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, 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!


  1. Cyprus is indeed an exquisite country, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit there. As you correctly pointed out, the stamps are beautifully designed and capture the culture and history of the this country quite nicely. BTW, you may wish to correct the date typo from "The 1828 issue Pictorials" to The 1928 issue Pictorials.

    1. Thanks Gina for the comments. I agree Cyprus has some well designed stamps. Thanks for alerting me to the typo that has been there since 2011. :-( I corrected it. :-)