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, May 21, 2012

Grand Comoro

1897-1907  Scott 7 15c blue "Navigation & Commerce"
Quick History
Grand Comoro (Grande Comore-now Ngazidja) is an island off the coast of Africa in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and Mozambique. It is the largest (443 sq mi) of the Comoro islands: others being Anjouan and Mayotte, also French colonies.

The population was 50,000, and the Capital is Moroni.

Grand Comoro and the other Comoro Islands

In 1886, Sultan Said Ali united the sultanates of Grand Comoro, the same year France established a protectorate. In 1893 the Sultan was exiled to Réunion.

The familiar French colony "Navigation and Commerce" stamps for "Grande Comore" were issued in 1897, and continued until 1907.

France took full control of the island in 1908, and the sultanates were abolished.

A surcharged issue was produced over Grand Comoro stamps in 1912, but accepted throughout the newly expanded colony until the stamp issue was exhausted.

That is because in 1912 the Comoro archipelago was administratively united with the French Madagascar colony, and thereafter the stamps of Madagascar were used.

Then, in 1950, "Archipel des Comores" stamps were issued from time to time until 1974.

Independence was declared in 1975 as the Nation of Comoros (Grand Comore, Anjouan, and Mohéli were members).

In 1997, the union fell apart, and Anjouan and Mohéli seceded.

But a new constitution was developed, and the parts were re-united in 2002.

Harbor Bay in Grand Comoro
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 29 major stamp descriptions for the years 1897-1912.
Twelve stamps are CV $1+-$4+. "Affordability" index is 41%.

A closer look at the stamps and issues

1897-1907 Scott 1 1c black/lilac blue "Navigation and Commerce"
Familiar to French colony collectors, the "Navigation and Commerce" design, inscribed "Grande Comore", was issued in 1897.  This nineteen stamp issue has only five stamps with CV $1+-$6+, with the rest between $10+-$60+. Not inexpensive.

The back of the Scott 7 15c blue- with quadrille paper
Of interest, the 15c blue ( Shown at the beginning of the blog) comes with quadrille paper. I was aware the French 1892 "Peace and Commerce" 15c blue is found on quadrille paper, having reviewed that issue for the France blog. But I did not know the "Navigation and Commerce" issue also has it.

 Why would the 15c blue have this feature?  Readers?

The second (and final) stamp issue are the issues of 1897-1907 surcharged with large numbers in black or carmine in 1912. I don't have an example here, but this surcharged design was issued by many other French colonies, and can be seen in the Gabon and  French Guinea blogs.

The major Scott descriptions, with spacing of 1.5 mm (5c), or 2 mm (10c) between figures of surcharge, number ten stamps. CV for all the stamps range a very modest $1+-$2+. 

Also Scott lists ten (bolded) minor number stamps with spacing of 2.25mm (5c), and 2.75mm (10c) between figures of surcharge. The CV for these range from $7+-$140+. Check your spacing if you have some: you might find a pleasant surprise. ;-)

This surcharged issue was available for use throughout the Comoro archipelago and Madagascar. In fact, Madagascar then assumed stamp production duties.

Deep Blue
The Deep Blue (Steiner) album has all the major numbers included in spaces on one page. I've complained about this before, but I would have preferred spaces also for the 1912 bolded minor number stamps as well.

1897-1907 Scott 5 10c black/lavender
The inscriptions are found in blue or carmine
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has seven spaces for the 1897-1907 issue, and ten spaces for the 1912 surcharged issue. Coverage is 59%. 

Big Blue has a great selection here, as all ten surcharges are given a space for the 1912 issue.  And the rapidly more expensive 1897-1907 "Navigation and commerce" issue is given a generous seven spaces.

If BB did this for every country, there would be no need to look elsewhere by the "frugal" classic era collector. ;-)

BTW, the Grand Comoro entry is found in the '69 BB just before German East Africa.



20 or c, 21 or b, 22 or a, 23 or a, 24 or a,
25 or a, 26 or a, 27 or a, 28 or a, 29 or a,

A) Most expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1900 Scott 6 10c red "Navigation and Commerce" $10+
1900 Scott 8 15c gray/light gray $10+

B) (  ) around a number is a blank space suggested choice. The most expensive stamps for Grand Comoro fall into this category.

C) The 1912 issues: "20 or c", for example, indicates ( Scott 20 or Scott 20c) as choices.

1897-1917 Scott 2 2c brown/buff
Out of the Blue
What I like particularly is knowing nothing about a country in Big Blue or Deep Blue, and then finding out something. More often, like Grand Comoro, there are then linkages with other countries (Anjouan) that have been reviewed. 

Is this fun or what? ;-)

Note: Map and Photo appear to be in the public domain.

Grand Comoro - Bud's Big Blue

Comment? I like comments!


  1. Found my dads old stamp collection. Have some of these. Internet seems to have devalued stamp collecting greatly for some reason. Kinda sad. Any pointers or if there are still values? Seems hard to know what to look for these days. Any help please email me. Seann@Dorand.net. Thanks.

  2. Hi Seann

    Besides my blog (naturally ;-), a good source to lurk or ask questions is http://www.stampcommunity.org/default.asp

    There are many helpful people there, and I participate too.

    Jim (jkjblue @ stampcommunity)