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, May 28, 2015


1931 Scott 42 50c gray lilac "Cape Buffalo"
Quick History
When German East Africa was occupied, and then dismantled after WW I, the lands were acquired by Belgium ( Ruanda-Urundi), Portugal ( Kionga triangle), with the largest share going to Great Britain (Tanganyika).

Ruanda-Urundi (dark green) and the Belgian Congo ( light green) 1935
Troops from the Belgian Congo had occupied this territory in 1916 during the East African Campaign. The military occupation lasted until 1924, when the territory was mandated to Belgium by the League of Nations.

Stamps were introduced in 1924 by overprinting those of the Belgium Congo. (Belgium occupation stamps of 1916-1922 are listed under German East Africa.)

The capital was Usumbura, and the population was 3,700,000 in 1940.

Rwanda and Burundi
Ruanda-Urundi (Also known as Belgium East Africa) remained a Belgium mandate to 1945. It was administered as part of the Belgium Congo, but with separate financial funds. Coffee was the main exploitative economy.

It became a United Nations Trust Territory (administered by Belgium) between 1946-1962. Finally, the territory became the independent countries of Rwanda and Burundi. 

1924 Scott 6 5c orange yellow "Unbangi Woman"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940  catalogue has, for Ruanda-Urundi 1924-1938, 71 major number descriptions. Of those, 58 are CV <$1-$1+, or 82%. Clearly, a Ruanda-Urundi collection is inexpensive for the WW classical collector.

Of interest, the current Scott catalogue for Ruand-Urundi begins with number 6 - what happened to "Scott 1-5"? It turns out those numbers were for 1922 Belgium occupation stamps of German East Africa, and they were moved into the Belgium occupation stamp section of German East Africa in the current catalogue. The 40s editions Scott catalogue had the stamps listed under "Belgium East Africa" as Scott 1-5.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1924 20c olive green "Ubangi Man"
Stamps of the Belgium Congo 1923-26 were overprinted as shown between 1924-26 for Ruanda- Urundi. The eighteen stamp issue has 12 subjects which consists of native portraits and activities. The original Belgium Congo stamps were engraved by the American Bank Note Company of New York, and are lovely indeed.

1926 Scott 10 20c green "Weaving"
The CV for the 1924-26 issue is <$1 for 15 stamps.

1929 Scott 27 15c olive brown "Babuende Woman"
The 1927-29 eight stamp issue used the same designs from the Belgium Congo 1923-27 issue, but overprinted in a wider format, as shown. CV is <$1-$1+.

1938 Scott 37 5c deep lilac rose "Porter"
The signature issue ( for me) is the 1931-38 eighteen stamp production featuring native peoples and scenes. These stamps were engraved in Paris.

1931 Scott 38 10c gray "Mountain Scene"
I suspect this is a revenue cancellation.

1931 Scott 39 15c pale red "Warrior"
The CV is <$1 for all but one stamp.

1931 Scott 41 40c green "Cattle Herders"
The issue has sixteen portraits or scenes, all exquisitely engraved.

1931 Scott 44 75c gray black "Bahutu Greeting"
Names on stamps for native peoples is not always clear, but the general language spoken is part of the Bantu group.

Bantu dialects
There are about 650 Bantu dialect languages. The larger language groups include the Luba (13.5 million), the Zulu (10 million), and the Kikuyu (6 million). The lingua franca today for 140 million people is Swahili.

1931 Scott 45 1fr rose red "Barundi Women"
The Burundi area was an indigenous kingdom for 200 years prior to the arrival of the German colonists. It was inhabited by the Twa, Hutu, and Tutsi peoples. During the Belgium hegemony of Ruanda-Urundi, the Tutsi were favored over the Hutu, which contributed to later political turmoil.

1931 Scott 46 1.25fr red brown "Bahutu Mother"
The Belgians did little to directly educate the indigenous peoples, relying on the Catholic (subsidised) and Protestant (unsubsidised) missionaries.

1831 Scott 53 10fr brown violet "Watusi Warriors"
The Tutsi or "Watusi" warriors were quite impressive to the Europeans. Glenn Kittler, who wrote popular books about Africa, opines....

" For the most colorful and exciting dancing, you must go to Ruanda-Urundi... east of the Congo. Here the ruling tribe is the Watusi, the tallest people in the world. It has been said that these giants are born six feet tall, and when you walk among them you can believe it. Men towering seven or eight feet are a common sight. Women gain height by having their heads bound into conical shape in infancy, then training their thick hair to grow straight up to add a few inches. Beholding these lean, dignified, soft-spoken giants is quite overwhelming--and they know it. "

1924 Scott J3 15c violet
Belgian Congo Overprinted
Postage Due stamps, seven in the issue, were produced between 1924-27. They consisted of overprinted Belgian Congo stamps. CV is <$1.

Deep Blue
1931-38 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has seven pages for the stamps of Ruanda-Urundi, and all the  major Scott numbers have a space.

1931 Scott 40 25c brown violet "Kraal"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 31 spaces for the stamps of Ruanda-Urundi. Coverage is 44%. The page is found before the Russia pages. 

Of interest, the 1940s editions coverage- which is the same- is under "Belgium East Africa", and is located between Bechuanaland Protectorate and Belgium.

There are no "expensive stamps": In fact, the highest CV is $1.25 !

Because of the inexpensive nature of Ruanda-Urundi stamps, BB could have added more spaces. I count 26 stamps with CV <$1-$1+ that are not in BB.








Postage Due

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None

1924 Scott J2 10c deep rose
Out of the Blue
The 1931-38 native peoples and scenes engraved issue is, for me, one of the better issues among all of the WW colonial era output.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ile Rouad (Arwad Island)

1916 Scott 11 1pi on 25c blue
Stamps of French Offices in Levant
1902-06, Overprinted Horizontally
Quick History
Ile Rouad (Arwad Island) is located in the Mediterranean Sea just 2 miles off the coast from Tartus, south of Latakia, Syria. But on September 1, 1915, it was occupied by French Forces, and served as a staging ground for incursions into the Ottoman territory (Damascus 1918).

Ottoman Empire before WW I (Red-brown)
The island (known as Ruad) had likewise served as a staging ground during the Crusades of the 13th century.

Location of Ile Rouad
The island is quite small (800 meters X 600 meters), and today the fishing town of Arwad with a population of 4,000 people fills the entire land.

View of Ile Rouad (Arwad) 1935
In 1919, the island became part of the French T.E.O ( Territorires Ennemis Occupes), and the stamp issues of French occupied Syria were used.

French Syria 1924
On September 20, 1920, Ile Rouad was absorbed into the Alawite State ("Alaouites").

For subsequent history, see my postings on Alaouites and Latakia.

For a nice overview, check out Michael Adkins's Dead Countries Stamps and Banknotes.

1916 Scott 5 2c lilac brown 
Stamps of French Offices in Levant, 1902-06
Overprinted Horizontally
Into the Deep Blue
The 20111 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Ile Rouad 1916, 16 major descriptions. Of those, 8 are CV $1+-$2+, or 50%. Of interest, Scott has used and unused at the same CV for the horizontally overprinted stamps, although I suspect genuine used stamps are scarcer.

A post office was opened up on Ile Rouad in early 1916.

The initial issue had three stamps with a vertical overprint using the stamps of the French Offices in the Levant, 1902-06. Scott states the stamps were first issued January 12, 1916, but other sources have April 5. This was a speculative handstamped overprint instigated by the stamp dealer Felix Cohen. The CV today is $250 for each of these. Scott has a note that dangerous counterfeit overprints exist for this vertical overprint issue.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
25 Centimes = 1 Piaster
1916 Scott 4 1c gray
Stamps of French Offices in Levant, 1902-06
Overprinted Horizontally
The horizontally placed "Ile Rouad" overprint stamps on the 1902-06 French Offices in the Levant issue arrived November, 1916.

The issue consists of 13 Scott major descriptive numbers, and the CV is $1+- $4+ for 10 stamps.

1920 Scott 4b 1c slate color variation
Anybody who collects this well known French design has come across color variations for the 1c. Here the slate is shown.

1918 Scott 4a 1c gray, Grayish paper
(G. C. "Grande Consommation")
And the grayish paper varieties (G.C.) used during  WW I are here as well.

 1916 Scott 9 15c pale red
As I mentioned, Scott values unused and used at the same price. I would think genuinely used specimens would be scarcer; certainly of more interest.

1916 Scott 9 with Postmark emphasized
Using the University of Utah web site retroReveal, I tried to get a better view of the postmark. My best guess is "Port Said", ????? -which is now part of Egypt. Was the stamp and cover cancelled there?  Readers- what do you think?

1916 Scott 11 with Postmark emphasized
I also applied the retoReveal channels to the 1pi on 25c specimen heading this post. Here, I was more fortunate, as I found an example of the postmark with an internet search.

"Ile Rouad" & "Postes Francaises" !!!

Deep Blue
1916 Horizontally Overprinted Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has one page for the modest output of Ile Rouad. All major numbers have a space. Naturally, if one is also collecting minor number color variations, or the wartime G.C. paper issues, one will need additional space.

1916 Scott 6 3c red orange
Big Blue
Big Blue '69 has one line and eight spaces for the stamps of Ile Rouad. Total coverage is 50%- not bad. The '69 edition has the coverage after Romania, and on the same page as Ponta Delgada and Roman States. The 40s editions have the same coverage- eight spaces- after Rhodesia and Roman States.

There are no expensive stamps ($10 or greater)  for Rouad in BB.

Of interest, BB has "2c violet brown" descriptive space, which now is a minor number color ( 1920 Scott 5b). The major number color today is lilac brown. I checked the 1947 Scott, and they have the minor number "violet brown" as the main color. This is another example of BB not being updated to align with the modern Scott catalogue. Of course, the collector may put either the major number or minor number color stamp into the space.



4, 5b* or 5, 6,7,8,9,10.(11),

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *5b- BB has "2c violet brown", which now is a minor number color ( 1920 Scott 5b). The major number color now is lilac brown.

1916 Scott 7 5c green
Out of the Blue
I love dead countries, the deader, the better. ;-)

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

Have a comment?

Ottoman Built Fortress of Rouad
Used as a prison during the French Occupation

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Romania and Forgeries

Forgery 1903 Scott 164 40b dull green 
"Mail Coach leaving Post Office"
Into the Deep Blue
Without a doubt, the WW classical era collector will have some forgeries in their Romania collection.

Fortunately, there is help.

One of the best, if not the best, stamp websites focusing on a philatelic country is available for Romania.


There, one will find comparison illustrations and descriptions for genuine/forgery stamps.

Ah, if a site like this was available for all countries/major collecting areas with an emphasis on forgeries, what a wonderful "world" it would be for us naive lambs that do indeed collect the world. ;-)

Another helpful resource is Varro Tyler's book- "Focus on Forgeries c2000", which has 10 pages for Romania.

And presented here are some of the common forgeries in my own collection.

1903 "Mail Coach" Issue - Genuine
The 1903 eight stamp (Scott 158-165) "Mail Coach" issue was intended to help commemorate the opening of a new main Post Office in Bucharest.  The issue is on thin "tinted rose on face" paper, with perforations 14 X 13 1/2.

It is a lovely striking design.

1903 "Mail Coach" Issue - Forgeries
But Scott has a note: "Counterfeits are plentiful"- and, are they ever! ;-)

Varro Tyler states there are actually two forgeries- the common one shown here is called "Type I", and is apparently the work of the E. Cote printing firm in Paris. Tyler also comments that the Type I forgery is so common, it probably outnumbers genuines.

Let's take a closer look....

Genuine 1903 Scott 159 3b brown violet
"Mail Coach leaving Post Office"
There are three good signs that help distinguish a genuine.

Genuine: Horse Forefoot touches Whiffletree
The most obvious (to me) is the horse's forefoot touches the whiffletree in front in the genuines, which is not the case for the Type I forgeries.

Genuine: Rider's Hat Sign
On the rider's hat, there are two feathers. The left, longer, and lower feather is definitely attached to the hat, while the right shorter feather does not touch the hat or the lower feather (or just barely).

Genuine: Ball is attached at the top of left Stairway Rail
The left ball at the top of the stairs on the rail is definitely attached to the rail.

Forgery 1903 Scott 162 15b black
Now, let's look at the common Type I forgery.

Forgery: Horse Forefoot does not touch Whiffletree
For Type I, the forefoot and whiffletree do not touch. 

Forgery: Rider's Hat Sign
The feathers on the hat form a "V", and they do not (or just barely) touch the hat itself.

Forgery: Ball is floating above the left Stairway Rail
The left ball at the top of the stairs is not attached to the railing in the Type I forgery.

1932 Scott 428 16l blue green
"Mail Coach Type of 1903"
Be aware there there was also a 1932 Scott 428 16 l blue green stamp issued for the 30th anniversary of the opening of the new Post office in Bucharest.

It resembles a bit the description for the much scarcer cruder Romanian origin Type II forgery- " Horse forefoot and wiffletree touch each other, and the hat feathers resemble a "Y" that is firmly attached to the hat".

Genuine: 1906 Semi-postal "Queen Elizabeth Spinning" Issue
The 1906 four stamp semi-postals "Queen Spinning" issue (Scott B1-B4) is rather stunning in design.

Genuine: 1906 Scott B2 5b (+10b) light green
"Queen Elizabeth Spinning"
The insatiable packet trade needed stamps, and Belgium source forgeries were produced.

But the forgeries are easily distinguished- let's take a look.

Genuine: a Hyphen between "Romania" and "Posta"
The genuines have a hyphen between "Romania" and "Posta". In addition, the top portion of the "R" in the "Facere" script is small, and the top of the "S" and "T" touch the border.

Forgery: 1906 Scott B2 5b (+10b) light green
The forgeries have an obvious mistake. Do you see it?

Forgery: No Hyphen between "Romania" and "Posta"
There is no hyphen! And note the top portion of the "R" in the "Facere" script is large, and the top of the "S" and "T" do not touch the border.

Genuine: 1906 Semi-postal "Queen Elizabeth Weaving" Issue
The "Queen Weaving" semi-postals of 1906 (Scott B5-B8) are illustrated here.

Genuine: 1906 Scott B6 5b (+10b) blue green
"Queen Elizabeth Weaving"
This issue was also forged by the Belgium group.

Genuine: Right innermost vertical frame line
does not touch horizontal frame line below
Note the characteristic sign for the genuine illustrated here. In addition, the left inner vertical frame line continues in-between the laurel leaves.

Genuine: Face and Lattice
The latticework is finer and more complete.

Forgery: 1906 Scott B6 5b (+10b) blue green
Now, let's take a look at the forgery....

Forgery: Right innermost vertical frame line
does touch horizontal frame line below
Note the sign above. Also the left inner vertical frame line does not continue in-between the laurel leaves.

Forgery: Face and Lattice
The latticework is crude, and the face likewise.

Out of the Blue
I must admit I enjoy forgeries- especially the more common ones found distributed through the packet trade.

But it is only enjoyable if one can identify them. ;-)

Have a comment?