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...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Italian Colonies

1932 Scott 7 75c carmine rose "Giosuè Carducci"
"Italian Poet, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1906"
Quick History
The generic "Italian Colonies" stamps, for general use in all colonies, were produced from 1932-1934. They supposedly could be used in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania (Became part of Italian Libya in 1934), Eritrea, and Somalia.

Italian Colonies (Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia) are in blue
Italian Libya, formed in 1934, consisted of, in part, the former colonies of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania
Italy was late off the mark with colonies in Africa, only initiating colonialism in 1890 with the colonization of Eritrea. And it was done more for enhancing the prestige of Italy, and converting native populations to Christianity, rather than for primarily economic benefits. 

But in the 1930s, Italian imperialism became molded by Fascist doctrines. Ethiopia was occupied in 1936. Then Ethiopia, and the former colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland were formed into the Italian East Africa colony. Italian colonialism in Africa was ended after the defeat of Italy, Mussolini, and the Fascist regime during WWII.

Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic specialized catalogue, for "Italian Colonies", has, for 1932-34, 50 regular, 35 air post, and 2 air post special delivery major stamp descriptions, for a total of 87 major descriptions. The CV for these stamps are moderately expensive, and unused is less expensive then used. For a CV of $1+-$9+, 46 stamps are found, or  53%.

I don't have a huge selection, but I have some. ;-)

Stamp Gallery
1932 Scott 2 15c olive brown "Niccolò Machiavelli"
The Italian Dante Alighieri Society issue of 1932 was printed in different colors, and overprinted as shown for the Italian Colonies issue. This 12 stamp issue, quite attractive, has a CV of $1+-$2 for each stamp.

Niccolò Machiavelli, of course, a 16th century philosopher, humanist and writer, is famous for "The Prince", where glory and survival can justify the use of immoral means to achieve these ends. Hence "Machiavellian" as a pejorative term.

1932 Scott 3 20c slate green " Paolo Sarpi"
The 20c slate green with red overprint has a portrait of Paolo Sarpi, a 17th century Venetian patriot, scientist, and church reformer.

1932 Scott 5 30c red brown with black overprint
"Ugo Foscolo"
The 30c red brown features Ugo Foscolo, a 19th century writer, revolutionary, and poet. Notice how in prior centuries, one could excel in several disciplines? ;-)

1932 Scott 6 50c blue black "Giacomo Leopardi"
A 19th century philosopher and poet, Giacomo Leopardi is found on the 50c blue black.

1932 Scott 8 1.25l dark blue "Carlo Botta"
The 1.25 Lira dark blue has Carlo Botta, a 19th century historian.

One would agree, the Italians, like the French, can put together a very nicely designed stamp issue.

1933 Scott 24 20c dull violet "Pack Camel"
In 1933, a 9 stamp issue was produced for the 50th anniversary of the annexation of Eritrea. An example is shown here. The set is rather expensive, as the CV ranges from $10+-$20+ unused.

1934 Scott 43 30c slate green "Mercury and Fasces"
"Fasces" are a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center.  This 4 stamp set was for the 15th annual Trade Fair in Milan. CV is $1+. 

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 8 pages for Italian Colonies, and follows the Scott catalogue exactly. Nice.

1932 Scott 4 25c dark green "Vittorio Alfieri"
Dramatist, the Founder of Italian Tragedy
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 54 stamp spaces for Italian Colonies. Coverage is 62%.

Has anyone noticed that Big Blue seems to have rather generous coverage of the moderately expensive colonies of Italy? Here 62% coverage for "Italian Colonies".  Cyrenaica, for example, has 68% coverage.
Likewise, the CV for Cyrenaica was $1+-$10 for many stamps. Many Big Blue collectors (myself included) do not have a lot of the stamps of the colonies of Italy.

And there are expensive ones. ;-)

Even some stamps that do not cross the $10 threshold are close: 1933 Scott 32-37 are CV $9.50.

There are 8 stamps @ $10+, 4 stamps @ $20+, and 4 stamps @ $52+,$52+, $55, $72+. The later 4 stamps are on the "Most expensive" list. Details are provided under "Comments" after the checklist.





Next Page


Air Post




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1933 Scott 23 10c olive brown ($10+)
1933 Scott 24 20c dull violet ($10+)
1933 Scott 25 25c green ($10+)
1933 Scott 26 50c purple ($10+)
1933 Scott 27 75c carmine ($10+)
1933 Scott 28 1.25 l blue ($10+)
1933 Scott 29 2.75 l red orange ($20+)
1934 Scott 46 10c olive green ($20+)
1934 Scott 47 50c purple ($30)
1934 Scott 48 1.25l blue ($55)
1934 Scott 49 5l brown ($72+)
1933 Scott C13 50c brown orange ($10+)
1933 Scott C14 1l black violet ($10+)
1933 Scott C15 3l carmine ($20+)
1933 Scott C16 5l olive brown ($20+)
1933-34 Scott C20 50c orange brown ($10+)
1933-34 Scott C21 75c red violet ($10+)
1933-34 Scott C22 1l bister brown ($10+)
1933-34 Scott C23 3l olive gray ($10+)
1934 Scott C29 50c yellow brown (10+)
1934 Scott C30 75c deep violet ($10+)
1934 Scott C31 5l brown black ($52+)
1934 Scott C32 10l red orange ($52+)

B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1934 Scott 42 20c red orange "Mercury and Fasces"
Out of the Blue
Expensive, and ironically a generous selection provided by Big Blue. But I'm starting to warm up to the Italian designs.  ;-)

Italian Colonies - Bud's Big Blue

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?

Sunday, January 20, 2013


1938 Scott 102 3p ultramarine "Father Theobald Matthew"
 Temperance Crusade, Centenary
Quick History
The Irish Free State, originally an autonomous state within the British Commonwealth, was created by government act in 1922. The name was changed to Eire in 1937. The duties of the British Monarch were removed in 1949, and Ireland was declared a republic.  Commonwealth membership was terminated.

The Capital is Dublin, and the population was 2,900,00 in 1943.

Ireland is also an island, divided between the (now called) Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom.

The bland introduction belies the tumultuous history between Ireland and Great Britain.

Ireland was part of the United Kingdom from 1801 until December 6, 1922. 

From 1845-49, the Great Famine caused 1 million deaths, with another 1.5 million emigrating primarily to the United States.

After the Irish War of Independence, a revolt begun in 1916, and then a guerrilla war initiated in 1919 by the Irish Republican Army against the British government, a ceasefire was agreed to in July 1921. This lead to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December, 1921. The treaty allowed Northern Ireland to opt out of the Free State, and indeed that is what they did.

On February 17, 1922, stamps of Great Britain, 1912-19, were overprinted in Irish Gaelic "Provisional Government of Ireland". And so began the Irish stamp issues.

1922-23 Scott 76 1sh light blue "Sword of Light"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1922-1942, 133 major stamp descriptions. Of those, 29 or 22% are CV <$1-$1+. Irish stamps are moderately expensive for the classical collector.

Stamp Gallery
1922 saw a significant number of stamps, all overprinted on British stamps, with Irish Gaelic inscriptions.

They are differentiated by the inscription, the color of the ink, or the size of the overprint. Let's take a look...

1922 Scott 1 1/2p green "Provisional Government of Ireland"
1922 Scott 9 2 1/2p ultramarine, carmine overprint
This issue, beginning on February 17th,  some 13 major numbers, was overprinted by Dollard, Ltd. The overprints can be found in black or gray black, or red or carmine. The CV for 4 stamps is $1+-$3+. The above illustration shows a black and a carmine overprint.

The stamps are easy to identify, as there is no period after the "1922".

1922 Scott 16b 2p orange, Die I
Overprinted in black, measures 14 1/2 X 16 mm
Also issued on February 17, 1922 by Alex. Thom & Co., these stamps have a period after the "1922". They consist of 4 stamps, with the distinguishing feature of a black overprint. The 2p orange, illustrated above, in addition, is found as two Die types. More about that later.

CV for the 4 stamps is $2-$20+.

1922 (July-November) Scott 28 3p violet, blue-black OP
1922 (December) Scott 40 1p scarlet, has wider OP
The two issues above are distinguished from the preceding issue, and from each other by several signs.

• The OP ink for these issues are shiny to dull blue-black, or red. This can be tricky. For the 1 1/2p red brown, 2p orange, 6p red violet, and 1sh bister, note if the ink is black or blue-black. If black, then a member of the preceding issue; if blue-black, then a member of these issues. I didn't say it was easy. ;-)

The (July-December) 1922 issue has 13 stamps, and the OP is 14 1/2 X 16 mm (Important).
The CV is $2-$8+ for 6 stamps.

• The (December) 1922 issue has an overprint measuring 15 3/4 X 16 mm, so wider than the (July-December) issue. Note the difference above. This 5 stamps issue has a CV of $1+-$15 for 4 stamps.

1922 (July-December) Scott 26b 2p orange, Die I
1922 (July-December) Scott 26 2p orange, Die II
The 2p orange is found with two Die types. (Enlarge for careful examination.) Die I has four horizontal lines above the King's head in the oval vignette. Die II has three lines. Die I shows heavy colored lines above and below the bottom tablet. Die II has thinner lines.

1922-23 1/2p green "Irish Free State"
Finally, a change in inscription marks the 15 stamps 1922-23 overprinted issue. This issue should be easy to identify. CV is $1+-$5+ for 8 stamps. Note Big Blue does not provide spaces for this issue.

1922-23 Scott 66 1p carmine rose "Map of Ireland"
Scott 71 4p slate "Coat of Arms", wmk "SE in Monogram"
1922-23 saw the first designed issue for Ireland, some 12 stamps. CV is $1+-$6+ for 8 stamps.
For the classical stamp collector, this issue, with the "SE in Monogram" watermark, will need to be distinguished from the later 1940-42 issue, with the "Multiple e" watermark. And from a two stamp 1966-67 issue (More about that soon).

1941 Scott 108  1 1/2p claret "Map of Ireland"
1940-42 Scott 115 9p violet "Coat of Arms" 
Watermarked " Multiple e"
The later 1940-42 issue is shown above. This 12 stamps issue has a CV of $1+-$3+ for 11 stamps.

Well, what about the watermarks?

Top row: Wmk 44- SE in Monogram
Bottom row: Wmk 262- Multiple "e"
The watermarks are similar in shape, so don't get fooled by a cursory glance. ;-) Otherwise, quite easy to tell.

Then there was a small (literally) two stamp issue in 1966-67.

1922-23 Scott 70 3p ultramarine "Celtic Cross"
1966-67 Scott 225 2p ultramarine (smaller stamp)
The 3p ultramarine was issued in 1922-23 (wmk 44), 1940-42 (wmk 262), and in 1966-67 in a smaller size. ;-)

1940-42 Scott 113 5p deep violet "Sword of Light"
1966-67 Scott 226 (17 X 20 1/2 mm size)
The 1922-23 and 1940-42 issues were 18 X 22 mm size, while the 1966-67 two stamp issue was 17 X 20 1/2 mm. Here the 5p deep violet is shown. Now you know. ;-)

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 13 pages for the coverage of Ireland, all following the Scott listing.

Classical Deep Blue has coverage for 1941-1950
Of interest, the 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue only covers the issues through ~ 1942. But Ireland was technically a member of the British Commonwealth until 1949. Deep Blue (Steiner) covers up to ~1950 in the classical pages.

1929 Scott 82 9p dark violet "Daniel O'Connell"
Catholic Emancipation in Ireland, Centenary
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page has, from 1922-1939, 34 stamp spaces. Coverage (for the time period) is 26%. 

Big Blue condenses the 64 possible major stamp numbers for the OP 1922-23 issues into 7 spaces. And BB does not provide any space for the "Irish Free State" overprinted 1922-23 Scott 44-55 stamps. I unravel the various choices in the "comment" section following the checklist.

There are only three stamps that cross the $10 threshold.

1/2p green: 1 or 19 or 23 or 29
1p scarlet: 2 or 20 or 24 or 40
1 1/2p red brown: 15 or 21 or 25 or 41
2p orange: 16 or 16b or 22 or 22a or 26 or 26b or 42
2 1/2p ultramarine: 3 or 9 or 27
3p violet: 4 or 28
4p slate green: 5 or 10 or 10A or 29 

65 or 106, 66 or 107, 67 or 108, 68 or 109, 69 or 110, 70 or 111, 72 or 113, 73 or 114,
74 or 115, 75 or 116, 76 or 117,











A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1922-23 Scott 76 1sh light blue ($10+)
1938 Scott 102 3p ultramarine ($10+)
1939 Scott 104 3p deep blue ($10+)

B) *1922 issues- The illustration is for the Dollard Ltd printed February 17, 1922 issue with no period after "1922". But some descriptive spaces (1 1/2p red brown, 2p orange) are for other 1922 issues with the period after "1922". So all "Provisional Government of Ireland" OP stamps are admitted to these spaces. What is not admitted are the "Irish Free State" OP issue of 1922-23. For the 2p orange, both Die I and Die II can be put in. Also coil stamps (Scott 20-22) are admitted. Finally, the 2 1/2p ultramarine and the 4p slate green descriptions admits either a black or red/carmine colored overprint. This is what happens when BB condenses 28 choices into 7 spaces. ;-)

C) *1922-40- Both the 1922-23 and the 1940-42 issues, differing by watermark, are admitted.
Note the 4p slate (Scott 71 or 112) is not given a space.

1932 Scott 86 3p bright blue "Cross of Congress and Chalice"
International Eucharistic Congress
Out of the Blue
Because of the large Irish immigration into the United States, the stamps of Ireland are quite popular here. Perhaps I need to brush up on Irish Gaelic to understand the inscriptions. ;-)

Ireland - Bud's Big Blue

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Comments are appreciated!

Monday, January 14, 2013


1923-25 Scott 3 1 1/2a carmine lake
"Motif of Assyrian Origin"
Quick History
The territory of Mesopotamia, a province of Turkey, became a Great Britain Mandate in 1920, and the name was changed to Iraq. The mandate lasted until 1932, when the Kingdom of Iraq became independent. The Capital was and is Bagdad, and the population was 3,600,000 in 1940.

The Tigris and Euphrates, the "cradle of civilization", runs through the center of Iraq, and this fertile  river valley was the origin of writing. law and the wheel.

Map of Iraq
Bordered by Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran
Iraq has seen Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Chaldean empires. The Abbasid Caliphate built Baghdad in the 8th century, and was the leading city for five centuries in the Arab and Muslim world, until overrun by the Mongols.

The Ottoman Empire controlled the territory from 1533-1918. During WW I, the area was occupied by the British, and Mesopotamian stamps were issued from 1917-1920.

Iraq stamps proper, under British mandate, began in 1923. The mandate was terminated in 1932, and the Kingdom of Iraq, under King Faisal I and King Ghazi, continued with both regular and official stamp issues through 1938.

1924-28 Scott 73 50f deep brown "King Ghazi"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for 1923-38, 78 regular and 89 official category major stamp descriptions. Of the total 167 descriptions, 108 are CV <$1-$1+, or 65%.

16 Annas= 1 Rupee
1000 Fils= 1 Dinar (1932)

A Stamp Gallery 
1923-25 Scott 2 1a brown "Gufas on Tigris"
Under the British mandate, the first Iraq issue of 13 stamps is a lovely pictorial selection of 8 designs. Look at this charming and bucolic scene on the Tigris river. The first 9 values in the issue are CV <$1.

1931 Scott 18 2a orange "King Faisal I"
1931 Official Scott O27 1a chestnut, overprinted
The 1931 issue is found both as regular and official varieties. The regular issue has 13 stamps, 8 with CV <$1-$1+. The official (overprinted) issue has 12 stamps, 5 with CV <$1.

1932 Scott 30 4f on 1a (green overprint)
1932 Official Scott O43 10f on 2a orange
With the beginning of the independent Kingdom in 1932, and the change in denomination, the previous issue was surcharged as above. The regular issue had 16 stamps with a CV of <$1-$1+ for  9 stamps. The official issue had 16 stamps also, with 4 stamps CV <$1.

1932 Scott 50 15f deep blue "King Faisal I" 
1932 Official Scott O56 3f green, overprinted
The 1932 issue had values in "Fils" and "Dinars". The regular issue, 17 stamps, has a CV of <$1-$1+ for 13 stamps. The official issue has 17 stamps, 14 stamps with CV <$1-$1+.

1934-38 Scott 64 4f purple brown "King Ghazi"
1934-38 Official Scott O77 8f deep red, overprinted
With King Ghazi on the throne in 1934, a new issue was produced. The regular issue of 18 stamps has 15 stamps with CV <$1. The official issue has 18 stamps, 14 with CV <$1=$1+.

1923 Official Scott O1 1/2a olive green "Sunni Mosque"
Overprinted "On State Service"
The first official issue of 12 stamps utilized the first regular issue, overprinted as shown. Nine stamps are CV <$1-$1+.

1924-25 Official Scott O17 3a deep blue
"Ctesiphon Arch", overprinted
The second official issue changed the overprint, as illustrated. The 13 stamp issue has a CV of <$1  for 8 stamps. The Ctesiphon Arch was built by the Parthian Persians in 400 A.D. 110 feet high, the arch is the largest single-span vault of un-reinforced brickwork in the world.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 11 pages for Iraq 1923-38. All the major numbers have a space, and follow the Scott catalogue sequence.

1924-25 Scott O16 2a brown orange 
"Assyrian Winged Bull", overprinted
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 54 stamp spaces, all regular category. Coverage is 32%. Why the comparatively low coverage? Because the 49 Official stamps found in the '41/'47 editions were cut out in the '69 edition. :-(   

A shame, as all these stamps are inexpensive. I am including the Official category stamps found in the '41/'47 as an add-on in the checklist.






Next Page


End of '69 edition

('41/'47 edition)







A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1923-24 Scott 8 8a olive bistre
"Colors of the Dulaim Camel Corps"
Out of the Blue
Nicely designed first pictorial issue. Big Blue collectors might want to add back the official stamps found in the '41/'47 editions.

Iraq - Bud's Big Blue

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Iran (Persia) - Focus on Forgeries

1882-84 Scott 59 10fr buff, red & black
"Shah Nasr-ed-Din"
Quick History
In 1935, Persia adopted its ancient name. Iran. The Big Blue '69 has the country listed under Persia, while the 2011 Scott Classic catalogue and Deep Blue (Steiner) have the listing as Iran. Culturally, it is known by either.

The population was 15,000,000 in 1940, and the Capital is Tehran.
The topography of Iran
Located between Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, Iraq and Turkey to the west, Iran is truly at the center of the Islamic world. Home to the Elamite kingdom in 2800 BC, the blossoming Persian culture in literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics and art has had a major influence on Muslim civilization.

Persian (green), Pashto (purple), Kurdish (turquoise),Lurish (red), Baloch (yellow)
There are at least five major languages spoken in Iran, although Persian is the official language, and Persians constitute 65% of the population.

Shia Islam is the official state religion, and about 90% of Iranians are members.

1880 Scott 46 10s violet & black
"Nasser-eddin Shah Qajar"
(Probable Boital Paris reprint)
Into the Deep Blue
Stamps were introduced in Persia in 1870. The year was also the beginning of the great Persian Famine which caused the death of 1.5 million people.

Reviewing the 2011 Scott Classic catalogue, there are 669 active major numbers for regular issues. This contrasts with Scott using number 875 for the last regular stamp in the classic catalogue: 206 numbers have been dropped, or never used. We will be encountering the out-fall from this problem later in Big Blue. ;-)

There are also 67 air post, 44 officials, 1 newspaper, and 18 parcel post numbers. The total is 799 active major numbers.

For CV of <$1-$1+, 285 stamps are found, tending toward later rather than earlier issues. "Affordability" is 36%.

Persia/Iran is known for their interesting designs, and many overprints.

But for the WW classical collector, the Scott "boxed warning", much like what the Surgeon-General put on cigarette cartons, states:

"Beware of forgeries and/or reprints of most Iran stamps between the years 1870-1925. Scott values are for genuine stamps. Collectors should be aware that forgeries of many issues outnumber genuine examples by a factor of 10 or 20 to one"


So, rather than do a general survey of Persian stamps (which are lovely and interesting), I've elected to "Focus on Forgeries". I choose the phrase deliberately, as, for Persia, I will be using the 2000 edition of Varro Tyler's "Focus on Forgeries: A Guide to Forgeries for Common Stamps".

A page from "Focus on forgeries"
Varro Tyler had, for many years, a column in Linns Stamp News were he discussed common forgeries. The 321 columns were collected in the second edition, and are presented as shown. A forgery is illustrated, as well as a genuine stamp, and the differences are outlined and discussed. Nice.

A few observations about Persia and its stamps...
• The real problem are all the unauthorized reprints that were produced for many issues. A specialist will need to be aware of perforations, paper, color, gum, or any other clue to differentiate the original issue from reprints. Perhaps a cancellation will help.

• The forgeries then can be forgery-reprints, or outright forgeries, where some (small) alteration in stamp design might be observed.

• For an issue that has forgery-reprints: In my experience, if the stamp is unused, or has a nice "cto" cancellation, then likely to be a forgery-reprint. A heavier cancellation is more likely to be genuine.

• One can find bargains with Persian stamps, as many collectors are scared away. Of course that means one will need some knowledge. ;-)

So lets enter the Rogue's Gallery of Forgeries...

Left: 1882 Scott 50 5c blue violet & violet "Sun"
Right: Reprint-Forgery
After the striking 1882 issue was produced, the printing plates were re-touched, and large quantities of reprint-forgeries were sold to collectors.

The differences: ( One might want to enlarge the image)
• Red arrow: The middle vertical line of the right frame on the edge of the "Sun" vignette is thin or non-existent. Genuine. 
• Blue arrow: The middle vertical line of the right frame is prominent and consistent. Reprint-Forgery.

Left: 1882 Scott 51 10c deep pink & rose "Sun"
Right: Reprint-Forgery
Again, if one looks at the middle vertical line of the right frame on the edge of the "Sun" vignette, one will note the much more prominent line in the forgery.

Also, the colors of the forgeries are different, and my other forgeries have the same color. A helpful sign.

Left: 1882 Scott 52 25c deep green & green "Sun"
Right: Reprint-Forgery
The "Line" sign is there, as well as a color difference.

There is also a "softer" difference I found. For the reprint-forgeries, the shading around the eyes, nose and mouth of the Sun, as well the lines close to the Sun are less prominent. Might be helpful.

CV for the three stamps in the set is $20-$40 used.

Left: 1882-84 Scott 53 5s green , Type I, "Sun"
Right: Reprint-Forgery
The 1882-84 issue of seven stamps also had a "Sun" design stamp, shown above. Note the lack of shading behind the numeral compared to the earlier set. CV is $1+ used.

Type I refers to 3 dots at the right end of the scroll, rather than 2 dots (Type II).

The reprint-forgery has the "line" sign. although the colors are similar.  The reprint-forgery shows  less shading/less prominent markings around the sun. Other markings are less prominent too. Note the nicely placed "cto" cancellation on the reprint-forgery. ;-)

Left: 1885 Scott 66 6c on 5c green, Type I,
Right: Reprint-Forgery
The "Officiel" overprint indicates these surcharged stamps were officially authorized. These are not "Official" stamps.

In 1885 and 1887, a group of seven stamps were surcharged as illustrated above. CV for each stamp in the group is $30.

The forgery-reprint stamp (Scott 53) was then used to make a surcharged forgery as well. Fortunately, the "line" sign is still present.

"1902 Scott 236 2c brown & buff , Imperforate"
"Handstamp overprinted in Black"
Left: Type I: "CHAHIS" is capitalized
Right: Type II:"C" is capitalized: Certain Forgery
The joke here is the 1902 issue (Scott 235-239) was only issued as Type I. Therefore, the Type II stamp (blue arrow) is definitely a forgery.

But no doubt the Type I stamp above is also a counterfeit-forgery/reprint. CV for this stamp is $300 unused. !

Left: 1906 Scott 424 3c green "Provisoire" overprint 
"handstamped in black"
Right: Forgery One
The 6 stamps in the set are all found with the illustrated "Forgery One" forgery, found on the right..
(One might want to enlarge the image.)

• Red arrow: The small vertical oval just to the left of the larger diagonal oval is intact. Genuine. CV $1. Sometimes, though, this area is difficult to see, as the original stamps were not clearly printed.

• Blue arrow: The small vertical oval to the left of the larger diagonal oval is incomplete. Quite characteristic for the forgeries. The forgery is often found unused, or with a "cto" cancel.

Other differences exist. For the 3c value shown above, the inner frame is intact in the corners on the forgery, while incomplete on the genuine.

One Genuine (left), & Two Forgeries
1906 Scott 425 6c red
There is another forgery found only for the 2 and 6 centime values. (Enlarge please.) This forgery (Forgery Two) is shown on the right, and the green arrows point to the inner frame lines where they curve slightly (diagnostic).

Both forgeries share the incomplete oval (blue arrows), while the genuine has a complete oval (red arrow). CV for a Scott 425 6c red genuine is <$1.

1919 Scott 620 6c violet & black, surcharged
"March-April Provisional Issue"
1919 Scott 621 12c blue & black: Forgery
This issue has an interesting back story. In 1911, a bogus plate was confiscated for a fantasy Persia issue in Zurich. This plate was subsequently stored in the archives in Teheran. When stamp supplies became scarce after WWI, the plate was retrieved, the design was printed, and different overprint/surcharges were applied as shown above.

So the left stamp above is a genuine stamp based on a fake plate. ;-)

The issue consisted of 5 stamps with a CV of $1-$10.

Then the counterfeiters became busy.

The stamp on the right is a forgery, and is quite common in general collections. It is found for all values.

The differences are: (Enlarge image)
• Red arrow: One thin (broken) line over the "Postes" inscription: Genuine

• Blue arrow: Two thick solid lines over the "Postes" inscription: Forgery

1882-84 10fr buff,red & black
I'm bringing back the post header stamp, as this elaborate specimen has also been forged, as is shown in Varro Tyler's book. Here is a genuine stamp. CV is $30. Look at the large pearl at the base of the feathers on the hat. One single line curves up to the left from the pearl, while two lines go up toward the right.

A Forgery will show a thick single line going off on the right.

Genuine: 40 cogwheel teeth surrounding the 10 F.
Forgery: 31 cogwheel teeth surrounding the 10 F.

Let's show one more stamp from this series.

1882-84 Scott 58 5fr rose red & black
"Shah Nasr-ed-Din"
This stamp value is also illustrated in Varro Tyler's book. The above stamp is genuine. CV is $10.

The characteristics are:
• For genuine: The top of the plume (feathers) touches the first horizontal line under the crown. The coat and collar ornamentation is very detailed. Stamps are Perf 12, Perf 13, or a compound of these two gauges. This stamp is Perf 13.

• For Forgery: The top of the plume just touches the second horizontal line under the crown. The coat and collar ornamentation is not detailed- just dots and dashes. The Perf is 11 1/2.

We are done with the primer on forgeries for Persia.

If this whets your appetite for more, consider investigating:

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 58 pages, and I have stamps on 42 pages- not bad. ;-)

1898 Issue handstamped in violet 1899
Deep Blue page
The Steiner follows the Scott catalogue, and I had no problems with use.

1907-09 Scott 445 50k gold,vermilion & black
"Mohammed-Ali Shah Qajar"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 12 pages, has, for Iran (Listed under Persia), 355 regular, 25 air post, and 32 official spaces for a total of 412 spaces. Coverage is 53%.

• BB generally does a good job covering Persia, save for some early series cut-offs.

• Persia is fairly expensive in BB, with 61 stamps over the $10 threshold. Nine of these stamps are CV $35-$60. But six more stamps are CV $100-$150. !!!  The details are in the comment section below the checklist.

Let's take a look at a page in Big Blue...

1901-1902 section in Big Blue: An expensive page
And some stamp spaces are no longer in the Scott catalogue
The 1902 page in Big Blue is particularly tough for collectors. Here are the highlights:

• Green X's- These spaces (Scott "184-186") no longer exist in the current Scott catalogue, although they were present in my '47 catalogue. Note I have a Scott "186" 5k gray brown stamp on a space, so clearly these stamps are still to be found in albums.

• Red circles- CV $15-$50, so these spaces will be expensive to fill.

• Blue circles- CV $100-$150!!!  Very expensive. One can cheat, though, by putting in forgery reprints, as I show for several spaces here. ;-)





59A or 60, 61,62,63,64,65,





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1903 (Actually 1902-04)



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1912 (actually 1911)


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723 or 740*, 724 or 741, 725 or 742, 727,728,729,


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Air Post



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Official Stamps



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1882-84 Scott 54 10s buff, orange & black ($10)
1885 Scott 66 6c on 5s green,type I ($30)
1887 Scott 70 3c on 5s green,type I ($30)
1886 Scott 65 5k dull violet ($35)
1891 Scott 88 2k orange ($20+)
1897 Scott 102 1k on 5k violet & silver ($10+)
1897 Scott 103 2k on5k violet & silver ($30)
1894 Scott 95 16c rose ($20+)
1894 Scott 99 10k red & gold ($10)
1894 Scott 100 50k green & gold ($10)
1898 Scott 118 10k orange ($10+)
1898 Scott 119 50k bright violet ($20+)
1899 Scott 122 3c dull violet ($10+)
1899 Scott 123 4c vermilion ($10+)
1899 Scott 125 8c orange ($10+)
1899 Scott 128 16c green ($20+)
1899 Scott 129 1k ultramarine ($10)
1899 Scott 147 3k lilac brown ($10+)
1899 Scott 148 4k orange red ($10+)
1899 Scott 149 5k gray brown ($10+)
1899 Scott 150 10k deep blue ($100) !
1899 Scott 151 50k brown ($30)
1901 Scott 169 12c on 1k red ($100) !
1902 Scott 173 1c gray/green ($20)
1902 Scott 174 2c brown/green ($20)
1902 Scott 179 10c pale blue/green ($10+)
1902 Scott 180 12c lake/green ($50)
1902 Scott 182 1k red ($20+)
1902 Scott 183 2k deep green ($50)
1902 Scott 211 5c on 10c pale blue/green ($20)
1902 Scott 235 1c gray & buff ($150) !
1902 Scott 236 2c brown & buff ($150) !
1902 Scott 237 3c green & buff ($150) !
1902 Scott (238) 5c red & buff ($100) !
1902 Scott 256 10c dark blue & blue ($30)
1902 Scott 317 2c brown & yellow ($60)
1903 Scott 364 1c on 3c green (V) ($20)
1903 Scott 365 2c on 3c green (Bl) ($20)
1903 Scott 366 12c on 10k rose red ($40)
1906 Scott 422a 1c violet ($10+)
1906 Scott 426 10c brown ($40)
1906 Scott 427 13c blue ($10)
1907-09 Scott 439 4k bright yellow ($10)
1909 Scott 463 30k gold,carmine & bister brown ($10+)
1924-25 Scott 677 5k red & brown ($20)
1924-25 Scott (678) 10c chocolate 7 lilac ($10+)
1927 Scott 733 1k dull blue ($10)
1929 Scott 734 2k bright violet ($50)
1931-32 Scott 766 10c blue & dull red ($20)
1933-34 Scott 785 5r dark brown & red orange ($35)
1935 Scott 793 1r red brown & purple ($20)
1935 Scott 794 1 1/2r violet & ultramarine ($10)
1902 Scott O5 5c on 1k red ($30)
1902 Scott O6 10c on 1k red ($30)
1902 Scott O7 12c on 1k red (40)
1911 Scott (O35) 9c gray & maroon ($10+)
1911 Scott (O36) 10c multicolored ($10+)
1915 Scott O54 1t gold, purple & black ($10)
1915 Scott O55 2t gold,green & brown ($10)
1915 Scott O56 3t multicolored ($10+)
1915 Scott 57 5t gold, blue & indigo ($10+)

B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

C) *"184",*"185",*"186", are no longer in the current (2011) Scott. They were dropped. Actually 187,190,191-205 were also dropped, all with "Provisoire 1319" overprint applied. They are all in the 1947 Scott catalogue. But Big Blue still has spaces for 184-186. They are:
1902 Scott "184" 3k lilac brown
1902 Scott "185" 4k orange red
1902 Scott '186" 5k gray brown
No doubt they were dropped as there was no evidence of actual postage use. These stamps are still found in albums, as I have some copies.

D) *317, the 2c brown & yellow (Type I), is $60. Not given as choices are 316 (Type II) -no CV given, and 318 with red overprint for $500. You are free to substitute if you wish. ;-)

E) *422a is 1c violet, perforated, while 422 is 1c violet, imperforate. Both appear to be given a space.

F) *681: Scott 681-684 are "1924" overprint, while (Scott 686,687,689,) are "1925" overprint.

G) *723 or 740- I include the redrawn 1928 Scott 740-42 as choices.

H) *756 - There are no stamps in the 1931-32 Scott 760-770 issue to put in for the blank space choice. I substituted a 1929 Scott 756.

I) *785, the 5r @ $35 is included, but 784 3r @ $2 is not. ;-)

1911-13 Scott 497 5k red & ultramarine
"Ahmad Shah Qajar"
Out of the Blue
A real challenge, but nevertheless I am attracted to these issues. What fun it would be to become reasonably competent in this area.

Note: Maps and pic appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Reported: 1.2 million Persian carpet weavers in Iran