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, June 28, 2014

Niger Coast Protectorate (Oil Rivers)

1893 Scott 38 1p light blue "Queen Victoria"
Quick History
The delta of the Niger River (in present day Nigeria) was initially called "Oil Rivers", not because the area was a producer of "black gold", but, because at the time, the delta was a large producer of palm oil. (Ironically, the area did become a large oil producing region in the 1950s.) The delta came under British rule in 1885, the "Oil Rivers Protectorate". This was done to control trade on the Niger River, and to prevent encroachment by other Europeans during the "Scramble for Africa".

In 1893, the territory was expanded, sweeping from Calabar towards Lokoja up the Niger River, headquarters of the chartered Royal Niger Company. Consequently, the name changed to the "Niger Coast Protectorate".

Map of Southern Nigeria  and Northern Nigeria 1914
Permission granted for use by www.dcstamps.com
In 1900, the Niger Coast Protectorate, and the territories heretofore controlled by the Royal Niger Company, became the Protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria. Lagos joined Southern Nigeria in 1906. The protectorates were combined, forming Nigeria in 1914.

Although not horribly confusing, the frequent change in British protectorates for the British Nigeria region deserves a transition chart for clarification. And one has been done by Michael at his great Dead Countries Stamps website- check it out! 

1892 Scott 2 1p lilac, Overprinted in Black
Stamps of Great Britain 1881-87
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Niger Coast Protectorate 1892-1898, 64 major stamp descriptions. Of those, two descriptions, or 3%, are CV $1+. If one expands up to CV $9, then 18, or 28%, are available.

The handstamped surcharges of 1893 (31 stamps) and the the 1894 bisects and whole stamps surcharged (6 stamps) are CV $ hundreds- $ thousands, and out of the league of readers of this blog. ( I think ;-) Besides, Scott has a note about dangerous forgeries of all surcharges.

But the 1893-1898 Queen Victoria stamps particularly ( 21 stamps) are quite lovely, in my opinion, and definitely worth a look.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 pence = 1 Shilling
1892 Scott 1 1/2p vermilion, Overprinted in Black
Stamps of Great Britain, 1881-87
The initial 1892 six stamp issue for the Oil Rivers Protectorate consisted of overprinted 1881-87 stamps of Great Britain. The CV for five stamps is $2+-$9. This issue is in the range of most WW classical collectors.

This 1/2p must have been in short supply, because in 1893 there are some 23 examples of 1/2p surcharges using the higher denomination stamps of this issue. These surcharged stamps, though, are only for those with a thick wallet. ;-)

1893 Scott 40 2 1/2p carmine lake
"Queen Victoria"
The first issue proper for the territory used this rather striking design of Queen Victoria. This six stamp issue, of which I have several examples, has a CV ranging from $3+-$10+.

1893 Scott 38 back side 1p light blue
The paper is rather translucent, but I don't believe it is on pelure paper. Perhaps a reader knows more?

1893 Scott 42 1sh black 'Victoria"
There is another peculiarity with this issue. The stamps were printed just as the Protectorate was changing its name. Notice the "Oil Rivers" is blotted out, and "Niger Coast" has been overprinted? Fascinating.

There were two more similar issues featuring the Queen in 1894 (six stamps) and 1897-98 (nine stamps). These issues have the proper "Niger Coast" inscribed. Alas, I have none to show you at the moment. 

Deep Blue
1893 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has four pages for all the major issues of the Oil Rivers/Niger Coast. I'm afraid that the 1 1/2 pages devoted to the 1893 surcharged issues will be wasted paper for me. ;-)

1892 Scott 4 2 1/2p violet/blue
Big Blue
Big Blue, on two lines of one page, has six spaces for the stamps of Niger Coast Protectorate. The page  has "North West Pacific Islands" on the lower portion, and is located between New Caledonia and the Newfoundland sections.

Niger Coast Protectorate in Big Blue
Coverage is 9%, not bad considering the generally higher CV for this country.

The good news is that there are no spaces requiring a CV $10 stamp or higher. 

Big Blue, though, doesn't have any spaces for the 1893 issue, which I show on this blog post. 



43 or 55, 44 or 56, (57), (58),


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1894-97- choices between 1894 unwmk issue and 1897-98 wmk 2 (Crown and C A) issue.

1893 Scott 37 1/2p vermilion "Queen Victoria"
Out of the Blue
Sun Yat-sen of China is said to appear on more stamps than any other person in history. Really? Beating out Queen Victoria?

Note: The Nigeria Map shown is with the kind permission of Michael Adkins, of Dead Country Stamps website fame.

Comments encouraged!

Sunday, June 22, 2014


1921 Scott 14 45c blue & olive brown "Camel and Rider"
On stamps of Upper Senegal and Niger, Type of 1914, overprinted
Quick History
Niger, full of sand dunes and empty spaces, was a military territory within the French West Africa federation of French colonial territories in west Africa until 1922, when it became a colony. The other members of the federation (which existed from 1895-1960) were Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan (Mali), French Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), and Dahomey (Benin).

Niger and French West Africa (AOF) 1936
The Governor General administered from Dakar, while the capital of Niger was Niamey. The country is named for the Niger river.

Present day Niger
The predominately Islamic population (1,900,000 in 1940) is found mainly in the south and west portions of the country.

With a hot and dry climate, subsidence agriculture, and land locked boundaries, Niger has never had many advantages.

But we can take some pleasure in the French Colonial stamps  that have been issued.  Let's take a look.

1922 Scott 25 60c on 75c violet/pinkish
Stamps and Type of 1921, Surcharged New Values and Bars
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Niger 1921-1940, 120 major numbers in the regular, semipostal, air post, and postage due categories. Of those, 103 or 86% are CV <$1-$1+.  Clearly, cost should not be a major concern for collecting classical Niger.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1926 Scott 6 10c magenta/bluish "Camel and Rider"
Between 1921-26, a 21 stamp set was released with the overprint "Territoire Du Niger". The overprint used the 1914-17  Upper Senegal and Niger stamp design, but the Niger issue was usually in a different color combination. BTW, "Upper Senegal and Niger" became "French Sudan" again in 1921. French Sudan likewise used the "Camel and Rider" design of Upper Senegal and Niger with a "Sudan Francaise" overprint.

CV for the Niger issue ranges from <$1-$2+.

Update 3-2018: Note the overprint on this stamp is almost right justified? Nothing in the Scott or Y&T about this. Thanks to Dave Humphreys for noticing this.

1925 Scott 22 25c on 15c red  brown & orange
Between 1922-26, seven of the preceding 1921 overprinted "Camel and Rider" issue was surcharged with various values. This 1925 example is surcharged in black.

1924 Scott 23 25c on 2fr green & blue, red surcharge
And this 1924 value is surcharged in red. CV for the issue is <$1-$2+.

1926 Scott 30 2c dark gray & dull red
"Drawing water from well"
Niger received its own inscribed stamps in 1926, with additional values and color combinations added until 1940. This 44 stamp issue has three designs. The lower eight denominations had "Drawing water from a well". The design seems to have been done almost as a sketch, as sparse as the landscape.

1926 Scott 46 50c scarlet & green/greenish
"Boat on Niger River"
The 17 middle denominations had a "Boat on Niger River" scene. The Niger river, 2,600 miles long, only exceeded by the Nile and Congo (Zaire) rivers, serves as the lifeblood for Niger.

Niger River
The Niger river has an unusual route: It begins in the Guinea highlands, then flows away from the Atlantic ocean into the Sahara Desert, taking a severe right at the ancient and legendary Timbuktu (Tombouctou), flows by Niamey, the Capital of Niger, and then southeast through an extensive delta (Oil Rivers) into the Gulf of Guinea.
1940 Scott 61 1.40fr red violet & dark brown
"Zinder Fortress"
The eighteen higher denominations show the Fortress at Zinder. The Fortress was built in the 18th century, and was one of the hubs for the "caravan of camels" Trans-Saharan trade routes.

Ancient Trans-Saharan Trade Routes
The French conquered Zinder in 1899.  They eventually placed the capital there for the Niger Military Territory in 1911. In 1926, the capital was transferred to the village of Niamey, along the Niger river.

1939 Scott 86 2.25fr ultramarine & dark blue
"Caillie Issue", Common design type
I don't often show "common design types", because, well, they're common. ;-) But here is the 2.25fr stamp for Niger of Rene Caillie, French explorer, and a map of French West Africa.  The 1939 three stamp issue can be found for eight colonies under the administration of French West Africa.

Postage Due 1921 Scott J2 10c rose
Stamps of Upper Senegal and Niger, 1914, Overprinted
An eight stamp Postage Due issue was produced in 1921 for Niger by overprinting the 1914 Upper Senegal and Niger set. At the same time, a similar overprinted issue was produced for French Sudan.

1927 Scott  J12 10c red brown & black violet
"Caravansary near Timbuktu"
What is notable about French colonies is the French often had interesting designs for their postage dues. And Niger doesn't disappoint. A Caravansary is a roadside inn, where one can recover from a day's journey.

But Timbuktu is in French Sudan (modern day Mali), not Niger, so why the portrayal here on Niger issues?

1927 Scott J20 2fr rose red & violet
At any rate, the 1927 postage due set, some thirteen stamps, has a CV of <$1-$1+. And regardless if the scene is in Niger or the French Sudan...I like it. 

Deep Blue
Postage Due issue of 1927 in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 12 pages for Niger, and naturally has spaces for all Scott major numbers.

1940 Scott 68 2.50fr black brown "Zinder Fortress"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on four pages, has 102 spaces for Niger. Total coverage is an astounding 85%. Congratulations BB!

* For the major issues (1921-26, 1922-26, 1926-40, Air Post 1940, Postage Due 1921, Postage  Due 1927: 98 stamps), BB has 90 spaces, or 92% coverage. Wow! Of course, Niger is quite inexpensive also, so the spaces are appropriate in BB.
* Speaking of expense, only one stamp ( Semipostal Curie issue-1938 Scott B1) is over CV $10.
* The 1940s editions have 17, rather than 19 spaces for the 1921-26 issue, and 99, rather than 102 total spaces. The spaces are also arranged differently.




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Postage Due



Air Post


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1938 Scott B1 1.75fr + 50c bright ultramarine ($10+)
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice

1927 Scott 116 30c dull violet & black 
"Caravansary near Timbuktu"
Out of the Blue
"Timbuktu", in modern use, refers to a place that is so out of the way, that it is virtually forgotten.

And that, perhaps ironically, is one of the attractions of WW classical stamp collecting.

Note: Maps and "Zinder" pic appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?
Zinder 1906

Monday, June 16, 2014

Nicaragua Air Post

1937 Scott C206 25c violet brown "Map of Central America"
Issue commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Constitution of the U.S.
Quick History
What makes Latin American countries so inviting for classical stamp collectors? Nicaragua is a good case in point. The stamps themselves are attractive: but, even more so, are the numerous overprints and surcharges found for many issues. And, generally, the CV is reasonable. The challenge, though, is to find a source, because, other than the Seebeck era, the stamps - especially the surcharged/overprinted stamps- are not that common in feeder collections.

And most of the Latin American countries produced a lot of stamps during the classical era. Nicaragua, by my count, has 1,715 major descriptions in the Scott catalogue.

1936 Scott C124 4c on 5c light blue
Overprint in Red on 1933 Air Post Issue
Into the Deep Blue
The challenge is how to present Nicaragua, which has an abundance of stamps and categories. In the Deep Blue album, there resides some 1,000 stamps of Nicaragua, and each has a story to tell. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
Consequently, I selected a category- Air Post- to feature, and the first blog had an introduction to these stamps. This blog post will continue the theme, as the Air Post category illustrates many of the characteristics of Nicaraguan issues: frequent changes in stamps, some nicely engraved by foreign firms (American Bank Note Company), some locally produced of varying quality, control marks, overprinted varieties, surcharged varieties, and varieties overprinted/surcharged on already overprinted/surcharged stamps. !!

1936 Scott C133 50c on 1cor yellow
Overprint in Red on 1933 Air Post Issue
The 1933 fourteen stamp issue with the surcharge and script control overprint was overprinted again in 1936 with "Resello 1935" red bar. CV is <$1. The script control mark, BTW, was handstamped.

1936 Scott C136 , Overprinted in Red
On 1931 C18 15c deep violet
Red vertical bar reading down.

1936 Scott C143 , Overprint in Blue, reading up
On 1933 Scott C108 40c on 1cor yellow
Blue vertical bar reading up.

1936 Scott C147 , Overprinted "Resello 1936" in Black
On 1933 Scott C121 1c on 2c green
In 1936, "Resello 1936" overprint was applied to three stamps. 

1936 Scott C151 , Surcharged in Red
On 1929 Scott C6 1cor orange red
Two stamps received this surcharge in 1936.

1936 Scott C154 10c on 25c olive black 
 Surcharged and Overprinted in Red, On 1929 C4
The only example of this surcharge is illustrated here.

1937 Scott C166 25c black
Momotombo Type of 1929
In 1937, eight years after the original printing, five more stamps were printed in new colors.

1937 Scott C169 30c on 50c carmine rose
Surcharged in Black
And , in addition, four more stamps of the "Momotombo" design were surcharged on different new colors!

1937 Scott C180 6c on 10c olive brown
Overprint, in Blue, reading "Habilitado 1937"
An eleven stamp set with the overprint "Habilitado 1937" was issued on the 1933 C92-C102 group.

1937 Scott C187 15c deep blue
"Map of Nicaragua", For Foreign Postage
A seven stamp "Map of Nicaragua" set was issued for foreign postage in 1937.

1937 Scott C195 3c olive green
"Presidential Palace, For Domestic Postage
For domestic use, a ten stamp set featuring the Presidential Palace was issued also.

1937 Scott C211 50c rose lilac "Park"
Issue commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Constitution of the U.S.
In 1937, a curious 12 stamp issue with different "Nicaragua" scenes was issued, bi-color, in typography, according to Scott. The detail work is rather poorly done and difficult to make out.

And the set is dedicated to the "150th Anniversary of the Constitution of the U.S." But the scenes are all local, so I'm not sure what the linkage is.

1937 Scott C216 4c brown carmine "Nicarao"
For Domestic Postage
In 1937, a seven stamp issue was produced. The lower denominations were for domestic postage, while the higher denominations were for international postage.

Nicarao was the leading Indian Chief  when the conquistadors arrived in 1502.

1938 Scott 221B-E, For Domestic Postage
"Gen. Tomas Martinez"
75th Anniversary of the Postal Service
Printed in sheets of four, these 1938 stamps were intended for use on domestic postage.

Tomas Martinez was the President of Nicaragua from 1857-1867 after the American adventurer William Walker was removed from the presidency in 1857.

1938 Scott 221K 50c carmine
"Gen. Anastasio Somoza", For Foreign Postage
A four stamp issue for international postage was likewise produced. It had the portrait of the strongman Anastasio Somoza Garcia who essentially ruled as dictator from 1937 until his assassination in 1956.

1939 Scott C222 2c deep blue "Lake Managua"
For Domestic Postage
Lake Managua, some 40 miles long by 16 miles wide, was featured on seven stamps issued in 1939. Despite the idyllic drawing, the lake is heavily polluted because of the presence of raw sewage.

These stamps were produced by the E.A.Wright Bank Note Co., Philadelphia. 

1939 Scott C240 5c rose carmine 
"Will Rogers and Managua after Earthquake"
For Domestic Postage
After the earthquake of March 31, 1931, Will Rogers flew his plane there to gather support for the country. A five stamp issue was produced in 1939 in honor of the event.

1940 Scott C241 4c red brown
"Pres. Somoza in U.S. House of Representatives"
For Domestic Postage
The strongman President Somoza visited the United States in 1939. President Roosevelt is reputed (probably apocryphal) to have said "Somoza may be a S.O.B., but he is our S.O.B". 

1940 Scott C253 1.25cor multi 
"50th Anniversary of Pan American Union"
This large multicolored stamp was issued for the Pan American Union 50th anniversary.

This stamp has something for everyone...
L.S. Rowe, Statue of Liberty, Nicaraguan coastline, Flags of 21 American Republics, U.S. Shield, and Arms of Nicaragua.
Air Post Official 1932 Scott CO5 20c orange
1931 regular issue, Overprinted in Black
Official Stamps are popular in Nicaragua and other Latin American countries, and Nicaragua also produced Air Post Official stamps. Here is an example of the five stamp issue from 1932.

Air Post Official 1933 Scott CO12 1cor orange red
Type of regular issue 1914, Overprinted in Black
A type of regular issue (most are in different colors), some five stamps, was produced overprinted for Air Post Official use in 1933. 

Deep Blue
1937 Air Post Issue in Deep Blue
An advantage certainly of a comprehensive album such as Deep Blue (Steiner) is any stray Nicaraguan stamp without a space in BB will have one here. And, although BB has a very generous 569 spaces, there are many affordable stamps that are left out. Of course, that does mean 115 pages coverage in Deep Blue. ! Pick your poison. ;-)

1937 Scott C167 50c violet
Momotombo Type of 1929
Big Blue
Since I already covered Big Blue in the first post, it might be instructive to take a look at the top twelve countries for spaces in the '69 Big Blue for reasons that will become obvious soon.

948 France
801 Germany
755 Austria
729 United States
620 Hungary
617 Russia
617 Italy
582 Salvador
569 Nicaragua
567 Spain
549 Belgium
530 Romania

Yes, little Nicaragua ( Pop 1,014,000-1941) and fellow Central American county El Salvador (Pop 1,900,00-1943) are holding down the ninth and eighth spots respectively.  !!!!

1936 Scott C145 10c on 25c , Red overprint reading down
On 1935 C111 10c on 25c olive black
Out of the Blue
I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into the Air Post stamps of Nicaragua, which should give you a flavor for the country.

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