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...

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.

Have a Comment?


  1. Beautiful! Saludos de un filatelista Nicaraguense!

  2. Thank you Oscar- nice to hear from a Nicaraguan philatelist!

  3. In regards to overprinted Nicaraguan stamps that you nicely illustrated here, what do the overprints "Habilitado" and Resello imply on these stamps? Merely translating these words from Spanish to English still leaves me unclear as to how this effects their franking.

    1. I used to know, but I am now a bit fuzzy on the details.

      A "Habilitado" stamp is like an additional tax in which the stamp is required to be used for a period of time, I think. A "Resello" overprint on a stamp allows it to used for a certain period - it is like a security measure. I stand to be corrected if this interpretation is wrong.

  4. Thank you Jim. Do you think this may be used to offset potential currency inflation?