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, August 28, 2011

Most expensive stamps in Big Blue: Aden-Czechoslovakia

Cape of Good Hope 
1857 Scott 3 1p rose "Hope" Seated
Big Blue Picture
I'm done with the 72 countries or blog entities listed alphabetically from Aden to Czechoslovakia in Big Blue, and it might be of some interest to rank the most expensive stamps with a catalogue threshold of $35. Obviously, the ranking will change as I get further along in the countries. I plan to update the ranking when enough new countries have been reviewed; next would be after the D’s and E's.

A few comments first...
The “C” countries added a significant number of stamps to the list; some classic, some quite surprising.

Some larger countries, such as Chile, Colombia, Congo (Belgian Congo), Costa Rica and Cuba have no stamps on the list. A special mention needs to go to Czechoslovakia. With 274 stamp spaces in Big Blue, the most expensive stamp is a 1920 overprinted Sokol issue semi-postal (B142) @ $12+.

Some countries, such as the Cook Islands and Castellorizo, generally had expensive stamps, but none quite reached the $35 threshold.

But other quite obscure or smaller countries had entries, such as Cape Juby (2!), Canal Zone, Ceylon, Chad (2!), Cape Verde, Cyprus and Cyrenaica. Chad and Cape Verde, in particular, were quite inexpensive, but still managed to put candidates on the list. In contrast, Cochin China, a former French colony, has 4 stamps in Big Blue with two that are on this list.
The classic Cape of Good Hope Triangulars naturally are on the list. And China has three entries; the Scott 78 1c on 3c red, ($250)- the MOST expensive stamp so far on the list, and two $50+ entries. Crete has a $120 entry. Three out of the six Confederate States of America stamps in Big Blue are on the list, the most expensive at $125.

What about the China Provinces expensive stamps, or the valuable Colombia 1917 E2 Special Delivery stamp found in the 1947 edition? Sorry, they are not eligible as they are not in the reference '97. But there is a "should have/could have" section in this blog where I list  the expensive stamps once found in Big Blue, but no more.

Now there is an elephant in the room. Or, to be more specific, a very large Maple Leaf.  ;-) What to do with Canada? Both the U.S. and Canada have much more comprehensive/expensive coverage compared with the rest of the world in Big Blue. Putting Canada in would frankly overwhelm the list. So there is a bit of a compromise. I put in the most expensive Canadian stamp (The three pence red “beaver”) in recognition of the wonderfully designed and classic Canadian stamps. This will serve as a marker for all expensive Canadian stamps. Elsewhere in this blog, there is a separate list of the Canadian stamps in Big Blue with a catalogue value greater than $35.
For all the “rules” of which stamps are eligible to be put on the list, see the end of this blog.
Bolivia 1894 "Coat of Arms" Scott 46 100c brown rose
The List.....

$250 Scott 78 1c on 3c red
In 1897, China surcharged in black some Revenue stamps. One of them, the Scott 78 1c on 3c red, has been in Big Blue since at least 1941. The cost today? $250! Interestingly, the next stamp in the series, the Scott 79 2c on 3c red, was in Scott until 1969 when it was removed by the editors. Now the price for that stamp is way north of $350. Scott still provides a blank space next to the designated 1c on 3c red  under a "1897" age date. Although one could argue that a surcharged Revenue stamp- such as the Scott 79 listed above-is the most appropriate to choose, it is not mandatory. Scott only lists"1897" as the limiting criteria. Fortunately, there were 60! regular issue surcharged stamps issued in 1897. The least expensive are $10+-$20+, and look very good by comparison as a choice for the blank space.

$225 1852-57 Scott 4 Three pence red "Beaver"
Note: This is the most expensive of the Canadian stamps in Big Blue. The Three pence red “beaver” will serve as a marker for all the expensive Canadian stamps that reside in the Volume. I will not include other expensive Canadian stamps on this list, because frankly it would overwhelm the listing.
Scott used a much more liberal criteria for including expensive stamps for Canada, as it had for the United States. There are 29 Canadian stamps in Big Blue that “could” be put on the list, having exceeded the $35 catalogue value ; 13 of those have a value over $100. That compares to 32 stamps total that are now on the list from the rest of the world, and only 5 of those exceed $100. As compensation, I include in this blog a list of all the expensive Canadian stamps.

3)Cape of Good Hope
1853-64 Imperf (Triangulars) "Hope" Seated
One penny (Illustrated)
$210 Mint 1863-64 Scott 12 1p dark carmine
There are really three triangulars that are very close to each other in price that would work well. The Scott 12 ($210 mint) listed above, the 1853 Scott 1 1p brick red/bluish paper ($240 used), or the 1855-58 Scott 3 1p rose/white paper ($240 used). What a great classic stamp!

1909 (overprinted or surcharged)
$125 mint/$130 used 1909 Scott 97 5l on 20l carmine rose
Note: Scott 97 by default; no other choice for the blank space. Other 1909 stamps do not fit the space.

5)Confederate States of America
1861-62 Imperf
$125 1862 A1 design Scott 4 5c blue "Jefferson Davis"
Note: Other choice for this illustrated space would be 1861 Scott 1 5c green ($170+)

Other Confederate States stamps “on the list” are:
1863 Imperf
Scott 8 ($70) 1863 A5 design 2c brown red "Andrew Jackson"
Scott 13 ($40) 1863 A9 20c green "George Washington"
Note: I’m “lumping” all the Confederate States stamps into one entry.
Note: I’m keeping the U.S. “proper” off the list, as the entries would overwhelm, but elected to include the Confederate States.

$105 1854 Scott 1d  1kr yellow "Coat of Arms" Imperf
The other choice is 1850 Scott 1 for $115. A nice classic!

7)Cape Juby
1935 Overprinted Spanish Morocco 1935
$85 mint/used  Scott 57 25c crimson with black overprint
The1947 catalogue values this @ 75 cents, or ~$7.50 in today's prices. Obviously,a large increase above inflation. But since none of my Big Blue's have Cape Juby stamps, it will be awhile before I need to fill this space. :-)

1930 (1926 Italian semi-postals overprinted)
$85 mint B28 5L+1.50L indigo & green

9)Cochin China
$72+ Scott 5 15c on half of 30c brown/bister
Note: Scott 5 exists mint; was prepared, but never issued. But it is in Scott. !?
Four stamps in Big Blue, and two make the "Most Expensive" list. !

10)Andorra (Spanish administration)
$65 Scott 19a 30c olive brown (a 1933 issue-Perf 11 1/2)
A surprise, as the rest of the 6 stamps in the series are $1-$6. Did Big Blue actually intend to put this expensive stamp in? The alternative,1929 Scott 19 (Perf 14) is $160; and should perhaps actually have preference for inclusion as this is a 1929 series in BB.

11)Cape of Good Hope
Four penny "blue" (designated)
$60 1855-58 Scott 4 4p blue
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+), and the 1853 Scott 2 4p deep blue/lightly blued paper($120+).

$57+ Scott B132 semi-postal 5c + 5c dull green "View of Old Abbey"
Intended for the restoration of Orval Abbey, Big Blue includes four more stamps in the set (B133,B134,B135,B136) for $52+ each: $263 total! Of interest is that the '97 Big Blue cut out the 1939 "Restoration of Orval Abbey" semi-postals (B250-B253) priced at only $2+-$3+, but kept this set in.

1928 Marshal Chang Tso-lin
$55 279 $1 red

14)Austria: Lombardy-Venetia
$52 1864-65 Scott 21 3s green
A classic issue, the other choice for the space is the 1863 Scott 16 3s green for $125.

1929 President Chang Kai-shek
$50 283 $1 dark red

$50 1929-30 Air Post Scott C21 Syrian stamp 15p on 25p (Bk & R) surcharged and overprinted, with additional overprint of plane.
Actually an attractive collectible stamp with the airplane overprint. Not too surprised, as all nine of the Alaouites Air Post stamps in Big Blue are not cheap.

17)Cape Juby
1934 overprinted Spanish Morocco stamps 
$50 Scott 50 1p yellow green
The Scott 1947 catalogue values Scott 50 @ $1; which is about $10 today based on inflation rates. So clearly, the stamp price has increased much more.
Note: This is a blank space choice; other choices are $100+ and $120.
Note: Blank space requires a horizontal format; there is a Scott 53 @ $2+, but a vertical format stamp, and doesn't fit!

18)Canal Zone
1924-25 Overprinted U.S. Postage Due
$50 used J14 10c deep claret
 Note: I’m keeping the U.S. “proper” off the list, as the entries would overwhelm, but elected to include the Canal Zone overprinted U.S. postage due.

19)Cochin China
$45 used Scott 4 5c on 25c black/rose with "c" overprint

$44 1913 Scott 7 5p orange brown "Kangaroo"
(Also $35 Australia 1913 Scott 6 4p orange "Kangaroo") The classic first issues of Australia, I love 'em!

1857 Queen Victoria (Imperf)
one penny (illustrated)
$42+ Scott 3 1p deep turquoise 
I love this classic stamp - nice!
Note: other choice would be 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".

1934 King George V/Pictorials
$42+ Scott 134 18 pi olive green & black "Buyuk Khan,Nicosia"

$40 Scott 47 1.75fr  olive brown & violet
Note: two expensive stamps for Chad; the 1927-33 Scott 47 1.75fr  olive brown & violet ($40), and the 1930 postage due  J22 3fr deep red & brown ($35 mint). The smaller stamp issuing entities in Big Blue seem to have these surprisingly expensive 1930's era stamps.
Note: The 1933 issue Scott 47 is a higher denomination stamp, and the most expensive of the thirty-two stamps in the issue. Big Blue did not choose to put in Scott 39,43,44,48 of the series: all much cheaper at $1+-$2+.

24)Cape Verde
1926 Ceres A6 design
$40 1926 Scott 182 10e pink
Note: This choice is forced by blank space.
Note: I'm giving the blank space choices for the '26 Ceres issues as that is clearly the intent of BB.  But Scott now lumps all the A6 designed Ceres together under the "1914-26" dates. So if one wants to insert ANY A6 Ceres choice, then (alternative suggested) 165(<$1) and 168($2+) could be put here.

$40 1894 "Coat of Arms" Scott 46 100c brown rose "thin paper"
There are plenty of "thick paper" 1894 :Coat of Arms" series stamps fraudulently cancelled in Paris with heavy bars forming an oval. Value of set:$5  

$40 1933-34 Scott 13 2r brown-orange & carmine-rose
(Stamps of India, 1926-32, overprinted in Black: BAHRAIN)
Note: This is a large blank stamp space in Big Blue, and this is the least expensive choice for the space.

$37 X 5= $185 1940 Postage Dues Scott J40- J44 (Issued under Italian Dominion)
$37 Scott J40 4q red orange
$37 Scott J41 10q bright violet
$37 Scott J42 20q brown
$37 Scott J43 30q dark blue
$37 Scott J44 50q carmine rose

Note: There are 12 Albanian Postage dues for $1-$4 that are NOT in Big Blue, and Big Blue puts this expensive series in. An odd choice.
Addendum: Bob Skinner of “Filling Spaces” blog fame did an analysis of the 1943 Scott catalogue PD prices, and he found this set was reasonable back then.

$35 1939 Scott 472  1.50p dark brown  "record and winged letter"
Note: Somehow issuing stamps for the mailing of phonograph records turned out not to be very popular. ;-)  So Argentina has a comparatively "rare" stamp instead.

$35 mint J22 3fr deep red & brown
Note: Big Blue, uncharacteristically complete, includes the entire eleven stamp 1930 postage due series ending with J22.

1859 Scott 15 5c vermilion "Beaver"
The “Canada” list

Three pence red "Beaver"
1852-57 Scott 4 ($220+) or 1851 Scott 1($1,000+)

1859 Scott 14 1c rose Queen Victoria ($80+)

1859 10c (illustrated)
Scott 17 red lilac ($140+) or Scott 16 black brown ($5,400+)

1859 Scott 15 5c vermilion "Beaver" ($37+)

1868 Large Queens
1c Scott 22 brown red ($100+) or Scott 23 yellow orange ($200+)
2c green Scott 24 ($90+)
3c red Scott 25 ($35)
6c dark brown Scott 27 ($120+)
12 1/2c blue Scott 28 ($100+)
15c Scott 29 gray violet ($50+) or Scott 30 gray ($50+)

1888-93 “small queens”
10c Scott 45 brown red ($50+) or 45a dull rose($50+) or 45b pink ($50+)
20c Scott 46 vermilion ($100+)
50c Scott 47 deep blue ($70+)

1897 The "older" Queen
Scott 73 10c brown violet ($70+)

1897 Jubilee issue
1/2c Scott 50 black ($110+)
5c Scott 54 deep blue ($40+)
Three blank spaces: suggest Scott 55 6c yellow brown ($170+) and Scott 56 8c dark violet ($60+) and Scott 57 10c brown violet ($110+)

1898 The "older" Queen  (Numerals on bottom corners, rather than maple leafs)
80 6c brown ($40+)
84 20c olive green ($100+)

1908 Quebec Tercentenary Issue
99 5c dark blue ($50+)
100 7c olive green ($100+)
Blank space: Suggest Scott 101 10c dark violet ($120+) or Scott 102 15c red orange ($120+)

1903-08 King Edward VII
94 20c olive green ($50+)
95  50c purple ($170+)

1923-24 Imperf  Note:spelled "Imperfect" in BB  ;-)
Scott 136 ($35) 1c Note: "yellow" in BB is "orange yellow" in Scott
Scott 137 2c green ($35)

1928 King George V & pictorials
158 50c dark blue Schooner "Bluenose" ($60+) Iconic design!

The should have/could have list
Here are expensive stamps that were in the ’47, but are not in the ’97, and therefore not eligible for the formal list.

$375 China 1897 Scott 79 2c on 3c red

$125 Bremen 1866-67 Scott 15 5 sgr green

$110 (mint) Bremen 1866-67 Scott 12 5gr black/rose

$62+ Bremen 1866-67 Scott 11 2gr orange

$60 Manchuria Province 1929 (Unification issue of China,1928 overprinted in red)
Scott 28 $1 dark red

$60 Colombia Special Delivery stamp 1917
Scott E1 5c gray green

$50 Brunswick 1862-63 1sgr blk/orange

$45 Sinkiang province 1929 (Unification issue of China, 1928 overprinted in red)
Scott 77 $1 dark red

$40 Manchuria Province (Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum issue of China overprinted in black)
Scott 32 $1 dark red

$37+ Sinkiang Province (Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum issue of China overprinted in black)
Scott 81 $1 dark red

The “rules”
A) I'm not going to include the United States, as we all know that Big Blue was more comprehensive with the "home" country, and there are a lot of costly 19th century stamps listed. Certainly, not least would be the Scott 2, the 10c black George Washington valued at $1200. Also some (many?) collectors keep their United States collection in other albums. I will not include Canada either, as again, there is a North American bias for the "home" area. Just to play fair, I will include the Three pence red "Beaver" 1852-57 Scott 4 ($220+) as a marker for Canadian stamps. See the separate “Canada” list in this blog. Finally,I will probably not include the Penny Black, Scott 1 1p valued at $325, although I might change my mind. Any album that claims stamp listings from "1840-1940" will necessarily include the Penny Black, but not for reasons of appropriateness.

B) The Country has to be on the roster of the "97 Big Blue, my reference. So China Provinces, for instance, are not included. See the “should have/could have” list for those that missed out.

C) The stamp will need to be actually the least expensive choice that works for the space provided by Big Blue. Yes there are quite expensive stamps that can be put in Big Blue, but if a cheaper stamp definitely works within the "intentions" of the space, the more expensive stamp doesn't count.

Note: For the "most expensive stamp" list in BB, I make exception to the general “binning” price listing policy and include the actual 2011 catalogue price.

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!

Jim Jackson


  1. Another great post. One thing that I find interesting is the old question of how much will you have to pay for these stamps versus catalog value. For example, I just bought a copy of a 19th century British stamp for $6.80 that catalogs $70. The stamp was in F+ condition, not too heavily cancelled, but fit in with what I have often read, that most 19th century British issues are heavily discounted unless in very fine or better condition. But I would be surprised if that were the case with the Chinese! And then there is the scarcity factor. The Colombian Special Delivery might not catalog very much, but will a collector be able to find a copy?

  2. Bob
    You are quite right that the CV and the price one needs to pay for an acceptable copy can vary wildly. Anything less than VF condition can be discounted heavily.

    Now, as you suggested, that may not be true for a "hot" country, such as China. I haven't done the research, but I wonder how much one would have to pay for a China Scott 78 1c on 3c red ($250 CV)?

    The real difficulty is indeed the scarcity factor. Sometimes one can simply not be able to locate a stamp...at any price!