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...

Friday, July 4, 2014


1936 Scott 41 2p black "Timber Industry"
Quick History
The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria came into administrative (and stamp issue) existence in 1914 with the union of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate and the Southern Nigeria Protectorate. The name "Nigeria", of course, is derived from the Niger river that runs through the colony.

Nigeria 1914- the Northern and Southern Portions
The reality was that the north and south were still only loosely affiliated.  The north, with its Islamic culture, was governed through Emirs, and Christian missionaries were banned. Hausa was recognized as an official language in the north. In the south, Christianity and western education were more prominent.

In 1920, a portion of German Cameroon was mandated to Britain. and was absorbed into Nigeria.

The Capital is Lagos, and the population was 21,000,000 in 1941.

Huge oil reserves were discovered in the mid 1950s.

Nigeria became independent in 1960, although the country is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
1921 Scott 27 4p black & red/yellow, Wmk 4, Die II 
"King George V"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic catalogue has, for Nigeria 1914-1951, 75 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 49 are CV <$1-$1+, or  65%. Clearly, Nigeria should not be a problem for the WW classical collector from the cost standpoint.

BTW, I found a nice blog about Nigerian Stamps and Postal History. Check it out!

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1914 Scott 5 3p violet/yellow, Wmk 3, Die I
"King George V"
Between 1914-1927, a 17 stamp issue for Nigeria was produced with the familiar "George V" key plate design. The issue is characterized by the "Multiple Crown and C A" (Wmk 3) watermark, and Die I.

1927 Scott 22 2p red brown, Wmk 4, Die II
"King George V"
Between 1921-33, another "George V" 15 stamp issue was produced:  some identical, some different, compared to the 1914-27 issue. This issue is on "Multiple Crown and Script C A " (Wmk 4) paper, and all the major numbers are Die II.

If one needs a refresher on Wmk 3/ Wmk 4 detection, check the Gibraltar post.

1921 Scott 19 1p carmine, Wmk 4, Die II
1921 Scott 19a 1p carmine, Wmk 4, Die I
I just mentioned that the 1921-33 "George V" issue has Scott major numbers for the Die II types? Well, there are 10 minor numbers for this issue with Die I characteristics. ;-) One will need to separate out the Die II"s and the Die I's.

For a review of Die I/Die II differences, see the Gold Coast post.

1936 Scott 38 1/2p green "Wharf at Apapa"
George V Pictorial Issue
My favorite of Nigeria's classic issues are the 1936 "George V" pictorials. The 1936 issue has 12 stamps and 12 likewise different designs. Nice!

Of interest, the issue was released February 1, 1936, but George V was no longer alive.

Apapa is the major port for Lagos.

1936 Scott 39 1p rose carmine 
"Picking Cacao Pods"
Before Independence, cocoa was the most important earnings export. Even today, Nigeria is the fourth largest producer of cocoa beans in the world, and cocoa exports rank second to petroleum.

1936 Scott 44 6p dull violet 
"Minaret at Habe"
Deba Habe is in northern Nigeria, and the Minaret pictured here is part of the Mosque for the Fulani Muslims.
1936 Scott 45 1sh olive green
"Fulani Cattle"
Red Fulani cattle were bred by the nomadic Fulani herders, and are reddish-brown, with lyre shaped horns.

Fulani Cattle
They have strong zebu characteristics.

1936 Scott 40 1 1/2p brown
"Dredging for Tin"
The river settlement of Onitsha (SON cancel) is found on the eastern bank of the Niger River. Nigeria was a producer of tin, columbite, and coal during the 1930s. But the mineral extraction industries waned with the discovery of oil in the 1950s.

1938 Scott 59 4p orange "George VI"
A new set of definitives, showing "George VI", was issued. Altogether, there were 10 stamps of this design produced from 1938-41.

1942 Scott 64 5sh orange & black
"Niger at Jebba"
The 2 higher values were in this design format. They were issued (in various perforations) from 1942-1951.

Jebba is a town up the Niger River, and was known for a paper mill, the largest in West Africa, and a hydroelectric dam.
1944 Scott 65 1p red violet "George VI"
In 1944, four values were printed in different colors than the 1938 issue. The CV for the entire George VI  issue (16 stamps) ranges from <$1-$7+.

Deep Blue
1938-51 King George VI issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has five pages for classical Nigeria up to 1951, and has spaces for all the major numbers. The advantage for Deep Blue is the entire "George VI" 1938-51 issue is covered.

1936 Scott 42 3p dark blue "Fishing Village"
Big Blue
The '69 BB edition has placed  "Nigeria" after "Nicaragua", and before "Niger". "Nigeria" is on one page, and has 38 spaces. Coverage is 51%.

* None of the spaces require a CV of $10 or greater.
* The 1914-27 "George V" spaces have the usual (for BB) choice of one space for the wmk 3 & 4 stamps.
* The 1938 "George VI" issue actually continues up to 1951. The BB collector might find stamps from the issue without spaces. Advantage Deep Blue (Steiner).


1 or 18, 2 or 19, 3 or 21, 4, 5, 25,6 or 27,7 or 28,








A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (   ) between a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1914-27- choices are wmk 3 vs wmk 4
D) *1927-33- I included the 1914-27 issues as blank space choices.

1938 Scott 61 1sh olive green "George VI"
Out of the Blue
The 1936 George V pictorial issue is the highlight (for me) of the classical era Nigerian stamps.

Note: The "Nigeria 1914" map, and the Red Fulani cattle pic, appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?


  1. It really is too bad the British were so late to adopting pictoral definitives for their colonial holdings, the George V issue from Nigeria is such a beautiful example of what could have been possible for all the colonies much earlier, as was the case in the French colonial world. Of course, production costs would have been more, and as the cost of producing the stamps likely would have been left to the colonies themselves, the cheap route is the one most of them would take. It's not that the French were more generous though, but they did seem to realize the financial potential of philatelic sales to collectors for the colonies much more quickly than the British colonies. DJCMH

  2. George V, no doubt would have enjoyed this set. He had passed away by the time the set was issued. I suspect that the lovely pictorials, seen at the end of George V reign, may have been in homage to the stamp collector-King.

    Better late than never. ;-)

  3. I was surfing the web and found your beautiful blog, I was reading your posts on the definitive stamps of Brazil 1920-41, is a really interesting and with many varieties series,'m Brazilian collector and philatelist, and my theme is Revenues stamps, but I stamps available this series and some cataloged when desired can make contact, greetings

  4. Welcome Postmail, and greetings to Brazil. I don't collect Revenues, as I have more than enough to collect already, but I do appreciate their engraving and beauty.