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...

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!


  1. Scott has added a number of postal-fiscal issues to various countries in revent years. The reason they aren't in Deep Blue (yet) is that Bill does not have models for space sizing.

    1. O.K., thanks for the information about the Steiner pages.

      I am somewhat ambivalent about postal-fiscal issues. They tend to be expensive, and, seems to me, were used more on the fiscal side than the postal side. But to each their own. :-)