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...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Australia - Bud's Big Blue

The  'Roos in Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Fascination with 'roos and royals is required of Australia specialists. Add in kookaburras and a koala, and they make up over fifty percent of BB’s spaces.  Deep pockets help the specialists, too, as many of the variations (watermarks, perfs, fly-specs) of these stamps cost dearly. My Australia pages are of the more shallow-pocket sort.

Collecting diligence does yield inexpensive SON cancels, however, often from very small settlements. I sometimes get ideas for possible adventures with my grandchildren by googling these places to see what we might do if we were, say, in Rubyvale, population 510 in 2009, probably more in 1938 when the gem mines were approaching their heyday (page 2, first stamp). We’d go fossicking, of course. While there are no abandoned ruby mines to pilfer close by where I live, there is a place where for a fee we can pan for gold. At Ballarat (page 1, first stamp) we could catch up on the history of the Eureka Rebellion. Or at Yarram (page 1, stamp 2) we could learn something about the Aboriginal Kurnai people. Again, there are reasonable approximations close by.

Census: 90 in BB spaces, 8 tip-ins, 30 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
The Australia stamp spaces in BB illustrate, perhaps better than most, the good and the bad when stamp spaces are simplified and reduced.

The Kangaroos are an interesting group of stamps to say the least. But the 12 kangaroo stamp spaces provided by Big Blue are quite problematic.

Big Blue's bias for earlier issues of a series is evident: Big Blue asks for the 9p purple (Scott 9 ($30+)). That eliminates from consideration the violet 9p stamps (Scott 41 and 50($20+)) that follow. 

Lumping by Big Blue means the onus is on you and me to figure out what we have. Big Blue provides space for kangaroo stamps  from 1913-25.  But they have lumped three different watermark series together -1913 wmk 8 (Scott 1-15), 1915 wmk 9 (Scott 38-44), and 1915-23 wmk 10 (Scott 45-59). 

Big Blue does not include the later stamp issues - the 1929-30 and 1931-36 Kangaroos -15 stamps. 

The King George V series, which Big Blue dates 1914-30, also has some minefields. Again, Big Blue lumps three series together:1924-27 wmk 9 Scott 19-37, 1918-23 wmk 11 Scott 60-63, and 1926-30 wmk 203 Scott 66-76. Then because of year of issue constraints, Big Blue  leaves out 8 stamp varieties in the 1931-36 wmk 228 Scott 113-120 series.

OTOH, if the WW collector is not particularly interested in the 'roos or the royals, the few spaces offered is probably a good thing. 

Australia Big Blue Blog Link and Checklist

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Upper Volta

1920 Scott 19 45c blue & brown  "Camel with Rider"
Red Overprint; Stamps and Types Upper Senegal and Niger, 1914-17
Quick History
Upper Volta (Haute-Volta) has had an exist/ doesn't exist/exist history, but the classical era saw Upper Volta adjacent and north of the British Gold Coast carved out from a southern section of Upper Senegal and Niger to form a separate colony on March 1, 1919 within French West Africa.

Stamps were released in 1920 using the overprinted Upper Senegal and Niger 1914-17 issue and types.

Population was approximately 3,000,000.
Upper Volta (green); French West Africa (lime green)
The colony lasted until September 5, 1932, when, in an economic move, the colony was divided among its neighbors- French Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Niger Territory.

French West Africa circa 1936
Note "Upper Volta" has disappeared
Upper Volta stamps were discontinued on January 1, 1933.

Mossi Kingdom circa 1530
The area of the Upper Volta river and surrounding savanna was dominated by the Mossi Kingdoms from the 13th century until 1896, when the French captured their capital of Ouagadougou.

Mossi Horsemen 1890
The Mossi were a formidable group, both as farmers (millet, sorghum), and soldiers. They were able to resist some of the inroads (not all) of both Christianity and Islam, while looking to their ancestors for spiritual guidance. Little wonder that the French left the Mossi chief /village administration substantially intact. Their language, Moore, is still spoken by the majority of the population today.

Reconstituted Upper Volta
After WW II, the Mossi were successful in having the French reestablish Upper Volta as a separate French West African territory on September 4, 1947.

Upper Volta became independent on August 5, 1960.

On August 4, 1984, the name was changed to Burkina Faso, meaning "the country of honorable people".

1922 Scott 29 0.01c on 15c, Black Surcharge
On 1920 Scott 9 15c chocolate and orange
Issue Surcharged in Various Colors
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Upper Volta 1920-1931, 89 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 58 are CV <$1-$1+, or 65%. Clearly, the WW collector should be able to form a representative collection without too much expense.

The 1920-28 issue uses overprinted 1914-17 Upper Senegal and Niger stamps. Some were issued in a change of color (color types).

Upper Volta had its own issue proper in 1928.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1925 Scott 15 30c violet & brown red
Black Overprint; "Camel with Rider"
Stamps and Types Upper Senegal and Niger, 1914-17
We have come across the "Camel with Rider" design before, as it was used by Upper Senegal and Niger 1914-17. With the advent of "Upper Volta", having been given colony status in 1919 from a former portion of Upper Senegal and Niger, this issue was overprinted  "Haute- Volta". Between 1920-28, twenty-eight stamps, many of them color "types", were released.

1925 Scott 22 50c red orange & blue
Black Overprint; "Camel with Rider"
Stamps and Types Upper Senegal and Niger, 1914-17
Finding used examples for the colony can be done, but it is not common. My collection consists of 90% unused.

CV is <$1-$1+ for 24 stamps. Perhaps reflecting the lack in collections of genuine "used", CV is modestly higher for that state.

1922 Scott 31 0.05c on 15c, Red Surcharge
On 1920 Scott 9 15c chocolate and orange
Issue Surcharged in Various Colors
In 1922, the 15c chocolate and orange was surcharged in three colors (black, blue, red), creating a three stamp issue.

The 1922 surcharged stamp issue in various colors can be found for other French colonies as well, such as Senegal.

1922 Scott 32 60c on 75c violet/pinkish
Type of 1920 Surcharged
The 1922 60c on 75c, with bars over the former value, is similar to other 1922 French colony surcharged stamps, such as found for the Ivory Coast.

1924 Scott 34 25c on 5fr violet & black
Stamps and Types of 1920 Surcharged
With New Value and Bars
Between 1924-27, ten stamps were surcharged as shown.

CV is <$1-$1+ for six stamps.

1928 Scott 43 1c indigo & green
"Hausa Chief"
The colony issued a new set with three designs ("Hausa Chief", "Hausa Woman", "Hausa Warrior") in 1928.

The twenty-three stamp set is CV <41-$2+ for seventeen stamps.

1928 Scott 47 10c indigo & pink
"Hausa Chief"
The Hausa people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa (50 million), but, as important, the Hausa language developed into the lingua franca across Western Africa for trade. They are centered in Nigeria and Niger.

The twenty million nomadic Islamic Fulani (Peul) are found, in part, in northern Upper Volta. They often used the Hausa language for trade. In many cases, the Hausa and Fulani people have absorbed parts of each other's culture. But, I believe the portraits in this stamp set are actually Fulani, rather than Hausa, if the native images purport to be from Upper Volta.

Ethnic Groups West Africa
Specifically, the "Mossi" people and language is 40% of the population of Upper Volta (part of Central Bantoid group (purple)).

The Mande ethnic group (pink) inhabits part of western Upper Volta, while the Fulani group is located in the north.

1920 Scott J2 10c rose
Postage Due Stamps of Upper Senegal and Niger, 1914,
Overprinted in Black or Red
The 1920 postage due set of eight stamps are overprinted in black or red on 1914 Upper Senegal and Niger stamps.

CV is <$1-$1+ for all eight stamps.

1928 Scott J11 5c green
The Upper Volta postage due set proper was released in 1928 on ten stamps.

CV is <$1-$6+ for eight stamps.

Deep Blue
1920-28 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has six pages for the 1920-1931 issues of Upper Volta. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1924 Scott 33 25c on 2fr green & blue
Stamps and Types of 1920 Surcharged
With New Value and Bars
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on four pages, has 75 spaces for the stamps of Upper Volta.

Coverage is a generous 84%.

There are two "expensive" (CV $10+) stamp spaces for the 1928 postage due issue.







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Postage Due



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1928 Scott J19 2fr lilac rose ($10+)
1928 Scott J20 3fr orange brown ($10+)

1920 Scott J1 5c green
Postage Due Stamps of Upper Senegal and Niger, 1914,
Overprinted in Black or Red
Out of the Blue
Unraveling the 1928 "Hausa" set- which actually portray "Fulani" - resulted in a three hour pleasant diversion. One never knows where stamps will take you. ;-)

Note: Maps and Mossi Horsemen image appear to be in the public domain.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ascension - Bud's Big Blue

1934 Ascension issue in Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Ascension Island’s stamps put me in the mind of an evening at a British explorers’ club. An expedition has just returned from this tiny dot in the mid-Atlantic anxious to tell stories and show pictures. One presenter talks about mountains and sea shores (Scott 27, 28 and 43). Another comments on the little settlement of Georgetown (Scott 23, 25 and 40) which has the island’s only post office. An ornithologist delivers an emotional disquisition on the Onychoprion fuscatus (sooty tern, Scott 30) and its threatened extinction by feral cats shamelessly introduced by previous expeditions. The evening ends with the chapter chair raising a toast to the Crown (vintage port, of course). A satisfying evening, entirely, but inconsequential.

Cancels are rare and expensive.

Census: 31 in BB spaces, 8 tip-ins, no supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Bud - I don't have vintage port, but I've laid away some more modern stuff. ;-)

Looking for possible additional stamps to collect with a $4 catalogue limit yields basically...none!

No bargains here, nothing to see, please move along. 

Ascension stamps are popular. We all dream about living on a tropical island. Only nine hundred lucky souls actually live there. But we can have a little piece of paradise by buying their stamps.

Ascension Blog Post and Checklist

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Armenia - Bud's Big Blue

1921 Armenia in Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Stamps often celebrate a nation’s history or promote its current affairs. Armenia’s stamps do neither. They were issued during the time 600,000 Armenians were being killed, some say as many as 1.5 million, for political and religious reasons. Some were offered the choice of converting to Islam or death. Most chose martyrdom. Many fled to Russia and a few to the United Stated. It was the 20th century’s first mass refugee migration and genocide.

Of course, none of this is reflected in Armenia’s stamps. At a time when Russian stamps were celebrating the new triumphant motherland, Armenian designs featured Hayasdan devices, mythic monsters, ruins, and peasants. Safe subject matter, I suppose, given the times. They do seem passively concerned about preserving something of Armenia’s heritage but with, of course, a heavy Russian gloss.

Last year (2015) marked the 100th anniversary of this genocide. Sadly, no stamps commemorated the event, although in 2014 Lebanon issued a stamp showing a memorial statue to the Armenian martyrs.

Understandably cancelled stamps are difficult to find, sometimes non-existent, and often expensive. Fakes abound.

I’m glad BB provides a page for Armenia.

Census: 26 on the BB page, two tip-ins, 28 on the supplement page

Jim's Observations
For me, the most interesting issue is the 1920 set of ten stamps that were never used because they were overtaken by history. Let me explain. In 1920, the National Republic prepared a ten stamp design. The printing was done in Paris, but a large quantity was lost on their way to Armenia. Before they could be used, the National Republic collapsed as the Soviet Eleventh Army entered Yerevan. The use of these stamps was prohibited, and the stamp issues of the new Soviet Republic were used.

Big Blue has illustrations for five of these stamps, but they no longer have active Scott numbers. The set was used fiscally, but not for postage.  For myself, I'm going to be happy to fill the spaces with this issue. Stamp collecting really is more than stamp collecting; and here it gives us a little tangible piece of significant history.

Armenia Blog Post and Checklist

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