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...

Monday, February 27, 2012


1897-1905 10r light green "King Carlos"
Quick History
Funchal is a the largest city in the Madeira island group, and is located off the coast of north Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. It was an administrative district, and issued stamps from 1892-1905, when then the stamps of Portugal were used. Today, it is still part of Portugal. The population was 150,000 in 1900.

Location of Funchal and Madeira

Funchal and Madeira

The city was named after wild fennel ("funcho" in Portuguese) which was abundant when the settlement was founded in 1424. It was an important port and stopover for caravels in earlier centuries. Now it hosts cruise ships and yachts.

1905 50r ultramarine "King Carlos"
A dark blue color was issued earlier in 1897
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 34 major numbers present from the1892-93 and 1897-1905 issues.  Twenty eight are valued <$5, with 19 priced at <$1-$1+. "Affordability" index is 82%.

The Scott also has 28 (A1-A28) portuguese stamps with barred numeral "51" used in Funchal listed from 1853-1867. These are all rather expensive at $30+ minimum; more typically $100+.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
The 1892-93 "King Carlos" issue has 12 stamps ( 7 are <$5), with major number Perf 12 1/2; minor number 13 1/2 versions listed.

The 1897-1905 "King Carlos" issue has 22 major numbers (All <$5). Let's take a closer look.

1897-1905 20r gray violet "King Carlos"
Note white/yellow paper varieties, and shades
Eight stamps in the issue (lower denominations) are also noted to exist in a yellow paper variety (Scott bolded minor number). The yellow paper varieties are dirt cheap. (<$1).

1899 25r carmine rose "King Carlos"
Again note the yellow paper variety, and shades
Another example is posted above of the yellow paper variety. Also, these stamps seem to come in a variety of shades. I have a supplementary page for the shades, as they are difficult to ignore. :-) 

1897-1905 100r dark blue/blue "King Carlos"
Note the bluish paper
The higher denominations (75r-500r) are issued on various colored paper (blue,pink,yellow,rose, pale lilac,buff, pink). The example above has bluish paper that is quite obvious on visual inspection, perhaps less so on the scan. No doubt this was done as a  anti-counterfeiting measure.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue provides spaces on two pages for the two major number issues (1892-93, 1897-1905)
Here is a pic of the 1897-1905 issue.

Layout in Deep Blue for the 1897-1905 issue
I do have a little quibble with the fact that Deep Blue does not provide spaces for the yellow paper varieties, or for the 13 1/2 perf varieties of the 1892-93 issue. Now admittedly, these varieties are minor numbers, but they are bolded minor numbers in Scott, compared to italic, and therefore are given prominence in the catalogue. In addition, these varieties are inexpensive, and easily accumulated. I have placed them on a separate supplemental quadrilled page. I suppose I could simply print out double pages for the varieties also.

1897-1905 25r sea green "King Carlos"
Big Blue provides eleven spaces (out of 22 total) for this set
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two lines of one page, has 14 spaces for the 1892-93, and 1897-1905 sets. Coverage for major numbers is 41%. The most expensive inclusion is the Scott 21 50r dark blue @ $4. Big Blue did not include nine stamps valued at $1-$2+.

Simple Checklist

1896 (actually 1897)


1897 5r orange "King Carlos"
Out of the Blue
The Portuguese colonies stamps no doubt provide a window into the postal history of the Portuguese colonies. That reality alone makes them interesting.

The designs, unfortunately, rarely illustrate the indigenous culture of the colony. Generally, the colony's name and the value is stamped generically on an image that all Portuguese colonies share.. France does this as well with the "Navigation and Commerce" colony stamps, but then the subsequent issues usually provides the colony with their own designs. 

Maps appear to be in the Public domain.

Funchal - Bud's Big Blue

Would appreciate a comment!


  1. Very thankful you're doing this blog! Was just given 3 Scott Brown Albums(19th C, 1900-1920, 1920-1922) with a few thousand stamps. I know you're doing Big Blue here, but your posts are interesting and highly useful for me hoping to fill out my brown albums over the years.

  2. Thanks Mason :-)
    I have an older set of Browns that I use as reference for the blog, and I do/ will discuss the Browns from time to time because they are THE classic Scott album.

    You should have a lot of fun with the Browns. They do have all the spaces for the stamps, which is very nice. The only trouble you might have is the stamp descriptions have not been updated for 80 years or so, therefore you might have to intuit which stamp goes where from the current Scott catalogue. But that is part of the fun when using the classic Browns. :-)

  3. Thanks Jim,
    I was thinking of going through the albums and in light pencil marking the scott # in the space for the stamp, so that I don't have to keep going back and forth. It should be fun, but will definitely take many many years to get remotely close to filling these volumes. Will probably buy most of the stamps through Ebay as it seems much cheaper than stamp shows.


  4. "Now it hosts cruise ships and yachts."
    and don't forget Covid 19. 😢