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...

Monday, April 25, 2016


1925 Scott 19 30c dull violet & black "Giraffe"
Quick History
Tanganyika consisted of the largest section of the former German East Africa, and was occupied initially in 1916, then administered by the British from 1922-1946 as a League of Nations Mandate, and subsequently as a United Nations Trust Territory until 1961.

It might be instructive, as a brief diversion, to review all the League of Nations mandates after WW I for the Middle East and Africa.

League of Nations Mandate- Middle East and Africa
League of Nations Mandate (Middle East and Africa)

  1. French Mandate of Syria
  2. French Mandate of Lebanon
  3. British Mandate of Palestine
  4. British Mandate of Transjordan
  5. British Mandate of Iraq
  6. British Togoland
  7. French Togoland
  8. British Cameroon
  9. French Cameroon
  10. Ruanda-Urundi
  11. Tanganyika
  12. South-West Africa
German East Africa 1914
The illustrated map shows the geographical situation in 1914 for German East Africa, but anticipates the changes that will occur in 1920 for the country after WW I.

The Tanganyika territory (4) - the largest portion of former German East Africa- was mandated to Britain in 1920. 

A smaller slice of land north of Lake Tanganyika, and on the border with the Belgian Congo- Ruanda-Urundi (2,3,) - was mandated to Belgium.

And a very small bit of land, the Kionga triangle, was awarded to Portugal's Mozambique (Portuguese East Africa).

Tanganyika- later map circa 1960s
The capital of Tanganyika was Dar es Salaam, and the population was 5,200,00 circa 1940.

In 1927, Tanganyika was a member of the Customs Union of Kenya and Uganda, and the East African Postal Union.

In 1935, stamps of the mandate were replaced by those of a combined postal administration known as Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika ( Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania section of the Scott catalogue).

Tanganyika became independent in 1961, but kept an affiliation within the British Commonwealth.

With the addition of Zanzibar (which remains semi-autonomous), Tanzania was formed in 1964.

1922 Scott 12 10c green & black "Giraffe"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Tanganyika 1921-1931, 44 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 13 are CV <$1-$1+, or 29%.

Of interest, Scott has the 1921 and 1922 "George V"issues from the overprinted "G.E.A." stamps from "East Africa and Uganda  Protectorates" (nine stamps-Wmk 4!) in the catalogue under "Tanganyika". (I don't have any at the moment.) And to confuse thinks a bit further, the original 1921 "George V" "East Africa and Uganda Protectorates" issue (Wmk 4) is actually listed in Scott under "Kenya, Uganda, & Tanzania".

However, the earlier 1917 "G.E.A." overprinted stamps of  "East Africa and Uganda Protectorates" (seventeen stamps-Wmk 3!)  are listed as British occupation stamps under "German East Africa" in the Scott catalogue. !!

To clarify and review, the Wmk 3 "George V" issues are found in the "East Africa and Uganda Protectorates" section. If overprinted "G.E,A.", these Wmk 3 "George V' issues are found in the "German East Africa" section. The Wmk 4 "George V" issues are found in the "Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania" section, while the Wmk 4 "George V' issues that are overprinted "G.E.A" are in the "Tanganyika" section. Got that? ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Rupee
100 Cents = 1 Shilling (1922)
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1922 Scott 20 40c brown & black "Giraffe"
The first issue for Tanganyika proper was the 1922-25 release on nineteen bi-color stamps, and featuring a "Giraffe". CV is <$1- $1+ for seven stamps.

Nice design, Yes? 

1922 Scott 14 15c carmine & black "Giraffe"
"Dar es Salaam" Postmark
Most used stamps with a readable postmark will have a "Dar es Salaam" postmark from the capital.

1922 Scott 15 20c orange & black "Giraffe"
"Ruanda - Urundi" Postmark
Now this is interesting! The stamp has a "Ruanda-Urundi" postmark, which is part of the Belgium mandate territory, but on a British mandated Tanganyika stamp! I note, though, that Ruanda-Urundi did not have their own stamps until 1924.

Update: The cancellation is actually from Kondoa-Irangi in north Tanganyika. See Comments section. Thanks Gene!

1922 Scott 23 1sh green & black "Giraffe"
The higher shilling denominations had a larger format, although still showing a "Giraffe" vignette. Aren't these attractive stamps compared to the usual monarch issues?

1927 Scott 32 20c orange & black "George V"
The next issue, the 1927-31 release, had the more conventional "George V" design with the script "Mandated Territory of Tanganyika". The sixteen stamp issue has a CV of <$1-$3+ for eleven stamps.

1927 Scott 39 1sh green & black "George V"
The shilling values were again issued in a larger format. One wonders if the stamps really needed to provide a Pound denomination, now @ CV $220+?

From 1935, issued stamps for Tanganyika are found under Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika ( Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania section of the Scott catalogue).

Deep Blue
1927-31 George V Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has three pages for the 1921-31 stamps of Tanganyika, and includes a space for all the major numbers. A hint: Look for 1916-17 British occupation stamps under "German East Africa". And, after 1935, the Mandated Territory of Tanganyika began using the stamps of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika.

1927 Scott 36 40c brown & black "George V"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one-half page (with the end of Transvaal), has 20 spaces for the stamps of Tanganyika. 

Coverage is 45%.

No spaces are included for the 1921-22 "G.E.A." overprinted stamps of East Africa and Uganda Protectorates.

No spaces are include for the larger format Shilling values stamps.

What is included are the lower denomination "Giraffe" and "George V" design stamps.

There are no expensive stamps required ( $10+) to fill the spaces.







A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None

1927 Scott 31 15c red & black "George V"
Out of the Blue
Stamp collectors have a more intimate knowledge than most about the changes in the British Commonwealth over the years- it can't be helped. ;-)

Note: Maps appear to be either in the public domain, or are illustrated here for educational purposes..

Have a comment?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


1893 Scott 16 1fr bronze green/straw 
Stamps of French Colonies
Handstamped in Black
Quick History
The French Polynesian island of Tahiti, 28 miles (45 km) across, with volcanic Mont Orohena rising 7,370 ft (1,332 m) above the green lush vegetation and the black sand beaches, is located in the central Southern Pacific Ocean within the Society Islands archipelago. Far from the hustle and bustle of ordinary base human civilization, 2,700 miles from Hawaii, 4,900 miles from Chile, 3,500 miles from Australia, Tahiti had evoked for many during the 19th century the romantic noble primitive myth set within an island paradise.

Tahitian Women on the Beach
1891 painting by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Tahiti has been under French influence since 1842, and when the Kingdom of Tahiti, through Pomare V, ceded Tahiti to France in 1880, the island and the island dependencies became a French colony.

Stamps were introduced for Tahiti in 1882 by surcharging stamps of the French Colonies.

The population was 11,000 in 1897, and 19,000 in 1936.

The capital was and is Papeete.

Stamps for Tahiti proper were only issued from 1882-1893 ( and two semi-postals in 1915).

Society Islands, Part of French Polynesia
In 1903, French Oceania (French Polynesia) was formed  from several groups of South Pacific Polynesian islands. The islands included the Marquesas, the Tuamotu Archipelago and Gambier, and the Austral and Bass groupings. The most important group was the Society islands; and above all Tahiti.

For more on this, see the French Oceania (French Polynesia) blog post.

In 1946, French Polynesia and Tahiti became an overseas territory, and French citizenship was granted to all inhabitants.

1893 Scott 22 15c blue
Stamps of French Colonies
Overprinted in Black
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Tahiti 1882-1915, 65 major descriptive numbers. Of those, three are CV $10+, or 5%. The rest range from $40+-$40,000+ !!! Clearly, Tahiti's stamps are expensive, and the general WW collector will need to be content with a few representative specimens. In addition, Scott has a note about surcharges and overprint counterfeits existing for all the Tahitian stamps. Caveat Emptor.

The very early 1882-84 issues (23 bolded numbers) consist of stamps of the French Colonies crudely surcharged in black. They are CV $ hundreds- $ thousands, and, naturally, I do not have any.

Other categories include the 1915 semipostals (2 stamps), and the 1893 postage due (59 bolded numbers). The postage dues must overall be the most expensive postage dues in the philatelic world as they are CV $ hundreds- $ thousands. !!!!

But I do have some regular issue 1893 "handstamped in black" specimens, so let's begin there and take a look.......

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1893 Scott 10 15c blue
Stamps of French Colonies
Handstamped in Black
The first of the 1893 issues consisted of twelve stamps of the French Colonies handstamped in black. The handstamp can slope up (usual), slope down, or horizontal. All are valued the same. CV varies from $40+-$90+ for six stamps. Several CV values are in the $2,000+ to $7,000+ range!

Nine of the stamps are also known with an inverted surcharge. These have minor bolded numbers, and the CV is in the $ hundreds- $ thousands.

Expert/Dealer Mark 
On back of 1893 Scott 16 1fr bronze green/straw
Often, one will find expert or dealer marks on the backs of expensive stamps passing through European channels. (It does not exist in the U.S. as a common practice.)

Here, on the back of the 1893 Scott 16 1fr bronze green/straw (illustrated on the post header) is such a dealer mark. The wonderful "Philatelic Experts" web site lists all the expert/dealer marks that are known- http://www.filatelia.fi/experts/index.html

A little investigation reveals that this is the mark of a Paris dealer, Jules Bernichon. His area, among others, was French Colony stamps. He passed away in 1911. Reassuring, yes? Perhaps, but there is also a note that his mark was forged by "Wondelgem". ;-)

The WW collector, and the specialist, for that matter, finds many stamps valued in the "grey zone" (Here CV $90+), where the price of having a stamp certified as genuine (cost: at least $25) is at the margin of being economically worthwhile.

1893 Scott 25 25c black/rose
On Stamps of French Colonies
Overprinted in Black
The second 1893 issue for Tahiti is found on twelve stamps of the French Colonies, and is overprinted in black "1893...TAHITI". Eleven of the stamps are also found with an inverted overprint (italic minor number with a higher CV).

CV ranges from $50 - $60 for five stamps, with others priced up to $42,000+. !!

1903 Scott 29 10c on 15c blue, Black Surcharge
On Stamps of French Polynesia
In 1903, a three stamp surcharged issue for Tahiti was released, using the 1892 French Oceania (French Polynesia) stamps.

Coincidentally- or perhaps not- this is the same year (1903) when France gathered all of their South Pacific holdings- including Tahiti- into an administrative single colony.

1903 Scott 30 10c on 25c black/rose, Carmine Surcharge
On Stamps of French Polynesia
The overprint for the 1903 issue is carmine or black.

1903 Scott 31 10c on 40c red/straw, Black Surcharge
On Stamps of French Polynesia
There are two varieties of the "1" numeral in the "10" surcharge for the 1903 issue. Illustrated above is the long serif on the "1". The preceding stamp. the  10c on 25c black/rose, shows the "1" with the short serif.

Deep Blue
1903 Tahiti Issue in Deep Blue
Stamps of French Polynesia Surcharged
Deep Blue (Steiner) has three pages for the stamps of Tahiti, and has a space for all the major numbers. Steiner does not provide extra spaces for all the bolded minor number surcharge/overprint variations (inverted etc).

Tahiti in Big Blue
Big Blue
Big Blue '69 has three spaces on one line for the stamps of Tahiti. The country coverage is located after "Trinidad and Tobago", and on the same page as "Turks Islands" and the beginning of "Turks and Caicos Islands".

The 40s editions have the same three space coverage. It is located just before "Tripolitania".

Big Blue provides spaces for the 1903 issue, which are stamps of French Polynesia surcharged in black or carmine. They are also the least expensive for Tahiti, but still are CV $10+.




A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1903 Scott 29 10c on 15c blue, black surcharge ($10+)
1903 Scott 30 10c on 25c black/rose, carmine surcharge ($10+)
1903 Scott 31 10c on 40c red/straw, black surcharege ($10+) 

1903 Scott 29 10c on 15c blue, Black Surcharge
On Stamps of French Polynesia
Out of the Blue
I'm happy that Big Blue includes some stamps from Tahiti. Exotic and remote are definite attractions.

Note: Maps and Gauguin painting image appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


1925 Scott 175 50c yellow green "View of Alexandretta"
Quick History
Syria, as it is known in modern times, is bordered by Lebanon, the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel.

1851 Ottoman Syria 
Eyalet of Aleppo, Eyalet of Damascus- includes the Sanjak of Jerusalem and Gaza
But the modern day Syrian lands had been part of a much larger Ottoman Syria within the Levant since 1516, and Damascus became the holy entryway for thousands of pilgrims on the hajj to Mecca.

During WW I, the Ottoman Empire  had sided with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany, and was consequently occupied by both British and French troops.

A secret agreement was in place regarding how to divide the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula ( The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement). The British were allowed control of the lands from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan, Jordan, southern Iraq, and the ports of Haifa and Acre. An "international administration" was to govern Palestine (We all know how that worked- or, more properly, didn't work out. ;-).

France assumed control of Syria and Lebanon, south-eastern Turkey, and northern Iraq.

Stamps were issued under French Occupation on November 21, 1919 overprinted T.E.O. "Territoires Ennemis Occupes".

French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon
More specifically, the French controlled the sanjaks of Lebanon, Alaouites (later Latakia), and Alexandretta (later Hatay), 

The vilayets of Damascus and Aleppo were allowed to have an Arabian Kingdom government. Stamp issues of the Arabian government were released between November, 1918, and January, 1920. 

But King Faisal I was deposed by French troops from Beirut in July, 1920. (Faisal was subsequently offered the crown of Iraq in 1921 under the Iraq British Mandate. He served as King of Iraq until 1933.)

The Syrian territory was then occupied by the French military. French surcharged stamps now were overprinted O.M.F. "Occupation Militaire Francaise".  

Subsequently, the territory was mandated to France by the League of Nations in July, 1922.

The States created under the French Mandate are reflected in the map illustrated.

Beginning in 1923, the French Mandate era initially had French stamps overprinted "Syrie - Grand Liban", then just "Syrie".

In 1934, an Autonomous Syrian Republic was established. Stamps were issued as part of the proclamation of the Republic on August 2, 1934.  France and Syria negotiated a "treaty of independence" in September, 1936.  But the French Legislature never ratified it. !!

France ceded the province of Alexandretta, which had been part of Syria, to Turkey in 1937. (In 1939, the newly named "Hatay" became a Turkish province.) Syria was not pleased.

Syria was under the hegemony of Vichy France until the British and the Free French occupied the country in July, 1941.

Full emancipation was not realized until April, 1946 when French troops left Syria.

The capital is Damascus, and the population was 2,800,000 in 1943.

Syrian Arab Republic 2013
Presently, the Syrian Civil War ( Syrian Government forces, Kurdish forces, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, al-Nusra Front, Syrian opposition forces), which began in 2011, is fragmenting the country, and Syria, as such, has ceased to function as a state.

1937 Scott 263 10p on 100p red orange "Mosque at Damascus"
Stamps of 1930 Surcharged in Black
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Syria 1919-1943, 534 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 239 are CV <$1-$1+, or 45 %. Categories for Syria include regular issues, semi-postal, air post, postage due, and issues of the Arabian government.

Most of the stamps for the classical era of Syria are French derived, as France occupied the territory in 1919, and then was given a mandate in 1922. Partial Syrian autonomy began in 1934, but full independence did not occur until 1946.

Many of the earlier issues are overprinted/surcharged French stamps. Add the Arabian Government issues of 1919-20, and the country offers an intriguing mix of early stamps. And the later pictorial issues are well designed and attractive.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
10 Milliemes  = 1 Piaster
40 Paras = 1 Piaster (Arabian Govt.)
100 Centimes = 1 Piaster (1920)
1919 Scott 13 3m on 3c red orange 
Stamps of French Offices in Turkey 1902-03 Surcharged
T.E.O. = "Territoires Ennemis Occupes"
Issued under French Occupation
The first French occupation issue on November 21, 1919 consisted of ten surcharged 1900-07 stamps of France. The CV is rather high ($20+-$500+), and I don;t have any.

The next issue, illustrated above, consisted of ten surcharged 1902-03 stamps of French Offices in Turkey. These two releases were issued from Beirut, and used mainly in Lebanon.

Scott has a note in the Lebanon catalogue section:
"The French issued two sets of occupation stamps (with T.E.O. overprint) for Lebanon in late 1919. The use of these and later occupation issues (of 1920-24, with overprints "O.M.F.", and "Syrie-Grand Liban") were extended to Syria, Cilicia, Alaouites, and Alexandretta. By custom, these are listed under Syria"

1919 Scott 18 4p on 1fr claret & olive green
Stamps of French Offices in Turkey 1902-03
Overprinted "T.E.O" Vertically
The higher denominations of the 1902-03 surcharged French Offices in Turkey issue is shown here. Of interest, Scott has a note that Scott 16-20 were also used in Cilicia.

1920 Scott 22 2m on 2c violet brown
Stamps of France 1900-07 Surcharged
1920 Scott 26 2m on 2c violet brown
Stamps of France 1900-07 Surcharged in Black or Red
O.M.F. = "Occupation Miltaire Francaise"
The two issues of 1920 (four stamps) and 1920 (seven stamps) are similar, except the space between the overprint/surcharged script is wider for the first 1920 issue. Note the difference here.

The "O.M.F." script was used to reflect the fact that the French military was now occupying Syria after King Faisal I was deposed.

Emir Faisal with T.E. Lawrence to his left
Versailles Peace Delegation, 1919
Emil Faisal had helped the Allies in WW I, and was instrumental in creating the Arab government for greater Syria that was set up in Damascus in 1918 (under British protection). He was in favor of pan-Arab unity, and wished to have independent Arab emirates established. 

But when he was declared King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria on March 7, 1920, that move was rejected by the British and French, which wanted mandates for the Arab territories. There was a brief Franco-Syrian War, and the Syrian forces were defeated in the Battle of Maysalun on July 24, 1920. Faisal had to leave Syria.

The British, though, were having much unrest in Iraq with their mandate plans. They decided to permit a monarchy in Iraq, and Faisal agreed to be King of Iraq in August, 1921.

King Faisal proved to be an enlightened ruler, and he continued pushing his pan-Arab agenda. In 1933, he died of a "heart attack" at age 48. There was suspicion of arsenic poisoning.

1920 Scott 40 2p on 25c blue, Red Surcharge
Stamps of France 1900-21
Issue of 1920-22 Surcharged in Black or Red
A large 23 stamp issue was released 1920-22, surcharged in black or red, and using the 1900-21 stamps of France.

There were two printings. The second printing has a 1 mm space between "Syrie" and the numeral (illustrated). The first printing has a 2mm space between "Syrie" and the numeral.

1923 Scott 55 10c on 5c orange, Red Surcharge
Issue of 1920-23 Surcharged in Black or Red
The 1920-23 ten stamp issue uses a "centiemes" overprint surcharge, while the preceding 1920-22 issue uses "centimes".

1921 Scott 41 2p on 40c red & pale blue
Stamps of France, 1900-21, Surcharged in Black or Red
Issue of 1920-21
The higher denominations of the 1920-21 issue is shown here.

1921 Scott 89 10p on 5p violet brown
Black or Red Surcharge
On Stamps of the Arabian Government
In 1921, a nine stamp issue was released, using the Arabian Government stamps (Scott 85, 87-93).

1921 Scott 94 3p on 60c violet & ultramarine
Stamps of France, Surcharged
A re-design of the surcharge overprint on six stamps (compare to the earlier surcharge overprint scan image) is found on this 1921-22 issue.

1923 Scott 106 50c on 10c green
French Stamps of 1900-23 Surcharged
French Mandate
Beginning in 1923, Syria was no longer "occupied", but now was a "mandate", at least as far as the stamp issues reflected reality. The script now says "Syrie-Grand Liban". These stamps were also used in Lebanon, but, "by custom", are only listed under Syria.

French stamps of 1900-23 were surcharged, and seventeen stamps were released.

Note the normal "50c on 10c" surcharge on the green "Sower" stamp.

1923 Scott 106c 25c on 10c green (error)
Image scan from "Filling Spaces" blogsite
But Scott also lists an error, where the "25c" surcharge, normally applied to the 5c orange, was put on some 10c green stamps. The CV for this error stamp is $240. I wouldn't normally be showing this, as this is specialist territory, except for one thing.....

1923 Scott 106c 25c on 10c green (error)
Given a space in Big Blue!
The error stamp is given a space in Big Blue, and has been there since at least the 1940s editions! For those that are collecting the stamps that have a space in Big Blue, well, here is your challenge- try to find one! (To say nothing about the expense ;-)

It is considered the scarcest stamp in Big Blue to find. (There are more expensive stamps in BB, but they are obtainable if one has the funds.)

Bob Skinner, of "Filling Spaces" blog fame, has several interesting posts about this stamp in BB.

Check out....


1924 Scott 131 1.50p on 30c red
Surcharged on 1923 Pasteur Stamps of France
In 1924, twelve stamps were surcharged as shown. Note that for the first time "Syrie" by itself is overprinted on the stamp. The 1924 stamps used either 1900-21 surcharged stamps of France, or the 1923 Pasteur stamps of France (here illustrated).

1925 Scott 155 3p on 60c light violet
Stamps of France 1900-21, Surcharged on 1924-25 Issue
The 1924-25 twenty-three stamp issue (using 1900-21 stamps of France, or the 1923 French Pasteur stamps) changes the surcharge, and, for the first time, includes Arabic script.

1925 Scott 185 25p ultramarine "Columns at Palmyra"
In 1925, the French did what they do best: a thirteen stamp pictorial issue featuring local scenes. All of the stamps have a different scene. The 10c dark violet is lithographed, but the rest of the issue uses photogravure.

Columns at Palmyra
The Great Colonnade was about a kilometer long, and built in the ancient city of Palmyra in the Syrian desert in the 2nd-3rd century CE. It was reportedly destroyed by ISIS in October, 2015. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was demolished, and the antiquities expert who looked after the Site was beheaded.

1930 Scott 186 1p on 3pi orange brown "Bridge at Daphne"
1926-30 Issue Surcharged in Black or Red on 1925 Issue
Between 1926-30, the preceding 1925 issue was surcharged with various denominations on thirteen stamps.

In ancient times, the Olympic games were held at Daphne (near Antioch). Little was left of the ancient city by the beginning of the 20th century, except a great aqueduct bridge. I could find no current evidence that this "Bridge at Daphne" still exists.

1930 Scott 218 1.50 bister brown , Photogravure
"Great Mosque of Damascus"
1930-36 Issue
Between 1930-36, another twenty-four stamp pictorial issue was released. CV is <$1-$1+ for twenty-one stamps.

The Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque) is located in the old city, and was built in 634.

1934 Scott 236 75c plum "Parliament Building"
Proclamation of the Republic
On August 2, 1934, a nineteen stamp set was released for the proclamation of the Republic. Syria wasn't quite independent, though, as French presence was still there.

1936 Scott 255 2p dark violet "View of Alexandretta"
Stamps of 1930-36 Overprinted in Red or Black
Industrial Exhibition, Damascus, May, 1936
Nine stamps from 1930-36 were overprinted as shown for the 1936 Damascus Industrial Exhibition. CV ranges from $1+-$3+.

1938 Scott 269 12.50p on 10p deep blue 
"President Hashem Bek el Atassi"
A three stamp issue, including this surcharged 12.50p on 10p, was released between 1938-43.

Hashim al-Atassi was a Syrian nationalist and President from 1936-39, 1949-51, and 1954-55.

He was the leading Syrian statesman for the Franco-Syrian treaty of independence of 1936.

When the French government refused to ratify the treaty, and ceded Alexandretta (now Hatay) to Turkey, he resigned.

1940 Scott 279 5p violet "Kasr-el-Heir"
A 1940 eleven stamp issue had four pictorial designs.

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi
The castle of Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is in the Syrian desert, and was built in 728 CE.

1926 Scott B4 1p + 50c magenta 
"Mosque at Damascus"
Surcharged in Red or Black on 1925 Regular Issue
The surcharge from this 1926 twelve stamp semi-postal issue was for the relief of refugees from the Djebel Druze War. The Great Druze Revolt (1925-27) was an uprising across Syria and Lebanon against  French rule, who had been in control since WW I. The revolt was ultimately put down by the French. It left 6,000 rebels dead, and 100,000 people homeless.

1925 Scott C29 10p violet brown "View of Merkab"
Regular Issue of 1925 Overprinted in Green
The earlier Syria air post stamp issues ( 1920-1924; C1-C25) are handstamped or overprinted, and are rather expensive (CV tens-hundreds). There are also counterfeits of earlier 1920 handstamped varieties (C1-C6). I don't have any at the moment.

This 1925 four stamp issue (illustrated) is overprinted in green. CV is $2+.

1929 Scott C35 1p magenta, 
Regular Issue of 1925 Overprinted Type "f" in Red or Black
The 1926 issue (four stamps) and the 1929 issue (four stamps) have a fine airplane overprint. Most are red overprints, although the one illustrated is in black.

1931 Scott 51 5p red violet "Plane over Deir-el-Zor"
The eleven stamp 1931 air post issue shows a plane over various Syrian scenes.

Deir-el-Zor is the largest city in eastern Syria, and is on the Euphrates River 450 km from Damascus.

It is also the site of the death marches during the Armenian Genocide in 1915-16. 150,000 were killed or starved here.

1937 Scott C75 3p rose red 
"Syrian Pavilion at Paris International Exposition"
An eight stamp set showing the Syrian Pavilion at the 1937 Paris International Exposition was released July 1, 1937.

1937 Scott C87 25p dark blue
"Omayyad Mosque and Minaret of Jesus at Damascus"
An eight stamp air post issue with two scenes was released in 1937. CV is <$1-$6.

Minaret of Jesus
The Minaret of Jesus is the mosque's tallest minaret. According to tradition, Jesus will descend from heaven and reach earth via the Minaret of Jesus. 

1940 Scott C95 50p dark violet 
"Bridge at Deir-el-Zor"
A 1940 seven stamp air post set featured a pedestrian suspension footbridge at Deir-el-Zor, which crossed the Euphrates River. It was built in 1927 by the French during the Mandate period.

It was destroyed in 2013 during the Syrian Civil War.

1931 Scott J39 15p black/dull rose "Lion"
There are many postage due issues (1920-1925: 37 stamps), but I am only showing the last one during the classical era: a 1931 two stamp production. 

Issues of the Arabian Government
1919-20 Scott 83 2m on 5pa violet brown 
(On 1914 Turkey Scott 256 "Leander's Tower)
Overprinted Inscription" "Syrian-Arabian Government"
From November, 1918 to January, 1920, British Military Occupation (E.E.F.) stamps (Palestine Scott 2-14) were used in central and eastern Syria.

But they were replaced by issues of the Arabian Government in 1919-1920.

The first some 80+ stamps in the Scott catalogue were Turkish stamps of 1913-18 handstamped or overprinted in various colors. They can vary from CV <$1- $500+.

1919-20 Arabian Government Scott 85 5m rose
This specimen is lithographed.

1919-20 Arabian Government Scott 90 1pi gray blue
This stamp and preceding illustrated one were part of the last issues of the Arabian Government. One can subsequently see them overprinted "O.M.F. -Syrie" with surcharges in 1921 by the French Occupation Government. (They are illustrated earlier in this post.)

Deep Blue
1926-30 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 42 pages for the classical Syrian era, and there is a space for all the major Scott numbers. I added a quadrilled page to keep additional early French overprinted/surcharged stamps that had interesting cancellations, or that just caught my eye.

1940 Scott 278 2.50p dark green "Hotel at Bloudan"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on six pages, has 141 spaces for the stamps of Syria, or 27% of the total issue output for this era. Included are some stamp spaces from the Arabian Government.

The good news is there are only two stamps spaces requiring expensive stamps: but one of them (the 1923 Scott 106c 25c on 10c green "error surcharge") is CV $240!!!, and hard to find! I've been looking for five years, and have yet to obtain an example. I illustrate the error stamp in the "a closer look at the stamps and issues" section. Why the editors included this minor number expensive error stamp is puzzling, to say the least.

The not so good news is many inexpensive (CV <$1-$1+) early French surcharged stamps were not included in BB. I count 69 inexpensive regular issue and postage due stamps of the 1919-25 period that have no space.



83,84, 57,60,63,36,




Next Page

177,208* or 209,210 or 211,212 or 213,
214,216,218 or 219,220,


Next Page




Next Page

Air Post


C46 or C47,C48,C49,C50,




Next Page

(Air Post)


Next Page

Arabian Government


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1923 Scott 106c 25c on 10c green (error surcharge) CV $240 !!!
1934 Scott C62 10p bright violet CV $20+
B) *106c- the infamous "error" stamp space, where BB gives a CV $240 1923 25c on 10c green overprint error (should be 50c on 25c green) stamp room!!! This "error" stamp space has existed since the 1940s BB editions. !!!!
C) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
D) *208 or 209, 210 or 211, 212 or 213- BB has one stamp space for two colors.

1936 Scott C71 5p red violet "Plane over Homs"
Air Post Stamps of 1931-33 Overprinted in Red or Black
Damascus Fair, May, 1936
Out of the Blue

The French occupation and mandate were not popular in Syria. Syrian nationalism eventually won out. One can follow the historical tide through the stamp issues.

Note: Maps and image pics appear to be in the public domain. Thanks to Bob Skinner, of "Filling Spaces" blog fame, for permission to use his image scan of the 1923 Scott 106c 25c on 10c green (error) stamp.

Comments Appreciated!

Syrian Civil War January, 2016
Population in %
Red: Syrian Government (66%); Yellow: Kurds (Rojava); Gray: ISIL (15%); 
White: al-Nusra Front; Green: Opposition