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, September 21, 2011


1909 Scott 40 3p violet/yellow/chalky paper
"Roseau, Capital of Dominica"
The Roseaus had 5 separate issues between 1903-1921
Found with ordinary/chalky paper, and three different watermarks!
Quick History

Dominica was "discovered" on a Sunday in 1493 by Christopher Columbus; hence the name. The island is found between Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea. A British colony since 1805, a Crown Colony since 1896, this mountainous, volcanic, and poor country has an undeveloped natural beauty.  The Capital is  Roseau, and the population was 53,000 in 1942. Finally,The Commonwealth of Dominica became independent in 1978.

1888 Scott 21 2 1/2p ultramarine
The Queen Victoria issues can be found with Colonial watermark 1 or 2
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97 on three pages has 48 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue, beginning with the Queen Victoria issue of 1874, has 112 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 43%.

The Dominican issues are quite attractive, with a large number of pictorials. Big Blue generally has a nice representative collection. I did find 5 Victorians, 8 Roseau pictorials, and 2 more pictorials that are inexpensive (<$5), and could be added by the Big Blue collector.

All peaches and cream? Well no... ;-)
A) Big Blue leaves out all ( save one-Scott 40) of the Chalky Paper Roseau issues. About 10 of them are reasonably priced. BB has spaces for the 1903 Roseau issue, the 1908-09 Roseau issue, and the 1921 Roseau issue: Total 9 stamp spaces. But BB leaves out (by dates and color specifications) the 1906-07  wmk 1 C.P. issue, and the 1907-20 wmk 3 C.P. issue. You will need to pay attention to the paper: ordinary vs chalky.

A1) Continuing with the Roseaus... The "1903" issue can be particularly tricky. The 1/2 p (illust) argues for the 1903 Scott 25($2+) 1/2p "gray green". (wmk 1). Now, there IS a 1906-07 Scott 25a($10+) chalky paper stamp, and a 1907 Scott 35($2+)(wmk3) chalky paper stamp available. If you expanded the dates to "1903-1907", then you could include the other stamps. Your choice. BTW, BB does offer a space for a 1/2p "green" for the 1908-22 issues. Put the right color in the correct space.
The same dilemma goes for the blank space; where 1903 Scott 26($1+) 1p carmine & black is the logical choice.  There are 1906-07 26a($5+) and a 1907 36(<$1) (wmk 3) chalky paper varieties available if you change the dates.

B) Get out the watermarking tray! All four colonial watermarks are present. In particular, the Roseau issue comes in wmk 1,wmk 3, and wmk 4. Then the Victorians come in wmk 1 & wmk 2. The later issues come in wmk 4, so not an identification problem there. Generally, the Colonial watermarks are fairly easy to identify. About half of the time, simply turning over the stamp on a dark surface will be enough to identify the watermark. I enjoy the activity and find it rewarding; hope you do too!

1877-79 Queen Victoria (wmk 1)

1883-88 Queen Victoria (wmk 2)

1903 Roseau, Capital of Dominica (wmk 1)

1907-20 Roseau, Capital of Dominica (wmk 3) Chalky Paper

1921 Roseau, Capital of Dominica (wmk 4)

1923-33 Seal of the Colony & George V

1938 King George VI & Pictorials

1923-33 Scott 76 6p red violet & black
"Seal of the Colony & George V"
Big Blue Checklist
1883-88 Queen Victoria (wmk 2)
Blank space: suggest 22($2+)
*Note 18 is 1p violet for this illustrated space. 1874 Scott 1($50+) & 1877-79 Scott 5($2+) 1p violet ( wmk 1) is ruled out for dates. Scott 19($2+) 1p deep carmine is a '89 issue, and is R/O for date.

1903 Roseau, Capital of Dominica (wmk 1)
25*($2+) 1/2p gray green
Blank space: suggest 26* ($1+) 1p carmine & black
*Note 25 :R/O? for dates is 1906-07 25a($10+) (Chalky Paper), and 1907-20 35($2+)(C.P.)(wmk3)
Your choice!
*Note 26: R/O? for dates is 1906-07 26a($5+)(C.P.), and 1907-20 36(<$1) (C.P.) (wmk 3)
Your choice!

1908-22 Roseau, Capital of Dominica (Types of 1903-07)
1/2p green: 50 or 56 ($2+)
1p scarlet: 51*(<$1)
1 1/2p orange: 58($2+)
2p gray: 52 or 59 ($2+)
2 1/2p ultramarine: 53($5+) or 60($2+)
(1908-22 next row)
3p violet/yellow: 40*($2+)
1 1/2p on 2 1/2p orange: 55($2+)
 Note: stamp spaces include 1908-09 Scott 50-53 (wmk 3), and 1921 Scott 56-60 (wmk 4)
*Note 51: Scott 57 1p rose red ($2+) R/O for color.
*Note 40: is chalky paper, wmk 3. Also regular paper minor number varieties exist.

1923-33 Seal of the Colony & George V (wmk 4) Chalky Paper

1923-33 Seal of the Colony & George V (continued)
67($1+),68,69,70,71($2+)(<$1 eN)
72,73,74($1+),75,($2+ eN)
Blank space: suggest 76 or 77($2+)

1935 Silver Jubilee

1937 Coronation

1938 King George VI & Pictorials
100,101($2+),102,104,(<$1 eN)
*Note 108 is "vermilion & black" in BB, while "scarlet vermilion & black" in Scott.

1940 King George VI

War Tax stamps
MR1,MR2($2+),MR3,(<$1 eN)

1938 5sh dark brown & blue
"Layou River" 
Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47, and '41 editions are identical in content.

1918 MR2 1/2p green 
"War Tax" overprint
Big Blue Bottom Line
Quite attractive Pictorials in the British Colonial design for this more obscure than most Caribbean island.

Pay attention to the  "Roseau, Capital of Dominica" design Pictorials, as Big Blue leaves out about 10 reasonably priced 1906-07 (wmk 1) and 1907-1920 (wmk 3) Chalky Paper varieties. You may find them in collections.

Speaking of watermarks, Dominica has all four of the Colonial watermarks represented. Might be a good time to sharpen one's abilities. Generally speaking, I find the colonial watermarks fairly easy to differentiate. Often, just turning over the stamp on a dark surface is all that is required!

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Note: Prices are roughly binned; for specific pricing, consult a Scott catalogue

Note: If you have comments, I would love to hear from you!


  1. Hello again, I posted earlier on a couple of posts, some comments.

    (1) Basically I have stayed away from trying to distinguish stamps by watermarks, unless they were obvious on inspection. I realize this isn't philatelically the best practice, but I did not have a very good way of detecting them, and I don't like the idea of using benzene or whatever around the house. I did get a non-liquid detector, the Morley, but I wasn't satisfied with its ability to distinguish the marks, particularly on Argentina for example. I saw a non-toxic watermark detection fluid on ebay, I wonder are these any good?

    2) I have to admit I can't tell if a given stamp is on chalky paper or plain paper. I had this exact problem with Dominica. Could you post a comparison of chalky and ordinary paper? That would be very helpful.

    3) How do you photograph your stamps on the album page? I am thinking about starting a little blog myself, using images from my collection, but I don't seem to be able to get very good images.

  2. Cartoon Peril-good questions and observations!

    1) With the British Commonwealth colonial stamps, often just flipping the stamp over on a dark surface will show the watermark. As far as watermark fluid that is sold for stamps, "supposedly" the fluid is less toxic or inflammable than previous. So I just buy a commercial brand from a stamp supply internet house, and hope for the best. :-) Then again I was an undergraduate major in Chemistry, so am not too squeamish around chemical fluids. The reality is valuations are often hugely dependent on which watermarked stamp one has, so I just use the fluid if necessary in a well ventilated room.

    2)Chalky paper/ ordinary paper
    I still struggle with the difference sometimes.
    I believe a pic would not be all that helpful. One difference is the surface of a chalky stamp is smoother, and appears shinier in the light.
    Another approach: I will take a stamp that I know is from chalky paper, and compare with the "unknown". But frankly, I'm still working on this area myself. :-)

    3)I have a recent Nikon coolpix 1.2 megapixel camera ( not that special), and I take a pic with the "closeup" (a flower symbol on my camera) function enabled. With good lighting one can literally take a pic an inch away of an individual stamp that is sharp. Works great! IMHO, a camera pic of a stamp looks a bit more three dimensional than a scan of the stamp. But I have also began to use my scanner for stamp pics also. The scanner works well for true color and detail, and has a more "neat" result.

    I am looking forward to your stamp blog! Please publish it here when you are up and running!