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...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nyasaland Protectorate

1908 Scott 3 1p carmine "Edward VII"
Quick History
The Nyasaland Protectorate, in southern Africa by Lake Nyasa, was renamed on July 6, 1907, being formerly known as the British Central Africa Protectorate.

Nyasaland 1908
Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company (BSAC) was actually in charge of the protectorate when their authority was withdrawn in 1907, and direct British rule was instituted.

One of the legacies of the British South Africa Protectorate and the BSAC is white settlers were brought in who developed coffee plantations using African labor.

Nyasaland was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland between 1953-1963, but became independent as the nation of Malawi in 1964.

1945 Scott 71 2p scarlet & black 
"Map and Coat of Arms"
The population was 970,000 in 1911 (760 Europeans), and the Capital was Zomba.

On July 22, 1908, "King Edward VII" stamps with "Nyasaland Protectorate" script were introduced. In 1934, the script was changed to "Nyasaland".

1913 Scott 17 4p scarlet & black/ yellow "George V"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for the Nyasaland Protectorate 1908-1951, 103 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 44, or 43% are CV <$1-$1+. As a British Protectorate, the CV for their stamps are a bit higher than many countries, driven by the many British Commonwealth collectors.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound (Southern Rhodesian Pound (1907-53))
1908 Scott 3 1p carmine "Edward VII"
In 1908, an 11 stamp issue with an "Edward VII" vignette was produced for the newly named "Nyasaland Protectorate". Note the postmark here with "Chiromo", a settlement on the south-western edge next to Mozambique. Although apparently used in 1912, the postmark still bears "B.C.A", for "British Central Africa".

1913 Scott 16 3p violet/ yellow "George V", Wmk 3
Between 1913-19, a 13 stamp issue was released; this time with a "George V" portrait. These have the wmk 3, "Multiple Crown and C A" paper.

BTW, a "N. F." overprint on these stamps is for "Nyasaland Force", and are 1916 occupation stamps for German East Africa.

1921 Scott 28 2p gray "George V", Wmk 4
A second 13 stamp issue with "George V", but with wmk 4 "Multiple Crown and Script C A" was released between 1921-30. ( If the memory needs refreshing about British Colonial watermarks, check the blog post Malta, or one of the other British colonial posts.)

Note the postmark shows "Zomba", the capital at the time. There is apparently still some British colonial architecture extant in Zomba.

1921 Scott 33 2sh ultramarine & dull violet/ blue
"King George V"
The higher values of the 1913-19 and 1921-30 issues have this striking royal image. Not very "native' in design, but nice anyway.

1934 Scott 40 1 1/2p rose 
"George V and Leopard"
However, the 1934-35 nine stamp set has this more local design with a leopard and a sun. Very nice!

 Nyasaland Coat of Arms
The leopard is also found on the Coat of Arms. Along with the leopard, the Coat of Arms is sometimes bordered with the Latin phrase "Lux in Tenebris"- "Light in Darkness".

1938 Scott 58 3p blue "George VI and Leopard"
The British were not ones to just throw away a good design, and the 1938-44 "George VI" issue  repeats the image on 13 stamps.

1938 Scott 64 2sh 6p red & black/ blue
"King George VI"
The five higher values of the 1938 issue have this bi-colored regal look.

1945 Scott 69 1p deep green & black
"Soldier of King's African Rifles"
In 1945, a nice pictorial 14 stamp issue was produced. The 1p denomination shows a member of the King's African Rifles (KAR). These African battalions (with British officers) performed both military and internal security duties in east African colonial possessions. The 1st and 2nd Central African Battalions (1902-1963) were from Nyasaland, while other battalions were from Kenya, Uganda, and British Somaliland.

King's African Rifles War Memorial, Zomba, Nyasaland
The KAR battalions were active in WW I against the German forces in German East Africa (East Africa Campaign). At the end of WW I, there were 2,700 British officers and NCOs, and 31,000 Africans in the KAR. They suffered 5,100 casualties, with an additional 3,000 perishing from disease.

1945 Scott 68 1/2p brown violet & black
"Canoe on Lake Nyasa"
Lake Nyasa is 47 miles wide and 350 miles long, and is the ninth largest in the world.

Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi)
David Livingstone also called the lake, "Lake of Stars", as the lantern lights on the boats of the fishermen on the lake resembled such.

1945 Scott 70 1 1/2p gray green & black
"Tea Estate, Mlanje Mountain"
Tea growing around the Blantyre region of Mulanje Mountain still exists.

Mount Mulanje
A lovely beautiful place. Tolkien wrote "The Hobbit" after climbing Mount Mulanje. True!

1945 Scott 72 3p blue & black
"Fishing Village, Lake Nyasa"
It is interesting that the Nyasaland  George VI  pictorial issue was produced in 1945. For virtually all the other colonial possessions, a George VI pictorial issue was released beginning in 1938. Perhaps it was scheduled, but had to wait until after the war?

1945 Scott 73 4p rose violet & black
"Tobacco Estate"
Tobacco is still the main crop produced in today's Malawi. The country is the leading producer of the burley leaf tobacco, and the economy essentially depends on it's tobacco production. Lighting up a Camel or Marlboro? You are smoking blends of tobacco, including from Malawi.

( I hate smoking, so it is probably best if you do not mention it to me. ;-)

1947 Scott 84 1p emerald & orange brown
For reasons that are unclear, the 1p denomination was replaced in 1947 with this more nominal design. Still very lovely.

There are not many (any?) native leopards left in Nyasaland (Malawi). In fact, leopards have been recently reintroduced into the Majete Wildlife Reserve. 

1951 Scott 93 6p purple 
"Arms of British Central Africa and Nyasaland Protectorate"
For the 60th anniversary of Nyasaland - reaching back to when it was called "British Central Africa"- a four stamp set was issued in 1951 with the C of A's for both entities.

Deep Blue
"1938-44 Issue in Deep Blue"
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has 10 pages for the Nyasaland Protectorate, and covers through the George VI era (1951). All the major numbers have a space, and a couple of the 1913 1sh "George V" color variation minor numbers are also given a space.  Some 36 stamps were issued between 1940-51, which is more than usual for a British possession, and naturally there are spaces for them.

1945 Scott 74 6p violet & black
"Tea Estate, Mlanje Mountain"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 36 spaces for the stamps of the Nyasaland Protectorate.

The choices are judicious, as only one stamp ( 1935 Jubilee issue 1sh brown violet & indigo) has a CV >$10.

As usual, the George V definitive 1913-30 stamps, with two watermarks varieties ( wmk 3 and 4), are given only one space in BB.

It is a pity that BB stops coverage at 1940, as the 1945 George VI pictorial issue is not covered. The Steiner (Deep Blue) and the Scott Classic 1840-1940  catalogue, though, does have the issue.



12 or 25, 13, 14 or 28, 15, 16 or 29,
17 or 30, (18 or 31), (19),


Next Page





A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1935 Scott 50 1sh brown violet & indigo ($20)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *1913-23- Choice between  wmk 3 vs wmk 4 on many spaces

1945 Scott 75 9p olive green & black
"Canoe on Lake Nyasa"
Out of the Blue
The British were well aware of the Nyasaland area because of the published exploits of David Livingstone. Perhaps I too have become a bit more acquainted through the avenue and portal of stamps. ;-)

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

Comments are appreciated!


  1. One reason for the delay in releasing a new series until 1945 may have been financial. The colonial administrations were expected to pay the cost of stamp production and in the late 30s Nyasaland suffered from major deficits due to the collapse of prices for its agricultural exports due to the Great Depression. Lacking minerals to export meant having to economize sorather than pay for design of a new series it opted for replacing the royal portrait. With World warii bringing an economic boom to colonial exports for the war effort it meant nyasaland could afford a new set of new designed defines once peace returned. This was the case for many colonies in the postwar era. DJCMHOH.

  2. Makes sense DJCMHOH- thanks for the explanation.