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...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mozambique Company

1892 Scott 3 20r rose "King Luiz"
Overprinted in Carmine or Black
Quick History
The Mozambique Company had the concession from Portuguese government to administer (and extract wealth) from the central portion of Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). The exclusive concession began in 1891, and lasted 50 years until 1941, when it was not renewed.
Portuguese East Africa 1922
"Mozambique Company" in the center
The Capital was Beira and the population was 370,000 in 1939.

Among the rights of Mozambique Company, financed largely with British capital, was the ability to collect taxes, and use forced labor on its plantations. These two prerogatives, were, in fact, how the Company made its money. It did little to develop the lands, except for the Beira- Salisbury (now Harare) railway in 1899, and a Nyasaland line in 1922.
Manica and Sofala, site of Mozambique Colony 
One of the other rights? The production of stamps. ;-)

And produce they did, with some 275 stamps issued between 1892-1941. But not just any stamps- you know, the usual uninspired Portuguese colony fare- but bi-colored pictorials engraved in London beginning with the 1918 issue forward.

Wow!...as poor as their administration of the colony was, their stamps are magnificent- and cheap for WW classical collectors to own.

In fact, because of the delightful cache of Mozambique Company pictorials to be found for this colony, we will divide the discussion into two blog posts.
• This post will cover the 1892-1941 years, with focus on the regular and some pictorial issues.
• The subsequent post will show the rest of the pictorials.

By the way, although Mozambique Company lost its exclusive rights in 1941, it continued as an ordinary company beginning in 1942.

1925 Scott 156 25c chocolate & ultramarine 
"View of Beira"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Mozambique Company 1892-1941, 275 major stamp descriptions. Of those, 234 are CV <$1-$1+, or 85%. Remarkable.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
1000 Reis = 1 Milreis
100 Centavos = 1 Escudo (1916)
1892 Scott 4 25r violet "King Luiz"
Overprinted on 1886 Mozambique issue
The first nine stamp issue for Mozambique Company began inauspiciously, as shown, with an overprinted 1886 Mozambique issue. The good news is the CV is <$1 for the stamps. The bad news is the stamps were reprinted in 1905 with white gum, clean cut perfs 13 1/2, and colors paler than the originals. The originals are perf 12 1/2  or 13 1/2. If one is fastidious, one will want to separate out the reprints.

1907 Scott 39 500r black & red /blue
"Company Coat of Arms"
Between 1895-1907, a large 33 stamp set was issued with the Mozambique Company "Coat of Arms" motif. The entire output can be found with value <$1-$2. No doubt much of the used is found CTO, as this example, no doubt, is.
1898 Scott 53 80r yellow green, green overprint
Stamps of 1895, overprinted various colors
For the 400th anniversary of Vasco da Gama's discovery of a route to India, thirteen of the 1895 issue stamps were overprinted in 1898, as shown. The colors of the overprints are in bister, orange, violet, green, black, or brown. This issue is more expensive than most, with CV ranging from $1+-$10.

1911 Scott 62 5r orange
Stamps of 1895- 1907 overprinted locally in green or carmine
In 1911, throughout the lands of the Portuguese colonies, stamps were overprinted with "Republica" to reflect the change in governance. Here, 15 stamps were overprinted locally. Note the shape of the "R" and "A" to distinguish them from the Lisbon printing.

1911 Scott 86 20r red lilac/pink
Overprinted in Lisbon in carmine or green
The Lisbon overprintings- some 15 stamps, also issued in 1911- can be easily differentiated by the shape of the "R" and "A". All of the 1911 overprinted local and Lisbon  stamps- save two- are value <$1.

1916 Scott 95 2 1/2c on 25r carmine
Stamps of 1911 (Lisbon printing) surcharged
In 1916, with the change in denomination value, 15 of the preceding 1911 Lisbon overprinted issue were surcharged. The CV is still a remarkable <$1. Mozambique Company stamps must have been plentiful to the philatelic trade.

1918 Scott 107 5c on 400r dull blue/yellow
In 1918, three of the highest denomination 1911 Lisbon overprinted issue stamps were surcharged with low denomination values: no doubt, lower value stamps were needed.

1920 Scott 150 2c on 2 1/2c , red surcharge
The 1918 pictorial issue will be covered in the next blog, but nine stamps from that issue were surcharged in 1920. The surcharge colors were red, blue, violet, or black. The CV is a little more, with $1+-$5+.

1925 Scott 155 24c ultramarine & black "Native"
In 1925, and continuing until 1931, a seven stamp pictorial issue was produced.  What is particularly interesting about the native portrayed is......he is smiling! I can't think of another stamp during the classical era which shows a smile. Can anybody give other examples?

1925 Scott 159 5e yellow brown & ultramarine
"Tapping Rubber Tree"
The same issue shows a rubber tree being tapped. It appears this job was given to women.

Of interest "Borracha" (-a" -female, -o"-male), at least in Spanish, means "drunk", or "intoxicated". But rubber was used to make waterskins, or "wineskin", so rubber was also called "borracha".

1925 Scott 160 10e rose & black 
"Picking Tea"
Looks like picking tea is a male job. Note the overseer? 

1925 Scott 161 20e green & black "Zambezi River"
The Zambezi river, 1,600 miles long, empties into the Indian Ocean from Mozambique.

Zambezi River
Victoria Falls is one of the noted sites- and sights- along the river.

1931 Scott 162 45c light blue 
"Ivory Tusks"
The Ivory trade ("Marfim"= Ivory) was active obviously on Mozambique Company lands. This stamp was issued in 1931.

Ivory Trade
Unfortunately, the desire for Ivory horn is still present even today- especially in parts of Asia.

1931 Scott 163 70c yellow brown 
"Panning Gold"
Another stamp with the happier motif of panning for Gold was also issued in 1931.

1935 Scott 164 1e dark blue & black
"Zambezi Railroad Bridge"
Opening a new railroad bridge across the Zambezi river accounts for this stamp emission in 1935.

1935 Scott 168 20c yellow green & black
"Airplane over Beira"
To commemorate the opening of air service for Blantyre-Beira Salisbury, a 10 stamp regular issue was produced in the triangular shaped format in 1935. All stamps are value <$1.

Air Post 1935 Scott C14 10e carmine & black
"Airplane over Beira"
The same illustration was used for the Air Post fifteen stamp edition of 1935.

Postage Due 1911 Scott J13 20r yellow brown
Postage Due stamps of 1906 overprinted
A 10 stamp set for postage dues, identical to the 1906 set, save for the "Republica" overprint, was issued in 1911. Value is a modest <$1-$1.

1916 Scott J23 2c orange brown
With Value in Centavos in Black
With the change in denomination value in 1916, a new 10 stamp set was issued in centavos.

1919 Scott J32 1c slate "Company Arms"
Another 10 stamp postage due set was issued in 1919, featuring the "Company Arms" design: quite attractive. And the CV is <$1.

Postal Tax 1932 Scott RA1 2c on 3c orange & black "Corn"
The first Postal Tax issue for Mozambique Company used the 1923 regular 3c stamp, but surcharged for 2 centavos. Of interest, Scott labels the color for the 1932 postal tax stamp "orange & black", but the 1923 regular issue stamp is called "ocher & black".

1933 Scott RA2 2c magenta & black "Charity"
Finally, the 1933 postal tax stamp shows a mother with child, and an elderly and infirm man, with "Charity" providing assistance.

Deep Blue
1916 "Republica" overprinted surcharged issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 18 pages for Mozambique. All of the major numbers have spaces. Of interest, the "Classic" Steiner pages for Mozambique do not cover the 1941 "King John IV" issue that is in the Scott Classic Specilaized catalogue. I just added a quadrilled page, although I could have pulled the page from the Steiner general "WW" page PDF file.

1940 Scott 201 1.75e blue & light blue
"King Alfonso Henriques"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on four pages, has 122 spaces. Coverage is 44%. Considering how inexpensive Mozambique Company stamps are, the coverage could have been more generous.

Mozambique Company is located between Mozambique and Natal in the '69 BB album.





*Update: The 1894 & 1907 issue stamps (A2 - Company Coat of Arms) - was updated by the Scott catalogue between 2011 & 2021. With the 2011 catalogue, the listing consists of perf 11 1/2, 12/12 & 131/2 altogether under major numbers. 

With the 2020 catalogue, the listing is parsed into Enamel paper - Perf 11/2 (major numbers); Perf 12 1/2 (minor numbers); Perf 13 1`/2 (minor numbers), and then Chalky paper - Perf 11/2 ( minor & major numbers); Perf 12 1/2 (minor numbers); & perf 13 1/2 ( minor numbers). 

The new major number listing (2020) for 1894 & 1907 spaces are:
10 2 1/2 r olive yellow ( Enamel - 11 /2 perf), 11 5r orange (Enamel 11 1/2 perf), 12 10r red rose (Enamel - 11 1/2 perf)
13 15r red brown (Enamel - 11 1/2 perf), 14 20r gray blue (Enamel 11 1/2 perf), 15 25r green (Enamel 11 /2 perf), (16) 50r blue (Enamel - 11 /2 perf)

61F 2 1/2 gray (Chalky - Perf 1 1/2), 61G 10r yellow green (chalky- 11 /2 perf), 61H 15r dark green (chalky - 11 '2 perf)
61I 25r carmine (chalky- 11 /2 perf), 61J 50r brown (chalky - 11 /2 perf)

Note: Minor numbers and/or different perfs that work for the space can also be put in. The collector should probably also check the more recent Scott catalogue for other catalogue changes if one has additional stamps in this issue.

1911 (Lisbon OP)




Next Page




Next Page




Next Page

Air Post

Postal Tax


Postage Due




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *126- BB lists 10c "brown, orange and black"- there is no such color- I put in red orange and black

1941 Scott 203 50c dark violet & bright green 
"King John IV"
Out of the Blue
With 234 out of the 275 major issue stamp of Mozambique Colony at value <$1-$1+, the WW classical collector is in luck ;-)

Note: Maps and pics appear to be in the public domain.



  1. Nice - I have always been drawn to Mozambique Company and Nyassa Company stamps. Even if they were issued in some pretty harsh times for the local population, the stamps are very attractive. Although you haven't shown them here, the stamps depicting the animals and wildlife are gorgeous.

  2. Michael

    Thanks for the nice comments. The next post will feature the pictorials of Mozambique Company. :-)

  3. Ah, now I see it, I just skipped over that little phrase. Look forward to your next post.

  4. Hi Jim, I've heard from a collector friend that there are new Scott numbers for early Mozambique Company. I think the ones you list for 1894 and 1907 might be the old numbers. Regards, Troy

    1. Thanks for the heads up Troy. I added the now current numbers (2020 catalogue) to the checklist>