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...

Thursday, December 27, 2012


1932-40 Scott 9 25c dark red & dark brown "Carib Archer"
1929-40 French Guiana overprinted for Inini
Quick History
Between 1930-1946, the interior of French Guiana, a territory known as "Inini", was administered separately from French Guiana in the hope of developing the interior. Prisoners from Annam in Indochina, who had revolted against French rule there, where brought in to construct a railroad.

Population was considered to be 5,000 in 1946, and the Capital was St. Elie.

The interior jungle called "Inini"
A failed experiment
Stamps of French Guiana were overprinted from 1932-1940. The Vichy government printed stamps in 1941 and 1944 without the "RF" inscription, but they were never placed on sale in Inini.

Was the attempt to build a railroad and colonize the interior a success? No. But the ruins of three prisons are still visible.

Into the Deep Blue
Despite the failed experiment, and lack of demand (to say the least) by the Ininians for post office services, the stamps of Inini are widely found in WW albums. The packet trade must have been busy. ;-)

I originally came across the Inini stamps while doing the French Guiana post.
For initial impressions, refer to:

The Scott Classic specialized catalogue has, from 1932-40, 58 major descriptions, including 5 semi-postals, and 10 postage dues. A CV of <$1-$1+ is found for 44 stamps ( 76%).

1938 Scott 4 4c olive brown & red violet, overprinted
The lower values have the French Guiana issue of 1932-40 were overprinted as above for "use" in Inini. The total issue had a whopping 40 stamps. CV ranged from <$1-$1+ for 36 stamps. Of interest, the 1fr light violet & brown and the 1.75fr brown, red & black-brown are a healthy $10+.

1932-40 Scott 13 40c orange brown & olive gray, overprinted
"Shooting Rapids, Maroni River"
The middle values (17 stamps) are represented by the design as shown. One must admit that, although the issue volume seems excessive, the designs by the French are interesting.

Postage Due 1932 Scott J1 5c indigo & Prussian blue
Postage Due stamps of French Guiana, 1929, overprinted
The 1921 Inini postage due set of 10 stamps is illustrated with an example above. The CV is <$1, but if found on cover with legitimate use, the price rises to $1.200+. ;-)

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 6 pages for the issues of Inini, and follows the Scott catalogue nicely.

The overprinted "Careb Archer" stamps for Inini in Deep Blue
Although the stamp design is nice, I can't help but wonder: Whatever happened to those 500 prisoners from Annam?............

1932-40 Scott 6 10c magenta & brown
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 48 spaces for the stamps of Inini, including 9 spaces for postage dues. Coverage is an astounding 83%. Contrasts with the rather parsimonious offerings for some other countries. ;-)



Next Page



Postage Due


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1932-40 Scott 24 1fr light violet & brown ($10+)
1933 Scott 32 1.75fr brown, red & black brown ($10+) 

1932-40 Scott 8 20c dark blue & olive green, overprinted
Out of the Blue
Striking (easily available) stamps, failed experiment. ugly history.

Inini - Bud's Big Blue

Note: Map, pics appear to be in the public domain.

The interior, "Inini", of French Guiana


  1. If BB gives unusually high coverage, could it be an indicator that the editors paid attention to the "little guy" stamp market? Inini stamps were primarily issued for collectors, were a staple of the packet trade, you note. They were pretty/exotic.

    What's not to like when marketing an album to the general, "little guy," collector?

    It'd be interesting to develop some kind of metric to identify similar "packet-trade driven" countries, then see whether BB disproportionately "made space" for them????

    Not that you are looking for things to occupy your time or anything like that. . . .


  2. Dennis- I think you are on to something. ;-)

    I remember reading (It might have been Bob's "Filling Spaces" blog) that Scott initially based the stamp spaces by what stamps were commonly found in collections.

    That would indeed explain why easily obtained packet countries had a larger proportion of spaces allocated to them.

  3. Even as a kid in the 1960s, I remember thinking that the Harris albums were designed around the stamp sets they sold on approval: eg one or lines for Afghanistan pre-1962, with several pages for the mint sets that came through the advertisements in the magazines. I don't know when Scott stopped selling stamps themselves, but I'm sure they recognized the virtues of providing spaces for what young collectors actually were likely to get--nothing worse than getting a nice new item and finding that it didn't fit in the album. More generally, one of the pleasures of using these old albums (Scott, Minkus, Stanley Gibbons etc) is that it makes collecting today partly about appreciating the history of collecting in the past. I actually like at least some of the signs of previous ownership...and not just because hinge-marks make many otherwise expensive items more affordable.

  4. Interesting comment James.

    I hadn't though about it, but the albums that would selectively cover the world (i.e. Harris) may very well have more selectively provided spaces for the "packet" stamp sets they sold on approval. ;-)

  5. how do these people live in the inini part

  6. Good question. :-)

    I assume now there are some roads and services...

  7. https://www.raoul-kieffer.net/Annamite-Prison
    "The Bagne des Annamites was established in June 1930 and consisted of seven wood buildings with the house of the camp leaders, dungeons and a dining hall. The purpose of this camp was to develop the region of the Inini, and then completely covered with forests. The first roads were traced in 1934. From 1939 on, the prisoners were gradually released at the end of their sentence. At the end of the war in 1940, the Senegalese riflemen who officiate as guards were replaced by militaries of French Guiana. The camp was finally closed in 1945. The Indo-Chinese still in prison were pardoned and settled in the city of Cayenne where they founded what is known today as Chinatown

    1. I notice the jungle has reclaimed the settlement. ;-)