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, August 11, 2016


1913 Scott 252 20pa red 
"Mosque of Selim, Adrianople"
Quick History
Turkey is located in Southeastern Europe and Asia Minor, situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

The Ottoman Empire reigned from there between 1299 - 1922, and then the Republic of Turkey was born in 1923.

1863 Scott 7 1pi black/gray "Tughra"
Lithographed, Red Band, Thick Surface Colored Paper
The Ottoman Empire issued its first postage stamp on January 1, 1863 with the "Tughra", the calligraphic monogram of Sultan Adul-Aziz.

Ottoman Empire 1900
Between 1865-1876, the "Crescent and Star", enclosed by a central oval, and symbols of the Turkish Caliphate, were used on the so-called typographic "Duloz" stamp issues.

"Duloz" Stamp Issues: 1865 Scott 11 2pi blue "Crescent and Star"
The Top and Side Overprint Characters translate "Ottoman Empire Posts"
These were designed and initially printed in France, but the printing plates were moved to Constantinople in 1868, where the remaining stamps were printed.

1876 Scott 55 50pa blue & yellow
Ottoman Empire Issue
The Ottoman Empire joined the General Postal Union (then the Universal Postal Union) in 1876. A new Empire issue was released, with the name of the country and values in both western script and Arabic script, and was intended for use to countries within the UPU.

A note of caution: both common and rare issues of 19th century Ottoman Empire stamps have been extensively forged. Unfortunately, we will not have time to look into this sad reality.

1901 Scott 104 20pa magenta
For Foreign Postage
The 1901-1911 issues all had the Tughra of the reigning monarch.

WW I proved the end of the Ottoman Empire, who had entered the war in 1914 on the side of the Central Powers. The Allies occupied Constantinople.

The Sultinate was abolished by the National Assembly on November 1, 1922.

Turkey was declared a republic on October 28, 1923, under the leadership of President Mustafa Kemal.

1923-25 Scott 613a 5pi violet, Type II 
"Crescent and Star"
The "Star and Crescent" design of the first stamp issue of the Republic of Turkey marked the end of the use of the "Tughra", which had been on most stamps from 1863-1922.

Note that "Constantinople" was officially changed to "Istanbul" in 1930. (I will be using either one somewhat indiscriminately.)

The capital was and is Ankara, and the population was 17,800,000 in 1940.

1914 Scott 255 4pa dark brown
"Column of Constantine"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire and Turkey 1863-1942, 1303 major number descriptions. Of those, 594 are CV <$1-$1+, or 46%.

The Ottoman Empire became the second independent country in Asia (after Russia) to issue stamps in 1863, when there were 63 domestic post offices. They were a founding member of the Universal Postal Union in 1875.

Turkey is a world of its own with many overprints and surcharges. The stamps reflect the "Ottoman Empire" to 1922, and then the "Republic of Turkey" beginning in 1923.

The stamps reward the careful WW collector that is willing to pay attention to the many complicated - at first glance, and even second glance- overprinted and surcharged issues.

I love the Turkish Empire and the Republic of Turkey stamps. Truly, Turkey would be a fine country for the specialist.

The country deserves 3-4 blog posts about the stamps and issues.  But I will devote one long blog post, focusing on the lovely engraved 1913 "Adrianople" issue, and the outstanding lithographed and engraved 1914 and 1920 "Views of Constantinople" issue. Using these stamps as a base, we will visit some of the various overprint/surcharged issues as well.

And because I couldn't leave them out as I like them too much, we will take a brief look at some postal tax air post stamps and some air post stamps.

(Update: It is not actually true, fortunately, that there will be only one blog post about Turkey. I couldn't resist, and, to help with the numerous overprinted/surcharged Ottoman Empire stamps, I will publish a "Turkish Classical Stamp Bath Too Hot? Ten Helpful Hints" post in somewhat less than two months.)

Turkish Numerals
One will not get very far with Turkey unless one knows the numerals. Here is a chart. At times, one will see two numerals together.  Example: the numeral for "2" and the numeral for "0" together equals "20".

Language on stamps adds to the complexity for non Turkish natives (most collectors). There is western script on some (not all) stamps, and Ottoman Turkish (Arabic script), and Turkish with a Latin script after 1928. 

A closer look at the stamps and issues
40 Paras = 1 Piaster
40 Paras = 1 Ghurush (1926)
40 Paras = 1 Kurush (1926)
100 Kurush = 1  Lira
1913 Scott 251 10pa green
"Mosque of Selim, Adrianople"
On July 21,  1913, with the recapture from the Kingdom of Bulgaria of Adrianople (Edirne) by Enver Pasha and the Ottoman Empire army during the Second Balkan War , an absolutely lovely three stamp engraved set was released on October 23, 1913 as a commemoration.

The stamp was designed by Oskan Effendi, who administered the Ottoman Post, and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. Ltd in England.

(Update: I note that Linn's Stamp News June 20, 2016 featured an extensive article about the Constantinople 1914-21 pictorials by Fred Baumann. I had already prepared this blog post, but it was scheduled to be published on August,11,2016 - now. There are some additional insights to be had by reading Mr Baumann's fine article. He points out that, although Oskan Effendi is credited with "designing" the pictorials, more likely the Bradbury engravers were working from Constantinople post cards and photographs supplied by Effendi.)

Mosque of Selim, Built 1575, UNESCO World Heritage Site
The reality is Bulgaria needed to remove most of its troops from Adrianople (Edirne) because of the greater need for reinforcements against Serbia and Greece, and hence "Young Turk" Enver Pasha had an easy time of it.

1913 Issue Adrianople Close-Up
The left upper oval of the stamp design has the "Tughra" of the Sultan Mohammed V Reshad  with a small Turkish word (round script) accompanying it. Later issues, as we shall see, are modified by removing this small round script.

1916 Scott 417 40pa blue
Overprinted in Red
On Adrianople Commemorative Stamps of 1913
Let's explore some of the overprints/surcharges applied to this issue.

In 1916, some 60 stamps from preceding year issues of 1892-98, 1897, 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1908-09, 1913, and 1916 were overprinted (as shown) or surcharged in red or black.

Illustrated is the 1916 overprint applied to the 1913 three stamp "Adrianople" set.

Postage Due 1913 Scott J59 2pa on 10pa green
Adrianople Issue, Surcharged in Black
In 1913, the three stamp "Adrianople" set was used for postage due purposes by surcharging in black, blue, or red. One can see the difficulty for WW collectors in seeking to identify the numerous overprinted/surcharged stamps of Turkey, as the Arabic Turkish script gives no clues in regards to meaning for most of us.

Postage Due 1917 Scott J84 20pa on 5pa on 20pa
Additional Overprint in Black
Previous Surcharge in Blue
On J59-J62 Adrianople Issue with Addition of New Value
Not unusual for Turkish stamps during the classical era- An additional overprint/surcharge applied to a previously overprinted/surcharged stamp!

The previous 1913 overprinted/surcharged postage due issue (Scott J59-62) is given an additional overprint and value on four stamps ( Scott J83-J86).

Of interest, the 1917 postage due issue overprinted and/or surcharged stamps (16 stamps) were also used for regular postage, according to Scott.

1920 Scott 592 20pa rose
Designs of 1913 Modified
In 1920, the 1913 "Adrianople" design was used on a 20pa rose (illustrated), but modified.

1920 Scott 592 20pa rose Close-Up
Designs of 1913 Modified
The small Turkish word next to the "Tughra" has been removed. (Compare with the 1913 issue close-up shown earlier.) The Tughra now represents Mohammed Vahid Eddin VI.

1914 Scott 254 2pa red lilac, Lithographed 
"Obelisk of Theodosius in the Hippodrome"
On January 14, 1914, a seventeen stamp pictorial issue was released.  Many show scenes around Constantinople, among others. This issue was also the product of  Oskan Effendi/ Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. Ltd.

The lower four values were lithographed.

The Ancient Egyptian Obelisk of Pharaoh Thutmose III (1490 BC) was re- erected by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in 390 AD in the Hippodrome (used for horse racing and chariot racing) of Constantinople. (Today, it is Sultan Ahmet Square in Istanbul.)

Ruins of the Hippodrome circa 1580
The Ottoman Turks, who captured Constantinople in 1453, made the city the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were little interested in the sport of horse/chariot racing, and the Hippodrome, which was falling into ruins even then, was further neglected.

1920 Scott P174 5pa on 4pa brown, Red Surcharge
"Column of Constantine"
Newspaper Stamp
Newspaper stamps- some 114 major Scott catalogue numbers-  were issued in Turkey between 1879 - 1920.

Shown is a 1920 example (actually, the last newspaper stamp issued!), using the 1914 lithographic 4pa dark brown "Column of Constantine" stamp.

Column of Constantine, circa 1912
The Roman victory column was constructed in 330 AD by Constantine the Great to commemorate Byzantium becoming the new capital city of the Roman Empire. (He re-named the city Nova Roma, but it became commonly known as Constantinople.)

1914 Scott 256 5pa violet brown
"Leander's Tower"
"Leander's Tower" was depicted on the 1914 lithographic 5pa violet brown.

Leander's Tower on the Bosporus
1876 Painting by American Sanford Gifford 
Now in Harvard Art Museums
Leander's Tower (Maiden's Tower) is a 36 ft tower located on a small islet at the southern entrance of the Bosporus strait. It has existed there as a wooden tower since 1110, then as a stone tower, and finally restored in 1832.

1920 Scott 590 5pa brown orange
"Leander's Tower"
In 1920, the design was reproduced, but in a brown orange color, and without the small Turkish word adjacent to the "Tughra".

1914 Scott 257 6pa dark blue
"One of the Seven Towers"
The ominous "Dungeons of the Seven Towers"  was lithographically represented on the 1914 6pa dark blue.

One of the Seven Towers
Istanbul's Dungeons of the Seven Towers (Yedikule Fortress) was built in 1458.  It served as the State Prison, with many persons and officials of Foreign Powers- who were at war with the Ottomans, or had displeased the sultan, - awaiting their fate there.

1914 Scott 271 10pa green, Engraved
"Fener Bahce (Garden Lighthouse)"
Overprinted in Red
The 10pa - 200pi denominations of the 1914 issue are all engraved.

The 10pa green, shown above, is part of a 1914 five stamp issue that was overprinted in red or blue, using some of the selected 1914 pictorial issue. The star overprint indicated mail intended for out of country.

Fenerbahce Lighthouse
The 66 ft white lighthouse was built in 1857, on the eastern side of the Bosporus entrance.

This old post card view is clearly the same image that was used for the stamp!

(Update: Confirms that the Bradbury engravers were working from post cards. ;-)

1914 Scott 280 20pa red
"The Castle of Europe on the Bosporus"
Stamps of 1914 Overprinted in Black or Red
The 1914 issue engraved 20pa red "The Castle of Europe on the Bosporus" stamp can be found overprinted (as shown), also issued in 1914. 

The overprint reads "Abolition of the Capitulations, 1330". The Turkish capitulations were grants made by Sultans to Christian nation traders entering the Ottoman Empire, whereby they were exempt from local taxation, conscription, prosecution, and searching of their domicile.

Capitulation treaties were signed with Venice (1454), France (1535,1740), England (1579, 1809), Netherlands (1579, 1680), Austria (1615), Russia (1711, 1783), Sweden (1737), Sardinia (1740, 1825), Denmark (1756), Prussia (1761), Spain (1782), United States (1830), Belgium (1938), Hanseatic League (1839), Portugal (1843), Greece (1855), Brazil (1858), and Bavaria (1870).

It is a bit unclear when capitulations began to be abolished.  But the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne after WW I, where the modern Turkish Sovereign borders were set, and Turkey gave up all claims to the remainder of the Ottoman Empire, did clearly end the capitulations.

The Bosporus with the Castles of Europe and Asia
19th century engraving by Thomas Allom
The Castle of Europe (Rumelihisan), on the narrowest point of the Bosporus strait on the European side, was built in 1452 by Sultan Mehmed II in order to control sea traffic.

1914 Scott 260 1pi blue
"Mosque of Sultan Ahmed"
The 1914 issue included an engraved pictorial stamp of the "Mosque of Sultan Ahmed" on the 1pi denomination. Note the small Turkish word adjacent to the "Tughra" in the upper central oval.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) in Istanbul
Also known as the Blue Mosque, because of the blue tiles on the interior walls, it was built in 1616.

Traditionally. there was a heavy chain hung at the court entrance of the mosque, and only the sultan was allowed to enter on horseback. But the sultan was forced to bow as he entered, (to avoid the chain), as a symbol of humility in the face of the divine.

1920 Scott 593 1pi blue green
"Mosque of Sultan Ahmed"
Designs of 1914 Modified
The stamp design was re-issued in 1920. Note the lack of the small Turkish script next to the "Tughra" on this 1920 version.

1918 Scott 419 60pa on 1pi on 1 1/2pi carmine & black
"Monument to the Martyrs of Liberty"
Surcharged and Overprinted in Blue
On Previous Surcharged 1914 Stamp (Scott 277)
The original 1914 1 1/2pi denomination was an engraved bi-color, with a pictorial of the "Monument to the Martyrs of Liberty".

The specimen I'm showing here is a 1916 issue, surcharged and overprinted in blue, on a previously 1914 surcharged and overprinted stamp. This not uncommon example is what makes classical era Turkish stamps interesting. ;-)

The Monument to Liberty Memorial in Istanbul, erected in 1911, honors the 74 soldiers killed during the "31 March Incident" in 1909, defending the Ottoman parliament against reactionary forces.

1914 Scott 262 1 3/4pi slate & red brown
"Fountains of Suleiman"
A bi-colored 1 3/4pi for the 1914 engraved issue featured the "Fountains of Suleiman". I couldn't find much about it- it is either a fountain for ablution purposes at a mosque, or a public fountain. Istanbul was full of public fountains whereby citizens could obtain water for use in their homes.

(Update: Baumann's article possibly attributes the scene to either "the Fountain near the Ortabas Mosque or the Courtyard of the Mosque of Suleiman". But he couldn't find visual documentation either.)

1922 Scott 604 7 1/2pi on 3pi blue, Red Surcharge
"Fountains of Suleiman"
Surcharge on 1920 Issue (Designs of 1914 Modified)
The design is also found on the 1920 issue, but the color is different, and the denomination is 3pi.

Illustrated is a 1922 issue, which has been surcharged in red.

1914 Scott 263 2pi green & black "Cruiser "Hamidie""
One of the more striking stamps, and only used for the 1914 engraved issue, is a bi-color of the "Cruiser "Hamidie"" ("Hamidjye").

The 112 m (367 ft) long "Hamidye" was an Ottoman Naval cruiser which was active during the Balkan Wars and WW I.  It was built by the British shipbuilding company Armstrong Whitworth, and commissioned in 1904. The ship was decommissioned in 1947.

The Cruiser Hamidiye Medal 1913, a commemorative military medal, was given to all 394 crew members for their military engagements against Greek warships and Greek shipping for the Balkan Wars.

1914 Scott 264 2 1/2pi orange & olive green
"View of Kandilli on the Bosporus"
A view of the Bosporus is on the 2 1/2pi orange & olive green.

The Bosporus (red)
The Turkish Straits consist of the Bosporus (red) , a quite narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (Hellespont) strait (yellow). Today, Istanbul's 17 million inhabitants are right on the shores of the Bosporus.

1920 Scott 595 5pi gray
"View of Kandilli on the Bosporus"
Designs of 1914 Modified
The 1920 engraved stamp with this design is a different color, and a different denomination.

1914 Scott 265 5pi dull violet
"War Ministry (Later Istanbul University)"
The War Ministry pictorial is on the 5pi 1914 engraved stamp.

The Ministry of War
(Now the main entrance to Istanbul University)
The Ottoman Ministry of War building, used by the Ottoman government, eventually became part of Istanbul University

1914 Scott 266 10pi red brown
"Sweet Waters of Europe Park"
The Golden Horn is a bay with a deep curve on the European side of the Bosporus in a district of Istanbul. The Golden Horn is the estuary of the Alibeykoy and Kagithane Rivers, which was named collectively as the Sweet Waters of Europe.

The scene is found on the 1914 engraved 10pi red brown.

1914 Scott 267 25pi olive green
"Mosque of Suleiman"
The Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest mosque in Istanbul, stands on top of one of the seven hills, and overlooks the Golden Horn.

Mosque of Suleiman
The 1914 engraved 25pi olive green has a pictorial of the mosque.

1920 Scott 597 15pi dull violet
"Mosque of Suleiman"
The 1920 engraved issue also has the scene, but in dull violet.

1914 Scott 268 50pi carmine "The Bosporus"
The 1914 50pi engraved carmine shows the Bosporus at Rumelihisari.

1920 Scott 598 50pi brown "The Bosporus"
Designs of 1914 Modified
The 1920 issue is similar, except the small Turkish script is missing next to the "Tughra", and the color is brown.

1914 Scott 269 100pi deep blue
"Sultan Ahmed's Fountain"
The Turkish rococo "Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III", built in 1728, is in the great square in front of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.  It was known as a gathering place and social center.

It is the design pictorial for the 1914 100pi deep blue.

The CV for the seventeen stamp 1914 issue ranges from <$1-$5+ for fifteen stamps. The CV outliers include this 100pi deep blue ($20+), and 200pi green & black ($400!).

1915 Scott 287 25pi on 200pi green & black
"Sultan Mohammed V Reshad"
The 200pi green & black, the highest denomination for the 1914 issue, features Sultan Mohammed V.

The illustrated stamp is a 1915 issue that has been surcharged. The CV is a much more modest $8.

Mehmed V Reshad was the 27th Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate, and the 35th Ottoman Sultan. His reign was from April 27, 1909 to July 3, 1918 (death) at age 73.

However, he had no real political power, because the Young Turk Revolution (1908) brought back the Constitution and the Parliament, and, as a result of the 1913 Ottoman coup d'etat, the Three Pashas ruled.

So ends our survey of the magnificent 1914 and 1920 lithographed/engraved pictorial issues.

1919 Scott 585 60pa on 10pa green
"Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem"
Surcharged with Ornaments and New Values
There was another interesting stamp produced in 1919 as part of an overprinted issue celebrating the accession of the next Sultan- Mohammed Vahid Eddin VI- to the throne.

The particular stamp shown- the 60pa on 10pa green- was further surcharged with a new value, also in 1919.

The pictorial subject is one of the holiest sites in all Islam- the "Dome of the Rock", Jerusalem.

1926 Scott RAC4 5g carmine lake & pale green "Biplane"
Postal Tax Air Post
Turkey had an interesting category for a Postal Tax: a use requirement for 21 days each year on air mail. The issues were released between 1926-1933.

I love the classic Turkish look combined with a "Biplane".

1927-29 Scott RAC9 5k dark blue gray & orange "Biplane"
Postal Tax Air Post
Altogether, there were 30 stamps produced for postal tax air post during this era.

1930-31 Scott RAC19 5k ("5 Kurus"), Black Surcharge 
On RAC5 20pa dull red & pale green
Postal Tax Air Post
Because of the requirement that these stamps be used on air mail, the CV for these stamps is generally modest. (<$1-$4+ for 25 stamps).

1934 Scott C2 12 1/2k on 15k, Brown Surcharge
On 1930 Scott 695 15k deep orange
"Fortress of Ankara"
The first "air mail" category stamp issue as such was not until 1934.

1934 Scott C2 25k, Blue Overprint
On 1930 Scott 698 15k olive brown
"Sakarya Gorge"
The CV for the five stamp overprinted air post issue was <$1-$1+.

Deep Blue
1901 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 83 pages for the 1863-1942 stamps of the Turkish Empire and Turkey. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1926 Scott RAC3 5g violet & pale green "Biplane"
Postal Air Tax Air Post
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 14 1/2 pages, has 394 spaces for the stamps of Turkey (Turkey in Asia will be treated separately). The categories included are regular issues, postage due, semi-postal, postal tax, and air post. Coverage is 30%.

The 14 1/2 pages and the 394 spaces is the most coverage by BB of any of the remaining T-Z countries. (In other words, this is the largest hurdle for the BB checklist that is left.  But countries, such as Victoria, will still pose a challenge because of multiple choices for a space.)

Newspaper stamps (one whole page- 33 spaces) were included in the 1940s editions, but gone entirely in the '69 edition.

There are only nine stamps that are "expensive" ($10-$30). Not bad. ;-)

As usual, I include a number of comments about various stamp choices for spaces in the "Comments" section, which follows the checklist.

Recall the various comments are tagged to the catalogue numbers or date headings that have asterisks (*). 


8 or 14, 9 or 15, 10 or 16, 11 or 17, 18,

20,29,22 or 30,31,24 or 32,








Next Page

95, 96a*-"dark pink" or 96b*- "pink", 97,98,99,


1899 (actually 1898)
96*-"violet brown" 

For Foreign Postage

For Domestic Postage



Next Page


151,152,153,154a or 154,155,156,157,158,


Next Page



Next Page






Next Page



659,660,648 or 661 or 673,652 or 665 or 674,653 or 666,654 or 667 or 675,655 or 668,

Next Page

649 or 662,650 or 663,651 or 664,



Next Page



Next Page



1939 (Actually 1940)


Next Page




 Next Page


Next Page
Postage Due
20pa- J11 or J16 or J21 or J26 or J31
1pi-J12 or J17 or J22 or J27 or J32
1pi- J18 or J23 or J28 or J33
5pi- J19 or J24 or J29 or J34








Next Page
(Postage Due)



Next Page
Postal Tax

RA17,RA18,RA19,RA20,(RA14 or RA15)



Next Page
(Turkey in Asia- See separate blog post entry)

Air Post



A) Expensive Stamps ($10 threshold):
1869 Scott 20 10pa dull violet ($10+)
1876 Scott 52 5pi on 5pi gray blue ($10)
1908 Scott 145 2pi blue black ($10+)
1909 (Scott 150) 2pi gray black ($10+)
1909 Scott 156 2 1/2pi dark brown ($20
1909 (Scott 164)) 2pi blue black ($30)
1892 Scott J40 1pi black ($10+)
1892 Scott J41 2pi black ($10+) 
1937 Scott C7 9k on 15k deep orange ($20)
B) *1865-67- illustration appears to be a 1867 surcharge, but BB's dates include the 1865 and 1867 issues, so both are choices here.
C) *65- BB states the color for 1882 Scott 65 2pi as "flesh", but the catalogue now lists "pale salmon".
D) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
E)- *96 "violet brown" has its own space for an 1898 issue. The illustrated 1892 20pa space can be filled by *96a - "dark pink" or *96b- "pink".
F) * 609 and *613- Two Types for each- See Scott.
G) *1927-30- BB states "various surcharges", so there are choices for some spaces as listed.
H) *690- BB states "5 ku brown lake"?  I listed Scott 689 5 ku "rose lake", which is an A72 design.
I) *1865-71 postage due- multiple choices as BB only states color as "bistre brown".  All of these PDs are "bistre brown", but borders are various colors which determines the issue.
J) *B33- BB states in the B33 space "On stamps of 1933": should be "On stamps of 1913".
K) *RA12 and *RA13- do not put in RA14 and RA15 respectively here, as RA14 & RA15 have a different surcharge than what BB illustrates.

1920 Scott 596 10pi gray violet 
"Sweet Waters of Europe Park"
 Designs of 1914 Modified
Out of the Blue
Ottoman Empire and Turkey stamps are truly a world to themselves. They reward assiduous study by the WW collector.

Note: Maps, Turkish Numerals scan, and pic images either appear to be in the public domain, or are used here for educational purposes.

Have a comment?


  1. Jim,

    Very nice post on Turkey! It will serve as a great reference for me for Turkey. Maybe I will even think about specializing in it someday. Actually my wife is Turkish, and I have had a chance to travel to Turkey about a dozen times. In fact, the last time I was there, I searched out a couple of stamp stores in Ankara and was able to get some nice early "Tughra" stamps.


    1. Chris-
      That is so neat that your wife is Turkish! You do have a very good reason to specialize in Turkey.

      Turkey is a quite complicated (for WW collectors), and I will be publishing a post in about two months looking at some of the overprints/surcharges found on their stamps.

    2. Great! I will look forward to it. Yes, all the overprints/surcharges seem very complicated.

  2. Another hobby of mine is to travel. Reading this article, I relived the beautiful 12 days spent in a touristic circuit in Turkey, where I was a year ago. The Mosque of Selim in Edirne was the first visited objective, and then followed the others, that's why the experience of another culture being so unique for me. Everywhere I went, I saw lots of Turkish stamps, along with their famous delights, and CDs with their wonderful traditional music. Have a nice weekend! Thanks for including my blog into your blogroll, it means a lot for me! Catalin

    1. Catalin - Turkey is on my bucket list of countries I would like to see - I see you have already been there!

      I am pleased to include your blog on the list - it is very good indeed!

  3. Jim

    Great how you make these individual stamps come to life! At the risk of becoming 'that guy that always has something to say about some detail', here's a tidbit on the tughra. The central part of the tughra would seem to contain the name of the sultan. The smaller part to the right - which is an integral part of the tughra - represents an honorific. The difference between the 1913/1914 issues and the 1920 issues is, as you said, the tughra of two different sultans. The tughra of Mohammed VI not only has no honorific, but please note that also the central part with the name is different. In a similar way the difference between the 1908 and 1909 tughra issues reflects a change of sultans: now both tughras have an honorific - but a different one - and the different names in the central part.

    1. Gerben - you are wonderful with detail - that is what makes your maps so good - thanks for the explanation.

  4. My old stomping grounds when I was a grad student at Ohio State. And as amazing as the pictures look, there is nothing quite awe-inspiring as seeing the Blue Mosque, Selim's mosque in Edirne, the Hippodrome, Fenerbahce or the Anzac landing sites at Gallipoli first hand.

    As you note Turkey's stamps can be a specialist's dream, what with the Ottoman Empire's multitude of overprints and the like. But don't underestimate the early Republic either. The Ataturk definitives that began in the mid-1930s would see several printings on different papers with shades and other varieties to boot.

    As of now the best Turkish catalogue for specializing is the Isfila (Istanbul Philatelic Association) Catalogue, available from Isfila's website and a great starting point to the deep realms of Ottoman and Turkish philately.

    1. Gene- your description makes me want to be there. !!!

      There is so much to the stamps of Turkey as you point out with the 1930s Ataturk definitives - I will need to obtain that Isfia catalogue!

    2. http://www.isfila.com/english/index.php has the info on the catalogue.

  5. Very nice collection. Congrats.

  6. An incredibly informative post. Thank you for doing such outstanding work.

    1. Thanks John. I notice you have a real interest in automobiles and American culture with a blog. :-)

    2. Next to auto history WW stamps 1840-1940 is my other passion. It goes back to early childhood. Right now stamps are on a back burner, however. I only have so much time and money! But that doesn't keep me from reading your fine blog.

  7. Another excellent post! I'd love to know the origins of the 1920 definitives -- Bradbury Wilkinson must've been really keen to keep hold of the Turkish contract if they printed them a new issue only a couple years after WWI ended -- and at a time when Anglo-Turkish relations were still extremely hostile. Must be an interesting story there, surely.

  8. As always, an excellent overview in enough detail to pique my interest without overdoing it down the rabbit hole with all the overprints, etc. I really like the focus on the stamps' subject matters, their origins as postcard images in some cases, and the explanations of the tughra and other details.

    The Ottoman Empire/Turkey is a fantastic historical subject (I'm a former world history teacher). And its stamps reflect that history and culture well. I've been interested in this area for a long time, but unfortunately never visited Turkey. But it's on my short list.

    Thanks for this write-up. You've reminded me to go back and consider more specializing in the Ottomans and Turkey. I keep following your excellent blog. It's becoming a classic.

    1. Drew - thanks for the comments.

      The overprint "rabbit hole" will be faced head on with a future post.... ;-)

      "Turkish Classical Stamp Bath Too Hot?"

  9. Jim,
    I have an Ottoman stamp that I can't seem to properly identify. I've seen a photo of it online that says it is Iraq, but I don't think the identification is correct. I think it is actually Turkey or Greece. I've seen one with British overprints, but none like mine with no overprint.

    Are you interested in seeing this stamp?

    1. Sure.

      Send a pic or scan as an attachment to..
      ..and now some words so a bot doesn't pick up my email..

      I will reply here.

  10. A usual a very nice blog on Turkey. I am working Turkey from several feeder collection I've aquired. It is a slow go and I thought I was done. Until I learned something I've never seen in modern scott catalogs. I was using a 2009 scott clasic catalog but when I turned to 2018 scott I found 13 pictures had been added! The writing is the same but the pictures make a big differance! Also when cataloging overprinted stamps scott will start with overprint A, then to overprint B, then BACK to overprint A again. It took me a while to understand this. Kind regards. DABID

    1. Thanks David.

      Yes - the classic Scott catalogue continues to get added and improved. I reorder the classic Scott every three years to get the latest (and greatest).

  11. Ray McIntire, Springfield, TNNovember 11, 2019 at 3:41 PM

    Hey Jim- My '47 edition has 2 additional spaces for a B52 and B53, which have been de-listed by Scott. Both are listed in the 1940 copy of Scott that I found. I've found a copy of B53, but any idea of what I would call the ex-B52?

    1. Hi Ray - I'll look into it when I get back into town this week.

    2. OK, the B52 & B53 (also listed as such in my '47 Scott catalogue), and subsequently disappearing from the semi-postal section of Turkey, is now catalogued as 1917 Scott 545A 5pa on 1pi red "Soldiers in Trench"; and 1918 Scott 548A 2pa on 5pa on 1pi red "Soldiers in Trench" in the regular section of the Scott catalogue. When the stamps got moved from the semipostal to the regular section of the catalogue I don't know - obviously after 1947 sometime. So, in summary, B52 & B53 are now 545A & 548A. !!! ( I have examples of both stamps.)

  12. Reading this blog on Turkey, certainly brought back many fond memories of our visit to Turkey in 2014. We took a marvelous cruise on the Bosphorus, and later enjoyed driving across the suspension bridge from the European side to the Asian side. We found Turkish culture to be vibrant and the people were quite friendly. We took a ferry across Sea of Marmara and birded for day in the mountains of Anatolia. Meanwhile, I can still enjoy looking through some of my Ottoman Empire pictorial stamps.

    1. My daughter has visited Turkey, but I haven't.

      Thanks Gina for your observations.