put it in.

BUT, you will then find, under "1899-1900", a designated stamp space for another "30c violet and orange brown". Doesn't exist, no stamp like this for the 1899-1900 date range. HOWEVER, there IS an A24 design Scott 141 75c black and orange brown ,1900 issue. I'm fairly certain this is the stamp BB intended for the space. Of interest is this printing error has been embedded in BB's DNA in all the editions:'41,'47,'69,'97.

B) Under the George V issues for "1912-27", there is a printing error that crept into the '69, and has persisted in the '97 edition.
The designated space in the '69 and '97 editions says: "12c green on yellow". No such stamp exists. It should say: "15c green on yellow", as it does for the '47 & '41 editions. Put the Scott 236 15c "green on yellow" there.


Choices in Big Blue checklist and..

1861 Queen Victoria

1863 Queen Victoria

1863-67 Queen Victoria

1868 Victoria

1872-85 Victoria

1882 surcharged

1883-99 surcharged

1885 surcharged

1885-87 surcharged

1888-92 surcharged


1903-04 King Edward VII

1912-27 King George V


1935 King George V & local scenes/pictorials

1940 surcharge

War tax ( Note: not in '69 and '97; in '47 and '41 editions)
MR1 (<$1) Note "brown orange" in Scott is "orange" in BB

Official Stamps overprinted "On Service"
('47 and '41 editions, but NOT '69 and '97 editions have three blank spaces: suggest O8,O9,O12,(<$1))


1886-93 "30c violet and orange brown": Put in Scott 140
1899-1900 description repeats (a printing error): put in Scott 141 "75c black and orange brown"
( The Scott 141 is shown here for information purposes; but put 140  here, and the 141 in the 1899-1900 section)
Big Blue Checklist
1857 Queen Victoria (Imperf)
one penny (illustrated): Scott 3 1p deep turquoise ($40+) or Scott 1p blue ($250+)
Note: A judgement call : I interpret the "1857" date by BB strictly, and do NOT include the less expensive perforated 1861, 1863, and 1863-67 one penny issues. If BB wanted us to consider the latter issues, they should have printed "1857-67" for the space. If you wish to put  perforated issues into the space, just alter BB's date to "1857-67". You will find the cheaper one penny issues under "additionals" in Big Blue Picture.

1872-85 Victoria
two cent (illustrated): 85 2c pale brown ($2+) or 63 2c brown ($2+) or 77 2c  brown ($70+) or 74 2c brown($220+)
two cent "green": 86(<$1)
four cent (illustrated): 64 4c gray ($1+) or 75 4c gray($2+) or 78 4c gray($30+)
four cent "lilac rose": 88(<$1) or 65($1+) Note: BB excludes 89  4c rose($5+) for color; and 90 4c bright rose($2+) for color and date('98).
Note: Photo illustration at top of page shows a 4c rose in place where a 4c gray should be. Did any reader spot it?  :-)

5c on 4c surcharge

5c on 8c surcharge

1886-93 Victoria
132,131,136,138,140 "30c violet & orange brown",(<$1-$2+)

1888-90 Victoria surcharge
Blank space: suggest 151($1+)

1899 surcharge

Space designated "30c violet & orange brown": suggest Scott 141 75c black & orange brown ($5+).
See discussion Big Blue Picture.

1903-04 King Edward VII
166 or 178, 167 or 179, 168 or 180, 169 or 181, 170 or 182, (<$1-$2+)
171 or 184 ($5+-$1+)
172 or 185 ($2+-<$1)
Note 1903-04 Scott 166-172 wmk 2; 1904-1910 Scott 178-185 wmk 3.

1908-11 King Edward VII

1912-27 King George V
200 or 225, 201 or 226, 227,228,203 or 229,204 or 230, 231, (<$1-$1)
232,205 or 233, 234, (<$1-$2+)
Designated space: "12c green on yellow"('69 &'97 editions) or "15c green on yellow"('47 & '41 editions): put Scott 236 15c green on yellow($1+). See Big Blue Picture for discussion.
Blank space: suggest 239 or 238 ($1+-$2+)
Note: 1912-25 Scott 200-205 wmk 2; 1921-33 Scott 225-239 wmk 4.
Note: some colors ruled out (i.e. Scott 202 "deep green", as BB wants Scott 227 "green")

1918-26 surcharged

1935 Silver Jubilee

1937 Coronation

1935 King George V & local scenes/pictorials

1938 King George VI & local scenes/pictorials
2c carmine rose & black: 278('44)(<$1); or if want to choose strict BB date issue-278d ('38)($2+) or 278a('38)($2+) or 278b('38 (<$1). Vary by Perf.
3c dark green & blue: 279 ('42) (<$1); or if want to choose strict BB date issue-279c('38) (<$1) or 279a('38) ($10+). Vary by Perf.
3c dark green & black: 286('46) (<$1); or if want to choose strict BB date issue-
286b('38)($40+),or 286c('38)($2+), or 286d('38)(<$1). Vary by Perf.

War tax ( Note: not in '69 and '97; in '47 and '41 editions)
MR1 (<$1) Note "brown orange" in Scott is "orange" in BB

Official Stamps overprinted "On Service" (Note: not in '69 and '97; in '47 and '41 editions)
Three blank spaces: suggest O8,O9,O12,(<$1)

In the '69 and '97 editions, put the Scott 236 15c green on yellow in this space (printing error)
Kinds of Blue
The '69 and '97 are identical for content.

The '69 and '97 have a printing error for the Scott 236 15c green on yellow space: "12c green on yellow"
The '47 and '41 editions have the correct printing.

The '47 and '41 editions HAVE space for four Tax stamps.
MR1 (<$1) Note "brown orange" in Scott is "orange" in BB
The '69 and '97 do NOT have space for these tax stamps.

The '47 and '41 editions HAVE space for three Official stamps.
1895-1904 overprinted "On Service"
Three blank spaces: suggest O8,O9,O12,(<$1)
The '69 and "97 do NOT have space for these official stamps.

The '41 edition does NOT have space for two 1938 King George VI & local scenes/pictorials.
Scott 287 1r($1+)
Scott 288 2r($2+)
These stamp spaces ARE in the '47, '69, and '97 editions

Finally embedded in the DNA of all my editions ('41, '47, '69, '97) is a printing error for a designated space.
Space designated "30c violet & orange brown": suggest Scott 141 75c black & orange brown ($5+).
See discussion Big Blue Picture.

1883-99 Scott 88 4c lilac rose
Big Blue Bottom Line
What a wonderful group of stamps from "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean". There are also many surcharged stamps if one wants to collect them. You will want to add back the four War Tax stamps and the three Officials found in the 47 and '41. That leaves 60 additional (48 regular-28 of them 19th century!, 12 officials) stamps for (often much) less than $10 that are available. Supplemental pages are advised.

We also have added an (Imperf) "large" 1857 Queen Victoria Scott 3 one penny deep turquoise for $42+ to the Big Blue 'Most expensive" list. I love this classic stamp - nice!

If you enjoyed this post, or have some information to share, or have some constructive criticism, please share your thoughts and reactions in the "comment" section. Thanks!