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, 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.

Have a comment?


  1. Great post as usual. One interesting little factoid, Togo was only one of two German colonies that was financially self-sufficient, the other being Samoa. All the rest of the German colonies regularly required money from the German government to keep their finances balanced.

    1. Thanks Gene for those factoids- I wonder how we and the world would be different if WW I/Hitler/WW II never occurred, and Germany got to keep her colonies?

      An alternative world for sure. ;-)

  2. Regarding the difference between local and London Gold Coast overprints, line 2 (Anglo-French) is longer than line 3 (Occupation) due to having more letters (12 vs. 10). You are correct that line 2 is 16mm on the locals vs 16.5mm on the London printing. However, the difference for line 3 is 15mm (local) vs. 15.5mm (London).

    1. Thanks for the additional information on Local vs London.

  3. In regards to defining governmental entities, Scott can often be quite vague or sometimes wholly misleading. Seeking clarity (and stamps) for every official country name change and its significant changes of government, plays a significant motivating factor for my collecting passion.

    In the case of the Scott designated issues of the “British Protectorate” of Togo (1914-1916), I don’t believe that there actually was a protectorate in place for Togo for this period. Unlike British Crown Colonies, protectorates require some native buy-in, and signed treaties. As the overprinted stamps attest (i.e. Anglo-French Occupation), these stamps were issued under British-French occupational authorities, and not by a “British Protectorate of Togo”.

    1. "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." from my post
      The "Protectorate" term might have been applied because subsequently, the L of N gave a "Mandate" to the French and English to govern the territories.But, true, it was initially an occupation. ;-)