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, October 26, 2011


1914 Scott 7 10 lepta carmine
"Infantryman with Rifle"
Quick History
This Territory in the western Balkans was long part of the Ottoman Empire, but during the Balkan wars (1912-13), Greece seized Northern Epirus. However, the Florence Protocol assigned the territory of Northern Epirus to the newly created state of Albania. This decision was highly unpopular with the majority Greeks in the area, and although Greece officially withdrew, there was an uprising  and revolt  among the local Greek population.  The rebels declared independence and announced the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus in February, 1914. Provisional government stamps were issued. They in fact did gain autonomy (under a nominal Albanian sovereignty), and were recognized under the Protocol of Corfu by the Albanians. The population was 128,000 Orthodox Christians and 95,000 Muslims in 1908, and the Capital was Argyrokastron.

However,  WWI broke out, Albania collapsed, and Greece reentered the area in October, 1914. The provisional government ceased to exist, having accomplished its objectives. Greece occupied northern Epirus through 1916, and overprinted Greek occupation stamps were issued. The Italians drove out he Greek forces in 1916, and the French occupied Koritsa.

Ultimately the area was ceded to Albania in 1921 ( with Italian backing).

During  WWII, the area was occupied by the Italians and the Germans. After WWII,  the territory ultimately remained part of communist Albania.

Northern Epirus is between the red solid and red dotted lines.
The green area is majority Greek speaking.
Big Blue Picture
The '97 Big blue, on one page, has 14 stamp spaces for the 1914 Epirus issues, and 6 stamp spaces for  the 1914-15 Greek occupation issues, for a total of 20 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has major stamp descriptions for 41 Epirus stamps and 27 Greek occupation stamps, for a total of 68 stamps. Coverage by Big Blue is 29%.

What a convoluted history. Naturally the provisional government stamps show fighting ( Infantryman), and a call to nationalism ( Epirus flag). The flag design borrows the white cross on blue image of Greece with the double headed eagle overlaying.

Although there are some expensively priced Epirus stamp issues, I did find eight additional stamps that could be considered by the Big Blue collector.

Additionals.... (<$1-$2+)
1914 Koritsa issue

1916 regular issues 1912 , lithographed, of Greece, overprinted

1914 August Scott 16 5 lepta green & blue
"Flag of Epirus"
Big Blue Checklist
1914 (March)Infantryman with Rifle
5,6,7,8,9($1+),10($1+),(<$1 eN)
eN=except noted

(1914 August) Flag of Epirus
19,20($2+),21($1+),22($5+), (<$1 eN)

1914-15 Greek occupation overprinted
Six blank spaces: suggest N1,N2,N4,N5($1+),N6($2+),N8($2+), (<$1 eN)

1914 25 lepta deep blue
Provisional Government Issue
Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47,'41 editions are all identical in content.
Epirus can be found after the Dutch Indies section in the '69. In the '47 and '41, it can be found after the section on Ecuador.

1914 2d orange & blue
The white cross on blue background design is found on the Greek flag.
Big Blue Bottom Line
Where history, conflict and stamps meet.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Comments welcomed!

1 comment:

  1. This country has a lot of cinderellas issued for it, that is, stamps that were not produced for postage uses, but primarily for sale to collectors.