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...

Saturday, October 15, 2011


1867 Scott 9 10pa lilac
First issue of the "Sphinx and Pyramid" design
Quick History
The banks of the Nile have been a source of civilization for 6000 years. "Modern" Egypt was a "nominal" part of the  Ottoman Empire, Turkey, until 1914, when a British Protectorate was declared. In reality, since the Suez Canal was built with the French in 1869, the Egyptian government with the Head of State, the Khedive from 1867 to 1914, and the Sultans after 1914,  were required to have French and British controllers in the Egyptian cabinet. But finally, an independent Kingdom was established in 1922.
The Capital is Cairo, and the population was 17,000,000 in 1942.

Turkish Suzerainty surcharged stamps were issued in 1866, with the iconic "Sphinx and Pyramid" stamps first issued in 1867.

Second design: 1874 Scott 22b 1pi vermilion "Sphinx and Pyramid"
This stamp has blurred impression & rough 12 1/2 perforations
Big Blue Picture
The "97 Big Blue, on nine pages, has 198 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott classic Specialized catalogue has 390 major stamp descriptions for Egypt. Coverage by Big Blue is 51%.

Big Blue has 24 "Sphinx and Pyramid" design stamp spaces covering the 1867, 1872-75,1879-93, 1888, and 1888-93 issues. These iconic designed stamps makes Egypt a collector's delight right at the start. Big Blue's selection for the "Sphinx and Pyramid' is quite inexpensive; the most catalogues for $11. In fact, the most expensive required Egyptian stamp in BB (J11 postage due) is only $14.

There are four major designs on the "Sphinx and Pyramid" stamps. The first and second designs should not be confused. The third and fourth designs are similar, except the "postes egyptiennes" inscription is above the vignette in the former, and below on the latter.

Chalky paper varieties for some stamps in the third (1879-93) and fourth (1888-93) series were reissued in 1902. These are not given a formal space in Big Blue. Since these chalky paper varieties are very common (minimum catalogue value), it behooves the collector to be able to distinguish them. I have an illustration on this blog which might help. If one is fastidious, one might want to separate out the paper types, and find space elsewhere.

The second issue (1872-75) can be a bit hairy for the varieties.
Here is a strategy...
If the stamp has a clear impression, on thick opaque paper, and has nice clean cut perforations, then it is an 1872 issue. But not done yet. :-)
Check the perf: 12 1/2 vs 13 1/2 horizontal perf. This separates out the major numbers (19-25) (12 1/2 perf) from the "a" minor numbers (19a-15a) (13 1/2 perf). But not done yet. :-)
If a 20pa blue or a 1pi rose red, could be lithographed rather than typographed. There are of course different minor numbers for the lithographed variety. One hint is a lithographed stamp has a very "flat" appearance.

If the stamp has a very blurred impression, on thinner paper, and the perforations are cut very rough, then it is a 1874-75 issue. But not done yet, :-)
Check the perf: 12 1/2 rough vs 13 1/2 X 12 1/2 rough vs 12 1/2 X 13 1/2 rough. Different minor numbers for each one.

The next issue which is a bit more complicated than it appears in Big Blue is the 1914 "scenic views" issue (Scott 50-59). Big Blue gives 14 stamp spaces; no problem there. And the 1914 issue is watermarked 119- star and crescent. But there is no room in BB for the re-issued 1921-22 series (Scott 61-69, 72-74)  with wmk 120- triple crescent & star. Some also come in different colors than the 1914 issue. You will need to work to keep these issues "out", if that is your desire.

More comments....
1)  "Military" stamps are found in the Scott Egyptian catalogue. These were used by the "British Forces" stationed in Egypt on letters sent to Great Britain. They could purchase these stamps at a reduced rate.

2) Fun with magnifying glass and /or scanner. The 1927 King Faud issue has two types of vignettes for Scott 128,129,130,132,135,136, & 139. See Scan on this blog.

3) Additionals: plenty! :-) 
65 regular, 6 air post, 7 military, 14 postage due, and  19 official stamps. ( 111 total)
See the "additionals" section for specifics and comments.

4) Kinds of Blue gone wrong.
I usually don't comment much on the changes in the BB editions, but the '69 did "quite" a job on some later 1937-38 regular issues. ;-)  The '69 BB  in THREE separate cases drops the LAST stamp in a three stamp series (222,227,233), then REMOVES a series (228,229,230,). All of these stamps are <$1. And all of these stamps were happily ensconced in the '47/'41 editions. Despite the much greater spread out format of the '97, these stamp spaces were not returned.

5) Enjoy the King Farouk issues of 1937 when he was age 16. Later, after the 1952 revolution, these stamps were issued with the vignette defaced.

Additionals..... (<$5 unless noted)

1867 Sphinx and Pyramid

1872-75 Sphinx and Pyramid

1902 Sphinx and Pyramid (chalky paper)

1902 Sphinx and Pyramid (chalky paper)

1921-22 wmk 120 triple crescent & star

1920-23 (stamps of 1921-22 overprinted)
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.

(1920-23) King Fuad
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.


Note: the 1929-32 King Faud issues (133,136,138,143,144,) were left out of BB.


(King Farouk)
211 or 213 choice, 214,215,216,
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.

Note: here BB in three separate cases drops the last stamp in a three stamp series (222,227,233), then doesn't  include a series (228,229,230,). All of these stamps are <$1.

1939-46 King Farouk and Pyramids

Air post (6 additionals)
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.

Military stamps (7 additionals)

Postage Due (14 additionals)

Official stamps (19 additionals)






Third design: 1879-02 Scott 39a 2pi orange brown
On chalky paper: note the shiny glazed smooth appearance
Fourth design: 1888-1906 Scott 49 10p purple
On ordinary paper: note the duller appearance, and that the ink embeds into the paper
Big Blue Checklist
1867 Sphinx and Pyramid
Note: Four types of each value

1872-75 Sphinx and Pyramid
19 or 26($2+), 20 or 20b($2+),22b*($1+), 23b*($5+)
Note: 1872 Scott 19-25 have clean cut impressions, thick paper & Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/2; 1874-75 Scott 26, minor "b"'s- have blurred impressions, thinner paper & Perf 12 1/2 rough.
Note: see Scott for more minor number different perfs
*Note  22b is 1 pi vermilion; therefore 22 1 pi rose red ($2+) is R/O for color.
*Note 23b is 2 pi yellow: therefore 23 2 pi dull yellow ($10+) is R/O for color.

1879-93 Sphinx and Pyramid
*Note 37 1pi ultramarine; 39 2 pi orange brown; 41 5 pi gray.  The 1902 37a,39a,41a(<$1) on chalky paper R/O for dates.

1888 Sphinx and Pyramid
Note: chalky paper 1902 variety (43a,44a,48b)(<$1) R/O for dates.

1888-93 Sphinx and Pyramid
Note: chalky paper 1902 variety (46a,49b)(<$1) R/O for dates.



Note: No room in BB for similarly designed 71($2+)

1914 wmk 119-crescent & star "scenic views"
Note: No room in BB for 1921-22 wmk 120 triple crescent & star Scott 61-69, 72-74.
Some also come in different colors than 1914 issue. See Scott. You will need to work to keep these issues "out", if that is your desire.

1920-23 (stamps of 1921-22 overprinted)
78,79,80,81,82,83,84 or 85,(<$1)
Note: overprints exist as four types
Note: ironically, the "original" 1921-22 issue is not given space in Big Blue.

(1920-23) King Fuad 

1926 Oxen plowing
Blank space: suggest 111($2+)

(1926) Ship of Hatshepsut

1927 Branch of Cotton

1927-28 King Faud
*Note 136a-requested by BB- is 10m orange red Type I, now a minor number; while 136 is 10m dark red(<$1).
Note: two types of vignettes for Scott 128,129,130,132,135,136, & 139. See Scan on this blog.
Note: the 1929-32 King Faud issues (133,136,138,143,144,) were left out of BB.


180,181,182*,183($1+),184($1+),185(<$1 eN)
*Note: 182 is 10m "bright violet" in BB, "violet" in Scott.
eN=except noted

1936 King Fuad

*Note: 205 "sapphire blue" in BB is "sapphire" in Scott.

198,217,218($1+),219($1+),225,(<$1 eN)
Blank space: suggest 226(<$1)

(King Farouk)
Blank space: suggest 211 or 213(<$1)

Blank space: suggest 221(<$1)
Blank space: suggest 232(<$1)

1939-46 King Farouk and Pyramids

Semi-postal stamps
1940 Princess Ferial
Note: One stamp issued by Egypt for semipostals; that's it.

Air Post
C1($20+) or C2($2+)

Three Blank spaces: suggest C7,C18,C19,

Special Delivery

Military stamps

Postage due
J11 5m rose red ($10+)
Note: actually $13+ : most expensive "required" Egypt stamp in BB.


1898 surcharge
Note: There are two types of surcharge varieties.

J20 or J23,J24*,J22 or J25,(<$1)
*Note: J24 4m "green" requested by BB; therefore J21 4m "vermilion"(<$1) is R/O.


Official stamps




Blank space: suggest O25(<$1)

Blank space: suggest O35(<$1)

O39,O40,O41,O42($1+),O43,O44,O46,(<$1 eN)

O51,O52,O53($1+),O54,O55,O56,(<$1 eN)

1927 King Fuad 5m dark red brown
Type II: Note the dots in the vignette are diagonal, here obvious at the neck

1927 King Fuad 4m yellow green
Type I: note the dots in the vignette are vertical & horizontal
Kinds of Blue
The '97 and '69 editions are identical in content.
The '47 and '41 editions are identical in content.

The '47 and '41 editions have a different layout for the "Sphinx & Pyramid" designed stamps, but the coverage is the same compared to the '69/'97 editions.

The '47/'41, contrary to the usual pattern of not necessarily being up to date on later issues, provides seven! more spaces for the  1937-38 issues, and provides three more spaces for the 1923 King Fuad issue. Therefore, a total of 10 spaces were removed in the '69 edition, and did not return in the '97 edition.

The '47/'41 does have a printing error which is described below,

Finally, the '69/'97 does provide for 5 more spaces; mostly in the air post section.

The '47/'41 has three more spaces for the 1923 Scott 99 20m dark green, Scott 100 Scott 50m myrtle green, & Scott 101 100m red violet (<$1).
The '47/'41 has an extra space for the 1934 Scott 186 50m prussian blue(<$1).
The '47/'41 has a two extra spaces for the 1937 Scott 214 15m & Scott 215 20m stamps(<$1)
The '47/'41 has an extra space for the 1937 Scott 222($1+)
The '47/'41 has  three extra spaces for the 1937 series Scott 228,229,230,(<$1)
The '47/'41 has an extra space for the 1938 233($1+)

The '47/'41 has an error: a 1936 series Scott 201 description (15m dark violet) space, AND a 15m illustration space- the same stamp! Should be Scott 200 13m copper red. This was corrected in the '69/'97 editions.

The '69/'97 has an extra blank space (suggest 111) for the 1926 series.
The '69/'97 has four more spaces for the Air post 1933-38 series (C17, suggest C7,C18,C19,)

1922 Scott 81 4m green "Giza Pyramids"
Overprinted on the 1921-22 series, which ironically is not in BB
The identical 1914 issue was wmk star & crescent; 1921-22 issue has triple crescent and star
Big Blue Bottom Line
I really like the Egyptian stamp issues, and the "Sphinx and Pyramid" designs are classic in every sense.


  1. I was very pleased with all the Egyptian stamp designs for the period up to 1940. They don't cost very much money and they are very attractive stamps. I was able to learn the Arabic numbers (but not the writing), this is pretty easy actually, and this helps with this country.

  2. I have to agree.
    Egypt is on the "alpha" list for inexpensive, well designed and interesting stamps. I would love to fill out more of the "Sphinx and Pyramid" stamps for my album.

  3. I have a stamp album dated 1888. The International Postage Stamp Album Ninth Edition by The Scott Stamp & Coin Company, Limited. Not a ton of stamps but I'd put a rough guess at 60-80 stamps. Countries with stamps are Austria, Azores, Bavaria, Belgium, British Guiana, Bulgaria, Canada, Ceylon, Chili, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland,France, Italy, North Germany, Greece,Ireland, Honduras, Hungary, Jamaica, Japan Luxemburg, Mauritius. Natal, Netherlands, Queensland, Roumamia, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,Tasmania, Trinidad, Turkey, Western Australia, Wurtemberg, Book is dated 1888 so obviously stamps are before then. Ex 1857 Russia Greece. Ive tried looking up stamps one by one, but it's confusing. Would you suggest taking to a stamp appraiser or ? Thank you for your advice. Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy

      Wow, that is neat that you have an 1888 album - fun!

      As far as the 60-80 stamps, even old, they are probably of only nominal value. For an informal opinion, you could take the stamps to a local stamp club, and see what they say. If it turns out you have more valuable material, then you will know.

      Best of Luck!

  4. Good day! If you now what do letters FR mean in the stamps with Fuad 1 give me an answer please!

    1. "Faud Rex"? (King Faud). Otherwise, I have no idea. ;-)

  5. My fathers father was in the military in wars I not remember, I’ve inherited a long line of solid history, so self preserved mint condition stamps some from the 1800’s or so up to the 1900’s and up from around the world, my gandfather took pride in collecting stamps that was his go to back then I guess. I Point being on this topic I believe to have a BB Idk what BB really means but I came across a “Egyptian stamp that’s stamped over stamp in green dated 1903 showing postes persanes 8 chanie which is like a gloss blue & silver with King Farouk I believe whom is facing the complete opposite way from any other stamp I’ve seem on google or this website. It’s like a limited edition stamp also has another light red feature amongst the same color texture as the mark ink. Can some one help me make history, I believe it to be the one only of its kind found yet in such vivid detail mint condition.. Just because the mark stamp dates 1903 don’t mean it’s from that era right? Or some one with knowledge let’s be the next big thing trending in stamp history..

    1. Eileen - your description of the "King Farouk" stamp isn't enough for identification. True, some of the Farouk stamps are rather spectacular in appearance. Unfortunately, when I check catalogue values for Farouk stamps, it doesn't mean you are siting on a gold mine. ;-)