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...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


1898 Scott 34 3n carmine rose
"Prince Nicholas I"
Quick History
Montenegro (Literally "Black Mountain") was a Principality ( Independent in 1878) and a Kingdom (1910-1918) during the stamp issuing era (1874-1918) under the Prince and King Nicholas I.

Montenegro after the Balkan Wars in 1913

Montenegro in 1914
The Capital was Centinje, and the population was 220,000 in 1909. Serbian was the official language, spoken by 95%, and also 95% were Orthodox Christians.

Montenegro formed a secular Principality in 1852. In 1860, Nicholas I began a long reign as Prince, then King, until his exile to France in 1918.

Nicholas I was a skilled ruler and diplomat, and Montenegro enjoyed a large degree of stability and prosperity under his leadership.

He agreed to a constitution in 1905, and allowed more press freedoms and criminal law reforms.

Proclamation of the Kingdom of Montenegro 1910
In 1910, during the celebration of his jubilee, Nicholas assumed the title of king.

He actively supported the 1912 Balkans Wars, as he wanted the Ottomans completely out of Europe.

He was a active supporter of Serbian unity, but he was bitterly opposed to Karadordevic rule (Peter I, King of Serbia 1903-1918).

Montenegro was a supporter of the Allied Powers during WW I.  But, between 1916-18, Montenegro was occupied by Austria-Hungary, and Nicholas I fled to Italy, then France. (Occupation stamps were issued by Austria in 1917-18.) When the Allies liberated Montenegro, the Podgorica Assembly voted to ban Nicholas I from returning, and voted to join the country with the Kingdom of Serbia.

Montenegro then united, under the general rule of King Peter I of Serbia (1918-21), to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Coats and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929). 

Nicholas I went into exile in France, continuing to claim his throne, until his death three years later.

Montenegro Today
Montenegro became part of Yugoslavia, which eventually broke apart in 1992. Montenegro remained joined in federation with Serbia until 2006, when it became fully independent.

Postage Due 1907 Scott J20 10pa violet
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Montenegro 1874-1918, 145 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 120 are CV <$1-$1+, or 83%. Amazingly, for the stamp issues from 1894-1913 ( 110 stamps), all (100%) are <$1! Many general classic collections will have an abundant representation of unused Montenegro.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Novcic = 1 Florin
100 Helera = 1 Kruna (1902)
100 Para = 1 Kruna (1907)
100 Para = 1 Perper
1879 Middle Printing Scott 10 5n red "Prince Nicholas I"
The portrait of the Prince, Nicolas I, naturally, was on the stamp issues of 1874-1893. There were seven different denomination stamps in the issue, each with their own color.

But the issue is divided into the early printings (1974), the middle printings (1879), and the late printings (1893). Each of the printings have their own major Scott number, with the early printing having the highest CV, and the late printing having the lowest CV.

The printing differences lie not with the image itself, but other variables- namely perforation, pointed teeth or broad teeth, and narrow spacing ( 2-2 1/2 mm)  or wide spacing (2 3/4- 3 1/2 mm) between stamps. Scott's color description is sometimes different, as well.

As it is a bit complicated with all the variables, consult the Scott catalogue directly when working through these issues.

The stamp above- the 5n red, with perforation 12 and narrow spacing, appears to be a middle printing.

1893 Late printing Scott 15 2n yellow "Prince Nicholas I"
The Perf 11 1/2 small holes and broad teeth  is compatible with a late printing, and so this 2n yellow is placed there. The CV for the late printings range from $1+-$2+.

1893 Scott 24 5n red 
Types of 1874-93 overprinted in black or red
In 1893, a 10 stamp set was overprinted in black or red on the 1874-93 issue. The overprint was to honor the 400th anniversary of the introduction of printing in Montenegro.

1894 Scott 41 30n maroon
Between 1894-98, a thirteen stamp set with the same portrait of Prince Nicholas I was issued in new colors and with some new denominations. These lovely stamps can all be had, as well as essentially all the later issues, at close to minimum catalogue value.

Although I don't have any examples, I should mention that the preceding issues were forged by the Spiro Brothers in Hamburg, Germany. A marker is the Cyrillic character that resembles two capital "I"s on the right side panel touch each other on the left end in the genuine, but does not touch in the forgery. Also most Spiro forgeries have a bogus cancel of four concentric circles.

1896 Scott 54 50n red brown & gray blue
"Monastery at Cetinje (Royal Mausoleum)
For the bicentenary anniversary of the ruling dynasty, a lovely bi-color twelve stamp pictorial set showing the Royal Mausoleum was issued in 1896.

Although today valued close to minimum, this set too was forged- this time by Francois Fournier of Geneva, Switzerland.

• Genuine is perf 10 1/2 or 11 1/2; Forgery is perf 11 1/2
• The eagle in the bottom left corner: The genuine has a tiny cross over the heads of the double eagle, while the forgery does not.
• Most forgeries are cancelled with a Cyrillic Cetinje postmark.

Note: For illustrations of the forgeries described in this post, see "Focus on Forgeries"- Varro Tyler 2000.

1902 Scott 59 5h green "Prince Nicholas I"
In 1902, a nine stamp set was released with this portrait of Prince Nicholas I. What I find remarkable is the  visage of the 61 year old Prince. Stunning realism.

1905 Scott 70 25h dull blue
Constitution issue- 15mm
Remember I briefly mentioned that Prince Nicholas permitted a constitution for his country in 1905? This was cause for an overprinted nine stamp "Constitution" 1905 issue to celebrate the occasion. The overprint is found in red or black, and the left vertical script "Constitution" is 15 mm long.

1906 Scott 74a 5k buff
"Constitution " 16 1/2mm
The nine stamp issue was also printed in 1906 with the "Constitution" script now 16 1/2 mm long. "YCTAB" can also be found as four types (consult Scott). This variation issue is given minor numbers in Scott.

1905 Scott 67 2h rose lilac; 1906 Scott 69a 10h rose
"Constitution" 15mm vs 16 1/2mm
Just to drive the point home, here is a comparison of the two overprint variation issues.

1907 Scott 75 1pa ocher "Prince Nicholas I"
In 1907, another portrait issue of Prince Nicholas I was released with 12 stamps in the set. The 66 year old monarch looks very much his age. ( I guess someone could say the same thing about me ;-)

1910 Scott 87 1pa black 
"King Nicholas I as a Youth"
1910 was the jubilee year for Nicholas I - 50 years on the throne! And Nicholas assumed the title of King, and his country became a kingdom. A wonderful- and remarkably inexpensive even today- twelve stamp issue with seven portraits of the king in various stages of his life was released. Here is a portrait of the king as a youth- age 14.
1910 Scott 88 2pa purple brown
"King Nicholas I  and Queen Milena"
Most remarkably, 1910 was also the golden wedding anniversary of Nicholas I and (now) Queen Milena. Here is their portrait in 1860 - he 19 years old- at the beginning of their marriage and their reign. There is a photograph of them in 1910 which I show in the "Quick History" section. You might want to compare. ;-)

1910 Scott 93 25pa deep blue "Nicholas in 1910"
1913 Scott 105 25pa deep blue "King Nicholas I"
A current visage of the King was included in the 1910 issue, which is shown above. This portrait was also used for the twelve stamp 1913 issue, which is shown for comparison purposes.

The 1913 issue was the last regular issue for Montenegro, although there are 1917-18 Austrian overprinted occupation stamps, using 1917 Austrian Military stamps, found in the catalogue.

1902 Scott H2 25h orange & carmine 
"Prince Nicholas I"
Acknowledgement of Receipt Stamps
Between 1895-1913, five "Acknowledgement of Receipt" stamps were issued. All have minimal catalogue value. Above is illustrated the 1902 issue.

Postage Due 1894 Scott J2 2n yellow green 
1905 Scott J18 1k pale gray green
Postage Due stamp issues were released in 1894 ( 8 stamps), 1902 ( 5 stamps), 1905 ( five stamps), 1907 (4 stamps), and 1913 (4 stamps). All are at close to minimum catalogue value. I show an example of the 1894 and 1905 issue here.

Deep Blue
1894-98 "Prince Nicholas I" issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue (Steiner) pages consist of 10 pages, and follow the Scott catalogue for major numbers. Of interest, the Steiner also supplies spaces for the 1906 "Constitution" 16 1/2 mm  minor number issue.

1896 Scott 50 15n dark blue & green
"Monastery at Cetinje (Royal Mausoleum)
Big Blue
Big Blue '69 has three pages and 115 spaces for Montenegro. Coverage is a generous 79%.

• There are no stamps over $10 CV in BB.
• For the 1874-93, with the early, middle, and late printings, BB has just one space.
• There are some changes in color descriptions between BB and the current Scott catalogue. See the "Comment" section for specifics.


1 or 8 or 15, 2 or 9 or 16, 10 or 17,11 or 18, 5 or 12 or 19, 6 or 13 or 20,21,



Next Page






Next Page


Postage Due





Acknowledgement of Receipt Stamps






A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *1874-93: Three printings-1874,1889,1893,-All of the 1893 issue is represented. In some cases the colors in BB are changed in Scott
-7n bright rose in BB is rose lilac or rose in Scott
-10n deep blue in BB is blue in Scott
-15n grayish brown in BB is yellow bister, bister brown, brown in Scott.
D) *1898 series- 2n emerald green in BB is emerald in Scott; 3n carmine in BB is carmine rose in Scott.

1910 Scott 98 5per pale blue "Prince Nicholas"
Out of the Blue
Most of the Montenegro stamp issues had to be abundantly supplied to the philatelic trade, as the CV for these stamps some 117-100 years later is at minimum. Remarkable.

But the stamps themselves are well designed and lovely. Truth be told, in the philatelic world, there is generally little correlation between a stamps's intrinsic beauty and it's catalogue value.

Here one can have beauty at rock bottom prices.

Note: Maps, pic of coronation, appear to be in the public domain.



  1. Hi!
    Nice work you are doing here.
    I can see you did not show SC#49 50 green-gray. I have a block 4 MNH stamps.
    Maybe I can send to you some images.
    Regards to you!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the post Felix.

    Thank you for the offer, but I don't need it. :-)

    I generally only pick one stamp from an issue to show as an example.



  3. I have Fournier forgery of the 1896 Scott 50 15n dark blue & green.

    It is not enclosed in fournier album. I couldn't finad any on auction web sites.
    Jim, do you eventually know number of forgeries of this particular stamp that Fournier did?

    It seems that this stamp is rare and in Michel catalog cancelled stamp of this value is 120 EURos.

    Is it possible that forgery of this stamp be of value despite you noted that the values of Montenegro stamps is of no value?

    Anybody can help with this issue? Any info on that matter will be appreciated.

    P.S. Jim your blog rocks. I will share info with all my friends philatelists.

  4. Congratulations on having a forgery- I like (identified) forgeries.

    Keijo of Stamp Collecting Blog fame shows a Fournier forgery and a genuine for the 1896 issue.


    I take it you have a perf 11 1/2 1896 Scott 50 15n dark blue & green forgery that is cancelled.

    This is what I know...

    Scott describes the counterfeits as "common".

    Varro Tyler in his "Focus on Forgeries c2000" book states most of the Fournier forgeries for this issue are cancelled with a Cyrillic Cetinje circular postmark.

    So a cancelled specimen is what one would expect for a Fournier forgery of this issue.

    Therefore I expect the forgery is probably not worth more than a couple of dollars- maybe less. ;-)

  5. Hi, Montenegro stamps are beautiful indeed.
    Do you know what the 15 Pa. value stamp from the 1910 issue represents? Scott just says "King Nicola I in 1878", but the stamps bears two dates: 1876-1878. I guess it could refer to the Montenegrin-Ottoman War. Do you have any more info on the stamp's actual issue name?

    1. Paolo - I don't have more information. Scott does note that the issue celebrates several things: Proclamation of Montenegro as a kingdom; 50th anniv. of the reign of King Nicolas; Golden wedding celebration of the King and Queen.

  6. Hi Jim, You mention that there are no stamps over $10 in Big Blue but my catalog shows #29 at more than $1,000. Couldn't #28 go in this space instead of #29? Kind regards, Troy

    1. Wow - 29 is CV $1000+!! Sure, 28 (15n brown - black overprint) would definitely work. My BB has "grayish brown" for the color, and Scott presently has no such color in the catalogue. I'm not sure why I picked 29 rather than 28 - (both brown color). For the purposes of BB, 28 is a much better choice. I changed the checklist from 29 to 28. Thanks Troy for pointing this out!