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...

Saturday, July 30, 2016


1934 Scott 76 50c purple & brown
"Native Village Scene"
Second Colonial Arts Exhibition, Naples
Quick History
Tripolitania, located in North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, and including the important coastal city of Tripoli, is historically part of western Libya.

Location of Tripolitania 
Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet (province) during the Italo-Turkish War in 1911. The sub-provinces (sanjaks)  at the time were Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and the city of Tripoli. Altogether, they made up what became known as Italian North Africa (1912-1927), then Italian Libya (1934).

Allegory of the Italian Conquest of Libya, 1912
WW I interrupted the occupation, and the Italians were left with Tripoli, Derna, and the coast of Cyrenaica. Control of the interior of Libya was tenuous at best until the mid-1920s to 1931.

The Italians sent colonists in large numbers to Tripolitania in order to better secure the country. By 1939, there were 60,000 Italians in Tripolitania, mostly in Tripoli.

Tripolitana -1913
(Green areas- Agriculture)
The Capital was Tripoli, and the population was 570,000 in 1921.

Stamps of Italy were overprinted "Tripolitania" beginning on October 24, 1923. (Cyrenaica also had an overprint at the same time.)

Initially the Italian occupied areas were administered as a single colony, but Tripolitania became a separate colony on June 26, 1927.

Stamps were issued for Tripolitania until 1934.

Then, Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripolitania were merged into the Italian colony of  Libya. 

For more on Cyrenaica and (Italian) Libya, see those blog posts.

1926 Scott B12 1 l + 5c blue
"Peace Substituting Spade for Sword"
Surtax for Italian Colonial Institute
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Tripolitania 1923-1934, 154 major descriptive numbers for the categories of regular (64), semi-postal (33), air post (43), air post semi-postal (10), air post semi-postal official (1), air post special delivery (2), and authorized delivery (1). Of those, 26 are CV <$1-$1+, or only 17%. Raising the bar to CV $5+, yields 91 total, or 59%.

Of interest, "unused" is almost always much less CV than "used"in the Scott catalogue. That would argue, in my view, that these issues were not really needed much by the colonies (they are much rarer genuinely used). Rather, these stamps were sold mainly to collectors, who acted as a "cash cow". ;-)

BTW, "fake" cancels on "used" stamps are common.

Clearly, Tripolitania ( and Italian colonies in general) are moderately expensive to expensive for the general WW classical era collector who wishes a "representative" collection. And, if one is collecting with the Big Blue album, which has a very generous selection indeed for Tripolitania (and Italian colonies on general), the expense outlay rises further.

But I have warmed - a little-  to the Italian colonies and their stamps. Although, true, that many issues have the same designs as mother Italy, at least they are a "type": that is, generally a different color than the same Italian denomination.

But on the not so nice side of history, Italy was a fascist country during much of this era, which is reflected by the stamps.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centesimi = 1 Lira
1930 Scott 35 20c yellow green
Royal Wedding Issue
Type of Italy Overprinted
The earlier issues for Tripolitania are overprinted Italian issue stamps, or, in addition, a color "type" of the Italian stamp.

The 1923 first issue for Tripolitania was an overprinted "Propaganda of the Faith" Italian issue.

Subsequent issues were mostly overprinted and a color "type" Italian issue.

Here (illustrated) is an overprinted 20c yellow green from the three stamp 1930 "Royal Wedding" issue. The color of the 20c stamp was also yellow green for the similar overprinted Cyrenaica issue. The original 1930 Italian 20c stamp was orange red.

1930 Scott 49 1.25 l gray blue "Virgil Issue"
Photogravure; Types of Italian Air Post Stamps 
Overprinted in Red or Blue
The "Virgil" issue of 1930 consists of nine stamps, overprinted in red or blue, and a color "type" of the original 1930 Italian issue.

The lower denominations were printed in photogravure.

1930 Scott 51 10 l + 2.50 l olive brown
Engraved; "Virgil Issue"
The two higher denominations are engraved.

The Scott 51 olive brown (shown here) is an example of the much higher CVs for "used" ($3+ unused vs $67+ used). One should not pay the higher CV prices for "used" unless one is certain the cancel is genuine, and not "fake".

1934 Scott 75 20c scarlet & indigo
"Native Village Scene"
Second Colonial Arts Exhibition, Naples
The bi-color 1934 regular issue large format six stamp "Native Village Scene" design is the first for Tripolitania proper. A similar set, but with a different illustration, was produced for Cyrenaica.

It was intended to mark the Second Colonial Arts Exhibition in Naples.

CV is $4/ stamp in the set.

1926 Scott B8 10c + 5c olive brown
"Peace Substituting Spade for Sword"
Surtax for Italian Colonial Institute
The 1926 semi-postal "Colonial Institute"design, which can be found issued by the various Italian colonies, is shown here for Tripolitania.

CV is a modest <$1/stamp as unused.

1930 Scott C5 1 l rose red "Virgil Issue"
Types of Italian Air Post Stamps 
Overprinted in Red or Blue
The "Virgil" issue of 1930 also included four air post stamps, with the two highest denominations issued as semi-postals.

Again, these are color "types" of the 1930 Italian issue. CV is $2+-$6+.

1931 Scott C8 50c rose carmine 
"Airplane over Columns of Basilica, Leptis"
In 1931-32, an eight stamp air post issue proper for Tripolitania with two designs was released.

This is one of the few "used" specimens I have for Tripolitania. It is nicely cancelled, which means it probably is not "real". ;-) 

Leptis Magna
Leptis, on the coast where the Wadi Lebda meets the sea (Khoms, Libya), is one of the most extensive Roman ruins extant in the Mediterranean.

1931 Scott C14 1.50 l orange red
"Arab Horseman Pointing at Airplane"
The second design shows an Arab horseman on a rearing Arabian horse. Spectacular.

CV for the issue is <$1-$30+.

1934 Scott C44 50c dark green & indigo
"Plane Shadow on Desert"
A six stamp large format air post issue with two designs was released also in 1934 for the Second Colonial Arts Exhibition, Naples. The second design ("Camel Corps") is shown in the "Out of the Blue" section.

I like this design. Imagine the stark shadow of the plane created by the harsh constant sun on the desolate landscape.

CV is $4.

Deep Blue
1934 Issue in Deep Blue
"Native Village Scene"
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 15 pages for the 1923-1934 issues of Tripolitania. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1930 Scott C4 50c deep green "Virgil Issue"
Types of Italian Air Post Stamps 
Overprinted in Red or Blue
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on seen pages, has 119 spaces for the stamps of Tripolitania. The categories covered include regular, semi-postal, air post, and air post semi-postal groupings. Total coverage is 77%.

The coverage is astonishingly high for a "representative" album, compounded by the fact that the CV for Tripolitania is often moderately expensive to expensive.

The spaces coverage in BB for Italian colonies in general is also high, as I have mentioned before. If one obtains BB feeder albums, one will note that the Italian colonies page sections are invariably quite empty. The challenge for a BB collector is the thousands of dollars in Italian colonies CV that would need to be acquired in order to "fill" a BB album. I think the over generous Italian colonies coverage in BB is a big stumbling block for anybody that would like to "fill" a BB album. ( For myself, I know that I do not want to spend my entire stamp budget for several years on Italian colonies in order to complete those spaces in BB. And I can't help but feel that these issues did not, for the most part, serve a real postal need, but rather to milk the collector. ;-)

There are twenty-two spaces that require a CV $10+ stamp, and one space that requires a CV $30+ stamp.

A not small number of the rest of the spaces require stamps in the ~ CV $4-$6 range. 








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Semi-Postal Air Post


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1923 Scott 1 20c olive green & brown orange ($10+)
1923 Scott 2 30c claret 7 brown orange ($10+)
1923 Scott 5 10c dark green ($10+)
1923 Scott 6 30c dark violet ($10+)
1923 Scott 7 50c brown carmine ($10+)
1923 Scott 8 1 l blue ($10+) 
1924 Scott 11 10c brown red & black ($10+)
1924 Scott 12 15c blue green & black ($10+)
1924 Scott 13 30c black & slate ($10+)
1924 Scott 14 50c orange brown & black ($10+)
1927 Scott 27 1.25 l bright blue ($10+)
1929 Scott 32 1.25 l + 25c dark violet ($10+)
1931-32 Scott C11 80c dull violet ($10+)
1931-32 Scott C13 1.20 l dark brown ($10+)
1931-32 Scott C14  1.50 l orange red ($10+)
1931-32 Scott C15 5 l green ($30+)
1931 Scott C20 5 l + 2 l rose red ($10+)
1933 Scott C21 3 l dark brown ($10+)
1933 Scott C22 5 l purple ($10+)
1933 Scott C23 10 l deep green ($10+)
1933 (Scott C24) 12 l deep blue ($10+) 
1934 Scott C38 50c rose red ($10+)
1934 (Scott 39) 75c lemon ($10+)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice. 

1934 Scott C48 2 l dark blue & brown
"Camel Corps"
Out of the Blue
The stamps of Tripolitania proper are interesting, less so the Italian issue "types". And I could do without the high CV expense.

Note: Maps, Leptis Magna pic, and Italian conquest image all appear to be in the public domain.

Comments Appreciated!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Trinidad & Tobago

1935 Scott 37 6c blue & brown 
"Discovery of Lake Asphalt by Raleigh, 1595"
Quick History
Trinidad & Tobago are islands off the coast of Venezuela, and, through the British colony sphere, have been issuing stamps together since 1913. But each island has an earlier real and philatelic history, and that has been covered in my earlier Tobago and Trinidad posts.

Trinidad & Tobago in the Lesser Antilles
Because of the legacy of importing East Indians to work as indentured laborers on sugarcane plantations, Trinidad & Tobago now have 35% of their population from the East Indian ethnic group. and 30% of the population are Hindu. The population mix, then, is different for Trinidad & Tobago compared to other Lesser Antilles island countries. 

Trinidad & Tobago
The economic history of the islands is also different compared to it's island neighbors, due to the discovery of petroleum in 1857, and the development of that resource. Oil became the major export by the 1950s. Today, with the development of natural gas production, Trinidad & Tobago is one of the wealthiest nations in the Caribbean.

The Capital is Port-Of-Spain, and the population was 412,000 in 1931.

Coat of Arms
Trinidad & Tobago gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. The "Coat of Arms", that was designed by the independence committee at that time, selected symbols that would be representative of the people, country, and culture of the islands.

* The palm tree crest at the top of the coat of arms was taken from Tobago's COA before it joined in political union with Trinidad.

* The shield has the same colors (black, red, and white) as the nation's flag.

* The gold ships represent the Santa Maria, La Nina, and La Pinta, the three ships of Christopher Columbus.

* The two birds on the shield are hummingbirds. (Sixteen species reside in Trinidad & Tobago.)

* The Scarlet Ibis and the Cocrico are the national birds.

* Below the Scarlet Ibis are three hills, the "Trinity Hills"  located in Trinidad, by which Columbus named the island after the Holy Trinity.

* Below the Corico is an island rising out of the waters, -Tobago.

* The national motto: "Together We Aspire, Together we Achieve".

Now, let's take a closer look at the stamp issues.

1935 Scott 35 2c light brown & ultramarine
"Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Trinidad & Tobago 1913-1951, 108 major number descriptions. Of those, 63 are CV <$1- $1+, or 58%.

The Trinidad & Tobago stamp issues have three highlights for the WW classical era collector: the 1935-37 nine stamp pictorials, the 1938-41 fourteen stamp George VI fourteen pictorials, and the 1917 thirteen stamp "War Tax" category.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
100 Cents = 1 Dollar (1935)
1913 Scott 1 1/2p green "Britannia"
Ordinary Paper, Wmk 3
The "Sitting Britannia" design was used for the 1913-1922 Trinidad & Tobago issues, a continuation of the motif from the earlier produced Trinidad stamps.

And, the 1913-22 issues vary on paper (ordinary, chalky, surface colored), and watermark (wmk 3 vs wmk4), so some attention needs to be paid to these features.

The three lower denominations (1/2p, 1p,2 1/2p) of the first issue of 1913 were on ordinary paper, and wmk 3. The overall design is similar to the 1909 Trinidad issue.

1913 Scott 5 4p scarlet & black/yellow "Britannia"
Chalky Paper, Wmk 3
The three higher denominations of the 1913 issue are on chalky paper.

The paper is tinted through for the 4p scarlet & black (yellow tint) and the 1sh black (emerald or green tint). In other words, the back of the stamp shows the tinted paper color.

Why is this important?

1914 Scott 9 1sh black/green "Britannia"
Surface Colored Paper
Because the two stamp 1914 issue is on surface colored paper, and the back of the stamp will have the ordinary (white) color tint. ! I won't show the back of the 1sh stamp here, but it is indeed not tinted with green, but white, ;-)

1922 Scott 14 1p brown "Britannia"
Ordinary Paper, Wmk 4
Then, between 1921-22, an issue with wmk 4 was produced: some are in the same preceding colors, some are with new denominations and colors.

Overall, there were nineteen major numbers issued, and the CV is <$1-$2+ for twelve stamps.

1922 Scott 24 2p gray ""Britannia" and George V"
Ordinary Paper, Wmk 4
Between 1922-28, a thirteen stamp issue on ordinary and chalky paper featuring ""Britannia" and George V" was released.

1924 Scott 28 6p red & green/emerald
""Britannia" and George V", Chalky Paper
The 4p red & black/yellow and the 1sh black/emerald stamps can be found in either wmk 3 or 4, so watermarking will need to be done for those specimens.

CV is <$1-$4 for eleven stamps.

1936 Scott 34 1c emerald & blue "First Boca"
Now, we are in for a treat! The 1935-37 nine stamp issue has nine different pictorials of local scenes, and the 1938-41 twelve stamp "George VI" pictorials recycle the images. As you know, the British Commonwealth stamps are usually heavily concentrated showing off the monarchs, so forgive my enthusiasm. ;-)

The "First Boca" is one of four sea channels between Trinidad and Venezuela in the body of water known as the Boca del Dragon (Dragon's Mouth).

1935 Scott 38 8c red orange & yellow green
"Queen's Park, Savannah"
A park in Port of Spain, and the largest open space (perimeter 2.2 miles (3.5 km), it was a former sugar plantation, but has been part of the town since 1817. It is known as "the Savannah".

1935 Scott 39 12c dark violet & black
"Town Hall, San Fernando"
A new Town Hall in San Fernando, Trinidad was built in 1931, and is in a neo-Classical design.

1935 Scott 40 24c olive green & black
"Government House"
The Governor's House, built in 1876, and  next to the Botanical Garden in Port of Spain, was the residence of the Governor of Trinidad & Tobago until 1958. Since the country became a republic in 1976, it has been the residence of the President.

1935 Scott 41 48c slate green "Memorial Park"
The Memorial Park in Port of Spain is a public park in commemoration of the veterans that served in WW I and WW II.

For the 1935-37 issue, the CV is <$1-$4+ for seven stamps. I should mention that the 1935 issue is perf 12, but there are minor number perf 12 1/2 stamps found issued in 1936-37. 

1938 Scott 52 3c dark carmine & black 
"Mt. Irvine Bay, Tobago"
The 1938-41 "George VI" pictorials for Trinidad & Tobago can be found issued similarly in a pictorial format during the George VI era for many British Commonwealth countries.

The Trinidad & Tobago issue consists of twelve stamps, with an additional two high denomination stamps with a prominent portrait of George VI.

As mentioned, the pictorials are derived from the earlier 1935-37 issue. Recycling on stamps of pictorial scenes is commonplace among the British colonies, most notably between George V and George VI issues, and George VI and Elizabeth II issues.

Mt. Irvine Bay in Tobago is now a place for luxury hotels, resorts and golf courses. 

1938 Scott 53 4c brown "Memorial Park"
CV for the 1938-41 issue is <$1-$2+ for thirteen stamps.

1941 Scott 54 5c magenta
"General Post Office and Treasury"
The 1941 issued "General Post office and Treasury" image is a new one for the George VI pictorials. This image was recycled for the Elizabeth II issues.

The building was completed in 1938. Since 1986, it has been used exclusively by the Treasury.

1938 Scott 59 60c magenta & slate green
"Blue Basin"
The Blue Basin waterfall, located nine miles from Port of Spain, drops 298 feet (91 meters). Although still attractive, the area has been reported to be somewhat neglected in modern times, with problems of trash and criminal activity.

1940 Scott 60 $1.20 dark green "George VI"
The two high denomination stamps within the 1938-41 issue show a prominent portrait of George VI.
They were both issued in 1940.

1916 Scott B3 1p scarlet
1913 Scott 2 Overprinted in Red (Cross) and Black (Date)
The 1915 and 1916 Red Cross semi-postals use the 1913 1p scarlet overprinted with the date of issue (black) and a cross (red).

1947 Scott J14 12c black
Denomination in Cents
We have seen this color and  design before, namely with the Trinidad postage dues. But here the denomination has been changed to cents. Scott has a note that the stamps exist on both ordinary and chalky paper.

1917 Scott MR1 1p scarlet, Overprinted
If there was another British colony with more WW I Tax stamps? I haven't seen it. ;-)

Thirteen- count them, thirteen stamps were issued with various "War Tax" overprints in 1917 on the 1913 1/2p green and the 1p scarlet.  !!

Each overprint is distinctive enough so one should be able to properly place the stamps. But a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will present all the eight OP possibilities here.

The MR1 OP is only found on the 1p scarlet, and is the only OP on one horizontal line.

1917 Scott MR2 1/2p green, Overprinted
MR2 and MR3 (1/2p green, 1p scarlet) have the an "R", where the right leg of the "R" drops below the lower horizontal line of "WAR".

1917 Scott MR5 1p scarlet, Overprinted
MR4 and MR5 (1/2p green, 1p scarlet) show an overprint that is thinner, with the letters more separated than other examples.

1917 Scott MR6 1/2p green, Overprinted
MR6 and MR7 (1/2p green, 1p scarlet) have thicker letters, and there is a 2.5 mm space between "WAR" and "TAX".

1917 Scott MR8 1/2p green, Overprinted
MR8 and MR9 (1/2p green, 1p scarlet)  appear to have the same thick lettering as MR6 and MR7, but only 1.5 mm space between "WAR" and "TAX".

Note that MR9 1p scarlet is CV $20+, easily the highest CV of all the war tax stamps.

1917 Scott MR10 1p scarlet, Overprinted
The MR10 design exists only as a 1p scarlet, and is the "smallest" of the overprints.

1917 Scott MR11 1p scarlet, Overprinted
MR11 also only exists as a 1p scarlet. The overprint is thick like MR6-9, but shorter in letter height (2mm vs 3 mm). 

1917 Scott MR12 1/2p green, Overprinted
MR12 and MR13 (1/p green, 1p scarlet) is the only overprint where the "r" is lower-case.

Overall, the CV for the war tax stamps is <$1-$4 for twelve stamps.

1917 Scott O5 1/2p green, Overprinted
Between 1913-1917, five 1913 1/2p green stamps were overprinted "Official" in various scripts. Consult Scott for an image of the scripts. CV is $1+-$5.

Deep Blue
1922-28 Ordinary Paper Issue, Wmk 4
""Britannia" and King George V"
Deep Blue (Steiner) has ten pages for the 1913-1951 stamps of Trinidad & Tobago. All the major Scott numbers have a space.

1941 Scott B52A 3c violet brown & blue green
"Mt. Irvine Bay, Tobago"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 1 1/3rd page (shared with Trinidad), has 38 spaces for the 1913-1938 stamps of Trinidad & Tobago. Subtracting for the 23 stamps listed in the 2014 Scott Specialized catalogue for 1940-1951, leaves 85 major number descriptions. Coverage is then 45%.

There are no expensive stamps ($10+) in the '69 BB.

Unfortunately, the '69 editors removed 21 stamps spaces listed in the 1940s editions for war tax (12 spaces), postage due (4 spaces), semi-postal (2 spaces) , and official categories (3 spaces). CV for all the missing spaces is <$1-$7.

This is one of the more egregious examples of rough hacking or pruning in the '69. :-(  Since all "modern" editions of BB follow the '69 editor layout, the butchered leftover pages have remained.

I will include the missing spaces in the checklist, for those that would like to "add back" the spaces.




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50,51,52 or 52A*, 53 or 53A*,


The following are found in the 1940s editions

War Tax Stamps
MR1, MR2,MR3,MR4,MR5,MR6,MR7,



Postage Due

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B)  (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1913-14 - because of BB date specifications, only the wmk 3 1913-14 issue stamps should be put in here, if one wished to follow strictly- but your choice.
D) *1938- 52A and 53A- 1941 issues- I elected to include them as choices for the spaces.

1941 Scott 53A 4c red "Memorial Park"
Out of the Blue
If the collector is putting his/her stamps into a '69 or later edition of Big Blue, I would recommend including the 21 spaces for war tax, semi-postals, official, and postage due that were in the 1940s editions. 

Note: Maps and Coat Of Arms image appear to be in the public domain.

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