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, July 18, 2016


1876 Scott 58 (1p) carmine "Britannia"
Perf 14
Quick History
Trinidad is the larger and more populated of the "Trinidad and Tobago" grouping, seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. But they were separate independent British colonies in the beginning.

Trinidad in the Lesser Antilles
I've already published a blog post about Tobago and it's stamps.

Trinidad received the name from Christopher Columbus ("La Isla de la Trinidad") during the third voyage of 1498.

The Spanish controlled the island through 1797, and the French also settled there from Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Dominica.

By the time the British took the island in 1797, the population  in Trinidad was 17,000+ ( 2,000+ whites, 1,000+ Amerindians, 10,000+ African slaves, and 1,000+ free people of color). 

Abolition of slavery was proclaimed in 1833, but the slaves were required to continue to work on the plantations  until 1840. 

Labor was then imported from China, Madeira, and India (as indentured servants). 

(The East Indian population eventually prospered, and now represent 36% of the population.)

Sugarcane plantations, then cacao cultivation with chocolate production was an economic mainstay.

Venezuelan farmers were brought in to help with the cacao cultivation.

Trinidad and Tobago
Stamps were introduced in 1851, the seated "Britannia" design.

5c "Lady McLeod" Stamp
But the most famous (and expensive- CV $12,500 used) early stamp for Trinidad is from the 1847 private local post that carried letters on the "Lady McLeod" paddle steamer between Port of Spain and San Fernando. Needless to say, I won't be owning one of these for a long time. ;-)

The capital was and is Port of Spain, and the population was 273,000 in 1901.

The two British colonies of Trinidad and Tobago were united from 1889 until 1899, when Tobago became a ward of the larger island.

The last new Tobago stamp was issued in 1896.

Frederick Street, Port of Spain, Circa 1900
From 1899 until 1913, stamps of Trinidad were used for both islands.

The last new Trinidad stamp was released in 1910.

Beginning in 1913, "Trinidad" stamps were superseded by those inscribed  "Trinidad and Tobago". (We will have a separate blog post for them.)

In the 1930s, cacao production took a sharp drop due to disease and the great depression. 

But oil and gas production rose significantly, and is now the leading economic export.

Trinidad and Tobago became self-governed in 1958, and independent in 1962.

1883 Scott 68 1/2p green "Victoria"
Wmk 2
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Trinidad 1851-1910, 134 major number descriptions. Of those, 23 are CV <$1-$1+, or 17%. Raising the threshold to CV $7+ yields 45 total, or 34%. Clearly, Trinidad stamps tend to be a bit expensive for the WW collector.

The earlier 1851-1876 issues (58 major numbers), with three different "Britannia" designs, are a specialist's dream, consisting of various perfs, types of paper, and minor number shades.

They also are costly: from $tens to $hundreds to $thousands. Unless the WW collector has a particular interest, or can afford to spend money on these issues, the collector may need to be satisfied with a few specimens.

The rest of Trinidad's issues, save for the 1893-94 Official issue, are less expensive for the collector to obtain.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1864 Scott 48 (1p) red "Britannia"
"A1" design; Wmk 1; Perf 12 1/2
The first issues of 1851-1876, with three "Seated Britannia" designs (58 major Scott numbers), are differentiated by imperf/perf, different perfs, "rough", "clean-cut", and "pin-perf" types, different paper (blued, white, thin, thick,), and unwatermarked/ wmk 1. This is the realm of the specialist! And the CV's can be in the $tens to $hundreds.

If one is interested, go for it!

But the general WW collector may only want to pick up a representative sample of these stamps.

A good choice would be the 1864-72 eight stamp Wmk 1 Perf 12 1/2 issue (CV $2-$20+), and the 1876 four stamp Wmk 1 Perf 14 issue (CV  $1+-$4).

1882 Scott 64 1p carmine, Wmk 2
Surcharged in Black
Between 1879-1882, four stamps were surcharged. The CV varies from $2+-$10+ for three stamps.

1883 Scott 69 1p rose "Victoria"
Wmk 2
The 1883-84 issue of six stamps have this "Victoria" design. CV is a modest <$1-$6+.

1896 Scott 79 2 1/2p lilac & ultramarine
Perf 14
The 1896-1904 issue (17 stamps) used this design for the 13 lower values. CV is <$1-$7+ for 11 stamps. The lower values have the Wmk 2 paper.

I have been unable to ,locate the "Rose Hill" postmark, although there is presently a Rose Hill school. Readers?

1896 Scott 85 1sh green & orange brown
Circular "Registar General" cancellation is revenue usage
Scott has a note that the circular "Registar General" cancellation is for revenue use, and are of minimal value.

1898 Scott 91 2p gray violet & yellow brown
"Landing of Columbus"
For the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the island by Christopher Columbus, a nice bi-color  pictorial, "The Landing of Columbus", was issued in 1898. CV is $1+.

This is the first Trinidad commemoration stamp. They certainly had justification, as Columbus did indeed sight and name their island.

1904 Scott 92 1/2p gray green, Wmk 3
Chalky Paper
A 1904-09 eleven stamp issue was produced with the same design as the 1896-1904 issue, but on exclusively chalky paper, and Wmk 3.  The colors also tend to be different from the preceding issue.

1904 Scott 98 1sh black & blue/yellow
Wmk 3; Chalky Paper
CV for the 1904-09 issue ranges from <$1-$5 for five stamps.

1907 Scott 103 1p carmine
Wmk 3; Chalky Paper
An additional two stamps in new monocolors was issued in 1906-07.

1909 Scott 105 1/2p gray green
Ordinary Paper
Three stamps were issued in 1909 using two new designs on ordinary paper. These stamps are quite similar to the 1913 three stamp Trinidad & Tobago design, save for the 1913 stamp "Trinidad & Tobago" script.

1885 Scott J3 2p black, Wmk 2
The 1885 nine stamp postage due issue, wmk 2, is quite functional in appearance. CV is <$1 for four stamps.

1906-07 Scott J10 1p black, wmk 3
The 1906-07 eight stamp issue has the same design as the preceding issue, save on wmk 3 paper. CV is <$1-$3+ for three stamps.

Note: if one needs a refresher on British Colonial common watermarks, consult the Gibraltar post.

Deep Blue
1883-84 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has nine pages for the 1851-1910 stamps of Trinidad. All of the major Scott numbers have a space. If one is seriously collecting the 1851-1872 issue stamps, the many minor number shades will not have a designated space.

1896 Scott 84 6p lilac & black "Britannia"
Perf 14
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 2/3 of a page, shared with the beginning of the Trinidad and Tobago coverage, has 26 spaces. Coverage is 19%.

1940s BB editions
War Tax & Semi-Postal categories dropped in '69 Edition
Unfortunately, the '69 editors dropped the War Tax (12 spaces) and Semi-Postals (2 spaces) categories included with the BB 40s editions.

Surprisingly, the '69 has no expensive stamps ($10 threshold) required. This is mainly achieved by initiating coverage in 1876, hence avoiding the earlier expensive "Britannia" issues.

There are choices for BB spaces, based on wmk 2 vs wmk 3, for the 1901-08 issue and the 1885-1907 postage due issue.


1878 (actually 1876)


74,76 or 77, 79,


75 or 92, 78 or 93, 80 or 94,



Postage Due
J2 or J10, J3 or J11, J4 or J12, J6 or J14, (J5),

Official Stamps

A) Expensive Stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1901-08 - Wmk 2 vs Wmk 3 choices.
D) * 1885-1907 Postage Due - Wmk 2 vs Wmk 3

1904 Scott 93 1p black/red, Wmk 3
Type II = Oval "O" in ONE
Out of the Blue
I find it ironic that there will be three posts on the blog about Trinidad & Tobago- because Scott splits up the coverage for the earlier issues for the islands- but only one for, say, Sweden. ;-)

Note: Maps,"Lady McLeod" stamp image, and the Port of Spain pic appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?


  1. Hi Jim

    I am of course by no means an expert in these things, but I found Rose Hill on this list of postmarks from the British Commonwealth: http://pbbooks.com/cr63.htm. The site may be of interest to you anyway. Furthermore, I found that Rose Hill was a settlement that developed in the 1820's around the Rose Hill estate owned by one Edward Jackson. Now it is a suburb of Port of Spain.

    1. "Rose Hill 1898"
      My stamp has a 31 August, 1897 cancellation from Rose Hill- but I believe that is a revenue cancellation. Does the "1898" on the list of postmarks mean when the post office opened or closed?

      Thanks for the great sleuthing Gerben!

    2. Jim

      I would think the Rose Hill postmark is 17 August 1898. I I guess this one of those little puzzles that I can sometimes just cannot resist..... 'Sleuthing'? I guess I may have extended my English vocabulary.

    3. Yes indeed '98.

      Glad to help with the English expansion. :-)