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, March 2, 2016


1902 Scott 18 2m brown & green  "Camel Post"
Quick History
Nubian Pyramids.... and sand
Sudan is home to the ancient Nubian Kingdom of Kush, at the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile.

But the Suez Canal, built in 1869, meant that, in more recent times, the British and French became interested in the area, mainly to assure security of the enterprise.  

And that most definitely affected Sudan.

Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, on the southern border of Egypt, and tied by the Nile River and culture to Egypt, was a Condominium of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Egypt from 1899-1956. In reality, the British controlled the Sudan: not least because Egypt was occupied by British forces of various strengths from 1882-1936, and Egypt was a British Protectorate from 1914-1922.

Even after 1936, when the British forces withdrew from Egypt proper, with the exception of the Suez Canal Zone, they maintained their forces in Sudan.

(For more on the Anglo-Egyptian relationship, see my Egypt blog post.)

Anglo Egyptian Sudan in Northeastern Africa
Map shows exploration and partition history to 1914
Stamps were introduced in 1897 by overprinting Egyptian stamps of 1884-93.

Then Anglo Egyptian Sudan received their own iconic philatelic design beginning in 1898: the "Camel Post". The design was used as late as 1954.

Egyptian Sudan under British Control, 1912
The population was ~6,500,000 circa 1940, and the Capital is Khartoum.

Independence was achieved in 1956.

Sudan Today
Since independence, Sudan has had multiple coups d' etat, Marxist/ Non-Marxist conflict, north-south civil war (X2), Islamic Sharia law imposed on the national level, purges, executions, the Darfur genocide, and the South Sudan secession.

Two million people have died from civil war and famine.

Smiles in Khartoum
And yet life, as it should, goes on.

1903 Scott 28 5m Surcharge
On 1898 Scott 15 5p green & orange brown
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Sudan 1897-1941, 180 major number descriptions. Of those, 77 are CV <$1-$1+, or 43%. Sudan's stamps are reasonably affordable for the WW classical era collector.

Aside from the first issue, which consists of overprinted Egyptian "Sphinx" stamps, the overriding design over multiple issues for Sudan is the "Camel Post": and handsome it is.

No doubt because Sudan was jointly administered by Great Britain and Egypt, the script is in both English and Arabic.

Besides the usual categories of regular, air post, and postage due, Sudan also offers official stamps ( overprinted and perforated), and army official stamps (overprinted and perforated) categories.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
10 Milliemes = 1 Piaster
100 Piasters = 1 Pound
1897 Scott 2 2m green
Egyptian Stamps of 1884-93 Overprinted in Black
Eight Egyptian stamps were overprinted in March 1, 1897 by the Government Printing Works in Cairo for the first provisional issue of Sudan.  Note that the script here is in both French ("Soudan") and Arabic. All subsequent issues had English and Arabic script.

Both Scott and Stanley Gibbons mention that numerous overprint forgeries exist for this issue.

1898 Scott 16 10p deep violet & black "Camel Post"
Wmk 71: "Rosette"
De La Rue, London, was the printer for the "Camel Post" eight stamp issue in 1898. The issue is on watermark "Rosette" paper. De la Rue actually printed almost all of the stamps for Sudan during the classical era.

The "camel post" stamps here are large format- 25.5 mm X 30 mm.

Kitchener (center right) and the Anglo- Egyptian Nile Campaign, 1898
The "Camel Post" design was based on a sketch by Captain Edward Stanton, who, in turn, did it at the request of Sir Herbert Kitchener. Field Marshal Kitchener was victorious in the 1898 Battle of Omdurman, ensuring British control of Sudan.

He was given the title "Lord Kitchener of Khartoum", and he became Governor-General of the Sudan in September, 1898.

1905 Scott 17 1m carmine rose & brown 
Wmk 179: "Multiple Crescent and Star"
The second "Camel Post" issue of eleven stamps was produced between 1902-21, and was on "Multiple Crescent and Star" watermarked paper.

Update note: In the blog post header, which features the 1902 Scott 18 2m brown & green from this issue, there is a break in the frame above the "N" of Sudan.   This was noted by Rodney Allen (Rod222) of Perth, Australia, when I posted a link to this blog post on the The Stamp Forum website. Thanks Rod!

One will need to check watermarks to parse the issues. (See below.)

I should mention a bit more about Edward Stanton, who was given five days to come up with a stamp design by his commander, Field Marshal Kitchener! (The story was posted by Dave R. on the Stampboards forum. Thanks Dave!)

Stanton, an amateur artist, was always sketching Sudan scene images on the edges of maps he was drawing. As said, he had to quickly come up with a drawing suitable for stamps.

Nothing came to him, but on the third day the English mail arrived via camel rather than the usual steamer.

Ah-Ha! He had the local Sheikh gallop past him on a camel with straw-filled bags as if on a postal run. ;-)

Left Top- Wmk 71: "Rosette"
Right Top- Wmk 179: "Multiple Crescent and Star"
Bottom- Wmk 214: "Multiple S G"
Here are the watermarks found for classical era Sudan stamps. As there are identical color denomination stamps for similar issues, watermarks need to be checked.

BTW, "S G" stands for "Sudan Government".

1922 Scott 33 5m black & olive brown 
Wmk 179: "Multiple Crescent and Star"
A smaller format "Camel Post" seven stamp issue- 19.5 mm X 22.5 mm - was released in 1921-22.

Note the watermark.

All the printing of the "Camel Post" issues were produced by typography.

1927 Scott 42 15m orange brown & ultramarine
Chalky Paper; Wmk 214: "Multiple S G"
A similar small format seven stamp "Camel Post" issue, but on chalky paper and "Multiple S G" watermarked paper, was released between 1927-40.

Fair enough- just check the watermarks, right?

Not exactly. There is also a 1941 war-time issue on thick, smooth unsurfaced paper that has minor bolded numbers in Scott. The "ordinary" paper issue of 1941 was a substitute for the chalky paper.

I admit telling the difference between ordinary paper and chalky paper (especially used specimens that have been soaked in water) is not always easy. But do your best. ;-)

But that is not all....

1927 Scott 36  1m orange yellow & black "Posta Sudaniya"
1948 Scott Scott 79 1m dark orange & black "Barid-al-Sudan"
Both with Watermark "Multiple S G"
In 1948, a similar, but not identical issue with the same watermarked paper was produced. The Arabic script at the base of the "Camel Post' vignette is different. I admit I had placed a 1948 issue stamp among the 1927-40 issue spaces. ;-)

1927 Scott 46 5p dark green & orange brown
Chalky Paper; Wmk 214: "Multiple S G"
Also, the 1927-40 issue includes eight larger format stamps. Same thing as the 1927-40 smaller format stamps- there is also a '41 ordinary paper issue, and a similar '48 issue.

1940 Scott 44 3p dark blue & red brown
1948 Scott 87 3p dark blue & red brown
Same watermark "Multiple S G"; Different Arabic script
Here is a look at the similar, but not identical 1927-40 and 1948 issues for the large format stamps.

Now you know. ;-)

1931 Scott C3 2p orange & violet brown
1927 Scott 43 Overprinted in Black
In 1931, a three stamp air post issue was produced by overprinting in black on Scott 40,41, and 43. The air mail stamps were issued in conjunction with the England- Cape Town "Blazing the Mail" air route in March, 1931- which took 6 days, 10 hours to fly. ;-)

Imperial Airways' routes, April, 1935
Here is a map which shows the air routes to Africa and Australia by Imperial Airways in 1935.

1931 Scott C7 15m dark brown & brown
"Statue of General C. G. Gordon" 
Charles George Gordon was a Major-General that met his death January, 1885 in Khartoum in the face of a Sudanese revolt led by a Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad. Gordon had evacuated 2,500 British citizens from the area. 

General Gordon's Last Stand - 1885
By George William Joy
He was also supposed to depart, but he and a small group of soldiers organized a defense of Khartoum which lasted a year. The government reluctantly sent a Khartoum Relief Expedition, because of popular British sentiment. But it was too late, as Khartoum had been overrun two days prior, and Gordon had been killed.

1901 Scott J6 4m blue green & brown
"Steamboat on Nile River"
Wmk 179: "Multiple Crescent and Star"
In 1901, a four stamp postage due issue was released. The fact that it has a nice scene, "Steamboat on the Nile River", is unusual for a British (Protectorate - in all but name) postage due.

1927 Scott J11 10m violet & blue green
Wmk 214: "Multiple S G"
The 1927-30 three stamp postage due issue is quite similar (in color) to the 1901 issue. But observe- the watermark is different. ;-)

1906 Scott MO8 5m black & rose red
Army Official Stamps
Regular Issues of 1902-11 Overprinted in Black
Sudan offers some 27 Army Official stamps- some overprinted, some perforated.

The stamp shown here is part of a eleven stamp issue of 1906-11.  The 2p, 5p, and 10p denominations can be found with wmk "Multiple Crescent and Star" (1902-11 issue stamps), or with wmk "Rosette" (1898 issue stamps).

1903-12 Scott O6 1p yellow brown & ultramarine
Official Stamps
"O.S.G.S." Overprint on Stamps of 1902-11
There are 46 stamps in the Official category for Sudan in the 1840-1940 Scott catalogue.

The 1903-12 issue of seven stamps is overprinted in black. The initials signify "On Sudan Government Service".

1913 Scott OA23 1p brown & ultramarine
On Second Large Camel Post Issue 1902-21
Perforated Official Stamps
"S G" for "Sudan Government"
There are also perforated Official stamps. The above is from a nine stamp perforated issue, with 12 holes in "S", and 13 holes in "G".

1946 Scott O19 4p black & ultramarine
Regular Issue of 1927-40 Overprinted in Black
The 1936-48 Official issue has fifteen stamps, and is overprinted as shown. Be aware that there are similar overprints for later issues- in 1948, 1950, and 1951.

Deep Blue
1903-12 Official Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 12 pages for the 1897-1941 stamps of Sudan, the period of time covered by the 2014 Scott Classic catalogue.

Contrary to the usual complete coverage, my Steiner pages do not offer spaces for several issues...

* The 1941 Issue with bolded minor numbers (Scott 36a-50a) on thick smooth unsurfaced paper (fourteen stamps) have no spaces. I used a quadrilled page.
* 1912-22 perforated Army official issue (Scott MOA17-MOA27) - nine stamps, and the 1922-24 perforated army issue (Scott MOA30, MOA33-MOA34)- three stamps. A quadrilled page was used.
* Perforated Official stamps for the years 1900, 1913-22, 1922, 1927-30 (22 stamps). Again, I used a quadrilled page. 

1940 Scott 60 5m on 10m black & carmine
1927 Scott 41 Surcharged in Black
Big Blue
Big Blue '69,  on two pages, has 61 spaces for the stamps of Sudan.  Coverage is 33%.

The 40s editions have the same coverage, except a space is given for the 1903 Scott 28 5m on 5p (CV $10+).  (Note: This stamp is illustrated at the head of the "Into the Deep Blue" section.)

The perforated stamps found with the Official and Army Official categories are not included. 

The "S G" Official overprinted stamps of 1936+ are not given a space.

Only one stamp with CV $10+ is required for the spaces.

There is the usual (for BB) one space for watermark different stamps.



1898 (-1911)*
9 or 17, 10 or 18, 11 or 19, 12 or 22, 13 or 23,
14 or 24, 20,21,15 or 26, 16 or 27,

29 or 36, 30 or 37, 31 or 38, 32 or 39, 33 or 40, 34 or 41, 35 or 42,


Next Page

Postage Due


Official Stamps


Air Post



A)Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1931 Scott C12 1 1/2p gray & brown ($10+)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) * 1898-(1911): I include the second issue as well. That means there is the Wmk 71 vs Wmk 179 choice for a space.
D) *1921-36: Wmk 179 vs Wmk 214 choice for a space. Be aware that, in 1941, there was a fourteen stamp issue (bolded minor numbers) that was on thick smooth unsurfaced paper. Technically, because of BB date specifications, the '41 issue should not be put in: your decision though.
E) *1901- because of BB's date specifications, the 1927-30 Scott J9-J11 are not eligible.

1912-22 Scott MOA18 2m brown & green
On Second Large Camel Post Issue 1902-21
Perforated Army Official Stamps
"A S" = Army Service
Out of the Blue
The "Camel Post" stamps are iconic- who wouldn't want their mail delivered by camel? ;-)

Note: Maps, and pics of smiling lady, Nubian Pyramids, and Kitchener, and 1935 Imperial Airways map, and Gordon's painting appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!


  1. Interesting read as always. Started to wonder why Steiner is not 'complete' and dig a bit deeper...

    "The 1941 Issue with bolded minor numbers (Scott 36a-50a) on thick smooth unsurfaced paper (fourteen stamps) have no spaces."

    Nothing about this on my Scotts (2006 specialized, and 2010 general). Not listed in Michel either, but SG Commonwealth does note the difference. So likely it was added to Scott after Steiner did those pages.

    Same story for MOA17-MOA27 (except this time Michel footnotes them).

    As always, wish there was a single catalog to master them all, LOL.


  2. Thanks Keijo- you always have something interesting to add. :-)

    My SG 1840-1970 is the go-to catalogue for me for anything commonwealth. Much more detailed. (Almost too generous with the major numbers with a color shade.)

    I have yet to obtain a Michel catalogue outside the German sphere.

  3. Actually re the iconic Camel Post pictorial, it was used as recently as 2003 (Scott #557) so while those at the top of the political fulcrum in Khartoum may have changed often over the past sixty years (Sudan celebrated 60th anniversary independence on Jan 1st 2016) some icons transcend politics.