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...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Leeward Islands

1890 Scott 1 1/2p lilac & green "Victoria"
Note the "Antigua" postmark
Quick History
The "British" Leeward Islands, consisting of Antigua, Montserrat, St. Christopher ( St. Kitts), Nevis and Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and Dominica (until 1940), is located in the West Indies southeast of Puerto Rico. The Capital was St. John's on Antigua, and the population was 98,000 in 1942.

 Map showing the Leeward Island grouping.
The "British" Leeward Islands issued stamps from 1890-1956, and they could be used on any of the islands. But the group was divided into Presidencies: Antigua (along with Barbuda and Redonda), Montserrat, St. Christopher (St. Kitts) with Nevis and Anguilla, the British Virgin islands, and Dominica. Each Presidency issued their own stamps valid within their territory.

Islands with their own stamp issues up to 1952
Antigua 1862-1951 (Only Leeward island stamps were used from 1890-1903)
Barbuda 1922
Montserrat 1876-1951 (Only Leeward island stamps were used from 1890-1903)
St. Christopher 1870-1888 (Replaced by Leeward island stamps in 1890. For later issues, see St. Kitts-Nevis)
St. Kitts-Nevis 1903-1951 (Only Leeward island stamps were used from 1890-1903)
• St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla 1952
Nevis 1861-1890  (Replaced by Leeward island stamps in 1890. For later issues, see St. Kitts-Nevis)
Virgin islands 1866-1952 (Only Leeward island stamps were issued from 1890-1903)
Dominica 1874-1951 (Only Leeward island stamps were issued from 1890-1903), ( Dominica became a separate colony under the governor of the Windward islands in 1940).

Composed of a group of quarrelsome sibling islands looking out for their own interest, the Leeward Islands Federation was only partially successful. They were rivals in selling their products (The sugar trade). St. Kitts and Nevis opposed sharing government funds with bankrupt Antigua and Montserrat. Unpopular though it was, "the one governor, one set of laws" for the Leeward Islands remained from 1871 until it was dissolved in 1956.

1909 Scott 41 1/2p brown "Edward VII"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 116 major description for the years 1890-1951.  Of those, 56 are CV <$1-$2+, or 48%. Almost all of the issues consist of the colonial key plate stamp design. No George V or VI pictorials either. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1890 Scott 3 2 1/2p lilac & ultramarine "Victoria"
The initial stamp issue for all of the "British" Leeward islands consisted of 8 stamps with the above key plate "Victoria" design. Watermark 2, the "Crown and C A" are found, and the CV for 5 stamps is <$1-$7.

Then in 1897 this regular issue was handstamped overprinted for the Queen's Jubilee. !!! Three stamps are only CV $5-$7, but I don't have any at the moment. By the way, Scott states that counterfeits exist.

1902 Scott 20 1/2p violet & green "Edward VII"
A 9 stamp issue was introduced in 1902 with the "Edward VII" portrait. CV is <$1-$5 for 7 stamps. The watermark continued to be the "Crown and C A".

Recall that during 1890-1903, all of the islands were using the "Leeward Islands" stamps exclusively if my reading is correct. So, for this time period, the Leeward Islands stamps should be "abundant" and found (cancelled) for all the islands. Could make for an interesting side collection. ;-)

1907-11 Scott 42 1/2p green "Edward VII"
Ordinary paper, wmk 3 
Between 1905-11, a 12 stamp mostly chalky paper issue was produced. The colors can be the same as the 1902 issue, so attention to the wmk 3 "Multiple Crown & C A" is necessary. CV for 6 stamps is <$1-$7.

Then, between 1907-11, a 5 stamp issue in ordinary paper was forthcoming, also in wmk 3, but fortunately in different colors than the preceding issues. One then does not need to become an expert in chalky vs ordinary paper here, as I, for one, still have occasional difficulty with the determination.

1912 Scott 48 1p carmine "George V"
Die I: Note the crown clearly drops down into the vignette tablet
In 1912-1922, a 12 stamp definitive set in either ordinary and chalky paper was issued for the "George V" reign. Watermark 3 is still present. The design is Die I, where the crown is partially dropped down into the vignette tablet (See arrow). CV is $1+-$4+ for 8 stamps.

Be aware that in 1913, an additional three stamp issue was produced with surface colored paper only at much higher CV. For instance, the 3p violet/yellow can be found with the yellow showing on the back of the stamp (CV $21+), or the yellow not showing on the back of the stamp (surface colored paper- CV $60+).

1922 Scott 64 1p deep violet "George V": Wmk 4
 Die II: Note the crown only slightly drops down into the vignette tablet
Between 1921-32, another "George V" key plate set was issued, this time with watermark 4, "Multiple Crown & Script C A". The 22 stamp issue had a CV of <$1-$3+ for 11 stamps.

Also note this issue has Die II, another way to tell apart the 1912-22 issue with Die I.

For a fuller discussion on the Die I/Die II differences, see the Fiji post.

1932 Scott 70a 2 1/2p ultramarine "George V"
Has wmk 4, what Die is this?
So just when one thinks one has the rules straight, there is a stamp "curveball". ;-) Yes this is a wmk 4, but the Die here is......I ! Turns out the minor number Scott 70a issued in 1932 is a Die I stamp. ;-)

Left Upper: wmk 2, the "Crown and C A"
Right Upper: wmk 3, "Multiple Crown & C A"
Lower: wmk 4, "Multiple Crown & Script C A"
Here is a pic of the watermarks one will need to know for the Leeward islands. The only watermarks that are somewhat difficult to detect for the British colonies (at least for me) are those on colored paper.

1938-51 Scott 110 6p violet & red violet "George VI"
Between 1938-51, a "George VI" key plate definitive set was issued with 13 stamps. Of those, 7 are CV <$1-$1+.

1949 Scott 124 2 1/2p black & plum "George VI"
In 1949, an additional 6 stamps of the "1938 type" were produced. These were in different colors than the original issue. CV is <$1 for all of them.

1946 Scott 117 3p deep orange  "Peace Issue"
I usually don't show omnibus issues, as they are all the same- so what's the point? ;-) But here is the common design type for the "Peace Issue" for the Leeward Islands with a great "St. Kitts" postmark. In fact, since the Leeward Islands stamps are the generic issues for all the islands, collecting by postmark would make them more interesting, in my opinion.

1951 Scott 131 12c lilac & rose carmine
"University Issue"
Another common design type for the West Indies, but much more intriguing, is the 1951 issue for the University College of the West Indies with a portrait of Princess Alice as chancellor. How charming. ;-)

Deep Blue
The George VI 1938-51 issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has seven pages for the Leeward islands covering 1890-1951. The spaces follow the modern Scott catalogue for major numbers exactly. Nice!

1922 Scott 68 2p gray "George V"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69 entry for the Leeward Islands is found after Lebanon, on the same page as Madeira. It consists of 1 page and 2 lines, and there are 44 spaces between the years 1890-1938. Coverage is 38%.

Update: Joe (see comments) notes that only 13 spaces exist for the '97 edition. It appears one whole page (31 spaces) was not put into the "97 edition- possibly inadvertent. The only other difference in content that I am aware of between the '69 and '97 editions is the absence of Anjouan in the '97.

• although the CV is not cheap (It is, after all, a British colony), no stamps cross the $10 threshold.

• BB provides the usual one space for wmk1/ wmk2, and wmk3 Die I/ wmk 4 Die II definitive choices.

• In several instances BB asks for colors that are now minor numbers. I list the specifics in the comment section, and as per protocol, I include the major numbers as choices. 



20 or 29, 21 or 30, (22), (23),


Next Page

46 or 61, 47 or 62, 48a or 48*, 49 or 69, 50 or 70, 51 or 58 or 72, 74, 53 or 75,

1931-32 (Actually 1921-32)



103,104,105,106,107,108,109a or 109*,


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *1902-08 Choices are for wmk 2 or wmk 3
D) *1912-32 Choices are for wmk 3 or wmk 4,  also Die I or Die II
E) *43 BB has "1p scarlet", but it is "1p red" in the catalogue
F) * 48a or 48 -BB calls for 1p scarlet (48a), but major number is now 1p carmine (48)
G) *109a or 109- BB calls for 3p brown orange (109a), but major number is now 3p dull orange (109)

1942 Scott 111 1 sh black/emerald "George VI"
Out of the Blue
As the Leeward islands issues were the "generic" definitive stamps for all the islands, and no pictorials are included, not terribly exciting. ;-) But collecting with a readable island cancel would definitely add spice.

Note: West Indies map appears to be in the public domain

Bud's Big Blue - Leeward Islands

Have a comment?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. For some reason the 1997 Big Blue has only 13 spaces for the Leewards. No rationale, really. Not even the Coronation Issue is there.

  3. Joe- Very interesting
    -that means one whole page (31 spaces) was not put in the '97 edition. This could have simply been inadvertent, as I believe that is the reason Anjouan is not found either in the '97.

  4. Jim,
    Maybe, as only the top half of the page is printed. It seems like the spaces that were squished into the 1969 were moved over to their own page, but then they didn't even fill out the rest of the page.