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...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Missing C's-Colombian States

Antioquia 1893 Scott 95 5c vermilion
Quick History
The United States of Colombia (1862-85) consisted of nine original States: Antioquia, Bolivar, Boyaca, Cundinamarca, Panama, Santander, Cauca*, Magdalena*, and Tolima. Naturally, all of them  issued stamps as early as 1863. After a new constitution was adopted in 1886, the States became Departments, losing their sovereignty. But the Departments retained some rights, including issuing stamps as late as 1904. It should be noted that Panama left the Republic in 1903.
* Cauca and Magdalena did issue "stamps", but they are not presently listed in Scott.

Cundinamarca 1904 Scott 23 1c orange
Big Blue Picture
Imagine collecting the Union of South Africa stamps without being interested in  the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange River Colony issues? Or how about collecting Canada, while ignoring Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland stamps? Wouldn't make any philatelic sense, would it?
So the collector of Colombia should clearly be interested in the Colombian States/Department issues.

Unfortunately, Big Blue dropped coverage of the Colombian States with the '69 edition. Ironic, as these issues are quite inexpensive, and have been offered even in beginner/intermediate Scott albums for a long time. Scott's "The Modern Postage Stamp Album", my Father's album copyright 1933, had 3 1/2 pages and 122 spaces reserved for these issues!

So what should a compleat Big Blue collector do? If one has a '69 edition or later, adding several supplemental pages for these issues, or even pirating the pages from an earlier edition is recommended.

Well,  what does the '47 and earlier editions offer for Colombian States?

Big Blue '47, on six pages, has 69 spaces for Antioquia, 8 spaces for Cundinamarca, 34 spaces for Bolivar, 7 spaces for Boyaca, 58 spaces for Santander, and 25 spaces for Tolima; for a total of  201 spaces. But the 2011 Scott Classic catalogue has dropped 38 of the listings for Santander ( and the city of Cucuta), leaving 20 "recognized"spaces for Santander, and a total of  163 spaces. More about that later.

The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 156 descriptions for Antioquia (44%), 35 descriptions for Cundinamarca (23%), 103 descriptions for Bolivar ( 33%), 18 descriptions for Boyaca ( 39%), 35 descriptions for Santander ( 57%), and 67 description for Tolima ( 30%), for a total of 414 major stamp descriptions.
Overall coverage by Big Blue is 39%. Each State/Department percentage coverage by BB is indicated above.

 Big Blue '47 gives a nice representational selection of the Colombian States. I find the stamps quite attractive, and to boot, very inexpensive!

The selection, though,  is marred by 38 stamp spaces in Santander which Scott has now removed from their catalogue. The City of Cucuta's stamps with and without surcharges are believed by Scott to have been produced without government authorization. But I did find the Scott numbers in my '47 catalogue for these stamps if one still would like to fill the spaces.

Naturally, there are a LOT of additional inexpensive Colombian States the BB collector could add on supplemental pages. I list them below.

Additionals.... (132 stamps)
Antioquia (49 stamps)
5,6,7,8,9,12,16,17,20,21,22,27,29,30,32,35,37,39,40,41,43,57,58,59,61,62,63,66,67,68,71,76,77,79,80,81,84,85,109,110,130B,141,142,143,153,154,155,156,157, (<$1-$2+)

Cuninamarca (6 stamps)

Bolivar (36 stamps)

Boyaca (4 stamps)
1,6,8,9, (<$1-$2+)

Santander (13 stamps)

Tolima (24 stamps)

Tolima 1879 Scott 15 10c blue
Big Blue Checklist ('47 & '41 editions)
1886-88 "Coat of Arms"




Two blank spaces: suggest 107,108,($1+)



Two blank spaces: suggest 130,130A,(<$1)


Blank space: suggest 152(<$1)

Registration stamp

Acknowledgement of Receipt Stamps

Too Late Stamps (Late Fee)

Blank space: suggest 29(<$1)

Registration stamp

11 or 15, 12 or 16($1+), 13 or 17, (<$1 eN)
Note: Scott 15-17 is bluish laid paper.
eN=except noted

1880 Dated "1880"
19 or 25, 20 or 26($2+), 21 or 27,(<$1 eN)
Blank space: suggest 23(<$1)
Note: Scott 25-27 is bluish laid paper.


1883 Dated "1883"
Blank space: suggest 41(<$1)

1884 dated "1884"

1885 dated "1885"
Blank space: suggest 53(<$1)


62 or 70($1+), (<$1 eN)
1p(illust): 65 or 66($1+) or 73($2+) or 74($5+),(<$1 eN)
Blank Space: suggest 67(<$1)
Note: Scott 62,65,66,67,is Imperf; Scott 70,73,74, is Sewing Machine Perf.

89,90,91 or 92, 93,94($1+),95($1+),(<$1 eN)
Blank space: suggest 73 or 74($2+)

1903 Imperf "Coat of Arms"

1903 Perf
10,11,12 or 13($2+), 14,(<$1)













*Note BB's illustration is for Scott 16  50c green/bluish, an 1879 issue.




1903-04 Sewing Machine Perf/Perf 12
*Note 82a is 50c black/buff, while 82 is black/rose

1903-04 Imperf 
Note: Scott catalogue now has these as minor numbers.

These stamps below are not currently recognized/listed by Scott. The catalogue used is the 1947 Scott. No prices are included, as no current listing.
1907 (Stamps of 1904-05 Surcharged)

Issued in Cucuta, a city in Santander

1907 (Cucuta stamps of 1904-05 surcharged)
Cucuta 140 or Santander 39*, Cucuta 135 or Santander 44 *
*Note: BB specifies "Medio Cvo" (type "b") surcharge "on 50c yellow", and "on 50c red violet" respectively.
As Bob Skinner of Filling Spaces Blog fame points out in the comment section, these descriptions fit exactly the Santander issues Scott 39 & 44. (Prior Comment "But there is already a space for these numbers in the Santander section."- Not true! The OP is actually Type "a", and should be Scott 38 & 43. I changed the Santander 1907 (Stamps of 1904-05 Surcharged) checklist today (11-13-2015) from 30 & 44 to 38 & 43 for the first two stamp spaces.
So I am giving a choice here. One could substitute the Cucuta issues Scott 140  "Medio Cvo" (type "b") surcharge "on 50c carmine/yellow", and Scott 135 "Medio Cvo" (type "b") surcharge "on 50c violet" for the spaces. Or one could put in the Santander 39 & 44 stamps. Your choice.

1907 (Cucuta stamps of 1904-05 surcharged)
*Cucuta161 or Santander 57D,
*Santander 64 or Cucuta 157, 
*Note: more detail below.
Stamp space: "Blue surcharge: 2 Cvs (type L) on 5c green" : Cucuta issue Scott 161 "5c blue/yellow" or Santander issue 57D ('47 catalogue) "on 5c green"
Stamp space: "Blue surcharge: 2 Cvs (type L) on 20c brown violet" : Cucuta issue Scott 169 "2c on 20c gray green/yellow"
Stamp space: "Blue surcharge: 2 Cvs (type L) on 5p dark blue" : Santander Issue Scott 64 "2c on 5p blue" or Cucuta issue Scott 157 "2c on 5c blue/yellow"

*Note: A mess. BB describes Santander issues (Scott 57D, 60, 64) in the middle of the Cucuta issues. I elected to insert and "favor" Cucuta issues if they had the right ( L type) overprint on an appropriate denomination; and in one case, even an inappropriate denomination. ;-)  Naturally, these Cucuta issues will have a different color than BB specifies. I did include the Santander issues as choices; but not Scott 60 "on 20c brown violet", as there is already a space in the Santander section for this stamp. Then, BB specifies a 5p denomination, which doesn't exist for the Cucuta issues. I substituted ,as a shaky choice, the 5c Cucuta denomination (Scott 157).

Note: A big "Thank You" to Bob Skinner who found a way through these puzzlers. See his analysis under the Comment section.

Antioquia 1899 General Jose Maria Cordoba
2c "slate brown" & 5c "green"
Shades & Tints abound for Colombia issues.
Kinds of Blue
The '97 edition clearly does NOT have any Colombian States stamp spaces. I have two '69 editions, and NEITHER ONE has any Colombian states coverage.
The '47 and '41 editions are identical in coverage as outlined in the Big Blue Checklist section.

1824 Colombia Map
Big Blue Bottom Line
Unfortunately, the '47 and '41 editions include 38 stamp spaces in Santander which Scott's catalogue now states were not produced with government authorization, and the catalogue numbers have been withdrawn. So if one is using these pages, either leave them blank (163 spaces), or fill them anyway (201 spaces).

The good news is the Colombian States stamps are quite inexpensive. Also there are considerable additional stamps (132!) that could be added by the Big Blue collector. The reality is that the BB collector will need to provide spaces for these interesting stamps, as Big Blue ('97 &'69) does not. A pity.

Note: Map in public domain.

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!

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.


  1. Fascinating. The spaces for Santander and Cucuta are something of a mess--no wonder Scott took them out of the album!

    I thought I would check the BB pages for Santander and Cucuta against the Brown International for 1901-1920 (I know, a heretical thing to do) and the earliest Scott Catalog I have, the 1917 edition. Based on these, my theory is that the BB editor intermixed five issues from the parent state of Santander into the Cucuta spaces. Either that, or they got five of the descriptions confused between Santander and Cucuta.

    Specifically, of the four 1907 overprints in the row titled "Issued in Cucuta," the first two are, as you indicate, Scott 134 and 139. I believe the second pair, with the (b) overprint, cannot be Cucuta as designated but instead have the same descriptions as Santander #39 ("On 50 C YELLOW") and #44 ("On 50 C RED VIOLET"). While Scott has changed color designations over the years, in neither source are there any color designations for Cucuta that come close to matching, but Santander matches exactly. Adding to the headache, there are already spaces on this page for Santander #39 and #44 so I would think the only thing to do would be to ignore the color designations and choose Cucuta #140 and #135 as you suggest.

    On the verso of this album page, although BB identifies the top two rows as Santander, I agree that all of these stamps are identifiable as Cucuta except for the last stamp in the first row and the first two in the second row. These are all overprint (l) and I believe bear the same descriptions as Santander #57e (Blue Surcharge on 5 C GREEN), #60 (On 20 C BROWN VIOLET) and #64 (On 5 P DARK BLUE). The colors for #60 and #64 are exact matches in the 1917 catalog and both albums. The color for #57e is dark green in the 1917 catalog but is GREEN in BB, the Brown International and in my 1941 Scott catalog. For these three stamps only #60 is duplicated by BB in the Santander listings on the previous page, but still it might be better to ignore all the descriptions and go for appropriate Cucuta overprinted stamps.

    Incidentally, these stamps are still in Yvert & Tellier.

  2. Bob- You solved the problem "Cucuta" stamp descriptions! They are actually descriptions for Santander issues. Now the question is do we put the Santander stamps in these spaces,or do we put the best fitting Cucuta stamp in these spaces?

    The major argument for putting Santander stamps into these spaces is that the descriptions, with a few minor exceptions, fit perfectly. The argument against doing that is this is another "Blue-per", to use your coined phrase. As you said, there is duplication with three out of the five stamps already in the Santander section, and the other stamps around these "Santander descriptions" are all Cucuta stamps in a supposedly Cucuta section.

    There ARE in four out of five cases,an equivalent Cucuta denominated stamp with the correct overprint. We would just need to ignore BB's color description.

    So I would think the Cucuta stamp "should" go in the space- which forces us to ignore the color description- but we will also give a choice of the Santander stamp if it is not previously in BB.

    That way we are making lemonade out of lemons.

    1. November 13, 2015 Update

      I had occasion to review the Columbian States listings- specifically the Santander and Cucuta issue stamps in the 40s BBs, but dropped in the modern catalogue and in the '69 BB.

      I made a mistake in the listings- as two stamps (38,43) are Type a overprints, rather than Type b overprints (39,44,).

      This changes the checklist so....
      1907 (Stamps of 1904-05 Surcharged)
      The first two spaces listed are now 38,43, rather than the previous 39,44.

      and that changed the checklist further by offering a choice for these spaces....

      1907 (Cucuta stamps of 1904-05 surcharged)
      Cucuta 140 or Santander 39*, Cucuta 135 or Santander 44 *

      See checklist above for a bit more explanation in this very messy BB presentation.

  3. Hi Jim

    I'm working on my profile for Colombia and came across the following in your post: '* Cauca and Magdalena did issue "stamps", but they are not presently listed in Scott.' Could you elaborate on that? Do you possibly have a reference to a resource on the subject? BTW: it's the same in Michel only Michel lists a few issues for Cauca and Magdalena as 'local issues' that are not listed in Scott.

    1. Sure.
      No stamps are formally listed in the 2014 catalogue.
      But the 2014 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has an illustration of five "stamps" from Cauca, and states "Stamps of these designs were issued by a provincial post between 1879? and 1890."
      The 1947 Scott catalogue has the five stamps in the catalogue, each with a different design. They are an 1879 Scott 1 (5c) black, a 1882 Scott 2 5c violet, a 1883 Scott 3 (5) violet, a 1883 Scott 4 (5) violet, and a 1890 Scott 5 5c red. No CV is given for the stamps. The 1947 catalogue also has a note: "Nos 1 to 5 were sanctioned, but not authorized by the national government".

      The 2014 Classic catalogue also has an illustration of a Cauca stamp (issued in 1902 according to the 1947 catalogue- Scott 8 10c rose, and Scott 9 20c orange), and the 2014 catalogue states:" Stamps of this design are believed to be of private origin and without official sanction. Items inscribed "No hay estampillas" (No stamps available) and others inscribed "Manuel E. Jimenez" are considered by specialists to be receipt labels, not postage stamps."

      The 1947 catalogue has the "No hay estampillas" in the catalogue under "Postmasters Provisional Labels" for the Barbacoas Issue (1903 Scott 12-16, Scott 16A-16C), and for the Cali Issue (1879 Scott 17-34). The 1947 Scott has the "Manuel E. Jimenez" stamps as Postmaster Provisional Labels from the Tumaco Issue (1901- Scott 35-52).

      The 2014 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has this note: "Items described "No hay estampillas" (No stamps available) are considered by specialists to be not postage stamps, but receipt labels".
      The 1947 catalogue does list 18 Scott numbers for Magdalena (Four designs- all with "No hay Estapillas" script) for 1901 as "Rio Hacha Issue, Postmaster Provisional Labels".

      Hope this helps Gerben.