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, March 20, 2017

Cochin China - Bud's Big Blue

The only BB omission- Cochin China #1
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
“Cochin” appears twice in BB as a country/state name -- Cochin China and Cochin India. These are, as nearly as I can learn from a hasty internet search, two different names with different origins and different routes toward the same European spelling. In India, the word comes from the southwest city of Kochi (Cochin) which in turn got its name from the harbor/lagoon/river on which it is located. Beyond that, philologists disagree. Vasco da Gama was buried in Cochin until repatriated to Portugal. More details follow in BB’s India section.

Cochin China was the name for the French colony that became part of South Viet Nam in 1954.  In this case, Cochin is a Portuguese corruption of Ko-chen, the meaning of which remains uncertain. It may be a related to the Chinese word for “little” or “little harbor.” In any case, philologists agree, the name has no connections with cochin chickens, a feathery oriental breed. “China” was appended to the name to distinguish it from the city in India.

BB grants spaces for four of five possible Cochin China stamps, including one that remained unissued. Before 1886, French Colonies stamps without overprints were used (see Saigon postmark in French Colonies supplements); after 1892, Indo-China stamps were provided. French Colony hand-stamped postage for Annam and Tonkin was also used in the late 1880s.

Census: four in BB spaces.

Jim's Observations
Although Cochin China had a small stamp issue, some larger lessons - in my opinion- can be learned. :

A) Big Blue's challenging areas are the corners and byways. Fascinating and fun. But truth be told- without looking for them very specifically, it will be a long time before one simply happens upon any Cochin China stamps.

B) A popular area -here French Colonies- has a greater chance of retaining a dubious non issued stamp (Scott 5 ) in the catalogue then a stamp with a shaky pedigree from say - Armenia. Scott is aware of who butters their bread.  

C) Because it is worth the time to list them, expensive stamps can be found through a search of the major stamp auction internet sites. But if one is looking for, as Bob mentioned in his Blog (Filling Spaces)  about a Dealer dismissing "little nothing" stamps, the hunt is on. 

Cochin China Blog Post and Checklist

Page 1 ( Note: Click and enlarge for examination)

Have a comment?


  1. Wow you made it to the Z countries! Well done Jim! Leaves what, Zanzibar and Zululand to cover and mission will be accomplished! You should rightly be proud of this achievement, it has helped revive worldwide collecting of the classical era immensely and likely introduced many budding collectors to the joys of the hobby, especially of those little-known corners of the world like Zambezia.

  2. Thanks Gene - the tortoise eventually crosses the finish line after some six years. ;-)