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, March 26, 2012

German New Guinea

1919 Scott 20 3pf brown "Kaiser's Yacht" wmk "Lonzenges"
This stamp was never placed in use because of WWI
Quick History
German New Guinea (Deutsch Neu-Guinea) was a German colonial protectorate from 1894-1914. German New Guinea consisted mainly of the area called Kaiser-Wilhelmsland in north-east New Guinea, and the nearby Bismarck Archipelago.  The Capital was Herbertshohe (Kokopo), and the population was 600,000 in 1913.

In 1884, Chancellor Bismarck and the German Empire decided to embark on a colonial policy, but annexations would occur through grants of charters to private companies. On November 3, 1884, under the New Guinea Company, the German Flag was raised over the territory. German New Guinea eventually also served as the administrative center for the Caroline and Mariana islands ( bought from Spain 1899), and the Marshall Islands (1906).

After the outbreak of WWI, part of the territory of German New Guinea ( Neu-Pommern Island ) was occupied by Australian troops in 1914, and called "New Britain". Overprinted ( G.R.I.) German New Guinea stamps were used. (Stamps of New Britain are rather expensive ( minimum $25), so will say no more  about them here.) The Capital of New Britain was Rabaul.

Also, during WWI,  "North West Pacific Islands" stamps were produced by overprinting Australian stamps ( N.W. Pacific Islands)  for German New Guinea territories occupied by Australian troops. Again, I will say no more about this, as we are discussing German New Guinea.

After the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, German New Guinea (and all of the German colonies) ceased to exist. It then became the Territory of New Guinea under Australian administration until 1949. (The Japanese  occupied the territory during WWII.)

After 1949, the Territory of New Guinea was combined with the Australian territory of Papua to form the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Finally, in 1975, Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia, but remained a commonwealth country.

German New Guinea 1884-1919
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1897-1919, 23 major numbers for stamps of German New Guinea. Sixteen are $6+ or less ( eleven are <$2+). A representative collection should not cost much.

A closer look at the stamps and issues

1897-99 Scott 2 5pf green 
Overprinted "Deutsch/Neu-Guinea"
The 1897-99 issue, six German stamps overprinted "Deutsch-/Neu-Guinea", range in CV from $4 to $30+. Four are less than $10 CV. Of interest, Big Blue provides four spaces, just scraping the underside of the CV $10 mark. The postmark on the 5 Pfenning above is from Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen.

1901 Scott 9 10pf carmine "Hohenzollern"
"Simsonhafen" postmark; existed 1906-1910
After 1910- known as Rabaul
The 1901 issue, with the well known "Hohenzollern" design, consists of thirteen stamps, ten of which are CV $4 or less. Big Blue provides a nice 10 spaces for these stamps.

Finally, the 1914-19 "Hohenzollern" issue, four stamps, have the Lozenges watermark. The Scott 20 3pf brown ( illustrated at the blog header) is similar to the 1901 Scott 7 variety. But the rest, Scott 21-23, have "NEUGUINEA" rather than "NEU-GUINEA" as a label. 

These stamps, no doubt because of WWI and the Australian occupation, were never placed in use. Naturally, they are only catalogued mint in Scott. Three stamps are $1+ or less.

Big Blue does not really provide a space for the 1914-19 issues unless one wants to admit them into the spaces intended for the 1900 (actually 1901) issue.

Deep Blue
The Steiner has one page for the issues of German New Guinea, and naturally provides a space for all.

1901 Scott 10 20pf ultramarine "Hohenzollern"
Part of a thirteen stamp issue
Big Blue
Big Blue,'69, on two lines of one page, provides four spaces for the 1897 issue, and ten spaces for the 1900 (actually 1901) issue. Coverage is 61%. A nice representative selection, marred only by no room for the 1914-19 issue. (One could stuff them into the spaces reserved for the "1900" issue, but that is a stretch.)

There are no "expensive" stamps, although the 1897 issue has three stamps in the $8-$9+ range.

BTW, the German New Guinea section is found just before French New Guinea in the '47/'41 editions.

Simple Checklist


1900 (actually 1901)

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold) : None
B) No (realistic) room for the 1914-19 issue

Map of Papua New Guinea today
Out of the Blue
Many of the stamps are easier found in mint condition, as evidenced by the perusal of feeder albums and the Scott prices. And the 1914-19 issue stamps can only be found in mint, as they were never placed in use.

Maps appear to be in the public domain.

German New Guinea - Bud's Big Blue

Would like to hear from you-leave a comment!

Monday, March 19, 2012

German East Africa

1916 Scott N19 15c blue green & black
Issued under Belgian Occupation
Stamps of the Belgian Congo, 1915, overprinted
Quick History
The German colony of German East Africa, opposite Zanzibar, and bordering on the Indian Ocean, was established as a protectorate by the German government on March 3, 1885. When the Sultan of Zanzibar objected, five warships were sent by Otto von Bismark to the area. The British and the Germans divided the mainland among  themselves, and the Sultan had to agree.

In 1890, the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty was instituted between Germany and the British. Germany gained the islands of Heligoland in the North Sea ( A British possession since 1814), while the British were allowed to build a railway through parts of East Africa to Lake Victoria.  And Germany agreed not to interfere with the British sphere of influence with the Zanzibar sultanate.

German East Africa 1888
Note Dar-es-Salaam, the Capital, south of Zanzibar
The Capital of German East Africa was Dar-es-Salaam, and the population was 7,600,000 in 1913.

Germany, of course, lost it's colonies after WWI; with German East Africa divided between Belgium (Ruanda and Urundi), Portugal (Kionga triangle), and the British (Tanganyika).

German East Africa 1900-1918
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1893-1917, 40 major numbers for German colony stamps, and 60 major numbers for Belgium and British occupation issues. Sixteen of the German colony stamps are $6 or less. Thirty of the occupation issues are $6 or less ( 17 are <$1). "Affordability" index ($6 cutoff) is 48%.

German East Africa stamps are quite interesting and varied because of changes in denominations, watermark differences, and the occupation issues.

A closer look at the stamps and issues

1896 Scott 7 3pes on 5pf green
Stamps of Germany surcharged/overprinted
The 1893 and 1896 issues (10 stamps) are overprinted ( Pesa or Deutch-Ostafrika & Pesa) on the 1889 series stamps of Germany. Three of the 1896 issue are ~$5 CV. The denomination was 65 Pesa = 1 Rupee

1900 Scott 11 2p brown "Hohenzollern"
SON: Dar-es-Salaam
The 1890 issue ( value in Pesa and Rupee) is the "Hohenzollern" yacht design for German colonies. Of the eleven stamps, four are <$5. The 2 Pesa is shown above.

1905 Scott 27 30h lake & black "Yacht"
Value in Heller; unwatermarked
With a change in denomination (100 Heller = 1 Rupee) in 1905, a seven stamp "Hohenzollern" issue was produced. Five are CV for $6 or less.

1908 Scott 34 15h dark blue
The Lozenges watermark (wmk 125) is found on this 1905-16 "Hohenzollern" issue
The final 1905-16 "Hohenzollern" issue had the "Lozenges" watermark.. This 10 stamp issue has four stamps with CV <$1+. The 15 Heller denomination is illustrated above with a Bukoba (on Lake Victoria) cancellation.

1918 Scott NB6 50c + 50c brown lake & blue
Issued under Belgian Occupation
Semi-postal stamps of the Belgian Congo, 1918, Overprinted "A.O."
Beginning in 1916, the Belgium occupation issues are found. These consist of various overprinted regular or semi-postal Belgium Congo stamps. Seventeen are listed for less than $1+. An example of the overprinted regular issue is shown heading this blog. And above, is an overprinted semi-postal Belgium occupation issue. The "A.O." overprint are the initials of "Afrique Orientale".

Finally, the British occupation of 1916-17 has Nyasaland Protectorate or East Africa and Uganda stamps overprinted with "N.F." or "G.E.A." respectively. Nine stamps can be found for <$5 CV. (Unfortunately, I have no examples to show at this time.) 

Deep Blue

Deep Blue page for the Belgian Congo semi-postal occupation stamps
The Steiner has six pages providing spaces for all the major Scott numbers. As shown above, Deep Blue reveals it's value particularly when one is deep in an issue. Nice. :-)

1896 Scott 8 5 pesa on 10pf carmine
Overprinted "Deutsch-Ostafrika"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 33 stamp spaces for the German colony, and Belgium and British occupation. A nice selection, with no stamp crossing the $10 threshold.

Big Blue appears to exclude most of the 1905 "Hohenzollern"  non-wmk issue because of date specifications. See comment note under checklist.

Simple Checklist




Occupation stamps



A) (  ) between a number indicates a blank space suggested choice.
B) BB - by dates- includes the wmk Lozenges (1906)-16 issue, and mostly excludes the 1905 non- wmk issue. But BB, by color, specifies Scott 25 15h ultra from the 1905 issue.
C) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold) : none

1918 Semi-postal Belgian Congo 10fr + 10fr green & blue Overprinted
Issued under Belgian Occupation
Out of the Blue
The occupation stamps from Belgium and Great Britain are quite interesting, reflecting the demise of the German colonies after WWI. Thirty by my count are also reasonably inexpensive. Unfortunately, my feeder albums do not have any British occupation stamps. I need to change that. ;-)

Note: Maps and photo appear to be in the public domain. One map is attributed to worldatlas.com.

German East Africa - Bud's Big Blue

Please leave a comment!
British Troops in German East Africa

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


1920 Scott 17 3r gray blue "Queen Thamar"
Queen of Georgia from 1184 to 1213
Part of the "Golden age" of Georgian monarchy
Quick History
Update Note: The catalogue numbers for the 1919 and 1920 issue were changed for the 2014 Scott catalogue. The numbers here refer to the current catalogue, but the "old" 2011 Catalogue numbers are included in the BB checklist.

Georgia is located in the south Caucasus region of Eurasia. Georgians, an ethnic group, have their own language. But at the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed within the Russian Empire. Following the Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918. A National Republic was formed, and Georgia issued stamps in 1919 and 1920. Georgia was under British protection from 1918-1920.

Georgia on the Black Sea
The Capital was Tbilsi (Tiflis), and the population in 1920 was 2,300,000.

But the Red Army attacked and occupied Georgia in February, 1921, and the Georgian government fled the country. A Moscow directed communist government was installed.

Red Army in Tbilsi February 25, 1921
The new Socialist Republic issued stamps in 1922 and 1923. But in 1923, Georgia became a member of the Transcaucasion Federation of Soviet Republics along with Armenia and Azerbaijan. So ceased "Georgia" stamp issues.

The Transcaucasion SFSR has stamp issues in 1923, when then the stamps were replaced by those of Russia. In 1936, Georgia became the Georgian SSR and part of the Soviet Union. 

Georgia again regained independence in 1991.

1919 Scott 1 10k blue  "St. George"
Part of the first issue of the independent National Republic
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 36 major numbers. Nine numbers are for the regular issues of National Republic during 1919-20, while 27 numbers are for the regular and semi-postal issues of the Socialist Republic for 1922-23. 

All nine issues of the National Republic are inexpensive @ <$1. They exist both in perforated and imperforated forms. Although the two types used to have their own Scott numbers (1947 catalogue), the 2011 catalogue had the the same number. But surprise!, the 2014 catalogue again gave major numbers to both types.

The Soviet Socialist Republic era ( 1922-23)  stamp values are mostly in the $3-$9 range. I found 15 stamps that are catalogued at less than $7. I don't have any of these stamps (except for some semi-postals), but a nice representative collection could be put together.  And I intend to do that. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Kopecks = 1 Ruble
1919 Scott 3 50k emerald "St. George"
The first issue for the nascent republic had five denominations with the "St. George" design. The Coat of Arms of Georgia depicts St. George slaying the dragon. Illustrated below.

Coat of Arms of Georgia

1919 Scott 11 70k claret
As noted, both perforated and imperforated varieties exist (now) as major numbers. The 70k denomination is illustrated above.

1919 Scott 12 1r orange brown imperforate
The series terminated with a larger St. George stamp design, as shown above.

1919 40k red orange design
Overprinted by the exiled government officials
Of interest, Scott notes that this series was overprinted, probably in Italy, on the remainders taken by the government officials. This overprint says ""Recognition of Independence 27,1, 1921". No Scott numbers are given.

 1920 Scott 16 2r red brown "Queen Thamar"
In 1920, the Republic issued a three stamp set featuring Queen Thamar, a female monarch who ruled Georgia during medieval times. She is still an important symbol in Georgian culture, and has been canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church.

1920 5r orange design, overprinted
The 1920 set was also overprinted by the exiled government officials. In fact, the Soviet government in Georgia was not recognized by the British, France, Belgium and Poland through the 1930s.

This 1920 overprinted issue also has no Scott numbers.

The Soviet era stamps were issued for Georgia in 1922-23. I have examples of the semi-postals from 1922. Illustrated below.

1922 semi-postal Scott B4 10,000r on 25r blue
A four stamp semi-postal set of the Soviet era was issued in 1922. Illustrated above is the highest overprinted denomination in the set.

1922 Scott B1 1000r on 50r violet
Scott B3 5000r on 250r gray green
Semi-postals found imperforate
Scott notes this set was only officially issued perforate. But in fact imperforated specimens can be found without difficulty.

Deep Blue
The Steiner has five pages for Georgia, and of course includes all the major numbers. But, in addition, Deep Blue provides spaces for both the perforated and imperforated varieties of the National Republic 1919 and 1920 issues (which are now major numbers).

Georgia's 1919 and 1920 issues in Deep Blue
The perforated and imperforated varieties each have a page
I wonder if this was a legacy from when Scott had separate numbers for the varieties? Or is Steiner just being generous in this case? :-)  Anyway, the extra page is appreciated.

Update: Scott now indeed has major numbers again for both perf and imperf varieties.

1922 Soviet Era Semi-Postal
Scott B2 3000r on 100 brown red
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 28 stamp spaces for both the National Republic and Soviet era stamps. Coverage is 53%. 

Of interest, Big Blue also provides separate spaces for the perforated and imperforated varieties of 1919 and 1920; although the 2011 Scott has only one number for each type.

No stamps over $6 CV are in Big Blue. It shouldn't be too difficult to fill the page.

Update note: Scott changed the 1919 and 1920 issue numbers as reflected in the 2014 catalogue. I will include both the "old' Numbers (2011 Scott) and the current numbers (2014 Scott) for convenience

Simple Checklist

"Old" ( 2011 catalogue) numbers

1919 (Imperforate)

1919 (Perforated)

1920 (perforated and imperforated)


Current (2014 catalogue) numbers

1919 (Imperforate)

1919 (Perforated)

1920 (perforated and imperforated)

End of Update

1922-23 Soviet era


A) ( ) around a number indicates a suggested choice for a blank space.

1919 60k red "St. George"
Remainder overprinted by exiled government
Out of the Blue
War, revolution, and stamps. Fascinating!

Note: Map, Coat of Arms, and Red Army picture images appear to be in the public domain.

Georgia - Bud's Big Blue

Please comment! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


1880 Scott 6 1p maroon "Queen Victoria"
Typographed and Embossed
Quick History
The Gambia River on the west coast of Africa served as a portal for the slave trade; first by the Portuguese, then by the British. Three million slaves were exported during the three centuries that the transatlantic slave trade was operational.  The British, however, banned slave trade throughout its Empire in 1807. The military post of Bathurst (Banjul) was established at the mouth of the river by the British in 1816. Eventually, in 1888, Gambia became a separate colony, and the boundaries were set in agreement with the French Republic.

Initially, the British Crown Colony consisted of the colony ( Bathurst and surrounding area), while the rest of the territory up the Gambia River was a  protectorate. Stamps were issued ( the striking embossed Queen Victorias) in 1869.

The Capital was Bathurst (Banjul), and the population was 200,00 in 1931.

1922 Map of Gambia

Gambia gained independence in 1965, and joined the Commonwealth. Remarkably, although only 30 miles wide and the smallest country in Africa, Gambia  has been politically stable.

1938-46 Scott 136 2p gray black & ultramarine 
King George VI and Elephant Badge of Gambia
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic catalogue has, from 1869-1949, 146 major numbers, all regular issues. Seventy one catalogue for <$5, an "affordability" index of 49%.

The outstanding issue/design  are the embossed "Queen Victorias" from 1869-1893, a 19 stamp series. Thirteen are CV for <$20.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
1880 Scott 5 1/2p orange wmk 1 "Crown and C C"
The initial four stamps (1869 and 1874) are imperforate and expensive ($200+). But  examples of the seven stamp perforated 1880 issue can be had by classic collector for much less. The 1/2p, 1p, 2p, and 4p are CV for <$20. They have wmk 1, and also different colors than the subsequent 1886-93 issue.

As one will notice, they have an embossed head of the Queen. Definite Victorian eye candy. ;-)

1886-93 Scott 19 1sh violet
In 1886, eight more stamps were issued with different colors in the "embossed" format, generally with the wmk 2 "Crown and CA" found sideways. All eight stamps are catalogued for <$20.

Right: Pic of the usual upright wmk 2 "Crown and CA"
Left: a sideways wmk 2, with the tip of the crown peaking out on the right edge
The sideways wmk 2 stamps were printed with a pane of 15 on paper intended for a larger pane. Consequently, the wmk is misplaced, and somewhat hard to identify. Above, one will note the sideways crown peaking over the right edge of the stamp, while the "A C" letter can (with difficulty) be made out on the left of the stamp.

This might be a good time to suggest that owning the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840-1970 catalogue is a good idea for the WW classic collector. ;-) There are a number of variations that are mentioned (and illustrated) in the SG, but not in Scott. Although Scott does give the "sideways" wmk alert, SG gives us also the orientation of the sideways watermark as viewed from the back. Very helpful. :-)

1887 Scott 13 1p rose carmine
SON: Bathurst, Gambia
Although mint stamps are preferred by many, a nicely cancelled specimen that identifies the stamp did postal duty is O.K. with me.  Even better, a socked-on-the-nose cancellation (as above) is particularly attractive.

Color variations
1893 Scott 18 6p slate green
1886 Scott 18a pale olive green
The embossed Victorians come in a variety of shades. The six pence is listed in Scott with five shades. Illustrated above are two examples. I found two more "possible" shades in my collection.  But, unless the shades are quite different (as above), I find it difficult to "label" a shade. Perhaps, the SG catalogue color
guide would help? 

1898 Scott 27 1sh violet & green "Queen Victoria"
In 1898, Gambia had a eight stamp issue with the more typical colony design. Four of these stamps are CV for <$4. SG lists an expensive variety with a malformed or repaired "S" on the right "Postage" side panel. Check your collection. ;-)

1904-09 Scott 41 1/2p green "King Edward VII"
The "Baldies" exists as both wmk 2 (Crown & CA) & wmk 3 (Multiple Crown & CA)
Between 1902-05, a 12 stamp issue, with wmk 2, was issued with the "King Edward VII" design. Four of these stamps have a CV of <$4. Then, between 1904-09, 24 stamps with wmk 3 were issued. These stamps are overall less expensive, with twelve having a CV of <$4. Grand total: 36 stamps!

1906 Scott 66 1p on 3sh
In 1906, two of the wmk 2 "Baldies" were surcharged. A fine example with a "Bathurst" postmark is shown above.

1912-22 Scott 81 1sh black/green "King George V"
Beginning in 1912, a 17 stamp wmk 3 "King George V" was issued. Thirteen are found for less than $4.

1921-22 Scott 95 10p yellow green & carmine rose 
This issue has wmk 4, the Multiple Crown and Script CA
A short lived 10 stamp wmk 4 "King George V" issue was produced in 1921-22. Eight of the stamps are <$3 mint, but generally much more for genuine used.

1922 Scott 122 7 1/2p violet/yellow "George V and Elephant"
A wmk 3 variety
In 1922, an attractive new design for Gambia was produced as illustrated above. The first issue (wmk 3), in 1922, had four stamps; while the second issue (wmk 4), from 1922-27, had nineteen stamps. Ten have a CV of <$4.

Besides the omnibus issues, the next major stamp production were the King George VI 1938-46 stamps, featuring the Gambian symbol, the Elephant (see illustration). Of the sixteen stamps, thirteen are catalogued for <$3. 

Deep Blue 
Naturally the Steiner eight pages for Gambia have a space for all the major numbers. The advantage, (compared to a representative album like Big Blue), is particularly acute if one happens to be deep in an issue.

Deep Blue's coverage of the embossed Victorians is, well, deep. 
Illustrated above is Deep Blue's layout for the 1880-1893 embossed "Queen Victoria" stamps. Very nice. :-)
There is even room to add a couple of cancelled examples to the mint specimens already on the page.

So having space for any major number stamp always a good thing? Not always.

The 1904-09 "Baldies" in Deep Blue
Rather lonely?!
What about then, not being deep in an issue? Well, the Steiner will expose one's meager holdings mercilessly.    OTOH, since seven "empty" spaces here are CV <$3, a great visual incentive to fill more spots is presented. ;-)

1924 Scott 113 1sh violet/orange "George V"
Big Blue
Big Blue, "69, on two pages, has 41 spaces for the 1886-1938 regular stamps. Coverage is 28%. The most expensive stamp appears to be the 1927 Scott 108 4p carmine/orange "George V and Elephant" @ ~$12.

How did Big Blue fare with the above discussed coverage of the embossed Victorians and the "Baldies"? Poorly in the first case (embossed Victorians), and thankfully, a small representation in the second case ("Baldies"). ;-) Let's take a look.

For the embossed "Queen Victoria" stamps, Big Blue provides no spaces for the 1880 issue, and only two spaces for the 1886 issue. As I have 12 stamps, clearly Deep Blue's spaces are welcome.

Winner: Deep Blue

 Two spaces for the "Baldies" in Big Blue
Sweet and cozy!
Deep Blue has 36 spaces for the "Baldies": Big Blue? -Two spaces! But I filled Big Blue with my meager two stamp collection.

Winner: Big Blue

Simple Checklist



28 or 41, 29 or 42,

70 or 87, 71a* or 71 or 88, 72 or 89, 73 or 90, 91, 75,76,77 or 92,




Next Page


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1927 Scott 108 4p carmine/orange "George V and Elephant" >$10
B) ( ) around a number is a suggested choice for a blank space
C) *71a is the (now) minor color (1p scarlet) that is the designated color in BB.  But I have included  the (now) major number (71 1p carmine) as a choice. In fact, I will be including the (now) major number as a choice as a general rule in the checklist.

1922-27 Scott 110 6p claret "George and Elephant"
Out of the Blue
Particularly nice colony designs. Gambia is close to the top on my favorites list.

Note: map appears to be in the public domain.

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