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...

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! 


  1. I am really thrilled at seeing these exiting and unique stamps. I have some of mine on my own website if you are into collecting!


  2. Hello Jim,

    Reading your Georgia post, I decided to cross-reference it with the Scott and SG catalogues. An interesting point emerges. You mention that the Scott specialized (to which I have no access, but assume to have the same numeration as the Standard) includes 27 major numbers for the issues of Soviet Georgia. Those probably include, besides the first set of Soviet Georgia (Scott 26-30), all the later overprints + the semi-postal issue.

    On the other hand, SG clearly mentions that all the overprints on the first Soviet Georgia set (Scott 36-47), the oveprints on Imperial and Armenian issues (Scott 48-55) and the semi-postal set belong to a distinct chronological phase when Georgia had already joined the Transcaucasian Federation (12th March 1922), but before its postal system had been amalgamated. All these issues are thus classified under Georgia, but with a distinct heading: "Transcaucasian Federation of Soviet Republics. Issues for Georgia".

    The interesting thing is that the Big Blue (as per your checklist, if I understand it correctly) limits itself to the 1922 issues of Soviet Georgia, irrespective of status. That is it includes the semi-postal set (issued in April 1922 and belonging to the Transacaucasian phase as per SG), but does not provide spaces for any of the overprints that were issued during 1923.

    By the way, what does (45) in your checklist mean? Does it refer to Scott Georgia #45?

  3. Hello Vasilis

    Nice to see you here, and especially one who specializes in the region!

    You are correct that Scott includes 27 stamps for the "Soviet Socialist Republic" transition during 1922-23. This was before the Transcaucasian Federated Republics issues of 1923- which are listed by Scott in a separate section under that heading.

    Scott includes these 27 stamps under "Georgia" in the Classic Specialized catalogue. No doubt the SG is correct that the postal system had not yet been amalgamated. So, although Scott calls it "Soviet Socialist Republic" stamps, SG calls it, probably more correctly (agree?) "Transcaucasian Federation of Soviet Republics. Issues for Georgia".

    I collect using two albums.

    "Deep Blue", the Steiner PDF album, simply follows the Scott catalogue, and provides spaces for all the major numbers found for Georgia.

    "Big Blue", the Scott International Part I 1840-1940 album, is a representative album, and usually does not provide all the Scott number spaces, but a selected number.

    One of the services I provide for those that collect with Big Blue is present a Scott checklist of the spaces in that album.

    For the transitional period (1922-23), BB provides spaces for the 1922 semi-postal stamps (B1-B4. It also provides, under "1922-23", three spaces for Scott 26,27,29, and then three blank spaces!

    These blank spaces can clearly be filled in with any stamp of the era that will fit the (vertical in this case) space. With that in mind, I picked Scott 28,30,45 as possible choices. The readers of the blog are aware that a ( ) around a number indicates a suggested choice, but the collector is free to choose any other appropriate stamp.

    I hope this makes sense. :-)

  4. Thank you for the clarification, Jim.

    I find it interesting that the "Big Blue" skips Scott #28 and omits Scott #30, whereas it could have easily provided the full sequence to allow one to complete the set. It would appear that with the present arrangement, if one has the complete set, they would have to place Scott #28 in the space marked (and pictured?) as Scott #29 to keep the face value sequence. I hope I am reading this correctly!

  5. Vasilis, yes the complete five stamp set could be put in. Just ignore the Scott 29 space,and put Scott 28 there, and then continue with the blank spaces for Scott 29 and 30.

    Unfortunately, Big Blue not uncommonly will drop the last stamp or two of an issue. Sometimes it is expense, but more often it is simply a page layout concern- which trumps the complete set! :-(

  6. Hello I have the 1920 Scott 18 3r red brown "Queen Thamar".
    If I will sell it,how much it could be?

  7. Not very much, I'm afraid- the Scott catalogue lists both the unused and used stamps @ <$1.

  8. Jim,

    Just now looking at your Georgia post as I just purchased a couple of the semi-postal stamps from APS. I have traveled to Georgia many times for work, interesting county and great food!

    By the way, I'm trying to find out what the additional funds of the semi-postals were used for...any idea or source I could try?


    1. Chris,

      I'm a bit jealous with your Georgia travels. ;-)

      I'll bet Trevor Pateman would know the purpose of the Georgia semipostals.



    2. Good call...from Trevor:

      "They were Famine Relief stamps, bought and applied in addition to regular postage stamps. Armenia and Azerbaijan made similar issues at the time. The rules for use are unknown to me (whether they were compulsory etc). In Armenia and Azerbaijan their Famne Relief stamps were sometimes used as regular postage stamps. I don' t know if this is true in Georgia."
      Trevor Pateman

    3. I'm not surprised. ;-)

      Trevor is one of my Hero/Mentors, although he doesn't know it, as I have not had the opportunity to send him an inquiry. He is so knowledgeable in his field, it makes my jaw drop. !!