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...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Somali Coast (French Somaliland)

1894 Scott 3 50c on 1c black & red/blue
Red & Blue Overprint & Surcharge
Quick History
Somali Coast ("Djibouti", "French Somaliland") was a French protectorate and colony in the Horn of Africa on the Gulf of Tadjourna between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

The land is basically a volcanic desert, and is hot (32 degrees C (90 degrees F) annual temperature) and dry (125 mm (5 in) annual rainfall).

It has been traditionally been occupied by two nomadic groups: the Afars of the north, and the Somali-speaking Issas of the south. Both are Muslim, but have often fought against each other.

The first French settlement was Obock on the north end of the Gulf of Tadjourna, through a treaty with the local Afar Sultans in 1862, but not actually occupied until 1884. These agreements were strengthened between 1883 and 1887.

Obock issued their own stamps between 1892-1894.

So how was "French Somaliland" then formed?

1911 Map: French Somaliland on Gulf of Aden
(Located North of British Somaliland)
Then the port of Djibouti on the south side of the Gulf of Tadjourna was established in 1888, and provided a safer haven. The French protectorate- "Cote francaise des Somalis" (French Somaliland) was established in Djibouti in 1894 by Leonce Legarde, and the administrative capital was moved from Obock. The port of Obock was included in the new French Somaliland, and began to use the stamps of the "Somali Coast" in 1902.

French Somaliland 1922
The Capital was Djibouti, and the population was 44,000 in 1936.

Stamps were released in 1894 on overprinted/surcharged stamps of Obock. 

Initially the stamps were labeled "Djibouti", but the name was changed to French Somali Coast in 1902 ("Cote Francaise Des Somalis"), or "French Somaliland". 

With the advent of the (Franco-) Djibouti-Ethiopian Railway (1902 to Dire Dawa, 1906 to Adis Ababa, completed in 1917), the port of Djibouti grew to 15,000 and was the conduit for coffee exports out of southern Ethiopia.

The Colony was invaded by the Italians in 1940, and was occupied by the British in 1942.

The status was changed to a French overseas territory in 1946.

Republic of Djibouti Today
It was renamed the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967.

It became the independent country of Djibouti in 1977.

1894 Scott 13 25c rose & blue 
"View of Dijbouti, Somali Warriors
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Somali Coast (Djibouti) 1894-1940, 210 major number descriptions. Of those, 88 are CV <$1-$1+, or 42%. Most of the inexpensive stamps were issued after 1915, but there are 24 additional stamps with CV $2-$10 from 1894-1909.

As with any country with expensive overprinted/surcharged stamps, one needs to be aware that counterfeits can exist. I obtained most of these stamps from a specialized Somali Coast collection, but that does not guarantee authenticity.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1894 Scott 1 5c green & red/greenish
Overprint with Bar
For the first issue, five Obock stamps were overprinted or surcharged in 1894 for use in Djibouti. The stamps were handstamped in black, red, or blue. Two "Navigation and Commerce" stamps from this issue are found on this post- the 5c green & red/greenish illustrated above, and a 50c on 1c black & red/blue shown at the post header.

1894 Scott 6 1c black & claret
"View of Djibouti, Somali Warriors"
And in 1894-1902, a seventeen stamp typographed bi-color issue was released in a rectangular (14 stamps), triangular (1 stamp) and diamond shaped format (2 stamps). Two Somali warriors are placed on either side of a pictorial vignette. The issue is imperforate, but there are simulated perforations in the frame color. Nine stamps are CV $3+-$10+.

Note the issue is labeled "Somali Coast Protectorate" and "Djibouti".

I'm sure these designs got the stamp collector's attention. !!

1894-1902 Issue: Quadrille Lines printed on Paper
Note this issue (as well as the 1894 similar Obock issue) has quadrille lines printed on the paper.

1902 Scott 24 0.05c on 75c violet & orange
Blue Surcharge
Between 1899-1902, seven stamps from the preceding issue were surcharged in various ways. CV ranges from $5 to $400+.

1902 Scott 30 5c on 30c bister & yellow green
"Group of Warriors"
On 1894 Stamp of Obock- Black Surcharge
In 1902, seven stamps from Obock's issues were overprinted/surcharged for use in Djibouti. I wonder if this was, in part, to use up the extra stock of Obock stamps? (Obock was no longer issuing their own stamps.)

1902 Scott 36 4c blue & carmine "Tadjoura Mosque"
In 1902, an engraved bi-color fifteen stamp issue with three designs was released, perforated 11 1/2. In most of my examples, the perfs cut into the design on this issue.

Note the label "French Somali Coast".

1902 Scott 44 50c green & red orange 
"Somalis on Camel"
CV for this issue is $1+-$10+ for eleven stamps.

These small format engraved stamps, despite the impinging perfs and the "roughly drawn" design, are fascinating!

1903 Scott 54 15c orange brown & black
"Tadjoura Mosque"
A second set of these designs, but with the pictorial vignette in black, was issued in 1903 on fourteen stamps. Need or greed? ;-)

CV is $1+-$10+ for eleven stamps.

1903 Scott 59 50c green & black "Somalis on Camel"
Yes, this example is inverted.

Scott has a note: "Imperforates, transposed colors, and inverted centers exist in the 1902 and 1903 issues. Most of these were issued from Paris, and some are said to have been fraudulently printed."

1909 Scott 66 4c olive gray & black
"Tadjoura Mosque"
Most French colonies have, during the circa 1908-40 classical era, long runs of local scene or native pictorial issues, and Somali Coast is no exception.

In 1909, a sixteen stamp typographed issue with three pictorial designs was released.

For a treat, click on the "Tadjourna Mosque" stamp above, enlarge, and enjoy this little historical piece of art. !!

1909 Scott 72 35c violet & green 
"Somalis on Camel"
Camels are the traditional (and appropriate, considering the dry climate) means of transportation for the Land of Punt. But in the early 19th century, the Djibouti-Ethiopian Railway became a more efficient way to move trade goods.

1915 Scott 83 5c yellow green & green 
Between 1915-33, a three vignette bi-colored thirty-nine stamp issue was produced.

The French have a way with portrayal, don't they? ;-)

1915 Scott 94 30c black & blue green
"Somali Girl"
If I had to pick one stamp that displays the genius of Somali Coast designs, it would be this one. !

1915 Scott 118 5fr rose red & black 
"Djibouti-Addis Ababa Railroad Bridge"
This probably shows the Awash Bridge which was completed in 1914. It was destroyed by the Italian Army in 1941.

(Franco-) Djibouti-Ethiopian Railway
For more on the history of the Franco-Ethiopian and Djibouto-Ethiopian Railway, see this site

1922 Scott 120 50c on 25c ultramarine & dull blue
Blue Surcharge
In 1922, two stamps were surcharged in green and blue (shown). There were actually some 16 stamps surcharged between 1922-27. CV is a modest <$1-$2+ for 12 stamps.

1926 Scott 130 1.25fr on 1fr dark blue & ultramarine
Surcharged with New Value and Bars in Red
The 1924-27 six stamp issue was surcharged in either black or red. Really quite striking.

1940 Scott 147 3c slate green 
"Mosque of Djibouti"
The 1938-40 issue has 33 stamps and four designs.

1940 Scott 160 60c black
"Somali Warriors"
CV ranges from <$1-$2+ for the entire 33 stamp issue. 

1938 Scott 176 5fr brown & pale claret
"View of Djibouti"
The three highest denominations repeat the classic 1894 Djibouti issue design. The perfs are real this time, though. ;-)

1915 Scott B1 10c + 5c carmine & dark red
"Somali Girl"
The 10c carmine & dark red "Somali Girl" was used as a semi-postal in 1915.

1915 Scott J2 10c brown red; 1938 Scott J12 10c dark carmine
Two similar postage due issues: The eight stamp typographed 1915 issue & the 1938 ten stamp engraved issue.

1927 Scott J10 3fr on 1fr lilac rose 
Type of 1915 Issue Surcharged
In 1927, two stamps were surcharged using a type (different colors) of the 1915 issue.

Of interest, after the fall of France in 1940, French Somaliland was part of Vichy France. Free French and Allied forces entered the capital of Djibouti toward the end of 1942.

Deep Blue
1915-33 "Somali Girl" in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 18 pages for the stamps of Somali Coast 1894-1940, and includes a space for all the major Scott numbers.

1915 Scott 81 2c ocher & indigo "Drummer"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on five pages, has 130 spaces for the stamps of Somali Coast. Coverage is 62%.

The 1940s editions have the same coverage, except the 1938-40 issue coverage is arranged differently, and does not include an extra blank space (In the '69, I put Scott 177 there).

BB's coverage is quite good for the inexpensive stamps: I found only four stamps with CV <$1-$1+ that were not included.

And there is only one CV $10+ stamp required for the pages.








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Postage Due




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1903 Scott 54 15c orange brown & black ($10+)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *172- In BB "henna brown", in Scott "dark orange".
D) *174- In BB "chestnut", in Scott "orange brown".
E) *175- In BB "dull red violet", in Scott "dull violet".

1939 Scott 167 1.25fr magenta 
"Governor Leonce Lagarde"
Out of the Blue
Although the colonial era is over, legacies remain.

For instance, the legal system in modern day Djibouti are a mixture of French civil law, Sharia (Islamic law), and Somali and Afar peoples customary law.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Somalia (Italian Somaliland)

1906-07 Scott 11 5c on 2b blue green "Elephant"
Quick History
Italy was feeling left behind, as the other major European powers were more aggressive and successful in expanding their holdings during the "Scramble for Africa", beginning in 1881.

Africa, After the Scramble, 1914
Consequently, Italy entered into a protectorate treaty with the Sultanate of Hobyo and the Majeerteen Sultanate in 1889 in the "Horn of Africa", mainly to have access to ports along the Indian Ocean. With the granting of a concession of Benadir coastal land by the Sultan of Zanzibar, the port of Mogadishu became the Italian focus. This gave them easy access to the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden.

Somaliland, 1911
Italian immigration were promoted. Stamps for "Benadir" (Administered by "The Benadir Company") were issued October 12, 1903.  By 1905, Italy formed a colony in southern Somalia, and in 1908 all parts of Southern Somalia were united under "Italian Somaliland". But effective Italian control was limited to the coastal strip until the 1920s.

In 1925, Trans-Juba was ceded by the British (as a reward for Italy joined the Allies in WW I), and this strip of land was added to Italian Somaliland. 

By 1930, there were 22,000 Italian colonists in Italian Somaliland, (2% of the population), mainly around the capital Mogadishu.

The Fascist Italian Government then combined Italian Eritrea, the Ethiopian Empire, and Italian Somaliland into Italian East Africa (1936-41). After WW II, Italian Somaliland became the Trust Territory of Somalia in 1949, and finally achieved independence in 1960.

1923 Scott 40 1b brown "Elephant"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Somalia 1903-1940, 355 major number descriptions. Of those, 46 are CV <$1-$1+, or 13%. There are not many inexpensive stamps for Somalia in particular, and Italian colonies in general for the WW collector.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
4 Besas = 1 Anna
16 Annas = 1 Rupee
100 Besas = 1 Rupee (1922)
100 Centesimi = 1 Lira (1905, 1925)
1906-07 Scott 10 2c on 1b brown "Elephant"
The "Benadir" stamps are interesting ones- the first issue was released October 12, 1903 on seven stamps with a vignette of an elephant or a lion on them. They then were surcharged on various issues from 1906-1926. The above stamp is an 1906 example with a 2 Centesimi surcharge on a 1 Besa brown value.

The Italian government took over in 1905, and created a colony under its direct administration.. The reason lies buried in historical documents, but is reasonably accessible with a bit of internet sleuthing.

It turns out that "The Benadir Company" was granted a concession to administer that part of Italian Somaliland called El Benadir (around Mogadishu on the coast) in 1898, and the concession was supposed to run until 1946. The company was given the right to collect taxes and customs, exploit mines, and occupy territory in Italian possession. In exchange, the company was to develop the territory, pay an annual tribute of 120,000 rupees to the Sultan of Zanzibar, administer the laws, develop a postal service, and have at least 600 guards for the protection of stations.

But charges were filed that the company had done nothing to develop the territory, except start a steamship service between Aden, Benadir, and Zanzibar. But the most incriminating finding was that the Benadir Company had permitted slavery.  

1916 Scott 20 20c on 2a orange brown "Lion"
1903 Issue Surcharged
The surcharged "Benadir" stamps of 1905-1926 (37 stamps) are fairly expensive for the WW collector, with most stamps @ CV $10+-$50+.

1923 Scott 43 5b on 50c on 5a orange "Lion"
Surcharged with Bars on Stamps of 1906-07
The 1923 issue had eleven stamps, and were surcharged with bars. CV ranges from $9+-$60+.

1926 Scott 72 10c on 1a rose red "Lion"
Stamps of 1907-16, Surcharged, with Bars over Original values
The 1926 issue, the last surcharged one, had eight stamps, and a CV of $10+-$20+.

Wmk 140 "Crown"
BTW, all of the "Benadir" issues are on watermarked "Crown" (Wmk 140) paper.

1926 Scott 86 20c violet brown
Italian Stamps of 1901-26 Overprinted
Beginning in 1922, Italian stamps are either overprinted "Somalia Italiana" or "Somalia" (except for the 1922 and 1926 surcharged "Benadir" issues).

The 1926-30 fourteen stamp issue (example above) used overprinted Italian stamps of 1901-26.

1927 Scott 97 20c purple "Volta Issue"
Type of Italy, 1927, Overprinted
When I mentioned that the stamps are overprinted on Italian stamps,- actually some issues are more interesting then that. The "Volta" issue is a "color type": that is, the Italy issue is 20c dark carmine, 50c greenish black, and 1.25l ultramarine, while the Somalia stamps are 20c purple, 50c deep orange, and 1.25l bright blue.

1929 Scott 106 50c + 10c crimson "Monte Cassino Issue"
Overprinted in Red or Blue
Same with the 1929 five stamp "Monte Cassino Issue": the stamps, of course, are overprinted, but they are also in different colors compared to the Italy issue. 

1930 Scott 114 20c violet, Red Overprint
On Ferrucci Issue
The 1930 "Ferrucci" issue consists of five stamps, and the CV is $5+-$10+. One rarely finds Italian colony stamps in the bargain bin.

1930 Scott 122 30c light brown, Blue Overprint
Types of 1930 "Virgil Issue"
The 1930 "Virgil" issue is a "color type", and the nine stamp set is CV $1+-$3+: quite inexpensive compared to other Somalia offerings.

1931 Scott 131 30c gray brown, Blue Overprint
Types of 1931 "Saint Anthony of Padua Issue"
Likewise, the 1931 five stamp "Saint Anthony" issue is only CV $1+. !

1932 Scott 139 7 1/2c violet, Perf 12
"Lighthouse at Cape Guardafui"
In 1932, Somalia received its own regular issue proper, with an eighteen stamp output with eight pictorial designs. Nice! Printed in photogravure, the 1932 issue is Perf 12, and is given major Scott numbers.

1934-37 Scott 142a 20c carmine , Perf 14
"Tower at Mnara Ciromo"
Scott gives minor numbers to the identical 1934-37 issue, except in Perf 14. I seem to have more minor number types in my own collection.

1934-37 Scott 146a 50c violet, Perf 14
"Governor's Palace at Mogadishu"
CV ranges widely for both perf types. For Perf 12, CV is <$1-$100+. For perf 14, CV is <$1-$2000+. ! I should mention that there are other minor number perf types (12 X 14, 14 X 12, Perf 12 on three sides with Perf 14 on either top or bottom, Perf 12 on three sides and Perf 14 on left) found for the 1932 issue- all at high CV.

1934 Scott 169 1.25l dark blue & green
"Mother and Child"
For the 1934 Second Colonial Arts Exhibition in Naples. a lovely large format six stamp "Mother and Child" set was released. CV is $4/stamp unused.

1926 Scott B15 60c + 5c orange
""Peace" Substituting Spade for Sword"
The omnibus 1926 Colonial Institute semi-postal six stamp issue must have been widely distributed in the packet trade, as I have multiple copies in my feeder albums. CV is a very modest <$1.

1934 Scott C4 80c orange brown & black "Cheetahs"
A six stamp large format air post issue was also released in 1934 for the Second Colonial Arts Exhibition in Naples. CV is $4.

Deep Blue
1934 Air Post Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 29 pages for the Somalia for 1903-1940, and includes a space for all the major Scott numbers. In addition, the Steiner has spaces for the minor number Perf 14 1934-37 issue.

1926 Scott 84 5c green
Italian Stamps of 1901-25 Overprinted
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on six pages, has 156 spaces for the regular, semi-postal, air post, semi-postal air post, postage due, special delivery, and parcel post issue categories for Somalia. Coverage is 44%. And the coverage will be expensive to fill as we will see in a moment.

The coverage in the '69 is after "Sierra Leone". The 1940s editions have the coverage under "Italian Somaliland", and is placed after "Italian East Africa". The '69 BB has an extra space for the 1926-30 issue. The 1940s editions have their spaces arranged differently for the first three pages, and offer two more spaces for the 1934 "Mother and Child" issue.

As far as expensive stamps, 38 spaces require CV $10+ or more, with 8 of these @ CV $47+- $87+. !!!! (Details in the "comments" section after the checklist.)







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138a or 138, 139a or 139, 140a or 140, 141a or 141,
145a or 145, 146a or 146, 147a or 147,(156),(157),
142a or 142, 143a or 143, 144a or 144,148,149,150,


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Parcel Post
Q16, Q17, Q18,

Q25, Q26, Q27,
Q28, (Q32), (Q33),

Postage Due


Special Delivery
E3, (E5), (E7),

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Air Post


Semi-Postal Air Post


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1903 Scott 1 1b brown ($20+)
1916 Scott 20 20c on 2a orange brown ($10+)
1923 Scott 55 3b on 10c dark green ($10+)
1923 Scott 56 13b on 30c dark violet ($10+)
1923 Scott 57 20b on 50c brown carmine ($10+)
1923 Scott 58 30b on 1 l blue ($10+)
1926 Scott 90 75c dark red & rose ($47.50)
1927 Scott 98 50c deep orange ($10+)
1927 Scott 99 1.25l bright blue ($10+)
1929 Scott 108 5l + 1l dark violet ($10+)
1930 Scott 88 30c gray ($20)
1930 Scott 102 50c bright violet ($47.50)
1931 Scott 136 25c dark green ($10+)
1934 (Scott 156) 10c brown ($10+)
1934 (Scott 157) 25c green ($10+)
1916 Scott B1 10c +5c rose ($10+)
1916 Scott B3 20c + 5c orange ($10+)
1916 Scott B4 20c on 15c +5c slate ($55)
1930 Scott B29 30c + 10c dark green & blue green ($20+)
1930 Scott B30 50c + 10c dark green & violet ($20+)
1930 Scott B31 1.25l + 30c olive brown & red brown ($20+)
1930 Scott B32 5l + 1.50l red & green ($87.50)
1936 Scott C14 3l copper red ($10+)
1924 Scott E3 30b dark red & brown ($10+)
1926 (Scott E5) 70c on 30b ($10+)
1927 (Scott E7) 1.25l on 30b ($10+)
1909-19 Scott J14 20c buff & magenta ($20)
1909-19 Scott J15 30c buff & magenta ($55)
1909-19 (Scott J16) 40c buff & magenta ($55)
1934 Scott J46 30c red orange ($10+)
1934 Scott J47 40c black brown ($10+)
1923 Scott Q16 3b on 5c brown ($20+)
1923 Scott Q17 5b on 5c brown ($20+)
1923 Scott Q18 10b on 10c blue ($20+)
1926 Scott Q25 5c brown ($30+)
1926 Scott Q26 10c blue ($30+)
1926 Scott Q27 20c black ($72.50)
1926 Scott Q28 25c red ($72.50)
1926 (Scott Q32) 3l yellow ($20+)
1926 (Scott Q33) 4l slate ($20+)
B) *1932- choices are either major number perf 12 or minor number perf 14
C) (     ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1930 Scott 112 50c + 10c deep orange 
Type of Italian Royal Wedding Stamps of 1930 Overprinted
Out of the Blue
This was my comment on the Oltre Giuba post...

"I've never quite warmed up to Italian colony stamps. Generally, they are  unused, and many of them merely consist of overprinted Italian stamps. They seem "artificial", intended primarily to extract money from collectors. (But, one can argue that is true for many/ most of the world's colonies. ;-)

And a large portion of Italian colony stamps tend to be expensive."

I must admit that the chill has now warmed up a bit. Somehow, I missed the fact that a number of colony issues are "color types", and therefore more desirable and collectible in my view.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments welcome!