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...

Thursday, June 30, 2016


1887 Scott 2 2p violet "King George I"
Quick History
The Kingdom of Tonga archipelago consists of 169 islands (36 inhabited) in the south Pacific Ocean, which stretches for 500 miles in a N/S line, south of Samoa. Most of the population (70%) reside on Tongatapu.

Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean
Captain James Cook in 1773 named them the "Friendly Islands", because of his warm reception there. (Actually, the Tongan Chiefs wanted to kill him, but disputed the exact mode. ;-)

The Tongans are Polynesian, and the native language of Tonga is related to the similar Polynesian languages found in Niue, Samoa, and Hawaii. Now, the other official language is English.

Tonga became a constitutional monarchy under King George Tupou I (Siaosi), in 1875. The King was aided by a Methodist Wesleyan trained missionary named Shirley Waldemar Baker, who subsequently became the King's prime minister (1881-1890), and founded the independent "Free Church of Tonga".

Stamps were issued with a King George I visage in 1886.

Tonga Archipelago
Tonga became a British Protectorate in 1900 under a Treaty of Friendship. Tonga, however, maintained its sovereignty, and the Tongan monarchy continues to this day (Now Tupou VI). In contrast, Tahiti and Hawaii lost their monarchical rule.

The capital was and is Nuku'alofa, and the population was 20,000 in 1901, and 34,000 in 1939.

Tonga has been famous- and sometimes infamous ;-)  - in the philatelic world for two things. As it is a bit of a sidelight for purposes of this blog post, and they are major subjects by themselves, I will link them here for those that would like to pursue the topics further.

Tonga Tin Can Mail

Tonga Heart Shaped Stamp
In 1963, Tonga began to issue self-adhesive stamps. And not just "usual" designs or shapes, but in circular gilt-foiled paper, and then stamps shaped as hearts, birds, or fruit.

The Treaty of Friendship protectorate status with the United Kingdom ended in 1970. Then Tonga did join the Commonwealth of Nations, but with its own king.

Tonga became a member of the United Nations in 1999. 

Today's population is 103,000.

1934 Scott 39 1/2p green "Coat of Arms"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Tonga 1886-1951, 109 major number descriptions. Of those, 28 are CV <$1-$1+, or 26%. Raising the CV bar to $4+ yields 48, or 44%. As a British protectorate, Tonga stamps can be moderately expensive to expensive for a nicer collection.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1887 Scott 1 1p carmine rose "King George I"
The initial five stamp issue for Tonga was released between 1886-92, and can be found with perf 12 X 11 1/2 and also minor number perfs. CV is $2+-$7+ for four stamps.

King George Tupou I
The stamps have the visage of the King George Tupou I. He went by "Siaosi", which is Tongan for "George", named after the British King George III. His reign was between 1845-1893, and his coronation was in 1875. He lived to the ripe old age of 96, after taking a swim. !! This is the beginning of the Tongan dynasty that persists to this day.

Because of his respected power as king, and the 1875 constitution under which he governed, he protected Tonga from foreign colonization.

1894 Scott 22 1/2p on 1sh brown "George I"
Stamps of 1886-92 Surcharged in Blue or Black
In 1891-95, eighteen stamps were surcharged in blue, black, or carmine. Illustrated is a 1892 issue that was surcharged in 1894 during this period. Most of the 1891-95 surcharged stamps are rather expensive (CV $10+- $90), although a few are CV $2+-$8+.

1897 Scott 38 1/2p dark blue "Coat of Arms"
Between 1897-1934, a fifteen stamp engraved pictorial issue was produced on watermarked "Turtles" paper (Wmk 79).

The 1/2p "Coat of Arms" denomination was issued in dark blue in 1897. A 1934 1/2p was released in green - (illustrated at the beginning of the "Into the Deep Blue" section).

1897 Scott 40 1p deep red & black
"Ovava Tree"
The 1p denomination illustrates an "Ovava Tree", a type of tropical "Strangler Fig" tree.

1897 Scott 41 2p bister & sepia 
"George II", Type I
The 2p denomination has a visage of George Tupou II (Siasi Tupou II), who was King from age 18 until his death (1893-1918). He was the great-grandson of George Tupou I.

1897 Scott 41 2p bister & sepia
Type I closeup: Top of sword hilt shows above "2" 
The 2d is found with two types. Type I has the top of the sword hilt showing above the "2". Type II, no sword hilt shows.

Wmk 79 "Turtles"; Wmk 4 "Multiple Crown & Script C A"
In order to differentiate the stamps, one may need to pay attention to the watermarks. Shown on the left is the "Turtles" watermark found for the 1897-1934 pictorial issue. On the right is the Wmk 4 paper used for the 1942 issue "Types of 1897-1920".

1897 Scott 43 3p olive green & black
"Prehistoric Trilithon, Tongatabu"
The 12 ton trilithon is located on the north end of Tongatapu.

Stone Trilithon
The trilithon consists of three limestone slabs, built in the early 13th century. The trilithon was probably a gateway to the royal compound, although specific knowledge about it has been lost to the sands of time.  Popular mythology says it was made by the demigod Maui.

1935 Scott 54 1 1/2p gray black
"Queen Salote"; Wmk 79
Between 1920-35, a nine stamp engraved issue for the Queen, Salote Tupou III, was released. The issue was watermarked "Turtles". CV is <$1-$2+ for six stamps.

Queen Salote reigned between 1918-1965. She was the only child and heir of King George Tupou II.

She is remembered fondly in Great Britain especially, as she attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It began to rain, and hoods were placed over the carriages during the procession. But Queen Salote refused the hood, as Tongan custom does not allow one to imitate the actions of the person one is honoring.

1938 Scott 71 2p violet & black,
"Queen Salote, 20th Anniversary"
For the 20th anniversary of her reign, a three stamp engraved bi-color issue was released in 1938. CV is <$1-$3+.

1942 Scott 75 2p dull violet & black
Wmk 4, Type II
The 1942 issue (nine stamps) had types of the 1897 pictorial issue, as well as types from the 1920 "Queen Salote" issue. This issue can be determined by evaluating the watermark, which is Wmk 4.

The 2p comes in three types altogether: Type II (shown here) has the ball of "2" larger, with a small spur on the left of the "U".

1942 Scott 79 1sh red brown & gray black
Wmk 4 "Multiple Crown & Script C A"
The engraved 1942 issue "Types of 1897-1920" has a CV of <$1-$3 for seven stamps.

1942 Scott 78 6p orange red 
"Coral Formations"; Wmk 4
Here illustrated, from the 1942 issue (Wmk 4), is a "Coral Formations" pictorial, which was also issued in 1897 (Wmk 79).

1944 Scott 82 1p rose carmine & black
Type of 1938, Inscribed "1918-1943"
Finally, the 1938 issue was reissued as a type, inscribed "1918-1943", for the 25th anniversary of Queen Salote's reign.

Deep Blue
1938 "Queen Salote, 20th Anniversary" Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 9  pages for the stamps of classical era Tonga. All the major Scott numbers have a space. But the "classical" Steiner pages do not include the Tonga stamp issues of 1950 & 1951, even though they are listed in the Scott 1840-1940 catalogue. One can obtain the pages for the 1950 & 1951 issues from the "regular" WW pages of Steiner.

But the "classic" Steiner does have 4 additional pages covering the 1886-1895 King George I issues (Scott 1-28) with the perforation changes, color shades, and surcharge error Scott minor numbers.

1934 Scott 58 2 1/2p ultramarine
"Queen Salote"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 27 spaces for the stamps of 1886-1938 Tonga. Eliminating post 1940 catalogue numbers (27), the coverage is 33%.

The 40s BB editions spaces are arranged differently, and have 30 spaces (One additional blank space for the 1886 issue, another additional blank space for the 1895 issue, and a space for the 1934 1/2p green).

There are five stamp spaces that are "expensive" (CV $10+-$20+) in BB for Tonga. These stamps are listed in the "Comments" section following the checklist.

BB has spaces for the 1897 issue and the 1920 issue that are Wmk 79 "Turtles". In my opinion, the 1942 issue (Wmk 4), that have similar stamps, are not eligible for the spaces in BB.





38 or 39*,41,42,45,

54,55 or 56,57,58,59,60,


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1892 Scott 10 1p rose ($10+)
1892 Scott 11 2p olive gray ($10+)
1895 Scott 29 1p gray green ($20+)
1897 Scott 45 5p orange & black ($10+)
1897 Scott 47 7 1/2p green & black ($20)
B) *1897 are wmk 47 (Scott 38-47). The 1942 "Types of 1897-1920" (Scott 73-81), which are wmk 4, are not eligible for spaces based on BB date specifications.
C) *38- 39 (Illustrated) - are the 1/2p dark blue (1897) or the 1/2p green (1934), both Wmk 79. Based on BB's date (1897), the 1/2p dark blue should have primacy, but I did include the 1/2p green as a choice. Note the 1942 Scott 73 1/2p green Wmk 4 stamp is not eligible.
D) *1920-38 Wmk 79 issue- Stamps from the 1942 Wmk 4 issue (Scott 76 & 79) are not eligible.
E) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1938 Scott 72 2 1/2p ultramarine & black
"Queen Salote, 20th Anniversary"
Out of the Blue
I can even appreciate the 1963 Tongan issues that initiated a radical change in stamp design and shape.

But make no mistake: 1963 marks the year that eventually opened up the floodgates of numerous stamp issues from numerous countries, cynically milking the collector.

For the classical minded WW collector who is looking for some general date past 1940 to stop collecting, 1963 might be a good year. ;-)

Note: Maps, Image pics of Tin Can Mail cover, Heart Shaped stamp, King George I, Stone Trilithon, and Tonga Royal Palace appear to be in the common domain.

Comments Appreciated!

Tonga Royal Palace

Friday, June 24, 2016


1900 Scott 17 2m blue "Hohenzollern"
German Protectorate
Quick History
Togo, in Western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea, began as a German Protectorate between 1884-1914- called Togoland.. German missionaries, and then traders had arrived in 1847.

Anecho (Aneho) was the first village on the coast that came under "German protection" in 1884, as the tribal chiefs there were forced to sign an agreement. The Berlin Conference of 1885 during the "Scramble for Africa" era solidified the German claim.

Togoland 1885
Control was established into the interior over the remainder of the 19th century, and borders were fixed with French Dahomey (1897) and the British Gold Coast (1899).

Stamps for the German Protectorate were issued in 1897, using stamps of Germany overprinted "Togo" in black.

Gulf of Guinea Coast with Gold Coast, Togo, Dahomey 1900
The capital of Lome was built in 1897.  Rubber, Palm Oil, Cotton, and Cocoa plantations were introduced.

Railways in Togo
Railways from Lome to Anecho (1905, 44 km), Lome to Atakpame (Bitta) (1908-1913, 167 km), and Lome to Agome Palime (Kpalime) (1907, 119 km) were developed.

Population was 7,042 (316 Germans) in 1913.

Togo 1912
When WW I broke out in 1914, the British and the French invaded unopposed on August 7.

The British issued stamps from German Togo overprinted or surcharged "Anglo-French Occupation" October 1, 1914.

Stamps from the Gold Coast were overprinted locally in 1915, and then overprinted from London in 1916.

The French also issued German Togo surcharged stamps in 1914.

On December 27, 1916, separate British and French Administrative zones were formed.

The French issued, between 1916-17, overprinted stamps of Dahomey.

English and French Mandates 1919
Division indicated by Red Dotted Line 
The British and the French allies divided the country between them in 1919, and controlled the part adjacent to their own colonies. The League of Nations formalized the arrangement in 1922, each given a mandate.

The British received the economically less active area, but the original tribal territories of the Ewe, Dagomba, and Mamprusi were united. (Lome, the capital was actually in the British zone initially, but was transferred to the French zone on October 1, 1920.)

In 1956, a plebiscite within the British mandated territory voted for a merger with the British Gold Coast. (The Gold Coast soon thereafter became independent as Ghana in 1957.) British Togo no longer existed.

French Mandate Togo (Lilac)
British Mandate Togo (Green)
The French received the more economically active area, including the coastline and the network of railways.

Population in French Mandate Togo was 780,000 in 1938.

Of interest, Togo was under the Vichy Government in WW II.

French Togo subsequently becomes independent in 1960 as the Republic of Togo.

1900 Scott 13 10pf lake & black "Kaiser's Yacht"
German Protectorate
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Togo 1897-1939, 226 major number descriptions. Of those, 23 are for the German protectorate, 59 are for the British occupation/protectorate, 41 are during the French occupation, and the remainder (the majority) are for the French Mandate period.

For CV <$1-$1+, there are 106, or 47% of the total.

But there is a bi-modal distribution of CVs for Togo. The 1914-15 British occupation/protectorate and French occupation surcharged/overprinted German stamps (58 stamps) have a high CV (from $30 to many $thousands). Besides being expensive, they are specialty territory, and the stamps should be certified as genuine for the higher values. I will say no more about them here. If interested, consult the Scott catalogue.

If one removes these surcharged German stamps from the CV calculation, then CV  <$1-$1+ increases to 68%.

As mentioned, Togo classical era philatelic history is divided into four parts in the Scott catalogue. German issues are present from 1900-19, then British Protectorate stamps from 1914-1916, then French Occupation issues from 1914-1917, and finally French Mandate output from 1921-1939.

Let's take a look....

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Pfennig = 1 Mark
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1897 Scott 3 10pf carmine
Stamps of Germany Overprinted in Black
The first issue for German Togoland was a six stamp output of German stamps overprinted as shown in 1897. CV ranges from $2+-$6 for four stamps.

1900 Scott 10 20pf ultramarine "Kaiser's Yacht"
German Protectorate
In 1900, the "key type" Yacht designs were issued for Togo on thirteen stamps. These stamps are unwatermarked. The lower denomination values (nine stamps) are typographed, and have the illustrated design. CV is $1+-$2+ for the stamps of this design.

Note the nice "Agome Palime" 1907 postmark? The village, which was on the terminal end of the railroad line from Lome, was also known as Palime or Kpalime.

Although the postmark may be entirely innocent, Scott does have a note that counterfeit postmarks exist on the 20pf-5m denominations.

1900 Scott 18 3m black violet "Hohenzollern"
German Protectorate
The higher denomination (four stamps) output was engraved with this lovely portrait of the Kaiser's Yacht. This is one of my all time favorite classical designs.

CV is $3+-$7+ for three stamps. 

1909 Scott 21 5pf green
Wmk 125 "Lozenges"
There can be  also be the watermarked variety of the Yacht keyplate on three denominations: the 3pf, the 5pf, and the 10pf.

As the 5pf and the 10pf were released in 1909 and 1914 respectively, these stamps can be found used, as German Togoland lasted until August, 1914 before being occupied by the allies. However, the 10pf carmine is quite rare genuinely used @ CV $110.

The 3pf brown was issued in 1919, and therefore only exists unused.

By the way, there were a total of seventeen German post offices before the allied invasion.

1915 Scott 67 1p scarlet
Stamps of Gold Coast Overprinted Locally
British Protectorate
The British and French troops (from the Gold Coast and Dahomey respectively)  invaded and occupied Togo in August, 1914.

The British initially issued overprinted and surcharged German Togo stamps (34 major Scott numbers) from October 1, 1914 to January 7, 1915. These have a high CV value and have been counterfeited. I don't have any, and will say no more about them. For the specialist, they are fascinating. Consult the Scott or Michel catalogue if one is interested.

In May, 1915, a thirteen stamp "Anglo-French Occupation" set, using the stamps of the Gold Coast, and overprinted locally was issued.

CV ranges from <$1-$3 for seven stamps.

1916 Scott 86 1sh black/green
Stamps of Gold Coast Overprinted in London
British Protectorate
Then in April, 1916, a twelve stamp issue of overprinted Gold Coast stamps, but overprinted in London, was released.

CV is <$1-$5+ for nine stamps.

How to tell the difference between the 1916 London and the 1915 Local printings?

* The overprint on the London printings is heavier.

* The 2nd and 3rd lines of the overprint are 1/2 mm longer (~16.5 vs ~16 mm)
 on the London overprint.

1917 Scott 181 15c brown orange & dark violet
Stamps of Dahomey, 1913-17, Overprinted
Issued under French Occupation
The occupying French likewise surcharged German Togo stamps in 1914-15 (24 stamps). They have a high CV. Consult the Scott catalogue if interested.

In 1916-17, seventeen stamps of 1913-17 Dahomey were overprinted as shown.

CV is <$1-$2+ for thirteen stamps.

1921 Scott 197 10c blue green & yellow green
Type of Dahomey, 1913-39, Overprinted
French Mandate
For the French Mandate era, seventeen stamps of a "Type of 1913-39 issue" Dahomey was overprinted simply "Togo", as shown.

CV is <$1-$2 for fifteen stamps. Clearly, collectors must have been well supplied with these stamps, considering the low overall CV value.

1925 Scott 210 25c on 15c olive brown & rose red
Stamps and Types of 1921 Surcharged
French Mandate
The 1922-25 issue has six surcharged stamps as illustrated. CV is <$1-$2+.

1924 Scott 217 2c deep rose & black "Coconut Grove"
French Mandate
The 1924-38 thirty-seven stamp pictorial issue has three designs. The "Coconut Grove" design is found on the lower six denominations.

1924 Scott 223 25c green & black/yellow "Cacao Trees"
The seventeen stamp "Cacao Trees" design is found for the middle denominations. CV for the issue is <$1-$4 for thirty-five stamps.

1924 Scott 250 5fr red orange & black/bluish "Oil Palms"
The higher fourteen stamps have the "Oil Palms" pictorial. The French almost always have a nice pictorial set available for their colonies.

Air Post 1940 Scott C5 6.90fr deep orange
"Plane over Coastal Area"
The only air post set available for Togo during the classical era is this five stamp "Common Design Type".

Postage Due 1921 Scott J1 5c green
Stamps of Dahomey, 1914, Overprinted
In 1921, postage due stamps of Dahomey were overprinted for Togo. The eight stamps have a CV of <$1-$3+ for seven stamps.

1925 Scott J12 10c cerise & black "Cotton Field"
A companion to the regular issue, the eleven stamp postage due of 1925 has a "Cotton Field" design. CV is <$1-$1+ for all the stamps in the set.

Deep Blue
1900 German Protectorate Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has sixteen pages for the classical stamps of Togo. This is divided into one page for the German era, two pages for the British protectorate period, two pages for the French occupation stamps, and eleven pages for the French Mandate period. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1916 Scott 83 2 1/2p ultramarine
Stamps of Gold Coast Overprinted in London
British Protectorate
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on four pages has 109 spaces. Coverage is 48%. Excluding the expensive surcharged/overprinted German stamps in the catalogue, which are not covered anyway by BB, coverage is 65%.

There are seven spaces for the stamps of Germany, six spaces for the British Protectorate, ten spaces for the French occupation, while the remainder (majority) of the spaces are for the French Mandate.

The coverage is the same for the 1940s editions of BB.

There is only one stamp that is "expensive": The 1838 semi-postal Curie stamp @ $20.

Of interest, the 1924-38 pictorial issue is well covered. BB has spaces for 35 of the 37 regular issue stamps, and all 11 of the companion 1925 postage due set. Bravo BB!


German Dominion
7 or 20, 8 or 21, 9 or 22, 10,11,12,(13),

Anglo-French Occupation
(British Protectorate)
66 or 80, 67 or 81, 68 or 82, 69 or 83, 70 or 84, 71 or 85,

(French occupation)


(French Mandate)

Next Page




Next Page


258, 259,260,261,



Next Page



Postage Due


Air Post


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1938 Scott B1 1.75r + 50c bright ultramarine ($20)
B) (   ) around a space indicates a blank space choice.
C) * 1916 (British Protectorate)- Both the 1915 local and 1916 London overprints are included as choices.

1926 Scott 240 1fr blue "Oil Palms"
French Mandate
Out of the Blue
Togo is a very interesting country, from a philatelic point of view, with three European powers contributing to the issues.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

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