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, November 22, 2014


1918 Scott 5 2m blue green 
Occupied by "Egyptian Expeditionary Forces" of the British Army
Quick History
Between 1918-20, Palestine ( named after the Palaestina province of the Roman and Byzantine Empire) was occupied by the British Army Egyptian Expeditionary Forces as part of the campaign against the Ottoman Empire, which had sided with Germany during WW I. Stamps were issued February 10, 1918.

Then, following the San Remo conference in April, 1920, Syria and Lebanon came under French Mandate, while Palestine became a British Mandate. This arrangement was approved by the League of Nations in 1922. The British civil Mandate administration continued until 1948.

Palestine, 1922
The Capital was Jerusalem, and the official languages were English, Arabic, and Hebrew. The census of 1922 showed a  population of 757,000 (78% Muslim, 11% Jewish, 10% Christian).

By 1936, the population was 1,300,000 ( Jewish 384,000).

The British Mandate period marked the significant rise of both Jewish and Arab nationalist movements. This culminated  in the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, the Civil War of 1947-48, and the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.

By 1949, Mandated Palestine was no more. Rather, the territory was split into the State of Israel with a Jewish majority, the West Bank (annexed by the Kingdom of Jordan), and the Gaza Strip ( Arab All-Palestine Government), under Egypt military occupation.

(For a more fleshed out history of Jordan and it's stamps, review my Jordan blog post.)

1921 Scott 43 2pi olive green
Stamps of 1918 Overprinted
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Palestine 1918-1945, 93 major descriptive numbers. The 1918 fourteen stamp issue was under British occupation, while the issues after 1920 were under British administration. Of the total, 64 are CV < $1-$1+, or 69%.

In addition, there are 22 minor number stamps with overprint variations.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
10 Milliemes = 1 Piaster
1000 Milliemes = 1 Egyptian Pound
1000 Mils = 1 Palestine Pound (1928)
1918 Scott 13 10pi ultramarine
Issued under British Military Occupation
A rouletted two stamp issue and a perforated eleven stamp issue was produced in 1918 under British Military Occupation, as shown. The stamps were for the territories of Palestine, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, and in parts of Cilicia and northeastern Egypt. The stamp has English, Arabic, and Hebrew script.

"EEF" are the initials for "Egyptian Expeditionary Forces".

If you have overprints for these design stamps that are not shown on this blog post, check the Jordan post, as many overprints of these stamps were issued there. 

1920 Scott 19 5m orange
Stamps and Type of 1918 Overprinted in Black or Silver
Arabic Overprint 8mm long
An eleven stamp issue, overprinted in Jerusalem, was produced on September 1, 1920. This was at the beginning of the "British Mandate", although the affirmative vote by the League of Nations did not occur until 1922.

One has to pay careful attention to the overprint, as it has (subtle) changes in subsequent issues.

Here, the Arabic overprint script is 8mm long, and the "Palestine" English script is different than the 1921-22 (London printing) issues.

1920 Scott 15a 1m dark brown
Arabic Overprint 10 mm long
There is also a 1920-21 eight stamp issue where the Arabic overprint is 10 mm long. These are given minor numbers in Scott (although they have their own listing). Other catalogues treat these as major numbers, and you should too, ;-)

Other (minor number) variations have shorter spaces between the English and Hebrew lines. Consult Scott for details - or better, the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840-1970 catalogue, which illustrates all the overprints.

1921 Scott 39 3m light brown
Stamps of 1918 Overprinted
In 1921, an eleven  stamp issue, overprinted in London, was released. Note the different "Palestine" script from the previous Jerusalem overprinted issue. The perforation is 15 X 14, and the watermark is Wmk 33 " Crown & GvR".

1922 Scott 51 4m rose
Similar Overprint on Type of 1921
In 1922, another 15 stamp overprinted issue was produced, mostly (but not always!) in different colors. The 1m - 5pi denominations are Perf 14, while 9pi - 20pi are perf 15 X 14. The watermark is Wmk 4 "Multiple Crown and Script C A".

Left: "Crown and GvR"
Right: "Multiple Crown and Script C A"
If in doubt, check the watermark.

1927 Scott 63 2m Prius Blue "Rachel's Tomb"
Between 1927-1942, a 22 stamp issue was released with scenes/sites from Palestine. The stamps again were in three languages.

Rachel's tomb (reputed) is within a Muslim cemetery, and is located on the edge of Bethlehem in the West Bank. Rachel, wife of Jacob, and mother of Benjamin, is revered, especially in the Jewish tradition.

Rachel's Tomb, Circa 1880
Rachel's tomb has been the site of Muslim/ Jewish cooperation and conflict, depending on the era.

1932 Scott 66 4m violet brown
Mosque of Omar (Dome of the Rock)
The Dome of the Rock is located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was completed in 691. The Foundation Stone, on which it is built, holds great significance for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. It was constructed on the Second Jewish Temple site, which was destroyed by the Roman army in year 70.

Muslims believe this is the site of the Islamic miracle of the Isra and Miraj.

Non-Muslims are generally not allowed inside ( there are exceptions). When I visited Jerusalem in 2008, the outside Dome of the Rock was magnificent indeed.

Foundation Stone in the floor of the Dome of the Rock
Jews believe the Foundation Stone was the location of the Holy of Holies in the Temple, and view it as the epicenter (junction) of Heaven and Earth. ( According to Jewish tradition, the stone is the site where Abraham was preparing to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Muslims believe it was Ishmael that was to be sacrificed.) As Jewish prayer is not allowed on the Temple Mount by Muslim authorities, the closest place to pray while facing the Foundation Stone is near the Western Wall.

The Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock
At the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount is the Western Wall or Wailing Wall.  It is composed of an ancient wall remnant  that surrounded  the old Jewish Temple's courtyard.  It is a continual site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage. When I was there, it did indeed  feel like a profound place.

1932 Scott 70 7m dark violet
"Citadel at Jerusalem"
This ancient citadel ("Tower of David") is located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. It has origins back to the 2nd century BC. It now houses a Museum of the History of Jerusalem.

1927 Scott 80 100m bright blue
"Tiberias and Sea of Galilee"
Tiberias, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, appears as magnificent as the stamp image portrays,- on my recollection.

1923 Scott J2 2m green 
Postage Due
The five stamp 1923 postage due issue is rather functional in appearance, as this somewhat overused specimen demonstrates.

1924 Scott J6 1m brown
Postage Due
A new six stamp postage due set was issued only a year later in 1924.

1928 Scott J16 8m red
Postage Due
A change in currency from "Millieme" to "Mil" required a new nine stamp postage due issue between 1928-45.

1948 Scott N7 5m orange
Occupation of Palestine by Jordan
Although not part of the stamp coverage in the Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue, here is an example of the occupation stamps of 1948.

Jordanian occupied West Bank
Egyptian occupied Gaza Strip
After 1948 Arab- Israeli War
The West Bank was occupied, then was annexed (1950) by Jordan. But in June,1967, as a result of the Six-Day War, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel. 

The West Bank has not been annexed by Israel, but remains under Israeli military control.

Subsequently, the Arab League, in 1974, and Jordan, in 1988, designated the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the representative of the Palestinian people.

Deep Blue
1922 Issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue (Steiner) has six pages for Palestine, and includes a space for the major numbers. In addition, Deep Blue provides 22 spaces for the minor number overprint variants. Nice!

1927 Scott 67 5m brown orange 
"Citadel at Jerusalem"
Big Blue
The "69 Big Blue, on two pages, has 61 spaces for the stamps of Palestine. The pages are located between "Orange River Colony" and "Panama". Coverage is 66%.

Of interest, the 1940s editions only have one page for Palestine and 50 spaces.

The '69 ( and later) editions include all the Palestine postage due issues (20 stamps!), including three postage dues with CV $10-$20.


4,5,6,7,8,1 or 2 or 9,10,

15 or 37 or 48, 16,49,17 or 39,50,18 or 40,19 or 41,
53,54,55,56,42,57,21 or 43 or 58,
22 or 44 or 59, 23 or 45 or 60, 61,(62),

72,73, 74 or 75, 76,77,

Next Page

Postage Due




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1923 Scott J1 1m bister brown ($20)
1923 Scott J2 2m green ($10+)
1923 Scott J3 4m red ($10+)
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1920-22 - The 1920, 1920-21 (minor numbers), 1921, 1922 issues with various types of overprints are eligible.

1928 Scott J17 10m light gray
Postage Due
Out of the Blue
The 1918-45 British Mandate stamps of Palestine, perhaps, do not capture all of the turbulent activities of the times.

But, incredible history (both ancient and modern), if there ever was one. The juxtaposition of Christian, Jew, and Muslim cultures makes this one of the most fascinating places on earth.

Note: Maps, pics appear to be in the public domain.

Comments are appreciated!


  1. Congratulations on the blog very well ececuted and I hope to always succeed
    Jose Rodrigues

  2. Thanks Jose

    Your Postmail blog looks good too!

  3. I am looking for an overprinted EEF stamp/Palestine stamp to use in an academic book. Is there any chance you would kindly consider allow the use of one of these images on this page? If so I'd be very grateful. Best wishes, Yair Wallach (yw11@soas.ac.uk)

    1. Sure, no problem.

      Just acknowledge this source - thanks!

  4. I love your page. I want to create a poster with stamps from Palestine and would love to use some of the ones you shared. Is it okay if I use them? I will acknowledge the source.

    1. Selma - sure, you have my permission with acknowledgement.

      Good luck!

  5. At the end of the second line of 1920-1922, shouldn't it be 21, 43 or 58?

    1. Hi Joe
      Sure looks like 21 should be included. I notice it has a higher CV than 43 or 58 - the reason? It's been too long since I did this list to know if I had a reason or I just neglected to put it in. There are slightly different overprints that I allowed also - very generous of me. ;-) If one wishes to be strict, one could only allow the overprint that BB illustrates.
      Bottom line- sure, put 21 in. :-)