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...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Italian East Africa

1938 Scott 23 25c deep green "Augustus Caesar"
Quick History
Italian East Africa was formed in 1936 by combining the Ethiopian Empire with Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. Ethiopia was added to the dominion after the Fascist Mussolini Italian Forces defeated Haile Selassie and the Ethiopians in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Italy's Fascist regime wished to colonize the territory with Italian farmer citizens. But few went to Ethiopia, most went to Eritrea.

The Capitals were Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Asmara (Eritrea), and the population was 10,000,000 (1936).

In 1940, British Somaliland was occupied, and added to Italian East Africa. This one year occupation was the only victory by Italy against allied forces that did not require assistance of German troops.

Map of Italian East Africa, 1936
Italian East Africa was short lived. The British retook British Somaliland in 1941, and the Ethiopian Empire was re-established. The British assumed administration of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. 

Italian Somaliland became the Trust Territory of Somalia in 1949, under the guidance of Italy. It became independent in 1960. Eritrea was annexed by Ethiopia in 1952.

1938 Scott 13 1.25l deep blue 
"Victor Emmanuel III"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 54 major stamp descriptions for 1938-1940 Italian East Africa. For CV <$1-$1+, there are 33 stamp descriptions, or 61%.

Stamp Gallery
1938 Scott 8 30c olive brown
"Grant's Gazelle"
Regardless of the state of the Italian government, the design and execution of art- and stamps- is an Italian strength. This is evident with the first Italian East Africa issue. The issue consisted of 20 stamps with 6 designs. The "Grant's Gazelle" design is one of the high points.

1938 Scott 9 35c sapphire
"Eagle and Lion"
The CV for the first issue ranges from <$1-$1+ for 15 stamps. The 5 higher denomination stamps are CV $4+-$40+
1938 Scott 3 7 1/2c dark violet
"Victor Emmanuel III"
Looking very much the Emperor of Imperial Rome, Victor Emmanuel III's alabaster bust is on four stamps.

1938 Scott 14 1.75 orange "Statue of the Nile"
The Statue of the Nile motif is on 3 stamps.

Statua del Nilo
In Naples, one can find an example of the River as Father and El Padrino of his dependent children.

1938 Scott 11 75c carmine lake
"Fascist Legionary"
Three stamps have this aggressive design. Power, solidarity, and intimidation.

1938 Scott 7 25c green "Desert Road"
Three more stamps show a "Desert Road", perhaps a realistic image of the harsh environment.

1938 Scott 21 5c bister brown
"Augustus Caesar"
If  the preceding images are too subtle, how about a direct view of the Imperialistic Caesar? ;-)
1940 Scott 28 10c red orange
"Native Soldier"
1940 gave an issue of 7 stamps, with this striking design on the 10c red orange. CV for the stamps are <$1-$1+. This was issued for the first triennial overseas exposition in Naples.I wonder if they had a second one?

1938 Scott C7 2l slate blue
"Airplane over Lake Tsana"
An 11 stamp air post issue was produced in 1938 with four designs. CV is <$1-$3+ for 8 stamps.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 5 pages for Italian East Africa, and follows the Scott catalogue exactly.

1938 Scott 22 10c copper red
"Goddess Abundantia"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 39 stamp spaces for regular, air post, air post special delivery, and special delivery categories. Coverage is a robust 72%.

Not much to complain about here. There are three stamps over CV $10, with the Scott 17 3.70l purple @ $47+. 

BB does not provide spaces for the 7 stamp 1940 issue with CV $1+.



Next Page

Air Post

Air Post Special Delivery

Special Delivery

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1938 Scott 17 3.70l purple ($47+)
1938 Scott 16 2.55l dark brown ($10+)
1938 Scott C9 5l red brown ($20+)

1940 Scott 27 5c olive brown
"Native Boat"
Out of the Blue
Attractive stamps, although the Fascist driven aggressiveness is neither subtle or pretty.

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

Italian East Africa - Bud's Big Blue
Comments are appreciated.


  1. Been following your blog since I discovered it last autumn and love the detail and attention you put into writing it. Regarding the -aggresiveness- of some of the designs, the Eagle & Lion design is actually a very bold propaganda statement by the Italians, the Eagle representing victorious Italy and the Lion at its feet under attack being the old Ethiopian Empire recently defeated in war. Hubris in the end though. Look forward to your futher posts. Gene.

  2. Gene

    Thanks for insightful analysis of the Eagle and Lion design!

    Wow, I hadn't though of that, but it makes sense. ;-)

    Glad you like the blog too. :-)