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, December 29, 2016


1860 Scott 61 6p black "Victoria"
Quick History
Victoria, the British colony, existed from 1851-1901, when it became part of Australia. Prior to 1851, it was part of New South Wales.

The colony was named, of course, for the Queen, and naturally all of stamps depict the monarch with images attractive and unattractive (but realistic!).

A gold rush during the 1850s led to a population increase from 76,000 to 540,000. About one-third of the world's output of gold for 1851-1860 came out of Victoria.

1916 map of Victoria
Because of gold, Melbourne became the financial center of Australia.

Between 1901-1927, while Canberra was under construction, Melbourne was the capital of Australia. It was, in fact, the second largest city (445,000 in 1889) during this period in the British Empire next to London. (Melbourne is absolutely my favorite city in Australia. The sidewalk cafe scene is so civilized. The Royal Botanical Gardens are astonishing.)

Stamps were introduced on January 3, 1850, with the production of the "Half Length" Queen Victoria by Thomas Ham of Melbourne. In fact, local printers were used for most of the stamps produced up to 1859. Naturally, these stamps are rather expensive today, and a fertile field for the specialist.

After 1860, all stamps were printed by the Stamp Printing Branch of the Post Office. In 1885, the Stamp Printing Branch became part of the Victoria Government Printing Office. From 1909-1918, the Commonwealth Stamp Printing Office produced stamps for both the states and commonwealth.

Although Victoria joined the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, stamp production continued for Victoria through 1912. The Australian 'roos were issued in 1913.

1863 Scott 80 1 sh blue/blue
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Victoria 1850-1912, 260 major number descriptions. (This does not include the 65 "Postal-Fiscal" stamps listed in the catalogue.)

Of the 260 descriptions, only 27 are CV <$1-$1+, or 10%. Raising the bar to CV $10, yields 98 stamps, or 38%. Victoria is quite popular with Australia, British Commonwealth, and classical era collectors, and the CV reflects this.

It is a great complex "dead country" to collect for specialists, with all the shades, watermarks, perforations, die states, and printings. One will also need deep pockets.

For a knowledgeable approach, one should have, at least, a good comprehensive Stanley Gibbons catalogue. ( The Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840-1970 catalogue is what I have.)

But the WW collector can have fun with the stamps too. Be aware that many of the stamps are very heavily cancelled, and the perforations often cut into the stamp. A picky condition collector might be frustrated with Victoria.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1850 Scott 4 3p Indigo, Type II
Lithographed in 1850 by Thomas Ham of Melbourne, the "Half Length" Queen Victoria exist in three denominations, and various printing "types" (Scott), or "states" (SG).

Because the central horizontal band of the orb protrudes at left, this is considered a Type II by Scott. As frame lines have been added, SG labels this a "third state" die.

The first state dies (first printing) were fine and clear, but subsequent states (printings) show quality deterioration.

1854 Scott 16 2p brown lilac
"Victoria on the Throne"
The "Victoria on Throne" 2p stamp was initially engraved by Ham in 1852, but then lithographed by J.S. Campbell of Melbourne in 1854, using transfers taken from Ham's engraved plate.

Note that 50 varieties exist (plate of 50) because of the individual corner letters.

SG lists clear, poor, weak, and blurred impression states, and they are given SG numbers 19-22, respectively. Obviously, the stamp shown here is not a good impression.

1860 Scott 59 4p rose
Wmk 80: "Value in Words"
By 1860, the Victoria Post Office Stamp Printing Branch was operational under F.W. Robinson, and this typographic 4p rose was issued August 1,1860. The paper for the 3d, 4d, and 6d denominations was supplied by T.H. Saunders of London, and watermarked with the appropriate value in words.

One will notice that the perforations touch the design, and that is typical for stamps through 1870.

This unfortunate specimen looks like it may have been cut (scissored?) on the left side, and left to roll around in an envelope for years, rounding off the lower right side.

Upper left: Wmk 80 - "Value in Words" (Here "Four pence")
Upper right: Wmk 50 - "Single Lined Numeral Watermark" (Here "1")
Lower Left: Wmk 70 - "V and Crown"
Lower Right: Wmk 13 - "Crown and Double-lined A"
Evaluating and identifying  a Victoria collection requires liberal use of watermarking fluid. There are some ten illustrations of watermarks in the Scott catalogue for Victorian stamps. Here are some we will encounter.

1863 Scott 71 6p gray black
Wmk 50 - "Single Lined Numeral Watermark" 
This 6p gray black was issued in 1863, using paper made by De la Rue with a "single lined numeral watermark" (Here "6"). It also exists on Wmk 80 - "Value in Words" paper, so watermarking is necessary.

1863 Scott 74 1p green Wmk 50
One could do a whole write-up and study just on the complexities of the 1p green. As  far as I can tell, there are 15 possible watermark variations, 7 colored papers, and two suppliers in the mix. You can add numerous shades and various perforations to the equation.

And if you are a condition freak, you will have your work cut out for you. ;-)

1867 Scott 116 6p blue
Wmk 70 "V and Crown"
Here is the "young" Victoria, although perhaps the bloom is off the rose.  Did she actually wear her hair like that?

The "Wmk 70" 6p comes in blue (Scott 116), ultramarine (117), lilac blue (117a), and light Prussian blue (117b), according to Scott. The much more parsed SG comes up with 14 shades! 

1875 Scott 132 1p green
Wmk  70 "V and Crown"
This is the "bilious" Victoria. at 56 years of age. I admire the realism!

The CV is $3+. However, be on the lookout for the stamp on gray or yellow paper, which raises the CV to $110 and $30 respectively.

1880 Scott 143 2p lilac
Scott lists the 1880 Perf 12 1/2 2p in either brown (Scott 142) or lilac (143). SG creates a much more complex picture, with six colors and four known perforations.

1884 Scott 149 3p bister
The 1884-86 issue consists of nine denominations and six new designs.

Note the condition of the stamps is getting better? Still, many examples are heavily cancelled.

(I'm not really complaining about the cancels - just noting the facts. I would rather have stamps that have really been used, albeit roughly, than "wall paper". ;-) 

1886 Scott 165 6p ultramarine
The 1886 6p comes in two major flavors, blue (Scott 164) and ultramarine.

Note the "Stamp Duty"?

All postage and fiscal stamps produced between January 1, 1884 - June 30, 1901 could be used for either purpose.

Scott places the "stamp duty" issues that primarily were used for postage during this period in the "regular" category. (We will meet the "Postal-Fiscal" stamps and category later.)

1890 Scott 175 9p rose red
I swear this looks like a 1920s "flapper" hairstyle. ;-) , although clearly not, as the design was originally introduced in 1873.

Other colors, besides "rose red", include "rose" (1895 Scott 175a), and "green" (1892 Scott 174).

(Virtually every Victoria stamp in SG comes with a multitude of minor number shades. If one really wanted to specialize in Victoria, there are so many catalogue collectables that have been parsed, that a lifetime of effort would not be enough. !!)

1899 Scott 181 1p bright rose
Here is the "classic" Victoria.

The design is found in a 1890 Scott 170 1p yellow brown, a 1891 Scott 171 1p brown orange/pink, this one (1p bright rose), and a 1901 Scott 192 1p olive green.

1901 Scott 198 3p brown orange
Note for this thirteen denomination 1901 issue, "stamp duty" is no longer there, having been replaced with "postage"? Fiscal stamps became invalid for postage after June 30, 1901.

1908 Scott 228 1sh yellow
Wmk 13 "Crown and Double-lined A"
The 1905-10 fourteen stamp issue used a new watermark, the "Crown and Double-lined A". I note that some of the postage dues of Australia used the same watermark.

This proved to be the last general issue for Victoria, before stamps of Australia began to be used.

1897 Scott B1 1p deep blue
"Queen Victoria and Figure of Charity"
The British Empire is not known for their semi-postals. This stamp was sold @ 1 shilling, but only had postal validity for 1p. The profits were used for the Hospital Charity Fund. Also, the two stamp issue, produced in 1897, was intended to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

1890 Scott J2 1p claret & blue
Functional, but effective.

The postage dues of 1890, 1891-94, 1894-96, 1897-99, and 1905-09 all had the same design, but different color combinations.

1870-83 Scott AR9 10sh brown/rose
Stamps inscribed "Stamps Statute"
(Others are inscribed "Stamp Duty")
Postal-Fiscal Stamps
The stamps that met fiscal rates, and in the larger fiscal stamp size, are separated out into the "Postal-Fiscal" section of the Scott catalogue. (Thank God!) But, the SG integrates these stamps into their main section. They all have a quite high CV.

But, let's be real.

These large size fiscal stamps were used for fiscal purposes overwhelmingly, and not for postal purposes.

Full stop.

And if a stamp "is" purported to be of postal use, usually it is a "fake". !!

So why are they in the "postal" section of the catalogue?

Yes, I know the reason, because technically they could have been for postal purposes, but the reality is otherwise.

I choose not to actively collect them, and do not count the catalogue numbers in my tally sheets.

Deep Blue
1901 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 18 pages for the stamps of Victoria, and 6 more pages for the "Postal-Fiscal" stamps. All major Scott numbers have a space. The Scott oriented presentation is simplified, compared to Stanley Gibbons, but would work for those not diving deep into Victoria.

1867 Scott 118 8p brown/rose
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 60 spaces for 1856-1912 Victoria. Coverage is 23%.

BB begins with 1856 Scott 29, and therefore ignores the very expensive 28 catalogue numbers back to 1850.

Nine stamp spaces require an expensive (CV $10+) stamp, but only one (1856 Scott 29 1p green ($42+)) breaches the $35 "Most Expensive" category.

BB, as usual, telescopes the spaces, so multiple stamps (up to eight!) are often eligible. There are, not infrequently, many choices for color and watermarks for a space. It makes for a quite complex checklist, but keeps costs down, as an inexpensive stamp is eligible then for the space.

I give more detailed comments after the checklist



Three Pence (Illustrated): 56 or 57 or 58

One Penny (Illustrated): 74 or 81 or 86 or 89 or 93 or 95 or 100 or 110,
2p lilac: 75 or 82 or 87 or 90 or 94 or 96 or 111,
4p rose: 76 or 115,
Six Pence (Illustrated): 77 or 84 or 85 or 88 or 92 or 101 or 116,


130 or 131, 132 or 133 or 134, 135 or 136 or 137 or 137A,


146,147,148,149,151b* or 151,152,

161,162,159 or 160 or 160A,163,164 or 165,

166 or 176,169 or 170,171,172,173,


Next Page



193 or 218,195,194 or 219,196 or 220,197 or 221,
198 or 222,199 or 223,200 or 224,201 or 225,202 or 226,203 or 227,204,


Postage Due
1890-91 (Actually -93)


J15 or J15a, J16 or J16a,J17 or J17a,J18 or J18a,

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1856 Scott 29 1p green ($42+)
1863 Scott 57 3p blue ($10+)
1884 Scott 141 1p green ($20+)
1881 Scott 145 4p carmine rose ($10)
1884 Scott 152 8p rose/rose ($10+)
1899 Scott 183 2 1/2p dark blue ($10+)
1901 Scott 186 3p brown orange ($20+)
1901 Scott 187 4p bister ($20+)
1901 Scott 188 6p emerald ($10+)
2) *1860- choices for different colors.
3) *1864-78 - choices are for different watermarks
4) *1875-78 - choices are for colors
5) *151b or 151- BB asks for "gray blue", which is a minor number (151b). But the major number color "bright blue" (151) may be put in also.
6) *1886-87 - choices for colors.
7) *1890-95 - choices for colors.
8) *1901-08 - choices for different watermarks.
9) *J12 - is specified by BB because of color.
10) *1894-1906 - choices for color.

1876 Scott 138 1sh blue/blue
Out of the Blue
Well. if I had to choose ONE country that deserves specialization, and would be great fun, Victoria would be it!

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Barbados - Bud's Big Blue

Charioteer in a 3rd Century A.D. Mosaic
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
As is common in the British Caribbean, Barbadian classical era stamps feature the nation’s seal or badge, in this case, several iterations of it. The seal first appeared in 1892 with a female figure riding atop two hippocampi. But who is she: Neptune’s wife Salacia brandishing his trident? Britannia ruling waves? Or Queen Victoria inappropriately attired for water sport?

The female figure has been redrawn for the 1912 series with a watchful King George V imposed above her. But in the 1916 series a sensibly seated male figure rides in a chariot retrofitted with a side-wheeler paddle. He unmistakably looks like KGV. Finally, for the 1938 series the male figure has shaved (KGVI). 

All four designs draw inspiration from a 3rd Century A.D. Roman mosaic. 

Classicists say the motto -- et penitus toto regnantes orbe Britannos -- intentionally corrupts a line from Virgil’s first Ecologue, one that Brits consider a snub. Virgil records a Roman farmer’s poetic lament about being banished to Britain, “et penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos.” By changing one word, “…and Britain is isolated from the whole world” becomes “…and Britain rules the whole world.”
To make up for BB’s omission of the mid-19th century Britannias, I’ve put a few on the supplement pages, including a small color study for the gray-to-blue one penny. Barbados shares this design with Mauritius and Trinidad.

Oops. I notice a clean shaved charioteer infiltrating the line BB reserves for the bewhiskered (page 1, bottom line).  I have replaced and dismissed him to the supplement pages, but did not rescan. If you find other placement errors, please send a comment.
Census: 57 in BB spaces, 52 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
What a disappointment.  Big Blue neglects the first 30 years of Barbados's stamp issuing history, not including ONE of the magnificently designed "Britannia" stamps. Not a few issues either, but 59 Stamps!

Big Blue's goal is "a representative collection", so they don't have to include any and all stamps. And for the most part expensive stamps are not in Big Blue. But to see all the inexpensive wonderfully designed and engraved Barbados stamps left out - it hurts! :-(

Barbados Blog Post and Checklist

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bahrain - Bud's Big Blue

Bahrain in Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Bahrain received its first overprinted stamps in 1933, coinciding roughly with the discovery of oil and the building of a refinery on this small Persian Gulf island. Before then the stamps of India were used without overprints. If you have a cancelled Bahraini stamp, it came from Manama, the only post office until 1946.

Census: 17 in BB spaces, 5 tip-ins.

Jim's Observations
Whether its because of the India area stamp collectors, or the oil flowing through the region, Bahrain's stamps are expensive. But the "middle priced"  Golden Tulip Hotel in Bahrain is $200/ night, so save money and buy the stamps! ;-)

Bahrain Blog Post and Checklist

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Bahamas - Bud's Big Blue

Bahamas in Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Big Blue
Bud;'s Observations
Six of BB’s Bahamian selections have the country’s Latin motto inscribed: expulsis piratis restituta commercia (page 1, rows 3 and 4- Scan 1b). These words hark back to Blackbeard’s reign of terror in the 17th and 18th centuries when the Caribbean was a haven for pirates, cheats, murderers, debauchees and thieves. My very loose translation: getting rid of crooks is good for business. 

The Bahamas changed the motto in the 1970s to read “Forward Upward Onward Together.” Given the current crime rate in The Bahamas, they might do well to reinstate the old motto.
I would have thought, by now, The Bahamas would have honored Blackbeard with a stamp. But St. Kitts and Nevis beat them to it (1973).

I particularly like the earliest stamps with Queen Victoria and the 1935/38 "flamingos in flight". Stamps featuring stair cases are generally uncommon, but not in The Bahamas (page 1, row 3). These 66 steps, cut of solid limestone, rise from the city of Nassau to Fort Fincastle, built in 1793 as a defense against pirates.

Census: 52 in BB spaces, four tip-ins, eleven on supplement pages

Jim's Observations
No real bargains among the stamps of the Bahamas, as one would expect. The combined popularity of a warm island destination and a British Crown Colony makes for expensive choices. I am still looking for 13 stamps for Big Blue at this time.

Bahamas Blog Post and Checklist

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