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, April 22, 2013

Jugoslavia 1921-1940

1940 Scott B109 1.50d + 1.50d bright red
"Death of Matija Gubec"
Quick History
The House of Karadordevic was chosen to lead the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in the heady atmosphere of pan-Slavic nationalism in 1918, and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Serbia, which had enlarged itself with the land spoils of war, perhaps preferred to remain independent.  But they then agreed to form with the newly created State of Slovenes,Croats and Serbs.

On December 1, 1918, Alexander Karadordevic, the Prince-Regent, proclaimed the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in the name of his father, Peter I of Serbia.

Yugoslavia- divided into 33 administrative oblasts between 1922-29
Even then, the country was known colloquially as "Jugoslavia" or "Yugoslavia". But the real lack of unity was evident at the outset, as the new "Pan-Slavic" Yugoslavia had divided itself into 33 sub-regions or oblasts. ;-)

Peter I had been King of Serbia since 1903, and now was titular ruler of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, under a constitutional monarchy. He had been quite popular with the Serbian people, partially because of Serbia's success in the Balkan Wars. But he had also been educated in the western tradition in France, helped to introduce concepts of democracy to Serbia, and translated John Stuart Mill's On Liberty into Serbian.

And, at the age of 70 in 1914, he had reassigned his royal powers to his son Crown Prince Alexander, the Prince-Regent.

Peter I's  proclamation as King of the new country on December 1, 1918 was his last public appearance, and he died in Belgrade, the Capital, in 1921.

Royal Standard of the King of Yugoslavia
In 1921, following his fathers death, Alexander inherited the throne.

In 1929, following the murder of a Croat politician by a Serbian politician in the parliament, and the further alienation of the Croats from the Serbs, King Alexander abolished the Constitution, and set up a dictatorship. He changed the name officially to the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia". He attempted to abolish the Serbian Cyrillic in favor of the Latin Script.

Then in 1934, while in Marseilles on a state visit, he was assassinated.  The assassin was a Bulgarian, and a member of a revolutionary organization attempting to have the Macedonian region succeed from Yugoslavia.

Alexander's son, Peter II, succeeded to the throne, but he was a minor, only eleven.,  Alexander's cousin, Prince Paul, assumed the regency.

Prince Paul tried to negotiate the ever increasing enmity between the Croats and Serbs.

But there was a much larger problem.


With increasing pressure, Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact on March 25, 1941. But then suddenly Regent Prince Paul was deposed, and Peter II, now 17, was declared of age.

Angered, The Axis' attacked on April 6, 1941, and Yugoslavia was dismembered.

Occupation, Annexation, and Partition of Yugoslavia 1941-43
A "puppet" Independent State of Croatia was set up. Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Germany, and Italy all took a piece of the Yugoslavian pie. Serbia was occupied by the Germans, and Montenegro was an Italian Protectorate.

King Peter II, now in exile, was still considered the King of all Yugoslavia by the Allies.

But the leading opposition to the occupation was Josip Broz Tito's Communist forces, a reality recognized by the Allies.

In 1945, after the Germans were removed, the Communists claimed all of the former territory of Yugoslavia as the new Democratic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was no more.

1934 Scott 103 50p green , Borders in Black
King Alexander Memorial issue
Into the Deep Blue
For this post, I will cover the general Yugoslavian issues beginning in 1921. Recall the previous post covered the constituent issues of early Yugoslavia 1918-1920.

The 2011 Scott Classic catalogue has, for the general issues of Yugoslavia 1921-1940, 161 regular, 119 semi-postal, 16 air post, 37 postage due, and 5 postal tax and postal tax due stamps. Total= 338.

Of those, 259 are CV <$1, or 77%. Clearly, a generous inexpensive representative collection can be owned.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
Serbia 1918-20 Scott 156 2p olive brown
"King Peter and Prince Alexander"
The former Kingdom of Serbia continued to issue their own stamps during 1918-20, as did other constituent parts of Yugoslavia. Here, this 15 stamp issue has the portrait of King Peter I and Prince Alexander. Save for one stamp, all of them are CV <$1.

Recall that Prince Alexander was actually regent, as Peter I had assigned his powers in 1914 to his son.

Of interest, although these stamps were issued when "Yugoslavia" came into existence, the Scott catalogue lists them as the last one for Serbia.

1921 Scott 8 60p vermilion "King Alexander"
100 Paras = 1 Dinar

The first general set for all of Yugoslavia proper was issued on January 16, 1921, and had the nine lower denomination stamps with a portrait of Alexander. (Since almost all the issues for Yugoslavia are quite inexpensive, I will only comment when they are not. ;-)

Note the stamp is inscribed in both Latin and Cyrillic script. The wording translates "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes".

Alexander was actually regent when the stamps were issued, as King Peter I died on August 16, 1921. Alexander then became King on the same day.

1921 Scott 11 2d olive bister "King Peter I"
The five higher values for the issue have a portrait of King Peter. As noted, he was king in title only during this time, as his son Alexander was regent, and Peter had not appeared in public since 1918. ;-)

1922-24 Scott 15 1d on 10p carmine
"Giving Succor to Wounded"
From 1922-24, a three stamp semi-postal 1921 set was surcharged in various colors with the creation of a seven stamp issue. The original semi-postal set was sold at twice face value for the benefit of invalid soldiers.
Really some lovely engraved designs.

1924 Scott 28 5d on 8d violet, surcharged in blue
'King Alexander"
In 1923, five higher denomination stamps were released with now a King Alexander portrait.

In 1924, the 60p and 8d previous stamp issues were surcharged, as illustrated above.

Scott notes that the "blue" surcharge on Scott 28 shown here can  be found in colors blue, blue black, greenish black, and black. ;-)

1924 Scott 30 50p dark brown "King Alexander"
1925 Scott 39 25p on 3d ultramarine
A new 10 stamps portrait issue of King Alexander was released in 1924.

Then, in 1925, the 1924 3d ultramarine was surcharged with two values. 

If one looks carefully at the stamp, one will note that the King is wearing glasses, a characteristic of his real life visage. ;-)

1926-27 Scott 47 5d violet "King Alexander"
1928 Scott 59 10d olive brown, overprinted over red surcharge
During 1926-27, another 12 stamp issue was released. Of interest, all the stamps were also surcharged in dark red, and released as semi-postals in 1926. The surcharge was to help flood victims.

But then, 10 of the semi-postal surcharged stamps were used in 1928 as regular issues by "X-ing" out the surcharge. ;-)

1931-34 Scott 69 3d slate blue, with imprint at foot
1933 Scott 80 3d slate blue, without imprint at foot
During 1931-34, a 14 stamp set was issued with a new portrait of King Alexander. This set has an imprint at the foot of the stamp. presumably the engraver.

Note the stamp is now "Jugoslavia". Recall, the name was changed in 1929 from the "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes".

Then, in 1932-34, a 10 stamp set was released that is "identical" in image, except the imprint is not at the foot of the stamp. One should examine the stamps in the collection, and separate them out, as they all have major numbers in Scott. BTW, all the the stamps have minimum CV.

1933 Scott 92 4d red orange, overprinted "Jugoslavia"
1933 Scott 99 25p green, overprinted over dark red surcharge 
Presumably, to use up supplies of the 1926-27 issues, stamps were overprinted with "Jugoslavia" in 1933. Twelve denominations from the previous 1926-27 issue were overprinted.

Also, three semi-postals left over from the 1926 issue were again overprinted (this time with four bars) over the surcharge value. An example is shown above.

1934 Scott 107 1.75d deep rose, Borders in black
King Alexander Memorial Issue
Then Tragedy. The King was assassinated in Marseilles on October 9, 1934. This 14 stamp issue was released on October 17, 1934.

1935-36 Scott 130 30d rose pink "King Peter II"
The heir to the throne, Peter II, was only eleven years old.  There was a 15 stamp issue released in 1935-36 with his young visage. 

Since he was a minor, his cousin, Prince Paul, was named Regent. There were some Red Cross semi-postals issued in 1936 that have the portrait of Prince Regent Paul. They are inexpensive, but I do not have them. ;-)

1935 Scott 135 7.50d rose carmine
"King Alexander"
And as a final stamp tribute to the assassinated King, a five stamp set was released in 1935 on the first anniversary of his death.

  1937 Scott 140 3d peacock green 
"Coats of Arms of Yugoslavia, Greece, Romania, and Turkey"
The "Balkan Entente" was mutual defense agreement signed in 1934 between the four nations listed above. It was to ward off potential aggression from Bulgaria or Albania.

Not surprising, the "Balkan Entente" offered no help later against aggressive Germany or Italy.

1940 Scott 142 25p black "King Peter II"
In 1939-40, a large 15 stamp set was issued with an older Peter II portrait. But he was only 15 years old at the time of the issue.  And Germany was putting pressure on his regent cousin. Prince Paul, to join the Axis.

This was the last stamp issue for the House of Karadordevic.

After the Axis invasion, he and the Yugoslav Government in exile moved to England.

General Montgomery, King Peter II, and Sir Winston Churchill
But the Allies shifted their support to Tito's Communist Partisans in 1943, as it was felt the war would end earlier that way.

Yugoslavia, then, was under the communist sphere after WW II.

Peter II settled in the United States after WW II, and died in 1970. He is actually interred at the St. Slava Monastery Church in Libertyville, Illinois, the only European  monarch to be buried on American soil. Then, on January 22, 2013, his remains were brought back to Belgrade.

1931 Scott B24 1d (+ 50p) red, black overprint
"Kings Tomislav and Alexander"
Surtax for War Memorial Fund
Yugoslavia has released many semi-postals: for this time period 1921-1940, there are 119! Clearly, it has been an effective way to raise funds for the  Yugoslavian government.

The above example was originally a three semi-postal issue of 1929. There was a surcharge for the stamp to raise funds to create a War Memorial Cemetery in France, and erect a monument to the Serbian solders who had died there.

The original semi-postal issue was then overprinted with "Jugoslavia" in 1931, and again used to raise funds.

1933 Scott B38 75p + 25p slate green
"Prince Peter"
For the 60th meeting of the Sports Association of Ljubljana, two semi-postal stamps were issued with the portrait of young Prince Peter.  His life would change in one year.

1939 Scott B93 2d + 1.50d dark blue 
"Cruiser "Dubrovnik""
For the Yugoslavian Navy, a nice engraved three stamp semi-postal set was issued in 1939. The surtax was for funds for a marine museum.

1940 Scott B111 4d + 2d dark blue 
"Map of Yugoslavia"
In 1940, a nice five stamp issue was released for the benefit of postal employees in Zagreb. ? I don't know why- to pay them? But the stamp illustrated has a map of Yugoslavia with the eight banovinas (administrative regions) currently operative. The banovinas were carved out in 1929 after King Alexander abolished the constitution. The boundaries purposefully crossed natural ethnic regions with the goal of decreasing the ethnic animosity between peoples.

Air Post 1937 Scott C11 5d brown violet 
"St. Naum Convent"
In 1937, a 8 stamp issue was released for Air Post mail. The four designs feature an airplane over various landmarks.

Postage Due 1921-22 Scott J5 50p violet
Perforation 11 1/2, rough
In 1921-22, a nine stamp postage due set was released as illustrated above. Note the rough perforations.

 1924 Scott J17 5d orange
Perforation 9, 10 1/2, 11 1/2, Clean-cut
In 1924, a similar- but not the same- postage due nine stamp set was released. Note the "Porto" script is much thicker. Also the clean cut perforations are a helpful sign.

Postal Tax 1940 Scott RA4 50p slate blue & red
"Aiding the Wounded"
Postal Tax stamps are like semi-postals, but are mandatory at times. ;-) This stamp was for the benefit of the Red Cross. Note the image is similar to some earlier issues.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) for Yugoslavia 1921-40, has 24 pages, and I have stamps on 21 pages, lacking some of the semi-postals.
First 1921 General Issue in Deep Blue
The Steiner follows the Scott script exactly, and there are spaces for all the (mostly inexpensive) Yugoslavian issues.

Semi-Postal 1938 Scott B71 1d + 1d slate green & deep green
"Hurdlers"; Ninth Balkan Games
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, for 1921-40, has 10 pages. There are 115 spaces for regular, 92 semi-postals, 13 air post, 17 postage due, and 4 postal tax categories. Total = 241. Overall coverage is 71%.

• BB certainly provides more coverage than normal (71%), as the usual figure is closer to 50% for many countries. But Yugoslavian stamps tend to be inexpensive, so BB still left out a number of inexpensive choices. Here is a partial list....

Missing from BB's coverage is.. (CV of <$1)
1922-24 semi-postal issues surcharged ( 3 stamps)
1928 semi-postal stamps of 1926, overprinted (3 stamps)
1931 with imprint at foot issue- ( 9 stamps)
1932 without imprint at foot issue- (5 stamps)
1933 overprinted issue- (9 stamps)
1934 memorial issue- (7 stamps)
1926 semi-postal surcharged in red- ( 11 stamps)
1931 overprinted semi-postals- (3 stamps)
1936 semi-postal overprinted -(4 stamps)
1921 postage due- ( 2 stamps)

• No stamp spaces crossed the $10 threshold.

• In a fit of pragmatism, I included as choices the regular issue 1931 imprint at foot and no imprint at foot varieties, and the 1931-33 postage due, also with the imprint/no imprint varieties, even though the illustration is for the imprint at foot variety. If you disagree, simply put the imprint at foot varieties into BB. :-)


Yugoslavia General Issues







Next page





55, (56),

63 or 77, 64 or 78, 66 or 79, 69 or 80, 71 or 81,



Next Page








Next Page



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Next Page




Next Page


Next Page


Next Page

Air Post


Next Page

Postage Due


J23 or J28, J24 or J29, J25 or J30, J26 or J31, J27 or J32,(J33),

Postal Tax




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (  ) around a space indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1931- I included as choices both the imprint at foot and no imprint at foot varieties even though the illustration is for the imprint at foot variety. ;-)
D) *1931-33- I included as choices both the imprint at foot and no imprint at foot varieties even though the illustration is for the imprint at foot variety. ;-)

Semi-postal 1940 Scott B115 2d + 2d maroon & violet rose
"Children playing in the snow"; Child Welfare Surtax
Out of the Blue
I really enjoyed combing through the stamp issues and relating them to the history that was transpiring. Fascinating.

Note: Map, Royal Standard coat of arms, and photo appear to be in the public domain.

Jugoslavia - Bud's Big Blue

Like to see a comment! ;-)


  1. I highly recommend Yugoslavia as an interesting country to collect, with not a high price per stamp. $50 total would buy you just about every stamp issued from 1918-1940. However, some of the semi-postals and air mails are hard to find, even though they don't cost much.

  2. I agree with everything you said. :-)

  3. Jim,
    A couple of tweaks in the totals: in my 1997 Big Blue there are 115 regular issues and 92 Air Post, for a total of 241. I have to go back and tweak my spreadsheet, too, as the total for all of Jugoslavia is 340, not 341. Must have needed more caffeine that night!

  4. Thanks Joe

    I'll recheck the figures.

  5. Joe...

    I recounted, and there are indeed 115 regular and 92 semi-postals for the 1921-1940 time frame. Total = 241. Grand Total for Jugoslavia = 340. Thanks Joe!

  6. I have a Yugoslavia Scott #8 (King Alexander, 60 paras) which is brown in color, as well as one that is vermilion. The Scott catalog says that this stamp is vermilion. Why the brown stamp? Is that a known variety?

    1. Hi Mark

      I don't have the catalogs with me at the moment, so I can't say if it is a known variety. I doubt it though. The most likely is you have an oxidized stamp that is giving a brown coloration - a color changeling.

    2. I think you're right. Thanks for the reply.

  7. St. Sava, actually. A nice site, overlooking the Des Plaines River valley.

  8. Hello,sir. I'm your fans from China.
    As to "1931 Scott B24 1d (+ 50p) red, black overprint""Surtax for War Memorial Fund"Here the War Memorial Cemetery shouldn't for the Serbian soldiers died in France, but instead it's for the French soldiers died in Serbia.
    On October 5, 1915, French troops landed in Salonika aiming to open a new front in the Great War and rescue their Serbian allies.
    After war,a Monument of Gratitude to France was inaugurated in the 1930s in Belgrade, then the capital of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, generally referred to as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It was designed as a tribute to France for its help during World War I.

    1. Unk - Thanks for the helpful information and explanation.