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, September 8, 2011

Danish West Indies

1874-78 Scott 7 4c brown & dull blue "Numerals"
Normal frame: pay attention to the arabesques in the left upper corner
Quick History
The U.S. bought these Islands for 25 million dollars from Denmark in 1917, becoming the U.S. Virgin Islands. But prior, these islands (St. Thomas, St. John, Santa Cruz) in the West Indies east of Puerto Rico were a Danish Colony. The population was 27,000 in 1911, and the Capital was Charlotte Amalie.

There were British post offices in the DWI from 1849-1879 with cancelled stamps from Great Britain known: all really too expensive for BB collector consideration. The Danish issues proper began in 1856. Since letter writers from the DWI never numbered more than in the hundreds, genuine used copies are generally more expensive than mint copies.

1874-79 Scott 6e 3c blue & carmine "Numerals"
Inverted Frame: compare arabesques to normal frame
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on two pages, has 37 stamp spaces ( 31 regular, 6 postage due). The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 66 major number descriptions. Coverage by BB is 56%.

Nice selection by Big Blue, and I found NO additional stamps ( cutoff $5) to suggest for the Big Blue collector. That of course means the price of DWI stamps are dear. There are 25 stamps between $1+-$10. There are 12 stamps over $10+; 5 of them at or over $25. None however climb into the "most expensive" list.

A) The 1873-79 Numeral issue is quite complex. There are many minor numbers for normal frame/inverted frame,color variations, and paper thickness. It would behoove the BB collector to be able to identify and separate the normal frame and inverted frame varieties. I include image examples in this blog of both varieties.

Also, there is an "orphan" issue of  "1873 types", 1896-01 Scott 16-20, for which Big Blue does not provide space. Several of the stamps (1c,3c,4c,) are less expensive than Big Blue's designated choices for the 1873-79 issue. There are perforation, color, and normal/inverted frame differences between the issues as outlined in the checklist, as well as Scott.

B) The "1902 surcharge on Numeral stamps issue" was apparently needed as the DWI used up the 2c and 8c values, and had to surcharge some 3c and 10c stamps. BB only gives room for one half of the varieties.
The 2c on 3c stamp with the "c" type surcharge is illustrated, leaving out the "d" type surcharge. Then the 8c on 10c with the "d" type surcharge is illustrated, leaving out the "c" type surcharge. Since they are rather expensive stamps ($10+-$20+), if one has the non chosen type surcharge available, putting it in anyway ( with the proper notation) is pragmatic.

C) Single color 1c, 2c,5c, & 8c "Coat of Arms" stamps in the correct color for the denomination were issued  1900-03 to satisfy the UPU requirements.

D) The stamps themselves are wonderfully engraved and/or typographed, while the postage dues are lithographed. The classic art of stamp making and design was very much alive in Denmark.


1905 Scott 35 40b red & gray Typographed 
King Christian IX
Big Blue Checklist
1873-79 Numerals ( Perf 14X13 1/2)
Scott 5: (illust) (1c green & brown red) ($20+)
Scott 6 or 6e*: 3c blue and carmine ($20+ or $10+)
Scott 7: 4c brown & dull blue ($10+)
Scott 8: 5c green & gray ($20+)
Scott 10: 10c blue & brown ($20+)
Note: minor numbers for color variations, normal frame/inverted frame, paper: see Scott for details.
*Note: 6e is inverted frame type.
Note: 1896-1901 Scott 16-20 "Type of 1873" has Perf 13. They also have somewhat different color combination, may have inverted frames, and sometimes are less expensive ( Scott 16 1c($10+), 17 3c($10+), 18 4c ($10+), ). BB excludes them by Date.

1900-03 "Coat of Arms"
Two blank spaces: suggest 22($10+) & 30 ($20+)

1902 surcharge on Numeral stamps
24* ($10+) (illust: "c" surcharge)
28* ($10+) (illust. "d' surcharge)
*Note: 24 illust excludes 27($10+), a "d" surcharge
*Note: 28 illust excludes 25($20+), a "c" surcharge

1905 King Christian IX
Blank space: suggest 35($5+)

1908 King Frederik VIII
43,44,45($2+),46*(20+),47,49($5+),50($5+), ($1+ eN)
*Note: 46 is 20b green & blue
eN= except noted

1915-17  Christian X

Postage Due
1902 Royal Cipher "Christian 9 Rex"

1905-13 Numeral of value

1908 Scott 50 50b yellow & brown 
Frederik VIII
Frame Typographed, Center Engraved
Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47 & '41 editions are all the same in content.

1915 Scott 54 20b green & blue 
Christian X
Big Blue Bottom Line
Big Blue has a very nice selection indeed of the DWI issues.  Be aware of the learning curve for the 1873-79 Numerals.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Note: If you enjoyed this post, or have a comment to share, or have some constructive criticism, please use the comment section below. Thanks!

Note: Stamp prices are binned into broad categories. For specific valuations, consult a Scott catalogue.

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