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, December 12, 2013


1864 Scott 5 1/4s red "Coat of Arms" , part of Block of Four
Close-up of 1/4s red
Quick History
The Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was located by the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany, and bordered the Prussian Pomerania and Brandenburg provinces, and the Hanover province. It was held by the House of Mecklenburg residing at Schwerin.

Other important cities in the territory include Wismar and Rostock. The lands became a Grand Duchy after the 1815 Congress of Vienna, when Grand Duke Frederick Francis I joined the just formed German Confederation.  ( His cousin Charles II from Strelitz did likewise. )

In 1856 stamps were introduced, and continued through 1867.

But the Duchy, surrounded by Prussia, was increasingly under Prussian influence, and joined the North German Confederation in 1867. The population was 670,000 at that time.

Mecklenburg-Schwerin in the North German Confederation 1867
Surrounded by Prussia
Naturally, that was the end of stamp production, as the stamps of the North German Confederation were used beginning on January 1, 1868. Then, in 1871, Mecklenburg-Schwerin became a state in the newly formed German Empire- dominated by Prussia.

The Duchy had always operated as a feudal form of government (The Grand Duke was the executive branch!) until 1907, when Frederick Francis IV promised a constitution. In 1918, Frederick Francis IV also became regent of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. This was short lived, however, as the Grand Duke had to renounce the Mecklenburg throne during the upheaval after the German Empire defeat in WW I.

Subsequently, the Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin became a federated state within the Weimar republic.
Mecklenburg-Schwerin Coat of Arms
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Mecklenburg-Schwerin in the German States section, eight major descriptive numbers. Three stamps were issued in 1856 (CV $40+-$190). Five more stamps were issued between 1864-67 (CV $30+-$1,500). Altogether, six stamps are CV $30+-$125.

Clearly, the stamps are fairly expensive, but a small selection could be sought by the WW classical collector if interested.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
48 Schillings = 1 Thaler
The two imperforate designs introduced in 1856 show part of the Coat of Arms: More specifically a Bull with a Crown. This bull, however, looks nothing like the ferocious Brahma bulls I've seen at western rodeos: but rather a gentle, almost effeminate species. Most interesting!

1864 Scott 5 Block of Four 1/4s red "Coat of Arms"
Then from 1864 through 1867, five more stamps and one more design was introduced. An example of the 1/4 shilling red, the new design for 1864, is shown here. The stamp, which is now rouletted 11 1/2, was actually sold for 1 shilling. But the stamp could be cut up into four parts- each part worth 1/4 shilling. How clever!
Genuine vs Forgery
Well, almost every early German State stamp can be found with forgeries -what about Mecklenburg-Schwerin?

Fortunately, I have a copy of the G erman Philatelic Society manual (in CD form) on German States forgeries. The Scott 1 (1856), Scott 4 (1864), and Scott 5 (1864-shown above)- all with similar designs- share five reported forgeries.

But the Genuine can be identified from the five listed forgeries- including a Fournier (Forgery I)- by these signs (see arrows).....
• The dot or period after the "B" in the upper left panel is always present in the genuine, and is clear of the horizontal line above.
• There is a break in the line under the "N" in the genuine- not seen with the forgeries.

Update Note: There is a superb review of genuine/forgeries by Falschung here.

Deep Blue
The one Steiner page is quite straightforward: Three spaces for the 1856 issue, and five spaces for the 1864-67 issue. Done. ;-)
Mecklenburg-Schwerin in '47 Big Blue
Big Blue
The '69 Big Blue editors eliminated Mecklenburg-Schwerin for reasons of space? and cost? But the German State exists on the same page as Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and at the end of Memel spaces in the '47 and earlier editions.

The '47 BB has two spaces for Mecklenburg-Strelitz- both rather expensive. The 1856 Scott 2 3s yellow is CV $45, and the 1864 Scott Four 1/4s red is CV $42+.

Checklist ('47/'43/'41 editions)

5 (block of four)

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1856 Scott 2 3s yellow ($45)
1864 Scott 5 Four 1/4s red ($42+)

The Schwerin Castle
Out of the Blue
I really like these stamps. If I wasn't already committed to collecting the world, I would give serious consideration to just concentrating on the German sphere. ;-)

Note: Maps, Coat of Arms and Castle pics appear to be part of the public domain.



  1. ORIGINALS: Open ended horns. The "S" of "SCHILLING" has a small curve at the top like the "S" in "SCHWERIN".
    COUNTERFEITS: Closed ended horns. The "S" of "SCHILLING" has a small curve at the bottom not the top, the opposite of the small curve in the "S" of "SCHWERIN".

  2. So, are you saying my 1/4s red is a forgery? LOL

    What is your source, and could you direct me to a good illustrated example of a "genuine"?

    The GPS manual CD states " The tip of the ox's right horn is slightly open at top, but may seem closed due to smearing of ink".

    My example does look pretty closed though. ;-)

  3. Old post - but the closed horn, etc. does not apply to the 1864 Mi5.
    New Meck-Sch. forgery article out soon

    1. Thanks for the alert and update Falschung.