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, March 20, 2016


1933 Scott 10 1/2p green "George V"
Quick History
The tiny Kingdom of Swaziland, today still sovereign, and an absolute monarchy, is situated in Southern Africa. The Swazi people, under the leadership of King Mswati II (reign 1840-1868), unified and consolidated the territory, with the borders finalized in 1881.

Tiny Swaziland (green borders), located between the South African Republic (Transvaal),
Zululand, and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) on this 1885 Map
South African Republic (Transvaal) stamps can be found overprinted "Swaziland" in 1889 and 1892.

In 1894, Swaziland became a South African Republic (Transvaal) Protectorate. The overprinted stamps of Swaziland were replaced by those of Transvaal in 1895.

With the British victory in the Second Boer War, Swaziland became a British Protectorate in 1903. Administration of Swaziland was transferred from Transvaal to the British High Commissioner for South Africa in 1906.

Swaziland's own stamp issues were resumed in 1933.

The administration of Swaziland (and Bechuanaland Protectorate) was assumed by the British High Commissioner for Basutoland in 1934.

Swaziland in South Africa
The population was 156,000 in 1936, and the administrative capital was and is Mbabane.

I should mention that the lands were partitioned into a European area (two-thirds) and a Native Reserve area (one-third).

Swaziland remained a British Protectorate until 1968, when independence was achieved.

As mentioned, Swaziland is an absolute monarchy, although governed by a constitution, Swazi Law, and Swazi customs.

Ingwenyama Mswati III, King of Swaziland since 1986
By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother.... or a ritual substitute Ndiovukati (She- Elephant). Polygamy is part of the traditional Swazi culture. Currently, the King has fifteen wives.

1935 Scott 23 6p brown violet & Indigo
"Silver Jubilee Issue"; Common Design Type
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Swaziland 1899-1892; 1933-1949, fifty-two major number descriptions. Of those, thirty-three are CV <$1-$1+, or 64%.

The overprinted nine stamps of 1889-92 Transvaal, though, are rather expensive (CV $10+-$175), and the WW classical collector may not have any (I don't). In addition, one has to be aware of overprint counterfeits.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1933 Scott 12 2p light brown "George V"
Swaziland was late to adopt their own stamps as a British protectorate, with the first Swaziland issue released in 1933. The issue consisted of ten stamps, with George V in the central vignette.

The more interesting aspect of the design, however, are the Swazi embellishments.

Swazi Ox Hide Combat Shield
On either side of the vignette are images of the Swazi ox hide combat shield carried in the 1920s by the Emasotsha traditional Swazi regiment.

State and War Flag of Swaziland
The shield also is found illustrated on the state flag for the Kingdom of Swaziland. The flag is based on the one given by King Sobhuza II to the Swazi Pioneer Corps in 1941.

Traditional Homestead with Beehive Huts thatched with Dry Grass
Found on the lower portions of the 1933 stamp design are images of the beehive hut. The primary family social unit is the "homestead", which consists of beehive huts, one for each wife in a polygamous homestead, surrounded by reed fences. A great hut, facing the cattle byre, is the home of the mother of the headman. The headman, usually polygamous, leads the homestead.

1938 Scott 29 1 1/2p light blue "George VI"
An identical issue of eleven stamps, save for the George VI vignette, was released in 1938.

1945 Scott 38 1p rose pink & chocolate, pair "Victory"
Peace Issue; South Africa Issue Overprinted
The South Africa 1945 three stamp issue, celebrating the WW II victory of the Allies, was overprinted for Swaziland.

1947 Scott 46 3p ultramarine
Royal Visit Issue; Type of Basutoland, 1947
Princesses Margaret Rose and Elizabeth are featured on one of the three stamps issued for the visit of the Royal Family on March 25, 1947. An identical set, save for a change in country name, was issued for Basutoland.

1933 Scott J2 2p violet
Postage Due
A rather bland postage due set of two stamps was issued for Swaziland in 1933. But an unused 2p violet has a CV of $2+, while a postage due stamp on a properly franked commercial cover is CV $225!

Deep Blue
1938 "George VI" Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has six pages for 1889-1892; 1933-1949 Swaziland, and includes a space for all the major Scott descriptive numbers.

1947 Scott 47 1sh dark violet
Visit of the British Royal Family March 25, 1947
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page located between Surinam and Sweden, has, for 1933-1938, twenty- four spaces. The spaces for BB cover the 1933 "George V" issue, the 1938 "George VI" issue, the 1935 Silver Jubilee Issue, the 1937 Coronation Issue and the 1933 Postage Due issue. Overall coverage in BB for the stamps up to 1940 is 62%.

Big Blue does not provide spaces for the earlier 1889-92 overprinted stamps of Transvaal: probably for the best, as they are rather expensive.

The 1940s editions of BB have identical coverage.

There are no expensive stamps (threshold $10) required to fill BB.






Postage Due


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None

1938 Scott 28 1p rose carmine "George VI"
Out of the Blue
I would have liked to have had more native and Swaziland illustrations and scenes on the issued stamps. But since Swaziland was a protectorate during this time period, what we get are British monarchs. ;-)

Note: Maps and pics for this blog post appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?

Swaziland Landscape


  1. Despite the rather mundane British Colonial issues for Swaziland, there are a couple of saving graces. I believe that the overprinted "Swazieland"stamps of the South African Republic (aka: Transvaal) stamps, is the only philatelic record of an entity that was a protectorate of a Boer Republic.

    Secondly, I always like to see the full official name of a country spelled out on a stamp. In this case, "Swaziland Protectorate" is boldly engraved on the King George V issue of 1933.

    1. Nice Observations Gina! Keep them coming. !!