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, October 31, 2013


1920 Scott 11 1m brown & green
Allegorical Symbol of Allied Supervision of Plebiscite
Quick History
After the defeat of Germany in WW I, the Versailles Treaty specified that much of the Province of Posen and of West Prussia be ceded to Poland. Poland, then, would have a corridor to the Baltic Sea via access to the Free Port City of Danzig (Gdansk).

German Territorial Losses after WW I
Note Poland gained a large strip of land- and Baltic Sea access
This was decided without a plebiscite (vote). But some territories, namely Alleinstein in East Prussia, and Marienwerder in West Prussia, because of a vocal German population, and the sympathies of the British Prime Minister Lloyd George, were allowed  to vote whether to join Poland or East Prussia (Germany).

The Plebiscite Territories with German/Polish majorities indicated
West end of Map: Marienwerder (Kwidzyn) is located 50 miles south of Danzig
The Plebiscite was scheduled for July 11, 1920. It was sponsored by Inter-Allied Commissions for the League of Nations. British and Italian contingents were on the ground, but civil administration was handled by the Germans.

(Note: For a superb map of the German land losses 1919-21, and another view of the Allenstein/Marienwerder Plebiscite lands, see Michael's Dead Countries Stamps website for Allenstein. Thanks Michael!)

Naturally, the plebiscite was promoted and publicized through the use of stamp issues.

The result for Marienwerder (Kwidzyn) was a very lopsided 96,000 votes for East Prussia, and 8,000 votes for Poland. Consequently, Marienwerder joined East Prussia and the Weimar Republic.

Now, let's look at the stamp issues....

1920 Scott 1 5pf green
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 42 major stamp descriptions for Marienwerder. Of those, 19 are CV <$1-$1+. Clearly, a modest collection can be accumulated.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Pfennig = 1 Mark
1920 Scott 5 25pf deep blue
Allegorical Symbol of Allied Supervision of Plebiscite
The first 14 stamp issue was produced beginning in March, 1920, and had this striking allegorical design with  "Commission Interallièe" and "Marienwerder" scripted on the top and bottom of the stamp respectively. The CV is <$1-$2+ for 12 stamps, all less expensive for unused.

1920 Scott 29 75pf green & black
"Commission Interallièe Mareinwerder"
Stamps of Germany, 1905-19, were also overprinted with the same script. The 6 German stamps in the set have a CV of $4+-$10+ for 3 stamps.

There are two more four stamp overprinted German issues produced in 1920: but, alas, I do not have them.

1920 Scott 53 5m blue & rose
Second Plebiscite Issue of 1920 with Allegorical Symbolism
In July, 1920, another 14 stamp issue was released; this time with "Plebiscite" and "Marienwerder/Kwidzyn" script. CV ranges from <$1-$1+ for 9 stamps. The 5m blue & rose above has a town cancel I cannot find for the Marienwerder region, and it appears to have been cancelled in August, 1920, after the plebiscite. ;-)

1920 Scott 51 2m dark violet
Almost all of my collection is unused, but here is another used specimen. Marienburg is a real town in the Marienwerder region, but this stamp appears to have been cancelled in September, 1920. ;-)

Deep Blue
1920 First Plebiscite Issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has two pages for the Marienwerder plebiscite issues. The album follows the Scott sequence for major numbers exactly.

1920 Scott 10 75pf chocolate
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two lines of one page, has six spaces for the first allegorical plebiscite issue, and six spaces then for the second issue.

Marienwerder in Big Blue
• The second allegorical plebiscite issue yields two CV $10+ stamps in BB.
• I found some nine stamps CV <$1-$1+ that are not in BB.
• Still, I'm appreciative that Marienwerder has spaces allocated, and was not among the countries purged by the '69 editors. ;-)



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1920 Scott 42 15pf gray ($10+)
1920 Scott 44 25pf deep blue ($10+)

1920 Scott 13 3m red
Out of the Blue
Poland, of course, ultimately "won", as the lands became part of that country after WW II.

Note: Maps, "Kwidzyn" pic appear to be in the public domain.

Marienwerder - Bud's Big Blue

A Comment?
Kwidzyn (Marienwerder) Today

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mariana Islands

1901 Scott 21 25pf orange & black/yellow
Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern" 
Quick History
The Mariana Islands are an archipelago of 14 volcanic islands in the west Pacific Ocean north of Guam extending 1,500 miles (2,500 km) toward Japan. Saipon, Tinian, and Rota are inhabited currently, and the archipelago is now a Commonwealth of the United States.

The population was 44,000 in 1935, and the Capital is Saipon.
Map of Mariana Islands
But Spain had the original claim in 1667, naming them after the Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria. The Marianas- including Guam- were a Spanish colony, under the administration of the Philippines, until the Spanish-American War, when Guam was ceded to the United States. Then, in 1899, Spain sold the remaining islands to Germany.

Germany administered these islands as part of the German Protectorate of New Guinea. The population of the islands was only 2,600 at the time.

As part of WW I, Japan occupied the islands in 1914. They then became mandated territories to Japan under the League of Nations after WW I.

Guam was attacked from the Japanese held Marianas on December 8, 1941, the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor. Guam was recaptured by the Americans in 1944.  Saipan and Tinian were then occupied, and used extensively for round trip bomber missions to mainland Japan. The Enola Gay left Tinian's "North Field" for its atomic bomb mission to Hiroshima.

The classical era philatelic history, though, is of Spanish and German issues, beginning in 1899. Let's take a look...
1901 Scott 17 3pf brown
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 6 major descriptive numbers for the 1899 handstamped (Spanish Dominion) Philippine issue, and 21 major numbers for the 1900-1919 German issues.

• The 1899 six King Alfonso XIII stamps of the Philippines, handstamped vertically, are major league CV expensive. CV $300+-$5000. And there are overprint forgeries. ;-) I will say no more about them, except I became aware of a philatelist on one of the internet forum groups that specializes in these stamps and covers. Nice!

• The German issues (21 major numbers) have a CV of $1+-$10+ for 16 stamps. Consequently, a representative collection can be acquired by the WW classical collector for a moderate outlay. Naturally, the unused stamps are significantly less expensive than genuine used copies.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centavos = 1 Peso
100 Pfenning = 1 Mark (1899)
The first six stamp issue of Germany in 1899 consists of the "Marianen" overprint at a 48 degree angle on stamps of Germany, 1889-90. These have a very high CV of $190+- $2,700+, and are given minor numbers in Scott.
The 1900 six stamp issue with 56 degree angle overprint have major numbers, and have a CV of $10+ for three stamps. Sadly, I have no examples at the moment. ( If I was specializing in Germany and Colonies, no doubt I would have some specimens.  But as a WW intermediate classical collector, I am spread too thin ;-)

1901 Scott 20 20pf ultramarine
Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern" 
The issue I do have is the 1901 "Hohenzollern" design, which is essentially found for all German colonies. This 13 stamp issue comprises most of the affordable CV stamps for the Marianas, having a CV of $1+-$3+ for 10 stamps unused.
1901 Scott 23 40pf lake & black
The 25pf-80pf denominations are bi-colored printed, and certainly have visual appeal. The 1m-5m denominations are engraved, in larger horizontal format, and have a CV of $3+-$7+ for three stamps.

I should mention that there is also a 1916-19 3pf brown and a 5m slate & carmine with watermark "Lozenges" known, but these stamps were never placed in use.

Deep Blue
The 1901 set in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has two pages: One for the Spanish dominion 1899 issue, and one for the 1900-19 German issues. The uber-expensive minor number 1899 48 degree angle overprinted stamps are not given a formal space, thank goodness. ;-)

1901 Scott 18 5pf green
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two lines of one page, has a representative collection of 13 spaces, including three spaces for the overprinted 1900 issue. Nice! BTW, the page is found after "Macao", and before "Madagascar" in the '69.
Marianas Islands in Big Blue
• Expensive stamps (CV $10+) include the Scott 11 and blank space choices Scott 12 & 13 for the overprinted "Marianen" issue of 1899 (actually 1900) for the 56 degree angle stamps.
• A nice selection of the 1900 (actually 1901) issue of 10 stamps is included.
• The Scott 30 3pf brown (wmk Lozenges) stamp issued in 1919, but never placed in use, is not given a space ( CV $1).


11, (12), (13),



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1900 Scott 11 3pf dark brown ($10+)
1900 (Scott 12) 5pf green ($10+)
1900 (Scott 13) 10pf carmine ($10+)
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
1901 Scott 19 10pf carmine
Out of the Blue
Here the history of the Marianas during WW II, even if the islands remain obscure for most, is of much more importance than the classical stamp issues of the Spanish Dominion and the German era.

And how many people realize that the present 50,000 inhabitants of the Northern Mariana Islands are U.S. citizens? ;-)

Note: Map, island pic appears to be in the public domain.

Anatahan Island

Saturday, October 19, 2013


1935 Scott 74 10f dark blue "Phoenix"
Quick History
Manchuria, located in northeast China and inner Mongolia, was traditionally ruled by the ethnic Manchus: hence the name. But when Imperial Japan seized the lands in 1931, the Han Chinese were, by far, the largest ethnic group, although there was also a stewing pot of Japanese (increasing during the puppet years), Koreans, Mongols, and White Russians. To add some legitimacy to the raw takeover from China, Japan formed a puppet government for Manchukuo ("Manchu State"), and brought back the "last emperor" from the Qing Dynasty, Asin-Giorp Puyi.

Manchukuo 1939
The Capital was Changchun (renamed Hsingking), and the population was 43,000,000. Manchukuo became an industrial power during the 1930s, and steel production actually exceeded Japan for awhile. The South Manchuria Railway Company built an impressive transport system.

But the industrialization was built on the backs of 10 million Chinese slave laborers. The newly imported 100,000 Japanese farmers were given the best lands.

Harmony of the Japanese, Chinese, and Mongol Peoples
Yet, the puppet government promoted racial harmony, a theme we will see in their stamp production. The Han Chinese, naturally, resented the takeover. After the Soviet Red Army recaptured the lands in 1945, Manchuria became a staging ground for the Communist Party of China during the Chinese Civil War.

Now, let;s take a closer look at the stamps and themes of the 1932-1940 puppet state of Manchukuo.

1933 Scott 19 1f orange 
"Flags, Map and Wreath"
Into the Deep Blue
The 1911 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has for 1932-1940 Manchukuo, 140 major stamp descriptions. Of those, 66 are CV <$1-$1+, or 47%. Manchukuo is more expensive than many countries, but still there are plenty of stamps available for a representative collection.

Although I focus on 1840-1940 for non British Commonwealth countries, I will make an exception for Manchukuo. The Classic Steiner pages complete the Manchukuo issues through 1945, and I will do likewise. ;-) This will add 27 more stamps for 1941-45.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Fen = 1 Yuan
1932 Scott 3 1 1/2f lilac "Pagoda at Liaoyang"
The White Pagoda (baita) of the ancient city of Liaoyang, dating back to 1189 in the Liao Dynasty, was chosen to be on the  first stamp design.  Clearly, the puppet regime was appealing to the Manchu roots, and perhaps, by association, adding legitimacy.

The first issue of 1932 had 18 lithographic stamps and was unwatermarked. The lower 11 denominations had this design (CV <$1-$1+ for seven).

Note the five characters on the upper horizontal tablet reads "Manchu State Postal Administration".

Also note the "unwatermarked" status and the "five characters" will be important in order to differentiate future issues. ;-)

1932 Scott 15 20f gray brown
"Chief Executive Henry Pu-yi"
As mentioned, the puppet regime recruited the "last emperor", Asin-Gioro Puyi, who had ruled as the 12th Qing Emperor between 1908-1912, and briefly for 12 days in 1917 during the warlord era.

He had become Emperor at age 2 years and 10 months, and he cried from fright  (as one would expect) when his father carried him to the throne amidst the cacophonous drums and music. But he was treated as a God, the ritual kowtow required by all. And he found he could have his eunuchs beaten, who cared for him, if he became displeased.

1933 Scott 21 4f light red
"Flags, Map and Wreath"
For the first anniversary of the establishment of the State, a four stamp issue with two designs was produced.  CV is $4+ for two stamps.

1934 Scott 29 10f deep orange, wmk 239
"Pagoda at Liaoyang"
In 1934, another 9 stamp set was produced using the two designs of the 1932 issue. However, now the stamps are watermarked "Curved Wavy Lines", and are engraved on granite paper, rather than lithographed. CV is <$1-$1+ for 5 stamps.

Besides the watermarking, the little threads embedded in the granite paper is a helpful clue to identify this issue from the 1932 issue.

1934 Scott 36 1f on 4f olive green
Surcharged in black
A surcharged "1f" stamp was issued in 1934 on the unwatermarked 1932 4f olive green, as shown above. CV is $2+.

1934 Scott 32 1 1/2f orange brown
"Emperor's Palace"
In `1934, Pu-yi was formally enthroned as Emperor of Manchukuo, becoming Emperor Kang Teh. A four stamp set was released in celebration showing the "Emperor's Palace", as above, and a "Phoenix".

1934-36 Scott 39 1 1/2f dark violet, wmk 239
"Pagoda at Liaoyang"
A new set of stamps were released acknowledging the change in status of the regime. Now the upper six characters (important!) read "Manchu Empire Postal Administration".

The nine lower denomination stamps, engraved on granite paper, and watermarked "Curvy Waved Lines" have a CV of <$1-$2.

1935 Scott 54 50f olive green, wmk 239
"Emperor Kang Teh"
The six upper denomination stamps show now "Emperor Kang Teh (Pu-yi). CV is <$1-$2 for 5 stamps.

Pu-yi was an interesting man. He was both unwilling and willing to be Emperor under the Japanese. Naturally, he resented the Japanese, and was at odds with them in private.  But he was also annoyed that they only made him Emperor of Manchukuo, and he was not fully restored as Qing Emperor.

After WW II, he was captured by the Russians, and repatriated to China in 1949 under Mao Zedong. He spent 10 years under confinement, when he was declared reformed. He then gave his support to the communist government, and wrote a famous biography "The first half of my life" ( English: "From Emperor to Citizen").

1935 Scott 57 10f deep blue, wmk 242
In 1935, two denominations were added to the "Pagoda at Liaoyang" issue. The 10f (pictured), and the 13f light brown, though, have watermark 242 "Characters".

Left: wmk 239 "Curved Wavy Lines"
Right: wmk 242 "Characters"
This might be a good time to review the watermarks so far. The "Curved Wavy Lines" watermark looks like, to me, a vertical EKG strip. The "Characters" watermark show, well, characters. ;-)

1935 Scott 63 4f dull olive green
"Sacred White Mountains and Black Waters"
In `1935, a new four stamp definitive issue, lithographed, was produced. One design, "Sacred White Mountains", is shown above. The other is shown on the next image. These stamps have watermark 141 "Horizontal Zigzag Lines"

This was the first of the "Face Saving" issues which were intended for mail to China. There was no "Manchu State" script on the stamps.

1935 Scott 62 2f green "Orchid Crest of Manchukuo", wmk 141
1935 Scott 68 8f ocher, wmk 242
The second 1935 design shows the Imperial Seal, the "Orchid Crest". These 1935 stamps need to differentiated  from another 1935 lithographed three stamp issue with identical designs, but with watermark 242 "Characters". The 8f ocher above is a member of that group.

Left: wmk 141 "Horizontal Zigzag lines"
Right: wmk 242 "Characters"
The  pic shows the "Horizontal Zigzag Lines" watermark and another example of the "Characters" watermark.
1935 Scott 68 8f ocher, wmk 242, lithographed
1936 Scott 77 8f ocher, wmk 242, engraved
"Orchid Crest"
But there are more complications. ;-) In 1936, an engraved and redrawn four stamp set was issued with the foregoing "Sacred White Mountains" and "Orchid Crest" designs. This issue has wmk 242 "Characters". Note the difference in design for the "Orchid Crest" (wider leaves).

By the way, do not rely on the color Scott illustration for the A13 "Orchid Crest-wide leaves" design, as they mistakenly just repeat the A9 "Orchid Crest-narrow leaves" image in my 2010 Standard Postage Catalogue, and my 2011 Classic Specialized Catalogue. (The '47 Scott black & white image is correct.)

1935 Scott 71 1 1/2f dull green "Mt. Fuji"
A four stamp set was produced in 1925 with two designs. The first design, "Mt. Fuji", is illustrated above. The set was released when Emperor Kang Teh visited Tokyo. Can you think of a better image to pay homage to Japan than "Mt. Fuji"? ;-)

1935 Scott 72 3f orange "Phoenix"
The second engraved design for the 1935 set shows the "Phoenix", a legendary bird indeed ripe with symbolism. I also show this lovely design- the 10f dark blue- in the post header image.

1936 Scott 79 1 1/2f black brown
"Wild Goose over Sea of Japan"
In commemoration of the postal convention with Japan, a four stamp set was released in 1936. The "Wild Goose over Sea of Japan" design is stunning!

1936 Scott 85 1 1/2f violet "New State Council Building"
1937 Scott 86 2f light green "Carting Soybeans"
Then in 1936, a four design, 18 stamp engraved issue was produced. The first two designs are shown above

1936 Scott 91 7f brown black "North Mausoleum at Mukden"
1936 Scott 100 1y  violet "Summer Palace at Chengteh"
The next two designs, quite exquisitely engraved like miniature paintings, are shown here. CV is <$1-$1+ for 15 stamps.

1936-37 Scott 90 6f carmine , engraved
1944-45 Scott 159 6f crimson rose, lithographed
Be aware that in 1944-45, a cruder 6 stamp lithographed set was produced. They should be easily distinguished from the finer engraved 1936-37 issue.

1937 Scott 105 2 1/2f on 2f
In 1937, there was a series of seven stamps that were surcharged. They were intended primarily to pay postage to China.

1937 Scott 111 3f blue green
"Composite Picture of Manchurian City"
For the 5th anniversary of the founding of the Manchurian State, a two stamp issue was released. The design above was intended to show the increasing modernization of the cities.

1937 Scott 112 2 1/2f dark violet 
New denominations in a three stamp set was produced in 1937, mainly for postage to China.

1937 Scott 113 5f black, engraved
1944 Scott 158 5f gray black, lithographed
"Sacred Mountains and Black Water"
The 1937 set was engraved, but there is a 1944 set that was lithographed that one needs to be aware of for proper identification. One will note many differences on careful inspection.

1937 Scott 116 2f dark violet "Pouter Pigeon"
With the completion of the Capital Hsinking under the five year construction plan, a celebratory four stamp issue was released in 1937. A Pouter Pigeon is a domesticated variety of the common Rock Pigeon.

1937 Scott 121 2f dark carmine "Map"
Another five stamp set was released in 1937: One of the designs is shown here. One must remember that in the 1930s, world wide stamp collecting was still popular, and claims to Regime legitimacy through "stamp propaganda" was quite often practiced.  The number of issues produced went up and the revenue nicely followed. ;-)

1940 Scott 137 4f indigo "Dragon Dance"
For the 2600th anniversary of the Japanese Empire, a two stamp set was produced. Nice design here.

This is the end of coverage for the Scott Classic catalogue, but we will continue.

1942 Scott 140 2f light green
Overprinted in red
The fall of Singapore was celebrated in 1942 with this overprinted specimen.

1942 Scott 144 10f red/yellow 
"Map of Manchukuo"
For the 10th anniversary of the founding of Manchukuo, a four stamp set was issued. Stamp production, despite the "East Asia War", was still at a high standard.

1942 Scott 147 6f light green 
"Women of Five Races, Dancing"
One of the myths perpetuated by Manchukuo was "National Harmony". The reality was that Chinese and Japanese students were educated in separate schools, or were segregated within a school. Guess who received the better education? ;-)

1942 Scott 148 3f chocolate
Overprinted in green
I find this stamp hugely ironic- and tragically wrong. It celebrates the one year anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which shows one day earlier on this stamp because of the International Date Line. The inscription reads "Asiatic Prosperity Began This Day December 8, 1941".

1943 Scott 153 6f red brown "Smelting Furnace"
Manchukuo was a center of steel production, and for the second anniversary of the "Greater Asian War", this theme was chosen.

1945 Scott 164 10f red "One Heart, One Soul"
The last stamp issued by Manchukuo. And so it ends.

Deep Blue
1936-37 issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 11 pages for Manchukuo, and follows the Scott major number format exactly. The Steiner is a pleasure! :-)

1941 Scott 138 2f deep carmine "Soldier"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 79 spaces for Manchukuo 1932-1938. Coverage is 56%. Overall, I am satisfied with BB's "representative" selection.

Wrong "Pagoda at Liaoyang" image cuts in Big Blue spaces
(By green & red stickpin): Need to be reversed
 • A major image cut error/switch by BB. The 1934-36 Scott 37 ( with six characters on the upper tablet) image cut is placed beginning with the "1932" series, while the 1932 Scott 1 (with five characters on the upper tablet) is placed beginning with the "1934-36" series. ;-) Because of the image cut switch, I have seen owners of BB struggle to put the "wrong" series in the spaces. Ignore, and put the correct series in its place.

• There are three stamps with CV $10+, and one stamp- the 1933 Scott 22 10f deep blue "Old State Council Building" with a CV of $50+.

• There are some series that are not included as choices because of BB's date specifications or color criteria. The specifics are listed in the "Comments" section after the checklist.

• BB only goes to 1938, and ignores eight stamps issued during 1939-40. (An aside- For the "classic" pages, Steiner's inclusion of stamps through the end of the regime in 1945 makes a lot of sense for Manchukuo.)





50,51,52,(53),62* or 66,63,64 or 68,65* or 70,


Next Page





A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1932 Scott 10 8f ocher ($10+)
1933 Scott 20 2f dull green ($10+)
1933 Scott 22 10f deep blue ($50+)
1934 Scott 35 10f dark blue ($10+)
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *1932-I did not include the 1934 wmk 239 series, as it is mostly in slightly different colors, and BB specifies "1932".
D) *1/*37- A major image cut error/switch by BB. The 1934-36 Scott 37 ( with six characters on the upper tablet) image cut is placed beginning with the "1932" series, while the 1932 Scott 1 (with five characters on the upper tablet) is placed beginning with the "1934-36" series. ;-) Ignore, and put the correct series in its place.
E) *1934-35- I did not include the 1936 redrawn engraved Scott 75-78 because of BB's date specification, and because the image cut does not match the redrawn version.
F) *62 or 66, 64 or 68, 65 or 70- 1935 wmk 141 vs wmk 242 sets
G) *65 or 70- "dull red" in BB, but "brown red" in Scott.

1942 Scott 146 3f orange
"Allegory of National Harmony"
Out of the Blue
Manchukuo and it's stamps are at a particularly sharp historical interface, and I've thoroughly enjoyed learning about the era.

Note: Map and poster image appear to be in the public domain.

Note: Want to know more about Manchukuo stamps?
Check out this great site....

Bud's Big Blue - Manchukuo

Have a comment about Manchukuo?