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...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


1901 Scott 31 3c on 36c brown & rose
"Queen Victoria"; Surcharged in Black
Quick History
Seychelles is an 115 island archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 900 miles (1500 km) from Southeast Africa. French and English and Seychellois Creole are the the spoken languages. The people, culture and food is a fusion of English, French, Chinese, Indian, and African influences.

 The Seychelles Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
The Seychelles were uninhabited during historic times, so all current inhabitants are descendants of those that were brought to the islands. The British gained control over the French by 1810, but allowed the French settlers to remain.

Main inhabited portion of the Seychelles.
The islands were attached to the colony of Mauritius from 1810 to 1903. Seychelles became a crown colony in 1903.

Stamps for the Seychelles were introduced in 1890. Prior to that, there are examples of Mauritius stamps cancelled (B64 Obliterator) from 1861-1887.

Victoria is the capital, and the population was 43,000 in 1943.

The Seychelles have a tropical rain forest climate, and the temperature varies little throughout the year. Cinnamon, vanilla, and copra were the plantation era exports.

Independence occurred in 1976, and Seychelles remains part of the commonwealth.

1906 Scott 54 6c carmine rose "Edward VII"
Type of 1903, Wmk 3
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Seychelles 1890-1952, 175 major number descriptions. Of those, 78 are CV <$1-$1+, or 45%.

Of interest, there are 58 "A" prefix numbers of stamps from Mauritius used (cancelled) in the Seychelles between 1861-1887. These are expensive, are specialist territory, and I will say no more about them.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Rupee
1893 Scott 3 3c dark violet & orange "Victoria"
The first issue for Seychelles proper was the 1890-1900 twenty-one stamp "Queen Victoria" keyplate design. The higher denominations are somewhat expensive, but thirteen stamps are CV $1+-$6.

Die I on Scott 9a 13c slate & black
Of interest, the 2c, 4c, 8c, 10c, 13c, and 16c denominations can be found as Die I (minor numbers). There are three horizontal shading lines to the right of the diamond in the rectangle of the tiara band.

Die II on Scott 1 2c green & rose
Die II stamps (major numbers) have no shading lines within the rectangle.

1893 Scott 22 3c on 4c carmine rose & green
Surcharged in Black
Between 1893-1902, there are fifteen stamps with various forms of surcharges, all on the 1890 Victoria design. Nine are CV $1+-$5.

1903 Scott 38 2c red brown & green "Edward VII"
Watermark 2
In 1903, the first issue (eleven stamps) for Edward VII was produced. These are found on watermark 2. At the header of this "Into the Deep Blue" section, I also show a 6c carmine rose that is watermark 3 from the similar 1906 eleven stamp issue. Obviously, the 1903 and 1906 "Edward VII" issues need to be distinguished by watermark.

Wmk 2: "Crown and C A"; Wmk 3: "Multiple Crown and C A"
Wmk 4: "Multiple Crown and Script C A"
Here, as a refresher, are the Wmk 2, Wmk 3, and Wmk 4 British Colonial watermarks.

1912 Scott 69 30c purple & green "George V"
Note "Postage...Postage" on white side tablets
In 1912, a new set of "George V" stamps (eleven) was issued, similar to the preceding "Edward VII" design.

Note the "Postage....Postage" script on the white side tablets.

1917 Scott 75 3c green "George V"
Die I, Wmk 3
Note "Postage...& Revenue" on colored side tablets
Between 1917-20, a new set of "George V" stamps (16) was issued. These are on watermark 3 paper, and are Die I, except for the 18c, 25c, 75c, and 1.50r values, that can also be found as Die II (minor numbers).

Note the "Postage......& Revenue" script on colored side tablets.

1922 Scott 98 6c violet "George V"
Die II, Wmk 4
Then, between 1921-32, a 24 stamp set that is on watermark 4 paper and Die II design was issued.

We have discussed the Die I /Die II differences before, and, if one needs a refresher, take a look at the Fiji blog post. Also, the 2014 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue shows the differences rather nicely on page 38A (Introduction Section). The illustration and explanation of the Die I/ Die II differences have improved in the 2014 Scott, compared to the 2011 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue.

1938 Scott 125a 2c purple brown
"Coco-de-mer Palm"
A 16 stamp set with three scenes using photogravure was issued between 1938-1941. This was on chalky paper. Then, adding new values and color changes, a a twelve stamp issue was produced in 1941-49 on chalky paper, and a sixteen stamp issue was produced in 1942-45 on ordinary paper.

The "Coco-de-mer" is also known as the sea coconut or double coconut. It is endemic to the islands of Praslin and Curieuse in the Seychelles. It is mainly found in the National Parks on those islands. Fortunately, the Seychelles have been careful with their indigenous flora, and, as a World Heritage Site, a third of the area is now protected.

1942 Scott 129b 6c green "Fishing Canoe"
A "Pirogue" is a native dugout canoe used for fishing.

Of the 44 stamps issued from 1938-1949, Scott gives 20 of them bolded minor numbers. It is somewhat unclear to me what criteria Scott used for parsing.

Deep Blue
1912 "George V" Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has eleven pages for the stamps of the Seychelles. Of interest, Deep Blue includes spaces for the minor number 1890-1900 Die I stamps (eight spaces), and the 1917-20 Die II stamps (four spaces).

1917 Scott 77 6c carmine rose "George V"
Die I, Wmk 3; Note "Victoria" cancel, the Capital
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages (Tobago has one line), has 56 spaces  for the Seychelles. The 40s editions have the same coverage. Coverage = 40%  (I subtracted the 35 stamps issued after 1945).

There are two "expensive" stamps and two "Most Expensive" stamps (CV $45-$70) required, all from the "1938" issue. This is because of color specifications by BB, although there are less expensive stamps of the same denomination issued in the 1940s in different colors.



1892 (actually 1893)

38 or 52,39 or 53,40 or 54,41 or 55,(56),


74 or 91,75 or 92,93,94,95,96,77 or 97,98,
99,78 or 100,101,103,80 or 104,105,(107),(108),

Next Page





A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1938 Scott 137 25c ocher ($10+)
1938 Scott 138 30c rose lake ($10)
1939 Scott 142 75c gray blue ($45)
1938 Scott 144 1r yellow green ($70)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *1903-06 - Wmk 2 vs Wmk 3 choices.
D) *1917-32- some Wmk 3/Die I vs Wmk 4/Die II choices.
E) *1938- Issue consists of 1938-41 Chalky Paper, New values and color changes with chalky paper (1941-49), and ordinary paper (1942-45). Most of the spaces are defined by the color specifications, but there are stamps specified (20c bright blue) that were issued after 1940. The 45c "violet brown" color is not found in the modern catalogue. Use your judgement. 

1942 Scott 139 30c bright blue 
"Seychelles Giant Tortoise"
Found on Aldabra Atoll
Out of the Blue
Exotic location muted somewhat by the ordinary keyplate issues of the British colonial era.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!


  1. "She sells sea shells by the Seychelles sea shore". Try saying that fast ten times :).

    Have to admit though British colonials just lack the eye appeal for me compared to the French colonials. Mostly colonial keyplate kings and queens, which while providing lots of interesting varieties in terms of perforation, watermark and paper, don't really give the sense of place that the French colonial issues do, at least not until late in the classical period when the British finally seem to have the epiphany that pictorials might actually appeal to collectors more than just royal heads.

    1. I tend to agree with you, although a nicely cancelled colonial for me- whether British or French- Is a tangible reminder of exotic and historical times past..

  2. great postage Jim, congratulations !!

    1. Thanks Postmail, and I have seen/read your wonderful stamp blog based in Brazil before. I will visit more often!

  3. Some of my favorite modern stamps, are the the "Outer Islands" of Seychelles - Zil Elwannyen. They released many colorful stamps of native wildlife, views of southern constellations from sandy beaches, and whimsical Christmas stamps that portray Santa and his sleigh flying over tropical palm trees!

    1. Gina - I am "protected" from island fever by my self
      imposed 1952 cutoff for British Commonwealth. So you have the field!