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...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Norway 1855-1927

1856 Scott 5 8s dull lake "King Oscar I"
Quick History
By 1814, Sweden and Norway, although each sovereign (Norway had just ratified a constitution),  had the same King and foreign policies. But Sweden was the leading state, and the King generally resided in Stockholm. With the rise of national identity (Example: Edvard Grieg and the incorporation of Norwegian folk music into his compositions), the Norwegians were increasingly unhappy with this arrangement.

Norway & Sweden, 1847
The first stamp of Norway in 1855 had the "Lion Coat of Arms", but the 1856-57 issue had the visage of King Oscar I. He was both King of Sweden and King of Norway from 1844- 1859. This was followed by Charles IV (1859-72), and Oscar II (1872-1905). Oscar II can be found on the stamps of 1877-78. But, for the most part, Norway used the "Post Horn" motif.

Finally, Independence (from Sweden) was declared in 1905- actually, a peaceful separation. The monarchy form of government was retained, however, and Haakon VII ( the former Prince Carl of Denmark) became the first independent Norwegian king in 586 years.

Norway tried to stay neutral in WW II, but was invaded by the Germans. They set up a collaborating government, under Vidkun Quisling, the minister president.

The Capital is Oslo, and the population was 2,900,000 in 1940.

1878 Scott 34 2k rose & maroon "King Oscar II"
Into the Deep Blue
Norway will be divided into two posts. This post will concentrate on the earlier regular issues up to 1927. The next post will show the rest of the regular issues as well as the "back of the book' issues.

The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Norway 1855-1949, 211 regular, 18 semi-postal, 3 air post, 12 postage due, and 46 official major descriptions.Total = 290.

Of those, 156 are CV <$1-$1+, or 54%.  The definitive issues beginning in 1893 are generally inexpensive, while the 1855-1893 stamps are "European" expensive for the WW collector.

Several comments about the stamps of Norway....
* Modest, small stamps with mostly definitives. Even the commemoratives tend to be small. I've noticed that small countries in population with despotic governments and  megalomaniac leaders tend to have large (in size) stamps. Not Norway. A good thing.
* The "Post Horn" and "Lion Rampant" designs are used for decades. Refreshing. But that does mean a close examination of the stamp is necessary to place it in the right issue.
* The Scott catalogue does a credible job with Norway.  But, if one really wishes to get to know these issues well, a Facit catalogue should be available for reference.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
120 Skilling = 1 Specie Dollar
100 Ore = 1 Krone (1877)
1857 Scott 2a 2s orange "King Oscar I"
Four stamps with the visage of King Oscar I were issued from 1856-57. He was a generally an enlightened king, and attempted to established equality between the two kingdoms.  Of interest, he appears here on Norwegian stamps, but never had a Sweden portrait stamp.

1863 Scott 10 24s brown "Coat of Arms"
The "Norwegian Lion" and an axe handle long enough to be a halberd is on the "Coat of Arms". This five stamp set was issued in 1863.

Coat of Arms
This was considered the official Coat of Arms between 1844-1905, when, in 1905, the coat of arms was changed with full independence.

1867 Scott 12 2s orange "Coat of Arms"
Another set of five stamps was issued in 1867-68 with a change in design for the lower denomination tablet..

1875 Scott 20 6s orange brown A5 "Post Horn and Crown"
The first, and by no means the last! :-) , of the Post Horns was issued in 1872-75. The six stamp set was denominated in Skilling.

1878 Scott 31 60o dark blue  A6 "Post Horn"
A similar set of 10 stamps was issued in 1877-78. The denomination is now in "Ore". Note the Sans-Serif lettering of "NORGE", and the shaded ring of the post horn.

1878 Scott 32 1k gray green & green 
"King Oscar II"
The three higher values of the stamps of 1877-78 show King Oscar II, who ascended the Swedish and Norwegian throne in 1872. Of interest, King Oscar II did not appear on a Swedish stamp until 1885.

1884 Scott 42 12o orange brown A8 "Post Horn"
Large Die (21 mm)
O.K., now we confront some of the complications of the "Post Horn" stamps. Scott lists this issue as 1882-1893, and has 11 major numbers (Scott 35-45). Note the unshaded post horn except for the filled in portion below the crown? Scott also mentioned in the footnotes the dies can vary from 20-21 mm high.

The Facit catalogue divides this issue into the 1882-85 Large Die (21 mm) stamps and the 1886-93 Small Die (20 mm) stamps. Above is an example of a large die stamp (21 mm).

The Deep Blue (Steiner) album pages follows the Facit layout.

If one is sorting this issue, one will need to measure the stamp (height)  in many instances to determine if it is a large die or a small die.

Also, recall that large die stamps were issued between 1882-85, while small die stamps were issued between 1886-93. This might be helpful when reviewing postmarks, especially a stamp with an 1882-85 date.

The Scott major numbers that are large die stamps include Scott 40 10o rose, Scott 41 12o green, Scott 42 12o orange brown, Scott 43 20o brown, and Scott 45 25o dull violet. But, for instance, the 10o rose can also be found as a small die, and a minor number in Scott.

1886 Scott 35 1o black brown A8 "Post Horn"
Small Die (20 mm)
Scott major numbers that are small die (20 mm) stamps include Scott 35 1o black brown, Scott 36 1o gray, Scott 37 2o brown, Scott 38 3o yellow, Scott 39 5o blue green, and Scott 44 20o blue. But, for instance, the 3o denomination in an orange color is a large die stamp (minor number).

* If you are following the Scott catalogue, check the major and minor numbers carefully for a certain color denomination to see what are the possibilities. Some stamps are found with both large and small dies. You will need to measure them.
* If you want to parse this issue finely, then use the Facit catalogue. And I recommend having a Facit catalogue  for the Scandinavian countries as a reference resource for WW classical collectors.

1893 Scott 53 20o deep ultramarine A10 "Post Horn"
Note "NORGE" in Roman script
The next issue, which was produced between 1893-1908 is the same as the preceding issue ( unshaded post horn except for the filled in portion below the crown ), BUT now the "NORGE" script is in Roman script. Study the two scripts ( Sans-Serif  and Roman ) so you can tell the difference.

There are twelve stamps in Scott with major numbers (Perf 14 1/2 X 13 1/2), and eight more stamps issued between 1893-98 with  minor numbers (Perf 13 1/2 X 12 1/2).

So far, so good, except one may need to measure perforations on some stamps.

But the Facit catalogue additionally divides the issue between the "Knudsen's Printing Works" and the " Central Printing Works" productions.

Of interest, Steiner album pages follows the Facit catalogue format.

As near as I can discern, the difference is, the wings design in the corners of the stamp are more defined with the Knudsen's, and less defined (blurred) with the Central stamps. There are also two dies involved.

My take?

It is difficult enough just getting the post horns sorted into major issues. ;-)

I will follow the (simplified) Scott catalogue here, and perhaps revisit the Facit parsing at a later date.

1918 Scott 73 5k dark violet , Die C "King Haakon VII"
This is an interesting issue. When Prince Carl of Denmark (his grandfather was Christian IX of Denmark) accepted the role of becoming the first independent Norwegian king in 1905 after 586 years, he took the name "Haakon", an old Norse name used by previous Kings of Norway. He is beloved and revered even today; not the least for the resistance he lead against the Nazi invasion during WW II. He died in 1957 after reigning for 52 years.

The issue is found with three dies.
* 1907 (Die A) - three stamps
* 1909-10 (Die B) - three stamps
* 1911-18 (Die C)- four stamps.

The least expensive CV by far are the Die C stamps and the 2k rose from Die B. I only have Die C stamps in my collection, which has a solid background around the portrait. The Die A and Die B stamps have ruled lines around the portrait. Consult Scott for details.

1910 Scott 76 3o orange 
Post Horn Type Redrawn
Back to the Post Horns. The 1910-29 issue, some 22 stamps, have perforations 14 1/2 X 13 1/2.

The spot of color that was in the post horn below the crown is now removed, and the post horn interior is completed unshaded. Compare. Also, The "3" in the lower oval (as well as the "3" in the "30" denomination) is now rounded on top, rather than flat.

The CV is <$1 for all but one stamp.

1922 Scott 101 20o deep violet "Lion Rampant"
"NORGE" in Roman script, line below "ORE"
In 1922, a new design was introduced, the "Lion Rampant". The first issue of four stamps is characterized by the Roman script "NORGE" and the line below "ORE".

"Coat of Arms" adopted 1905 after Independence
The "Lion Rampant" design is clearly modeled after the coat of arms adopted after independence in 1905.

1925 Scott 112 15o indigo "Lion Rampant"
Annexation of Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
Another "Lion Rampant" four stamp issue was released in 1925. The stamps celebrated the annexation of Spitsbergen (Svalbard).

Spitzbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago
The Svalbard archipelago is located about half way between Norway and the North pole. Mining, research, and tourism for this Arctic climate outpost are the economic mainstays.

1927 Scott 121 25o orange brown, Wmk 160 "Post Horn"
Size: 16 x 19 1/2 mm
Between 1926-34, another 14 stamp issue with "Lion Rampant" was released. This issue is characterized by the "sans-serif" lettering for "NORGE", and no line under the "ORE".

The stamps also measures 16 X 19 1/2 mm. This is important, because beginning in 1937, some larger 17 X 21 mm size stamps were released.

I have not mentioned anything about watermarks. The reason is it has not been necessary for identification purposes - so far, ;-)  But, let's take a look....

Wmk 160 "Post Horn"
Note the "Post Horn" watermark on the lower right and upper left stamp. The other two stamps- the wmk is on the edge and only partially present, and difficult to discern. In my (limited) experience, seeing the
"Post Horn" watermark can be a challenge on some stamps.

There will be stamps shown in the next post where determining the presence or absence of this watermark will be important.

1927 Scott 130 30o on 45o dark blue
Three of the preceding "Lion Rampant" stamps were surcharged in 1927-28. CV is in the $2+-$8 range.

1925 Scott 107 10o yellow green 
"Polar Bear and Airplane"
Finally, what would a Norway post be without a polar bear stamp? This lovely seven stamp set was produced  in 1925. This set was released to help finance Roald Amundsen's attempted flight to the North Pole.

(He did, but not in 1925- where he got as far north as 87 degrees 44 minutes- but in 1926, with a flyover by the airship Norge.)

Deep Blue
Post Horn 1910-29 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 22 pages for Norway, and of course provides spaces for all the major Scott numbers.

But also, Deep Blue provides separate spaces for the 1882-85 Post Horn Large Die (21 mm) stamps, and the 1886-93 Post Horn Small Die (20 mm) stamps. This is clearly a Facit catalogue addition, as Scott only mentions the die size differences, but does not provide additional detail.

And Deep Blue provides separate spaces for the 1893-1908 "Knudsen Printing Works" and "Central Printing Works" stamps- only listed in Facit.

1911 Scott 70 1k light green, Die C "King Haakon"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on six pages, has 183 spaces. Coverage is 63%.

* There are six stamps with CV $35-$85: They are in the "Most Expensive" category. See the "Comments" section after the checklist for specifics.
* There are 27 more stamps with CV $10-$30+. Clearly, Norway is "European" expensive to collect.
* All the semi-postals are included in BB.
* There are a lot of mistakes made in my feeder albums with correct space placement for the "Post Horn" and "Lion Rampant" issues. Hopefully, this blog post will help. ;-)







35,37,38,39,44a or 44, 45,


47,48 or 75,49 or 76,50,51 or 80,52 or 83,53 or 85,54,
55 or 89,56,57,58,70*,71,72,73,

Next Page












Next Page

1937-38* (Actually 1941)
162,163,164 or 189,165 or 190,166 or 191,167 or 192,168 or 194,169 or 195,
170,171 or 197,172,173 or 199,174 or 200,175 or 201,176 or 202,177,


181 or 184,182 or 185,183 or 186,


Next Page

Postage Due



Air Post Stamps

C1, C2 or C3,

Next Page

Semi-Postal Stamps






Next Page

Official Stamps



1937-38* (Actually 1939+)
O22, O23 or O34, O24 or O35,
O25, O26 or O37, O27 or O38, O28 or O39, O29,
O30, O31 or O42, O32 or O43,


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1856 Scott 4 4s blue ($10+)
1856 Scott 5 8s dull lake ($55)
1863 Scott 8 4s blue ($10+)
1868 Scott 11 1s black ($65)
1867 Scott 12 2s orange ($20+)
1867 Scott 14 4s blue ($10+)
1867 (Scott 15) 8s carmine rose ($60)
1875 Scott 16 1s yellow green ($10+)
1874 Scott 17 2s ultramarine ($20)
1872 Scott 18 3s rose ($10+)
1873 Scott 19 4s lilac ($10+)
1873 (Scott 21) 7s red brown ($50) 
1877 Scott 22 1o drab ($10)
1877 Scott 23 3o orange ($35)
1877 Scott 24 5o ultramarine ($10+)
1877 Scott 26 12o light green ($20)
1877 Scott 27 20o orange brown ($10+)
1878 Scott 29 35o blue green ($10+)
1877 Scott 30 50o maroon ($10)
1878 Scott 31 60o dark blue ($10)
1878 (Scott 34) 2k rose & maroon ($20+) 
1886 Scott 35 1o black brown ($10+)
1889 Scott 38 3o yellow ($10+)
1884 Scott 45 25o dull violet ($10+)
1925 Scott 107 10o yellow green ($10+)
1922 Scott J7 4o lilac rose ($10+)
1922 (Scott J11) 100o orange yellow ($10+)
1922 (Scott J12) 200o dark violet ($20+)
1930 Scott B2 20o + 25o carmine ($30+)
1930 Scott B3 30o + 25o ultramarine ($85)
1935 Scott B6 15o + 10o red brown ($10)
1935 Scott B8 30o + 10o bright ultramarine ($10+)
1938 Scott B10 30o + 25o deep ultramarine ($10+)
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1883-90- BB and the current Scott catalogue colors do not agree in several cases for this issue.
D) * 1893-1918- both the 1893-1908 issue and the 1910- 29 redrawn issue are admitted to these spaces. Because of BB's color and date criteria though, some stamps were not included.
E) *70- Die C image is in BB
F) * 1937-38- in the interest of pragmatism, the 1937 wmk 160 issue, and the 1940-41 unwmk stamps from the 1940-49 issue are included, provided there is a space for them.
G) *1937-38- actually 177 is in the "King Haakon " set also.
H) *1938-39- choices are wmk 160 vs unwmked.
I) *O8- the 1929 O8 is the only stamp that will fit in the space for choice.
J) *1933-34- Choice for spaces in BB between the Lithographic 35 X 19 1/4 mm stamps (All major numbers) and the Typographic 34 X 18 3/4 mm stamps (All minor numbers except O17).
K)  *1937-38 Choice for spaces in BB between the 1937-38 Wmk 160 issue, and the 1939+ unwmk issue.

1914 Scott 98 20o deep blue 
"Constitutional Assembly of 1814"
Out of the Blue
One can understand why Scandinavian countries- here Norway- are attractive to collectors. Conservative stamps, conservative issuing policies. I'm hooked!

Note: Pics and map appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?


  1. Interesting slogan-postmark with the 1914 Constitutional Assembly stamp. I wonder if it's of Norwegian origin?

    1. its stand for centennial exposition. Kristiania (Now Oslo) had a expo in 1914:


  2. Yes-intriguing. I might ask our local Scandinavian expert.

  3. The Posthorn issues are still issued today (2015), but even more interesting are the fact that you can find a crete posthorn stamp...

    1. Indeed- and don't the 1901 Crete postage dues appear to be modeled after Norway's posthorns? ;-)

  4. Not so uncommon in the ages before the (C)opyright? Some of the Romanian Cariol I stamps of 1898 have a striking resemblance to the Swedish Oscar II stamps of 1897...

  5. To identify post horn stamp you can try this link:


    Its in Norwegian, but you can use the image to find the stamps

  6. How many 1k light green King Haakon stamps were made?

    1. The 1k light green (which is Die C) had a production run of 20 million stamps, according to the Facit catalogue. That contrasts with the 1k yellow green (Die A) of 140,000 stamps and the 1k green (Die B) of 51,000 stamps. It pays to know your Die differences.!! ;-) CV from a 2011 Scott catalogue is $40/ $135/ 25 cents respectively for Die A/Die B/ Die C varieties.

  7. The 20 ore blue posthorn stamp shown (Scott 53) is the Knudsen printing, fine perforation of 1899. The Norgeskatalogen is an excellent reference to use, available from the Olso Philatelist Club or from dealers who specialize in Scandinavia.