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...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Missing C's-Carinthia

1920 Austrian Carinthia Plebiscite Semi-Postal
60h olive green on azure
Quick History
After WWI, the Carinthian territory ( Composed of both German speaking and Slovene speaking peoples) was desired by both Austria , and the newly created Kingdom of Serbs,Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia). A Plebiscite (Referendum) was held on October 10, 1920. The propaganda by both sides was intense prior to the vote. Austria emphasized the economic benefits of keeping the Klagenfurt basin a unity, and the brotherhood between the Slovene and German speaking peoples. The Yugoslavian propaganda emphasized  Slovene national awareness. Naturally, both sides used stamps as fund raising and propaganda tools. Austrian stamps of 1919-20, overprinted in black "Karnten Abstimmung", referring to the Plebiscite, were issued. These 19 semi-postals (B11-B29), sold at three times face value, and were for the benefit of the Plebiscite Propaganda Fund. Likewise, Six 1919 Solvenian newspaper stamps (4LB1-4LB6) were overprinted/surcharged in red , and had the initials "K.G.C.A.", which signify "Carinthian Government Commission Zone A". The outcome was a 60% vote for adhesion to Austria, and a 40% vote for the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

1920 Austrian Carinthia Plebiscite Semi-Postal
Scott B16 30h brown on buff overprinted "Karnten Abstimmung"
Big Blue Picture
The '47 and '41 editions, under "Carinthia", have a half page of Carinthian Plebiscite stamps from both Austria and Yugoslavia. This entry disappeared with the '69 and '97 editions. So the stamps are all gone from Big Blue also, right?

Not exactly.

The '69 edition transferred the Fifteen Austrian Carinthian Plebsicite stamps to the Austrian semipostal section, and for good measure, ADDED the last four Austrian Carinthian Plebiscite stamps to complete the nineteen stamp issue. Very nice!

Unfortunately, the same was not done for the Yugoslav (Slovenia Issues) stamps. These four stamps are gone.

By the way, if one wants to also complete the Slovenia set, 4LB5(<$1) and 4LB6($1+) could be added.

1920 Solvenia 5p on 4f gray & 15p on 4f gray
1919 Solvenia Newspaper stamps surcharged/overprinted "K.G.C.A."
Big Blue Checklist
Carinthia entry '47 & '41 editions
(Located after Cape Juby, and before Cape of Good Hope)

1920 (Austria) Overprinted in black "Karnten Abstimmung"
B11,B12,B13,B14,B15,B16($1+),B17, (<$1 eN)
B18,B19($1+),B20,B21,B22, (<$1 eN)
B23(<$1) Granite paper Imperf
B24,B25,(<$1) Granite paper Imperf

1920 Solvenian newspaper stamps overprinted/surcharged in red "K.G.C.A."

End of Carinthian entry for '47 and '41 editions.
The Solvenian semi-postals (4:LB1,4LB2,4LB3,4LB4,) are NOT found in the '69 and '97 editions.

BUT, the Austrian semi-postals (B11-B25) ARE found in the '69 and '97 editions in the semi-postal section for Austria.
IN ADDITION, the '69 and ''97 editions complete the set by ADDING:
B26,B27,B28,B29,(<$1) Granite paper Imperf
Location of Carinthia on Austrian Map
Kinds of Blue
As noted in the Checklist, the '47 and '41 editions ,under the "Carinthia" entry have the Austrian and Slovenian semi-postals for the Carinthian Plebiscite.

My '69 editions and my '97 edition do not have a separate entry for "Carinthia". But as outlined above, one of my '69's and the '97 DO have the Austrian Carinthian Plebiscite stamps PLUS four more stamps to complete the set in the Austrian semi-postal section. But neither the '69 not the '97 have the Slovenian semi-postals in the Yugoslavia section.

I said "one" of my '69s because my other '69 edition has no Austrian semi-postal section! Very curious indeed. The '69 that has the semi-postals, including of course the Austrian Carinthian Plebiscite stamp spaces, has the same layout as the '97 edition. These layouts are different than the '47 and '41 semi-postal Austrian sections, so the '69 semi-postal section is NOT borrowed or inserted from an earlier edition.

So why doesn't the other '69 edition have an Austrian semi-postal section? Frankly, I don't know. Several possibilities....
a) The semi-postal section was removed for some reason before I acquired the album. Possible, as not everyone is interested in semi-postals.
b) There are several "sub-editions" or iterations of the '69 edition. I'm beginning to wonder if this might be the case, because I've had other reports of '69 editions with additions/deletions that did not square with my edition(s).
"Painting in memoriam of the Carinthian Plebiscite" 
Felix Esteri 1930
Big Blue Bottom Line
If you have the '47 and '41 edition, you are in luck. One could add  (B26,B27,B28,B29) the rest of the Austrian Carinthian Plebiscite stamps to complete the series.

If you have the '69 or'97 editions ( provided your '69 actually does have the Austrian semi-postal section!), then you are mostly in luck. The  Austrian semi-postal section should have the complete series of Austrian Carinthian Plebiscite stamps. One would only need to find a spot to add the four Solvenian semi-postals to the album.

Note: Map and painting image appear to be in the 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!

1920 Austrian Carinthia Plebiscite Issue
2K pale blue

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


1928 Scott 117 2 1/2 pi ultramarine
"Discovery of Body of St. Barnabas"
Quick History

Note: This post has been updated - see Cyprus 1928-34 - a closer look.

Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Turkey. The Capital is Nicosia, and the population was 390,000 in 1943.
The British Empire took over administration of the island in 1878, although technically it was still an Ottoman territory until 1914. Great Britain annexed the island in 1914 when the Ottoman Empire entered on the side of the Central Powers. It was declared a British Crown Colony in 1925. Cyprus finally gained independence in 1960.
Subsequently, a war in 1974 has resulted today in a northern Turkish Cypriot partition, and a southern Greek Cypriot partition of the island.

1882-94 Scott 19 1/2pi green "Queen Victoria"
Get out the watermark tray and magnifying glass: This is a Wmk 2, Die B variety
Die B: The darker vertical line down the front of the neck goes to the eighth shading line
In Die A, the line only goes to the sixth shading line
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on two pages, beginning in 1880, has 65 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 150 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue for the British period is 43%.

A Special Note about Die A/Die B variations for Cyprus in the Victorian 1881-94 stamps....
Die A (Die I) vs Die B (Die II)
Cyprus 1882-94 Scott 19 1/2pi green & Scott 19a 1/2pi green
Both Watermark "2"- Crown and C A
Black arrow: The vertical line of color stops at the sixth line of horizontal shading of the neck for Die A; eighth line for Die B

Red arrow: A small horizontal dash line in the jewel for Die B; no such discrete dash line for Die A

Blue arrow: Seventh and Eighth horizontal groundwork lines tend to converge at the head for Die A; remain parallel for Die B. In general, the horizontal groundwork lines vary in thickness, and are all not parallel for Die A, while the groundwork lines remain of uniform thickness and parallel for Die B.

Green Arrow: Dark vertical shading separates out the bun from the front hair in Die A; while there are white strands of hair found instead in Die B.

Orange Arrow: White space in the coil of the hair is pin head shaped in Die A; while the white space is oblong and a line of color divides the left end in Die B.

Because of cancel marks,a particular sign may not be obvious for an individual stamp (as is demonstrated here), but another sign may be obvious and clear.

Now back to regular programming..  ;-)

A couple of comments....
1) Cyprus yields a "Most expensive stamp list" candidate in the 18 pi olive green & black "Buyuk Khan,Nicosia" illustrated space for the 1934 King George V/Pictorials issue. Cost-$40+! Generally, though, Cyprus stamp prices are reasonable. Big Blue uncharacteristically took most of the inexpensive stamp choices, as I was only able to find five additional stamps. Nice job Big Blue!

2) As per usual for a British Crown Colony, there are the British Colonial watermarks (Wmk 1,2,3,4) to identify if one wants to know which stamp one has for certain. The good news is often just turning over the stamp on a dark background will yield the watermark identification.

3) Cyprus also has for 1882-94 "Queen Victoria" Scott 19-25 (19a-25a), Die A and Die B varieties. For specifics, see "Dies of British Colonial Stamps", found on page 39A of the 2011 Classic Scott catalogue. I show one of the differences above in the pic of Scott 19 in this blog.

4) There some stamps that are not strictly eligible for BB by color or dates. I note an "alert" for this in the checklist.

Additionals... (There are only about 5 stamps available for no more than $2+.)
1924 King George V
Choices not taken in checklist:
Blank space: suggest 97 or 100 or 102 or 103($2+)

1938 King George VI/Pictorials

1903-04 1/2 pi green & carmine rose "King Edward VII"
The left has Wmk 2-Crown & C A-; while the right has Wmk 3-Multiple Crown & C A-
Big Blue Checklist
1880 British issues overprinted "Cyprus"
2($10+), 3($2+)

1881-94 Queen Victoria
1/2 pi: 11($50+) or 19($1+) or 19a($2+)
1 pi rose: 12($30+) or 21($2+) or 21a($2+)
2 pi blue*: 22($2+) or 22a($2+)
*Note: 13 ($30+) 2 pi ultramarine is R/O for color
Note: 1881 Scott 11-13 is wmk 1;
1882-94 Scott 19-22 is wmk 2 and Die B; Scott 19a-22a is Die A


1902-04 King Edward VII
1/2 pi: 38($1+) or 50(<$1)
30 pa: 39 or 51($2+)
1 pi: 40($2+) or 52($1+)
2 pi: 41($10+) or 53($2+)
Note: 1903 Scott 38-41 is wmk 2: 1904 Scott 50-53 is wmk 3

1907 King Edward VII

1912-23 King George V
10 pa*: 61($2+) or 72($10+) or 73($10+)
1/2 pi: 62(<$1)
30 pa: 63 or 74($1+) "violet & green"
30 pa: 75($1+) "green"
1 pi: 64**($2+) "carmine & ultra"
*Note: 10 pa:  61,72 "orange & green", 73 "gray & yellow"
**Note: 76 ($20+) 1pi "rose & ultra" not eligible for color

1912-23 King George V (continued)
77($2+),78($5+),65*($2+) 2 pi "ultra & maroon"
Note: 1912 Scott 61-65 is wmk 3: 1921-23 Scott 72-78 is wmk 4
*Note: 79 ($20+) 2 pi "ultra & red violet" not eligible for color

1924-25 King George V
89,90($2+),91,92,93 (<$1-$1+ eN)

1924 King George V (continued)
94,95,96,98($2+),99,($1+ eN)
Blank space: suggest 97 or 100 or 102 or 103($2+)

1928 Pictorials
114,115,116,117,118($5+), ($1+-$2+ eN)

1934 King George V/Pictorials
125,126,127(<$1),128,129,($1+ eN)
134* 18 pi olive green & black "Buyuk Khan,Nicosia" (($40+)!
*Note: most expensive stamp for Cyprus in BB

1935 Silver Jubilee

1937 Coronation
140,141,142($1+) (<$1 eN)

1938 King George VI/Pictorials
148($2+),150,151,149,(<$1 eN)
*Note: 144 is 1/2 pi "green"; 164 "purple", a '51 issue, not date eligible.
**Note: 147 is 1 1/2 pi "rose carmine"; 147A" light violet", a '43 issue, not date eligible; 165 "deep green", a '51 issue, also not date eligible.

1934 Scott 128 1pi  brown & black "Solti Theater"
Kinds of Blue
Curiously, the "List of Countries" as advertised by Amos Advantage for 1997 edition Part 1A1 1840-1940, Aden-Ethiopia, does NOT list Cyprus, although Cyprus and pages are clearly in the '97 edition. An oversight, or an ominous portent for the next edition? ;-)

The "97 and '69 editions are identical in content.
The "47 and '41 editions, for the 19 space King George V 1912-25 issues, have a different arrangement of the stamps following more closely the date of issue, rather than following the denominations as in the '69 and '97. But the end result is the same coverage.

Finally, the '47 and '41 for the 1934 King George V/Pictorials have two blank spaces rather than providing illustrations for Scott 133 and 134. I suppose one could then add - although realistically it would seem unlikely-Scott 135 @ $70+ as a choice for the '47 and '41 editions.

Present day Map of Cyprus
Big Blue Bottom Line
What I particularly like about Cyprus is not all the stamp designs are derived from the usual British Colony boiler plates. The 1928 issue Pictorials -"Silver Coin of Amathus, Philosopher Zeno, Map of Cyprus, Discovery of the Body of St. Barnabas ( see blog's pic), and "Cloisters of Bella Paise Monastery, are very non-British in design and theme. They are gorgeous stamps. Take a look in your Big Blue, and see if you agree.

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. I've recently changed the settings, so any reader should be able to post. Thanks!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Confederate States of America

A well worn copy of 1863-64 Scott 11 10c blue "Jefferson Davis" 
Quick History
South Carolina seceded December 20,1860, with the other southern states soon following. The Confederate States of America formed as a provisional government on February 4,1861. The postmasters continued to pay to the order of the U.S. government until the Confederate States assumed control of postal affairs. The Federal Government suspended operation in the Confederate States on May 31, 1861. The postmasters of the Southern States provided provisional issues from June 1 until October 16, when the general issues of the Confederacy began.

Note on the Civil War and the Postal system:  With the War sometimes dividing family and friends, a working postal system for communication was highly important. Letter writing increased significantly across the entire divided nation, especially between the soldiers and their families. The Confederacy had a very able postal system throughout the conflict. Mail was sent across lines under a "Flag of Truce". Mail from the North to the South went through City Point,Virginia where it was inspected before being sent further. Mail from the South to the North was opened and inspected at Fortress Monroe along the Virginia coast before entering the U.S. mail stream.

Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on two lines of one page, has six stamp spaces for 1861-62 and 1863. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue, for the General Issues, has fourteen major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 43% .

Many U.S. collectors specialize in the Civil war postage era.  Big Blue naturally only provides space for some of the general issues. But even then, filling the first 1861-62 illustrated stamp space for "Jefferson Davis" requires either the expensive Scott 4 ($120+), or the even more Scott 1 ($170+).

The Southern Postmaster Provisionals, issued between June 1, 1861 and October 16, 1861, are covered in nine pages of the Classic catalogue. Alas, the least expensive is the Memphis,Tennessee 2c blue ($100+), with most of the other Provisionals costing thousands.

Of the General Issues in Big Blue, many ( Scott 1,4,7,8,11,12,13) have minor numbers for shade colors, usually for somewhat more money. The General Issues not in Big Blue, of course, are more expensive; the least- for $60+ no gum-, the "never put in use" 1862 Scott 14 1c orange "John C. Calhoun".

Big Blue Checklist
1861-62 Imperf
Scott 1 ($170+) or 4 ($120+)
Scott 6 ($10+) or 7 ($10+)
Note: Scott 1 is 1861 A1 design 5c green "Jefferson Davis"; Scott 4 is 1862 A1 5c blue.
Note: Scott 6 is 1862 A4 design 5c light blue "Jefferson Davis" ; Scott 7 is 1862 A4 5c blue.

1863 Imperf
Scott 8 ($70+) 1863 A5 design 2c brown red "Andrew Jackson"
Scott 11 ($10+) 1863-64 A7 10c blue "Jefferson Davis"
Scott 12 ($10+) 1863-64 A8 10c blue "Jefferson Davis"
Scott 13 ($40+) 1863 A9 20c green "George Washington"

Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47, and '41 are identical in content.

Confederate States General Issues - A Closer Look
One Confederate Dollar = 100 Confederate Cents

General Issues
1861 Scott 1b 5c dark green "Jefferson Davis"
Although the Confederate States stamps are part of the United States Scott entry, they are really a separate specialty. The specialty is driven by the many 1861 3c postmasters' provisionals issued by southern postmasters. These postmasters' provisionals are expensive ($hundreds- $Tens of Thousands).

The general issues (1861-64) consist of 14 major Scott numbers, with many more minor numbers (color shades).

Scott 1 consists of a lithographed 5c "Jefferson Davis" green (shades).

CV is $175, with CV $250 for the dark green shade. Unfortunately, this particular stamp has a significant flaw (hole).

(1862 Scott 6 or 7 5c blue "Jefferson Davis", Typographed)
Actually, a New York Counterfeit!
When I obtained this stamp, it didn't seem "right" to me. Was it a Scott 6 (London printing) or a Scott 7 (Richmond printing)? Trish Kaufmann's excellent Confederate Stamp Primer Online quickly resolved the question. It was neither Scott 6 or 7, but rather the ubiquitous New York Counterfeit, thanks to Walter Scott (Yes, THAT Scott!)!

Characteristics of the counterfeit include an "odd cloudy greenish-blue aqua color", and a shortened crossbar on the "F" and "E" of "FIVE", compared to the genuine.

CV for the genuine is ~$20.

1863 Scott 8 2c brown red "Andrew Jackson"
Engraved, "Red Jack"
Sometimes known as the "Red Jack" (compared to the well known "Black Jack"),  1,6000,000 stamps were issued, with John Halpin the engraver.

CV is $75 (unused).

1863-64 Scott 11 10c blue "Jefferson Davis"
Engraved, Type I
Scott's note of how to tell the difference between Scott 11 & Scott 12 is often hard to see: namely that Scott 12 has an additional line outside the ornaments at the four corners.

It was not until the Confederate Stamp primer Online provided an easy way to differenciate that I was able to separate out the two stamps. The back of the hair line goes well past the ear.

CV is ~$20.

1863-64 Scott 12 10c blue "Jefferson Davis"
Engraved, Type II
With Scott 12, the back of the hair line stops at the ear.

CV is $20+.

1863 Scott 13 20c green
"George Washington", Engraved
2,300,000 stamps were issued.

CV is $40+ (unused).

Big Blue Bottom Line
The bottom line for these issues- and their tangible significance- is that they represent much more than the stamps themselves.

Note: Map with the subscript appears to be in the Public domain. A Print without subscript is available at www.history-map.com.

Note: The "Closer Look" section was added in 2020.

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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


1896 5c slate blue & 10c emerald
Proclaimed King at birth: Alfonso XIII
Quick History


Located south of Florida, the Island now know as Cuba originally became a Spanish possession when Christopher Columbus claimed the land in 1492. But after the Spanish-American War ended in 1898, Spain relinquished the Island. In 1902 a Republic was established. The Capital is Havana, and the population was 4,700,000 in 1943.

 Philatelic Portrait History: The 1890 Cuban Spanish possession stamp issues with a portrait of  King Alfonso XIII shows a "child". That is because he was! He was proclaimed King at his birth in 1886, with his mother Queen Maria Christina appointed regent. In 1902, at age 16, the King assumed control of the state.

1907 50c gray & black & 1910 50c violet & black
Maj. Gen. Antonio Maceo
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on nine pages, has 114 spaces between 1855-98 when Cuba was a Spanish possession, 6 spaces for 1898 when Cuba was under administration of the United States, and 114 stamp spaces for the Republic, for a total of 234 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 462 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 50%.

Cuba gives one three different philatelic eras: the Spanish Possession stamps (1855-98), the U.S. Intervention stamps (1898-99), and the Republic stamps (1899-1940). Big Blue, for the most part, provides a nice selection. The stamps, save for the early surcharged 1898-99 U.S. Administration (Scott 176-220), are quite reasonable in price.

Unfortunately, the '69 editors hacked off a page of B.O.B. Cuba: Special Delivery (Six stamps), Air Post Special Delivery (one stamp), and Newspaper stamps (Nineteen stamps).

I did find about 70 additional stamps that the Big Blue collector could consider. Among them is a very interesting 1937 issue ( about 21 stamps) not found in Big Blue, The details are found under "Additionals".

Pitfalls putting the stamps into the album?
There are at least two...
A) In the 1878 issue spaces, Big Blue specifies for the 25c denomination, the color "deep green". In Scott's catalog, that is a minor number-79c(<$1). The major number in the Scott catalogue ( Even my '47 edition shows this) is the 79 "yellow green"(<$1). Alas, this demonstrates how some color specifications have not been updated in the album for well nigh 60+ years. So if you would like to be true to Big Blue, find the 79c "deep green" variety.  :-)  I include a picture in the blog of the two colors. BTW, I checked the "Big Brown" 19th Century album with copyright 1919, and they list the 25c as "green".

B) Some of the 1899 first issues (Scott 227-231) of the Republic under U.S. military rule- the 1c,2c,5c,& 10c,-were re-engraved in 1905 (Scott 233-237). See Scott for details. Suffice to say, the re-engraving differences are NOT subtle. Once you know, a glance will suffice. (I include a picture of the two 2c "Royal Palms" in the blog.)  Big Blue, as one would expect, only provides one space for the two varieties.
I would recommend putting the 1899 "original" issue in Big Blue, and have a separate space to put the re-engraved issue. Of interest, all of my Big Blues have had a mixture of original and re-engraved stamps in the spaces. Recently, I received a lot that included these stamps. They had been identified and labeled as the original issue,when they were clearly the re-engraved variety. Doesn't anybody look critically at stamps anymore?  ;-)  Just for fun, go through your stamps for these denominations, and identify the two varieties.

1856 Yellowish paper Imperf

1862-64 Imperf
Choices not taken: 18(<$1) or 20($1+) or 21($5+)

1868 Dated "1868"

Choices not taken: 26($5+) or 29($1+) or 30($5+)

1871 "Espana" seated

1878 dated "1878"

1883 (Issues of 1882 surcharged and overprinted)
Choices not taken

Type "c" illust One space: 112($1+) or113($2+) 
Type "d" illust One space: 115($1+) or 116($2+)
Type "e" illust One space: 118($1+) or 119($5+) 

1883-86 (types of 1882)

1898 "teen"  King Alfonso Xlll
164($2+),171,172,(<$1 eN)

Administration of the U.S.
1898-89 (Issues of Cuba 1898 & 1896 surcharged)
Scott 176-220 (44 stamps)
Note: Least expensive is Scott 178 @ $20+!

1899-07 (Issues of the Republic under U.S. military rule)
Choices not taken: 227 or 233*,228 or 234*,230 or 236*($1+),231 or 237* (<$1 eN)

1910 portraits

1911 portraits different color

1914 Map of Cuba

1917-28 Portraits


1928 Pictorials & Map

1929 Capital, Havana

*Comment: The lovely and relevant still today 1936  Scott 332-336 issues "Peace and Work", "Maximo Gomez Monument","Torch",'Independence", and "Messenger of Peace" respectively, is missing 332 1c emerald "Peace and Work" in BB (20 cents!). The rest of the series is there. Now 332 is a rather large stamp, and apparently couldn't be squeezed into the layout. Here layout- and not for the first time- trumps philatelic series completeness and relevancy. I know economic realities, but that just frosts me. :-(

1937 Fifteen Pictorials/Portraits of different Pan-American Nations
344,345,346,347($2+),348,349,($1+ eN)
350($5+),351,352,353,354,($2+ eN)
Note: An interesting issue. Sold only for 3 days in 1937 with proceeds to the Association of American Writers. Not in Big Blue! Also see C24-C29 in "Additionals"

Postage Due
1899 (Under administration of U.S.)

Air Post

1937 Six Pictorials/Portraits of different Pan-American Nations
Note: See relevant note in "Additionals" for the 1937 Pan-American Nations issue.

Note: See the Kinds of Blue section for additional Special Delivery and Newspaper stamps that are found in the '47 & '41 editions. Below are more "additionals" that could be considered by the Big Blue collector.

Special Delivery
E5 or E6(<$1)
Note: Choice not taken from '47/'41 editions


Newspaper stamps



1878 79c 25c deep green & 79 yellow green
King Alfonso XII
Big Blue specifies the deep green
Big Blue Checklist
Issued under Spanish Dominion

Note: Scott 1-3,9-14,17-21,32-34,35A-37,39-41,43-45,47-49,51-53,55-57 also used in Puerto Rico; Scott 2-3 also used in Philippines.

1855 Blue paper Imperf "Queen Isabella ll"
1* ($5+), 2 ($2+), 3 ($10+), 4 ($10+)
*Note: Scott 1 is 1/2r blue green; 1856 Scott 9 1/2r yellow green (<$1) with YELLOWISH paper excluded by BB-as is Scott 10,11- for both date and paper.

1857 white paper Imperf

1862-64 Imperf
Blank space: suggest 18(<$1) or 20($1+) or 21($5+)

Blank space: suggest 26($5+) or 29($1+) or 30($5+)
Note: 24-26 1866 Imperf; 28-30 1867 Perf dated "1867".

1868 dated "1868"

1860 dated "1869"

1870 "Espana"

1871 "Espana" seated
50($10+),51,52*,(<$1 eN)
*Note 52 "green" in BB; "gray green" in Scott
eN=except noted

1873 King Amadeo
54($10+),55,56,(<$1 eN)

1874 "Espana" seated
58($5+),59,60,61,(<$1 eN)

1875 "Coat of Arms"
63,64,65,66($2+),(<$1 eN)

1876 King Alfonso Xll
67($1+),68,69,70($2+),(<$1 eN)

72($2+),73,74,(<$1 eN)

1878 dated "1878"
76,78($1+),79c*,80, (<$1 eN)
*Note: BB specifies now minor number 79c "deep green"; 79 is "yellow green"
See discussion in the Big Blue Picture section.

1879 dated "1879"

88,90,91,92,93($2+),(<$1 eN)



100,101,102($1+),103,104, (<$1 eN)

1883 (Issues of 1882 surcharged and overprinted)
Big Blue:"Issues of 1882 with various surcharges"
Type "a" illust Two spaces: 106($1+) and/or 107($1+) and/or 108($20+)
Type "b" illust Two spaces: 109($1+) and/or 110($2+) and/or 111($40+)
Type "c" illust One space: 112($1+) or113($2+) or 114($30+)
Type "d" illust One space: 115($1+) or 116($2+) or 117($30+)
Type "e" illust One space: 118($1+) or 119($5+) or 120($50+)

1883-86 (types of 1882)
122,124,127,128($2+),(<$1 eN)

1888 (types of 1883-88)
129,130,131($2+), (<$1 eN)

1890 "child" King Alfonso Xlll
132($5+),136($2+),140*,144,147,150,(<$1 eN)
*Note: 140 is "emerald green" in BB: "emerald" in Scott.

1891 "child" King Alfonso Xlll
133($2+),137,141($10+),145*,148,151($5+),(<$1 eN)
*Note: 145 is "emerald green" in BB: "emerald" in Scott.

1894 "child" King Alfonso Xlll

1896 "child" King Alfonso Xlll
*Note 149 is "emerald green" in BB: "emerald" in Scott.

1898 "teen"  King Alfonso Xlll
156,157,158,159($1+),160,161,162,(<$1 eN)

Administration of the U.S.
1899 (U.S. stamps overprinted/surcharged "Cuba")
221,222 or 222A,223 or 223A,224($1+),225($1+),226($5+) or 226A($10+),(<$1 eN)

Issues of the Republic
1902 surcharge

1899-07 (Issues of the Republic under U.S. military rule)
227 or 233*,228 or 234*,229,230 or 236*($1+),231 or 237* (<$1 eN)
*Note: 227-231 1899 issues; 233-237 1905 re-engraved issues. BB illustrates the "original" 1899 issues, but  BB's dates (1899-07) allow the inclusion of the re-engraved issues, so I include them as choices.
See discussion in the Big Blue Picture section.

1907 Maj. Gen. Antonio Maceo

1910 portraits
*Note: 245 is 50c violet & black, while 238 (1907) is gray blue & black.

1911 portraits different color

1914 Map of Cuba
*Note: 254 2c carmine rose; BB excludes 255 red.

1914 (continued)
*Note: 259 10c brown; BB excludes 260 olive green.

203 ($2+)

1917-28 Portraits
1c: 264 or 274 or 280($1+)(<$1 eN)
2c: 265 or 266 or 275 or 281($1+) (<$1 eN)
3c: 267
5c: 268 or 276 or 282($1+)(<$1 eN)
8c: 269 or 277(<$1)
10c: 270 or 278(<$1)
20c: 271 or 279($1+)
50c: 272(<$1)
Note: 264-273 1917-18 unwmk; 274-279 1925-28 wmk 106-star; 280-282 1926 Imperf.

1934 Dr. Finlay

1928 Pictorials & Map

1933 (type of 1917 overprinted)

1929 Capital, Havana
*Note: 295 "carmine red" in BB, "carmine rose" in Scott.
*Note: 296 "deep blue" in BB, "blue" in Scott

1930 Hurdler

312,316($2+),313,314,315,(<$1 eN)

333*,334,336($1+),335,(<$1 eN)
*Note: see my comment about the "included" 333-336 and the "missing" 332 in the BB Picture section.

338,337,339,355($2+),(<$1 eN)




Semi-Postal stamps

Postage Due

1918* (Actually 1927-28)
*Note: A BB date printing error. The "rose reds", specified by BB, were issued in 1927-28.
Change date to "1928".

Air Post
Two spaces: suggest C8,C9(<$1)
*Note: C5 10c "blue" in BB; "dark blue" in Scott

C12*,C13,C14*,C15, (<$1)
*Note: C12 5c "dull violet" in BB; "rose violet" in Scott
*Note; C14 20c "carmine rose"; C14A is "rose pink", a '46 issue, and not eligible for BB.

C18,C19,C20($1+),C21($2+),(<$1 eN)





Postal Tax stamps

1899 Scott 228 2c carmine "Royal Palms" & 1905 re-engraved Scott 234 2c rose
The foliate ornaments inside the oval surrounding the "2" have been removed with re-engraving
Kinds of Blue
The '69 and '97 editions are identical in content.

Unfortunately, the '69 editors dropped Special Delivery (Six stamps), Air Post Special Delivery (one stamp), and Newspaper stamps (Nineteen stamps). The specifics...

Special Delivery ( In '47 & '41)



E5 or E6 (<$1-$1+)

Air Post Special Delivery (In '47 & '41)

Newspaper stamps (In '47 & '41)

P7,P8,P9,P10($1+),(<$1 eN)


P19,P20,P21,P22($1+),(<$1 eN)

P25,P26,P27,P28($1+),(<$1 eN)

The '47, though, is missing Three Postage Dues.
What the '47 and '41 editions have printed:
Illustration; 2c rose red, 5c rose red

The "rose reds" (J8-J10) were the 1927-28 issue. That eliminates the 1914 issue which is "carmine rose"
So "missing" in the '47 and '41 are:
1914 (In '69 & '97)

The "47 and "41, in the 1864 issue has a specified space: "1r p Blue on Salmon", which is Scott 20($1+). The '69 and '97 instead have a blank space which allows these choices: suggest 18(<$1) or 20($1+) or 21($5+).

1899 Scott 223 2 1/2 c on 2c reddish carmine type III
Big Blue Bottom Line
Classical Cuba provides one with three historical philatelic Eras.  Buenisima!

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!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


1904 Scott 73 5l on 20l orange "Hera"
Quick History
Crete, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, was a Province of Turkey (Ottoman Rule). But after civil wars, an "Autonomy" was declared in 1898 by France, Russia, Great Britain, and Italy. In 1908, the Island voted to join Greece, and this occurred in 1913. Meanwhile, stamps were issued by the British Sphere of Administration in 1898, and by the Russian Sphere in 1899. Cretan Government issues commenced in 1900 and continued through 1910. The Capital of Crete was Canea, and the population was 330,000 in 1913.

Of historical interest: Crete was the center of Minoan civilization (c2700-1420 BC)

1899 Scott 5 20pa rose. Perf 11 1/2
British Sphere of Administration
Note: Gunman & Stangel in Athens, Greece did the original printing
And the subsequent Forgery illustrated here ;-)
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on four pages, beginning in 1898, has 65 spaces for Regular, Postage due, and Official stamps.
The 2011 Scott Classic specialized catalogue has 144 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 45%.

There is also in the Scott catalogue 185 major stamp descriptions from 1863-83 for the Austrian Empire post offices (In Candia, Canea, and Rettimo) in Crete. All values are rather expensive for Big Blue, so nothing more will be said about them here.

Big Blue presents a nice selection of these (mostly) classical mythology themed stamps. Included are four issues from the 1899 British Sphere Administration stamps. But there are 18 additional stamps from the 1899 Russian Sphere of Administration that are not in Big Blue, and could be collected.

And, forced by a blank space, Crete presents us with a 1909 Scott 97 5l on 20l carmine rose for $120+ ! But Crete mostly has reasonable stamp values (<$1-$1+), that should not be a drain on the treasury.

Other than the Russian stamps, I only found four additional stamps that would fit a Big Blue collector's modest wallet. Good job Big Blue!

District of Rethymnon Russian Sphere
1899 Poseidon's Trident
Note: 18 stamps! Series not in BB.

Issued by Cretan Government


Postage Due

1905 Scott 77 20l blue green 
"Kydon and Dog" (Cydonia Coin)
Big Blue Checklist
District of Heraklion (Candia) British Sphere

Issued by Cretan Government
50,51,52,53($1+),54*,59($1+), (<$1 eN)
*Note: 54 red O.P., 59 black O.P.
eN=except noted

1901 (without O.P.)
Blank space: suggest 70($10+)



74,75,76,77($1+),78($1+),(<$1 eN)


1908 (1900-1907 stamps overprinted black)
85,86,87,88,89,90($2+),(<$1 eN)

1909 (overprinted or surcharged)
Blank space*: suggest 1909 Scott 97 5l on 20l carmine rose ($120+ mint)!
*Note: Scott 97 by default; no other choice. Other 1909 stamps do not fit the space. If you want to "cheat" ;-) consider 1908 Scott 91 50l yellow brown($2+).

1909 (1900-07 stamps overprinted)

1909-10 (overprinted in red or black)
111,112,113,114,115,116,117($5+),(<$1 eN)

Postage Due

J10,J11,J12,J13($2+),(<$1 eN)

J19,J20,J21,J22($1+),J23($5+),(<$1 eN)
Blank space: suggest J24($10+)

Official stamps



1909 Scott 103 10l brown red 
Hermes by Praxiteles
Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47, and '41 editions are all identical in content.

1909-10 Scott 116 25l ultra
Triton (Itanos Coin)
Big Blue Bottom Line
Hermes, Hera, Minos, and Triton; all part of the Cretan-Greek mythology. These "classical" stamps reflect the classical Greek era. Perhaps that is why I find these issues so very attractive.

Note on the Checklist format: I've completed the bolding of Scott catalogue numbers, as well as underlining the titles or categories in the checklist. One should now be able to pick out the Scott numbers without getting lost amid all the surrounding "helpful notes"  ;-)

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. I've recently changed the settings, so any reader should be able to post. Thanks!

Map of Crete and Region

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Costa Rica

1863 Scott 1 1/2r blue & Scott 2 2r scarlet "Coat of Arms"
Quick History
Costa Rica is between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America. The Capital is San Jose, and the population was 700,000 in 1944. In 1838, Costa Rica declared itself sovereign over the loosely developed Federal Republic of South America based in Guatemala, and since then has been reluctant to affiliate itself strongly with other Central American nations. The first stamp in 1863 featured the National Coat of Arms.

"Rich Coast" History: The country has enjoyed a long period of democracy, and the army was constitutionally abolished in 1949.

1889 Scott 28 10c red brown "President Soto Alfaro"
Note the prominent detailed frame popular with Latin American designs
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on eight pages, has 154 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 384 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 40%.

A few pithy comments....
1) WYSIWYG. The stamps of Costa Rica are very straightforward. Generally should not be a problem with identification.

2) Big Blue per usual does not have many overprinted/surcharged stamp issues represented: Of the 103 additional stamps that could be picked up (<$1-$2+), 65 of them are overprinted/surcharged.

3) There is a HUGE cache of Official stamps (overprinted "Oficial") from 1886-1936 -57 stamps! @ <$1-$1+.

4) The Province of Guanacaste -which had overprinted stamps from 1885-1889- is not represented in Big Blue. But I found 19 stamps within the inexpensive category of $1+-$2+.

Now here is the breakdown of the additionals....

Additionals.... (103 stamps(<$1-$2+) + 59 Official stamps(<$1-$1+) + 19 Guanacaste Province overprinted stamps($1+-$2+) = 181 stamps!

1881 surcharged

1883 General Prospero Fernandez

1889 Black O.P.

1892 "Arms of Costa Rica"

1901-05 Pictorials and Portraits

1907 Portraits

1911 Telegraph stamps surcharged in colors (R),(BK), or (Bl)
89,90,91,92,93($1+),96,97,98,99,(<$1 eN)


1922-23 overprinted

1923 Jesus Jimenez

1923 Pictorials
123,124($2+),125,126(<$2+),127,(<$1 eN)

1924 province of Guanacaste annexation Centenary

1925 (stamps of 1923 surcharged)

1926 surcharged

1928 surcharged

1928 surcharged

1929 surcharge (5 types)
149 (<$1-$2+))

1929 Telegraph stamp surcharge

1930 dated "1929"

1940 surcharge

1940 overprinted
191,192,193,194($1+),195($2+), (<$1 eN)

Postage Due
J1,J2,J3,J4,J5,J6,J7, ($1+-$2+)


Air Post

1930 Surcharged



1940 overprinted

Air Post Official Stamps
1934 overprinted "Oficial"

Official Stamps
1926-37 (series is in BB)

49! more Official stamps (<$1-$1+)

Guanacaste, a Province of Costa Rica
Located on the north-west coast of South America, the Capital was Guanacaste, later Liberia, and the population was 70,000. Residents could buy Costa Rican stamps (overprinted "Guanacaste") at a discount to be used in the Province only. There are 67 major stamp descriptions in the catalogue for Guanacaste between the years 1884-1889. Big Blue has no representation. The stamps can be expensive, but I found 19 stamps at a cost of $1+-$2+.
1885-89 Stamps of Cosa Rica overprinted "Guanacaste"

1911 Scott 96 2c on 1col brown (Bk)
Telegraph stamps were surcharged for postal use
Note the cancellation: This might be a 1914 government "remainder"
Big Blue Checklist
1963 "Coat of Arms"

1883 General Prospero Fernandez

1887 President Bernardo Soto Alfaro

1889 President Soto Alfaro
25,26,27,28,29,30($1+),31($1+),(<$1 eN)
eN=except noted.

1892 "Arms of Costa Rica"
35,36,37,38,39,40($2+),41($1+), (<$1 eN)

Note: In 1914, the regular stamps between 1901-1911 (& 1903 Postage Due, 1901-03 Officials) were sold by the government as remainders cancelled with thin parallel bars. For higher valued stamps, they sell for less.

1901-05 Pictorials and Portraits
45,46,48,50($1+),51($2+),(<$1 eN)

1903 Portraits

1907 Portraits
59,60,62,63,64($5+),65($2+),(<$1 eN)

1921 Simon Bolivar

1910 Portraits
69,70,71,72,73,74,75($1+),76,(<$1 eN)

1911 Telegraph stamps surcharged in colors (R),(BK), or (Bl)
86(R) or 87(BK)($80+), 88,100,95,(<$1 eN)
Blank space: suggest 96 (<$1)

1924 Small!

1911 (Stamps of 1903-07 with various overprints of "`1911")
78($1+) or 79 or 80,(<$1 eN)
 82 or 83($1+) or 84,($10+), (<$1 eN)
Two blank spaces: suggest choices above not taken or 81(<$1).




1923 Jesus Jimenez
112,113,114,116, (<$1)

1923 Pictorials
Blank space: suggest 122(<$1)

1924 province of Guanacaste annexation Centenary
Blank space: suggest 132(<$1)


144,145,146($1+),(<$1 eN)

1932-37 (Triangular stamps)




(map of Cocos Island)
Blank space: suggest 174(<$1)


1938 overprinted "1938"

Semi-Postal stamps

B2($1+) or B5($1+), B4($20+) or B7($2+), B3($1+) or B6($1+)
Note: B2-B4 Imperf; B5-B7 Perf 12.

Postage Due
Two blank spaces: suggest J11,J12,(<$1)

Air Post

Blank space: suggest C3(<$1)



1934 (continued)

1940 surcharged

C37,C33,C38($1+),C34($2+),(<$1 eN)
Note: 1937 C31-C34 unwmk; 1938 C35-C38 wmk 229

Official Stamps
O70 or O82,O71,O72,O73,O74,O75,O76,(<$1)
Three blank spaces: suggest O79,O82,O83,(<$1)
Note Scott O70-O79 is 1926 issue; Scott O82-O94 is 1937 issue.
Note: Pay attention to designated color as O83-O89 are ruled out except perhaps for the three blank spaces.

1923 Scott 19 4c deep green "Banana Growing"
Kinds of Blue
The "97 and '69 editions are identical in content.
The '47 and '41 editions are identical to the '97 and '69 EXCEPT the '47 and '41 editions have for the 1926-37 Official stamps ONLY SEVEN spaces (one illustrated and 6 blank), while the '69 and '97 editions have FOURTEEN spaces (one illustrated,10 descriptive, and 3 blank). This would effectively eliminate O77,O78,O90,O91,O79,O82,O83 (or another combination).

1937 C29 2c brown "Airplane over Poas Volcano"
Triangular & Parallelogram shapes are found among 1930's stamps of Costa Rica

Big Blue Bottom Line
There is a lot to admire about Costa Rica: the freedom and democracy AND the stamps. :-)

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. I've recently changed the settings, so any reader should be able to post. Thanks!