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, June 27, 2015

St. Helena

1890 Scott 38 4p on 6p pale brown
Quick History
St Helena (named after Saint Helena of Constantinople by the Portuguese in 1502) is located in the South Atlantic Ocean, and is 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) from Angola on the western coast of Africa. If you like remote, this 10 mile by 5 mile size island is for you. ;-)

Even today, the only way to visit the volcanic island is via the ship RMS Saint Helena from Cape Town, South Africa. (A commercial airport strip is in the works for 2016.)

Location of St. Helena and Ascension in the South Atlantic Ocean
Colonization began under charter by the English East India Company in 1659, and the island became an important port of call for ships sailing between Europe and Asia and South America.

Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled there from 1815 until his death in 1821- residing in the Longwood House. (Of interest, the Longwood House has been under French government administration since 1858.)

St. Helena became a crown colony in 1834- and remained so until 1981.

The capital is Jamestown, and the population was 3,995 (1931).

Saint Helena
New Zealand flax, no longer a viable commercial product, now covers the countryside. This is a result of the crop being introduced in 1907 for production of rope and string.

A cup of coffee from St. Helena - promoted approvingly by Napoleon himself- is said to be the most expensive in the world.
Coat of Arms
The endemic Saint Helena Plover (Wirebird) - shown on the Coat of Arms and the flag- is an important bird species.

Ascension Island was made a dependency in 1921, and Tristan da Cunha was added in 1938.

Now, the islands are part of the British Overseas Territories.

And stamps? Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, and Saint Helena all produce their own today- which is said to be a significant portion of their income.

1934 Scott 101 1/2p dark violet & black "Lot and Lot's Wife"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for St. Helena 1856-1949, 143 major number descriptions. Of those, 31 are CV <$1-$1+, or 22%. St. Helena, being a popular island British colony, is expensive for the earlier issues, and moderately expensive for the later issues.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1884 Scott 33 1/2p on 6p green "Queen Victoria"
The first stamp for St. Helena was an engraved six pence denomination in 1856. By 1894, 40 major number stamps had been issued, but all on the basic six pence denomination. How did they do that?

Between 1856 and 1889, the six pence denomination was issued under seven Scott catalogue numbers that differ by color, watermark and imperf/various perfs.

Then between 1863 and 1894, thirty-three more descriptive numbers are found surcharged. These stamps also differ in color, watermark , imperf/various perfs, and length of the surcharged word. And the bar under the surcharge can also differ in length.

1/2p on 6p green
1884 Scott 33: Words 17 mm; 1894 Scott 34: Words 15mm
Shown here are two 1/2p on 6p green stamps where the surcharge word differs in length.

Suffice it to say it is all rather interesting, but one must pay attention to detail. I leave it to you to sort this out using the Scott catalogue information.

Also, many of the stamps are rather expensive. But I found six stamps (CV $3+-$9) that are in the range of a WW classical collector with a modest budget.

1896 Scott 46 10p brown "Queen Victoria"
Diamonds in purple ink is a 1905 Remainder cancellation
A keyplate typographed seven stamp "Queen Victoria" issue was released between 1890-97.

I chose this stamp to illustrate the "remainder" cancellation.

From Scott...

"In 1905, remainders of Nos 34-47 were sold by postal officials. They were cancelled with bars, arranged in the shape of diamonds, in purple ink."

The "remainder" cancellation reduces the CV considerably.

1893 Scott 47 2 1/2p on 6p blue 
Type of 1856 Surcharged
In 1893, a 6p blue was surcharged as shown in numbers rather than words. This has a modest CV of $3+.

Wmk 1: "Crown and C C"

Wmk 2: "Crown and C A"
Wmk 3: "Multiple Crown and C A"
Wmk 4: "Multiple Crown and Script C A"
This might be a good time to review the four British Colonial watermarks; all of which are found on the stamps of St. Helena. 

Wmk 6 "Star"- Example from Grenada
In addition, there is a "Star" watermark (Wmk 6) for the 1856-63 era "Queen Victoria" six pence, found on three stamps. These are expensive (CV $160- $325), and I don't have an copy, but I can show an example of the watermark on a Grenada stamp.

1903 Scott 51 1p carmine & black "The Wharf"
In 1903, a rather nice large format bi-color six stamp issue with wmk 1 was produced. The stamps had a small upper central vignette of King Edward VII, and either "The Wharf" or "Government House" pictorial.

1911 Scott 57 4p black & red/yellow "King Edward VII"
In 1908, a four stamp "Edward VII" design, familiar to British Commonwealth collectors, was issued. These can be found in Wmk 3 ( 2 1/2p, 4p, 6p) and Wmk 2 (10sh).

1912 Scott 63 1 1/2p orange & black "The Wharf"
The George VI era was marked with this 10 stamp 1912-16 issue. Similar in design to the "Edward VII" large format pictorials, they are found on Wmk 3 paper.

1912 Scott 72 6p dull violet & red violet "George VI"
1913 Scott 74 6p dull violet & red violet
A two stamp "George VI" issue with 4p and 6p denominations was produced in 1912, and again in 1913. The 1912 issue was on chalky paper, while the 1913 issue was on ordinary paper.

And as one can clearly see, the issues differed in frame design.

1922 Scott 77 3p ultramarine "Government House"
In 1922, three of the large format pictorials were issued in a "mono" color. The issue has Wmk 4.

1922-27 Scott 84 5p red & green/emerald
"Badge of the Colony"; Wmk 4
Between 1922-27,a sixteen stamp wmk 4 large format bi-color issue was produced with a "Badge of the Colony" pictorial. The "Badge of the Colony" image is also found on the coat of arms.

The scene shows a three-masted sailing ship and the mountainous St. Helena. The Flag of England ( St. George's Cross) is flying from the ship.

1922-27 Scott 95 4p black/yellow, Wmk 3
In addition, five stamps on chalky paper and wmk 3 were also issued in 1922-27.

The "Badge of the Colony" issue, in total, has both inexpensive CV stamps ( seven stamps- $2-$4+), and expensive stamps ( up to $1,000+ !).

1934 Scott 103 1 1/2p red & black "Map of the Colony"
The centenary engraved bi-color pictorial ten stamp issue of 1934  is lovely indeed, and the highlight (for me) of the St. Helena classical stamp era.

There are ten pictorial scenes, and some of the stamps also depict Queen Victoria and Kings William IV, Edward VII, and George VI. I show three more of the designs/scenes from this issue heading the subsections of this post. CV is <$1-$8 for seven stamps.

1938 Scott 122 3p ultramarine "Badge of the Colony"
The 1938-40 fourteen stamp set illustrates the "Badge of the Colony" in monocolor. Of interest, the 3p ultramarine has an outlying CV of $55/$18 for unused/used. Does a reader know the reason?

War Tax Stamps
1916 Scott MR1 1p + 1p scarlet & black
1919 Scott MR2 1p + 1p carmine & black
Two stamps were issued for "war tax"; one in 1916, and the other in 1919.

Some collectors may not be aware that the United States also had a "war tax" during WWI. The usual rate for posting an ordinary letter was raised from 2c to 3c, and then reduced again to 2c after the war, ;-)

Deep Blue
1922-27 Wmk 4 Issue in Deep Blue
In Deep Blue (Steiner), St. Helena has 13 pages, and has a space for all the Scott major numbers. Because of expense of the earlier issues, I don't have stamps in my album until the third page.

1934 Scott 104 2p orange & black "Quay, Jamestown"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages (sharing one line with St. Christopher), has 45 spaces. Coverage is 31%. Considering the somewhat expensive nature of St. Helena stamps, the coverage is reasonable for a "representational" album, if a trifle sparse.

The coverage is located after "Saar". The coverage is the same for the 1940s editions.

Although there can be expensive stamps for St. Helena, BB has a good inexpensive selection, as none reach the "Most Expensive" threshold ($35), and only three have a CV of $10+-$20+.

I have elected to give Scott 12 or 25 or 29 or 35 as choices for the 1863-94 surcharged one penny on 6 pence stamp space. But Scott 12 (CV $20+)  is the strict choice, as Type surcharge b is illustrated in BB.  But, if one wishes to admit Type surcharge a because they fall under the date specifications, then 25 or 29 or 35 is available. Scott 35 has a CV of $4+.


33 or 34, 12* or 25 or 29 or 35,







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War Tax

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1871 Scott 12 1p on 6p brown red ($20+- this is a strict choice- see comment B).
1922 Scott 76 1 1/2p rose red ($10+)
1938 Scott 122 3p ultramarine ($10+)

B) * 12  is Type surcharge b, which is illustrated in BB (CV $21), and is the strict choice. If one wishes to admit Type surcharge a, because they fall under the date specifications, then 25 or 29 or 35 is available. Scott 35 has a CV of $4+.
C) *73- but not Scott 71, which has a different frame design from the one in BB.
D) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1934 Scott 105 3p blue & black "View of James Valley"
Out of the Blue
I like the stamps of St. Helena, and would like to acquire more. But the downside, for a WW classical collector such as myself, is the expense! So I will probably be looking elsewhere. ;-)

Note: Longwood House and Coat of Arms image, and maps appear to be in the public domain. Attribution to Oona Raisanen (Mysid) for the St. Helena map.

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Longwood House - site of Napoleon's exile

Sunday, June 21, 2015

St. Christopher

1882 Scott 9 1p rose "Queen Victoria"
Quick History
One of the five Presidencies of the British Leeward Islands Colony, St. Christopher issued their own stamps between 1870-1890. Then, Leeward Islands stamps were produced, and later (1903), St. Kitts-Nevis. St. Christopher was also known as St. Kitts.

For a general review of the stamp productions of the various islands, and the unhappy association of islands with each other, see my Leeward Islands blog post.

Caribbean Map with St. Kitts (St. Christopher)
St. Christopher (St. Kitts) is one of the Leeward islands in the west Indies, and is 18 miles long and 8 miles across.

St. Christopher Circa 1729
The first English colony was established in 1623, then a French colony in 1625. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, control of the island went back and forth between Great Britain and France. Since 1783, the island was controlled by Great Britain.

Sugar cane was introduced in 1640 along with the importation of African slaves for the plantations.

Slavery was abolished in 1834, but the important sugar monoculture continued until 2005.

St. Kitts and Nevis
The population of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) was 18,000, and the capital is Basseterre. Nevis is located 2 miles south.

1882 Scott 8 1/2p green
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for St. Christopher 1870-1890, 29 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 9 are CV $1+-$8+, or 31%. A representative selection can be accumulated for a modest expense.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 pence = 1 Shilling
St. Christopher A12 Obliterator
The Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue lists stamps of Great Britain used in St. Christopher for 1858-60, identified by the "A12" obliterator for Basseterre.

Although I don't have any (they are quite expensive), I can show an example of the obliterator used on a 1884 2 1/2p ultramarine stamp. The cancel is enhanced using the University of Utah retroReveal site.

1871 Scott 3 6p green, Perf 12 1/2
Wmk 1 "Crown and C C"
The first issue proper for St. Christopher is a 1870-71 three stamp "Queen Victoria". The issue is characterized by the Perforations (12 1/2), and the watermark ( Wmk 1 "Crown and CC" ).

(If you need a refresher on the British Colonial watermarks, see Jamaica or Gold Coast. )

1875 Scott 4 1p lilac rose, Perf 14
The 1875-79 four stamp issue had the same design and watermark (wmk 1), but with perforation 14. 

1882 Scott 13 4p blue, Perf 14
Wmk 2 "Crown and C A"
The 1882-90 nine stamp issue continued with the same "Queen Victoria" design, but is found with "Crown and C A" (wmk 2). Four of the stamps have a very modest CV ($1+-$2+).

Between 1883-1888, a bisected stamp, seven surcharged stamps, and five "postal-fiscal" stamps were also issued. CV prices are in the $20+-$60 range, although there are a few with both higher and lower CVs. I don't have any examples, but these are more in the specialist realm anyway.

Deep Blue
1882-90 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has two pages for the stamps of St. Christopher. All major number stamps are given a space, except for the 1883 and 1885 "Postal Fiscal Issues" (five stamps) that are in the Scott Classic catalogue. I'm not much of an enthusiast for "Postal Fiscal Issues", so I have no problems with the Steiner lack of coverage.

1884 Scott 12 2 1/2p ultramarine
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one line of one page, has five spaces. Coverage is 17%.
St. Christopher is located on the same page as the beginning of the St. Helena coverage, and after Saar. The coverage is the same for the 1940s BB editions.

St. Christopher Big Blue Spaces
Big Blue gives a date range of 1870-1890, but a closer look reveals that the illustrated space, and the three denomination & color specification spaces, are all from the 1882-90 issue.

The good news is there are no expensive (CV $10+) stamps required.



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1870-1890- although BB gives a date range of 1870-1890, the illustration and color denomination specifications are all from the 1882-90 Issue.

1875 Scott 7 6p green
Out of the Blue
The name "St. Christopher" lives on in the classic stamp world.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Monday, June 15, 2015


1921 Scott 83 25m ultramarine, red & black 
"Burbach Steelworks, Dillingen"
Quick History
Saar or Saargebiet was a former piece of Germany by the Saar River occupied by France (mostly) and Great Britain after WW I. Saar was an industry and coal rich area, and hence an attempt by the Allied powers to neuter and punish Germany through the Treaty of Versailles.

Saarbeckengebiet Map
The territory was governed under the League of Nations mandate from 1920 to 1935. The coalfield production was given to France.

The capital was Saarbrucken, and the population was 812,000 in 1933.

Stamps were issued for the Saar between 1920-1934.

With the fifteen year Versailles Treaty mandate running out in 1935, a plebiscite was held, and 90% of the ethnic German population voted to join the German Reich. The other 9% voted "no", primarily because of fear of the Nazi government.

The territory was reunited with Germany on January 17, 1935.

German stamps were then used.

History repeated itself after WW II.

The territory became the Saar Protectorate under French influence on February 16, 1946. After a referendum in 1955, Saarland rejoined Germany on January 1, 1957.

1922 Scott 116 5fr brown & red brown
"Burbach Steelworks, Dillingen"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Saar 1920-1934, 237 major number descriptions. Of those, 112 are CV <$1-$1+, or 47%. The WW classical collector should be able to find a representative selection for a modest outlay.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Pfenning = 1 Mark
100 Centimes = 1 Franc (1921)
1920 Scott 8 20pf blue violet, Type I
1920 Scott 14b 60pf deep gray lilac, Type III
German Stamps of 1906-19 Overprinted
On January 30, 1920, stamps of Germany (1906-19) were overprinted "Saare" for the mandated territory. Seventeen major number stamps are found in the Scott catalogue, and CV ranges from <$1-$10+ for fifteen of them.

One will note, for Saar Stamps, that "used" often have a higher CV than "unused".

Overprint Types
The overprint is found with three types.
Type I: Larger letters, no control mark (short thin line) below bar. (illustrated)
Type II: Larger letters and control mark present.
Type III: Smaller letters and control mark present. (illustrated)

I find it is helpful to look at the "r" in "Saare". The "r" appears taller (2mm+) in Type I compared to Type III (2mm). (I don't have any Type IIs to compare.)

The Scott catalogue has Type I as major numbers, and Type II and Type III as minor numbers. Some of the minor numbers have a very high CV ($1,000+ !).

1920 Scott 28 30pf orange 
Bavarian Stamps of 1914-16 Overprinted
The March 1, 1920 issue used 1914-16 Bavarian stamps, and overprinted them. The eighteen stamps issue has a CV of <$1- $10+ for ten stamps.

I noticed in my collection that I do  not have some of the low denomination stamps: Scott 19 2pf gray, Scott 20 3pf brown, and Scott 22 7 1/2pf green. There is a reason for that. ;-)

These particular stamps were never officially issued, but were available for postage, and can be found on cover. CV ranges from $35 - $1000 !.

1920 Scott 58 4m black & rose
German Stamps of 1906-20 Overprinted
On March 26, 1920, an 18 stamp issue using the 1906-20 German stamps, and overprinted "Saargebiet" was  released. CV is a modest <$1-$8+ for the issue.

1921 Scott 67 10m on 15pf violet brown
Germany Scott 120 Surcharged
Three stamps were surcharged/overprinted in February, 1921. Although CV is a relatively modest <$1-$6+, forgeries exist.

In fact, this might be a good time to mention that "overprint forgeries exist" for all of the earlier issues of Saar.

1921 Scott 82 10m green & red brown 
"Presidential Residence, Saarbrucken"
A lovely typographed mostly bi-color 16 stamp issue was produced in 1921. This was the first non overprinted issue for Saar.

One of the all time great stamp images in my view ( "25m ultramarine, red & black  "Burbach Steelworks, Dillingen" ) from this issue heads the blog post

1921 Scott 96 2fr on 5m yellow & violet, blue surcharge
"St. Ludwig's Cathedral"
The preceding bi-color issue was surcharged on May 1, 1921, using three colors (red, blue, black), on 14 stamps. This was because of the changeover in currency ( Pfenning/Mark to Centimes/Franc).

1922 Scott 115 3fr orange & dark green
"Mettlach Church"
A somewhat less lovely eighteen stamp issue (more monochromatic), using the same vignette scenes found for the 1921 bi-color stamps, was issued between 1922-23 with the Centimes/Franc denominations. CV ranges from <$1-$3+ for 15 stamps.

1927 Scott 135 5fr deep brown "Burbach Steelworks"
Between 1927-32, a sixteen stamp set with seven scenes was issued. CV is <$1-$8+.

1934 Scott 150 1.50fr sapphire, blue overprint
Stamps of 1935-32 Overprinted in Various Colors
Plebiscite Issue
To publicize the plebiscite, sixteen regular issue stamps from 1925-32 were overprinted and released on November 1, 1934. The overprint is in various colors.

1926 Scott B3 50c + 50c red orange 
"Children getting Drink at Spring"
Semi-postal stamps are more popular in Europe, and therefore it is not surprising to find semi-postals issued between 1926-1934. Generally, the 60 semi-postals found in the Scott catalogue have a higher CV than the regular issues. Most are in the $4+-$20+ range. Used condition has a higher CV.

An example from the  first semi-postals- a 1926 four stamp issue- is shown here. Nicely designed.

1934 Scott B55 60c (+20c) red orange "Anxiety"
Overprinted in Various Colors Reading Up
Plebiscite Issue
On December 1, 1934, a seven stamp issue was issued- overprinted for the plebiscite- using the prior released March 15, 1934 semi-postal issue.

As far as I can tell, all of the Saar semi-postals were printed using photogravure.

1928 Scott C2 1fr dark violet 
"Airplane over Saarbrucken"
Air Post stamps for Saar were first issued in 1928 with a two denomination issue. CV is $3+-$4+.

1922 Scott O15 1fr brown red, blue overprint
Fifteen Official stamps were produced between 1922-23 on the regular 1922-23 issue using a "Dienstmarke" overprint, either in red or blue.

Of interest, the overprint can be found with two overprint types.

Illustrated above is Type 2: Center bar of "E" centered, "S" has a flat bottom, "A" slightly inclined to right.

1922 Scott O3 10c blue green , red overprint
And here is the overprint Type 1: Center bar of "E" slightly above center, "S" has rounded bottom, "A" symmetrical.

1930 Scott O23 60c red orange "Colliery Shafthead"
Regular Issue of 1927-30 Overprinted in Various Colors
There was also a 1927-34 Official issue with eleven stamps, using the regular 1927-30 issue overprinted in various colors.

This issue also comes in two types of overprints.

Type II (shown above) is printed at a 23-25 degree angle.

1927 Scott O25 1fr violet, red-orange overprint
This is an example of a Type I overprint, which is printed at a 32 degree angle.

Deep Blue

1921 Surcharged Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 16 pages for the major number spaces in the Scott catalogue.

For myself, I have many stamps in both unused and used condition, and I wanted to keep an example of both. So I have added several extra quadrilled pages .

1925 Scott 119 10fr black brown "Madonna of Blieskastel"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on five pages, has 132 spaces. Coverage is 56%.

The 1940s editions coverage is less, with 121 spaces.

BB has six spaces with CV > $10: one of which, the blank space choice official 1932 (Scott C4) 5fr dark brown, is CV $47.50.




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Air Post



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Official Stamps


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1931 Scott B26 1.50fr (+75c) ($10+)
1931 Scott B30 40c (+15c) ($10+)
1931 (Scott B31) 60c (+20c) ($10+)
1931 (Scott B32) 1fr (+50c) ($10+)
1932 (Scott C4) 5fr dark brown ($47+)
1922 Scott O15 1fr brown red (Bl) ($10+)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1929 Scott B16 40c (+15c) olive green 
"Orphaned" by Kaulbach
Out of the Blue
Every time I visit a "German Sphere" country, I am amazed by the beauty, as well as the implicit history of the stamps.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain. Type I-III overprint scan is from the internet, but originally from a Michel catalogue.  It is used here for educational purposes.

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