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, October 2, 2017

Azores 1868 - 1911 - a closer look at the stamp issues

1868 Scott 10 25r rose "King Luiz"
Stamps of Portugal Overprinted
Into the Deep Blue
A former colony, and now part of Portugal (Autonomous Region), the Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, 900 miles from Lisbon. The population was 250,000 in 1930, and the capital is Ponta Delgada

The Azores
Portugal began issuing overprinted Portuguese stamps for the Azores in 1868, and the overprinted issues continued for the Azores until Portuguese stamps replaced them in 1931.

Azores Blog Post and Checklist

The Azores Blog post of 2011 primarily was concerned with the Big Blue coverage, and said very little about the stamp issues themselves. I now have a chance to rectify that. ;-)

The plan is to broadly cover the overprinted Portugal regular issues of the Azores in two posts: 1868-1911 (this one), and 1912-1930 (next post). There won't be much overlap with the earlier Portugal post coverage, as I only reached the 1898 issue there.

The break at 1911 for this post also makes denomination sense. The 1911 and prior stamps were denominated as Reis/Milreis, while the post 1912 issues were in Centavos/Escudo.

A closer look at the 1868-1911 stamps and issues
1000 Reis = 1 Milreis
100 Centavos = 1 Escudo (1912)
1868 Scott 8 10r yellow "King Luiz"
Perf 12 1/2; OP Type A
Stamps of Portugal Overprinted in Black or Carmine
The first output for the Azores consisted on an 1868 six stamp overprinted imperforate issue, which derived from part of an 1866-67 Portuguese imperforate issue, and an 1868-70 nine stamp overprinted  Perf 12 1/2 issue, which had been issued in Portugal near contemporaneously in 1867-70.

All of the issued imperforates are found as perforates also.

Reprints are on ungummed chalky white wove paper, or shiny white gum thin ivory paper, and, if perforated, are Perf 13 1/2. Be aware that reprints are ~ CV $30, considerably less expensive, in many cases, than the original stamps. For the perforates, a perforation gauge is your friend. ;-)

As had been the case for the stamps of Portugal since 1853, these stamps were typographed and embossed.

The overprint is "Type A"- the only type known for these issues. (More about this in a bit.)

The design is labeled by Scott for the both the imperforate and perforated varieties as "A14".

CV for the imperforates is $140-$10,000. (Beware of a 10r yellow perforate (CV $40) trimmed to look like an imperforate ($10,000).

CV for  the perforates is $10+-$400.

Close-up of 1868-70 Issue
Design A14
The "A14" design is characterized by a curvy value tablet (both upper and lower), which puts the denomination numerals at an angle.

The subsequent 1871-75 and 1875-80 issues have a different design is these parts of the stamp ("A15"), as we will see soon.

1871 Scott 26b 50r green "King Luiz"
Perf 12 1/2; OP Type A
Stamps of Portugal Overprinted in Black or Carmine
The next nine denomination issue of 1871-75 had a different design ("A15"), and can be found with Type B overprint (major numbers), Type A overprint (minor numbers, save one), and Type C overprint (minor numbers). In a number of cases, the minor numbers are less CV expensive than the major numbers.

Also different perforations exist for this issue (12 1/2, 13 1/2, 14), and there are some ribbed paper specimens, and minor number color variations.

Reprints are Type B, on similar type papers as was outlined for the A14 issue, and can be found mostly Perf 13 1/2, with some Perf 12 1/2.

All in all, a very complicated and challenging issue!

CV ranges from $3+-$20+ for 25 major and minor number stamps (out of a total of 47 major/minor numbers).

Close-up of 1871-75 Issue
Design A15
The "A15" design differs from the "A14" design in that the upper and lower value tablets have the denomination numeral in a horizontal position.

Azores Overprints Type A, B, & C
Azores 1868-1882 Issues- From Scott Catalogue
Now let's talk about Overprint Type A, B, & C.

Type C is actually fairly easy, as the rectangular appearing "O" and "C" (squared off) is usually obvious.

But Type A vs Type B? I throw my hands up!

Yes, Type B is characterized by a rounder and fuller "O" and "C" (compared to Type A), and the fact that "C" and "O" are closer together.

But in practice, I wasn't able to tell the difference with my stamps. It could be I actually don't have any Type B's. (I have six stamps from the 1971-75 issue (Type A), five stamps from the 1868-70 issue (A or B or C possible types) , and two stamps from the 1875-80 issue (Type C).)

1875 Scott 31 10r blue green "King Luiz"
Perf 12 1/2
1875-80 Issue (A15) Overprint Type C in Black
The 1875-80 eight major number issue is design "A15", like the 1871-75 issue, but in different colors for the same denomination, or with new denominations.

Most stamps exist with the Type C overprint, save for the 15r and 300r, which can also be found with Type B.

Perf 13 1/2 has most of the major numbers, although Perf 12 1/2 can exist as well.

The reprints for the 1875-80 issue have the same characteristics as the already discussed previous issues,

CV ranges from $20+$175.

1881 Scott 42 50r blue "King Luiz"
1881-82 Issue
OP Type C in Carmine or Black
An older and more realistic King Luiz, no longer embossed, was issued in 1881. He would have been 43 years old, and 20 years into his reign. The overprint is of Type C.

King Luiz in 1885
Dom Luis I was a cultured man. He wrote poetry and had a special interest in science and oceanography. The Aquario Vasco da Gama aquarium in Lisbon, which he founded, still exists.

But during his reign, Portugal fell behind the other western nations in progress and prosperity.

1882 Scott 53 80r yellow; Perf 12 1/2
Enamel Surfaced Paper
1882 Scott 53a orange; Perf 12 1/2
Ordinary Paper
1882-1885 Issue Overprinted in Red or Black
Eighteen major number stamps were issued in 1882-85 with the above overprint applied.  There are forty additional minor number stamps in the catalogue for this issue.

One can find different perforations (12 1/2 (most major numbers), 13 1/2, 11 1/2), and two major paper groupings: Ordinary vs Enamel Surfaced.

CV is $3+-$10+ for six major number stamps.

1887 Scott 63 25r red violet "King Luiz"
Black Overprint; Perf 11 1/2
A four stamp release with a no nonsense "King Luiz" portrait was issued in 1887.This would prove to be the last "King Luiz" issue for the Azores, as he died in 1889 at the age of 50. He was succeeded by his son, Carlos.

1894 Scott 71 75r deep carmine
Portugal Scott 97-109 Overprinted
Prince Henry the Navigator Issue
Now we enter into the advent of commemoratives among nations, kicked off by the US 1893 Columbian Exposition Issue.

For the 5th century of the birth of Prince Henry the Navigator, a thirteen stamps set of the above design was issued in 1894.

CV is $3-$10 for nine stamps.

Prince Henry the Navigator during the conquest of Ceuta
The above panel by Jorge Colaco (1864-1942) depicts the conquest of  Moroccan Ceuta on the African coast on August 21, 1415. This was the beginning of the Portuguese Empire.

1895 Scott 75 2 1/2r black, Typographed
Portugal Nos. 132-146 Overprinted in Red or Black
St. Anthony of Padua Issue
In 1895, a fifteen stamp issue was released to mark the 7th centenary of the birth of St. Anthony of Padua.

There were four designs, but only one (the 2 1/2r black above) was typographed, while the rest were lithographed.

Note the "Ponta Delgada" cancellation? You might recall that Ponta Delgada also issued their own stamps between 1892-1905.

1895 Scott 83 25r green & violet, Lithographed
Portugal Nos. 132-146 Overprinted in Red or Black
St. Anthony of Padua Issue
Five of the denominations showed St. Anthony preaching to the fishes.

CV is $1+-$9+ for six stamps.

BTW, the stamps have a eulogy in Latin printed on the back. I show one with the Portugal post, including a translation by one of out intrepid readers in the comments section.

1898 Scott 99 100r bister  brown
"Flagship San Gabriel"
Vasco da Gama Issue; Common Design Type
In 1898, an eight stamp eight design set was issued marking the Voyages of Vasco da Gama. This is a common design type, so we have seen it before with other Portuguese colonies.

1906 Scott 109 200r red lilac/pinkish
"King Carlos"
The well known "King Carlos" design, seen with most Portuguese colonies, made its appearance in 1906 with an eleven stamp issue. CV is <$1- $5+ for ten stamps.

On February 1, 1908, King Carlos was assassinated while traveling in an open carriage in Lisbon. His heir, Prince Luis Filipe, also died. The younger son, Prince Manuel, became King of Portugal.

1910 Scott 121 100r brown/light green
"King Manuel II"
On April 1, 1910, a fourteen stamp issue, showing Manuel II, was released.

CV is <$1-$3+ for twelve stamps.

He assumed the crown on February 1, 1908 after the assassination death of his father, King Carlos.

He was eighteen years old.

But his reign was cut off on October 5, 1910, with the revolution known by the same date.

1910 Scott 138 500r olive & brown
Stamps of 1910 Overprinted in Carmine or Green
The First Portuguese Republic, brought on by the Revolution of October 5, 1910. meant, especially.for stamp collectors, a plethora of Portuguese "Republica" overprints.

The preceding "Manuel II" issue, only released April 1, 1910, was subsequently overprinted in 1910 as shown, on the entire fourteen stamp issue.

1911 Scott 146 80r on 150r bister
"Vasco da Gama"
Vasco da Gama Issue Overprinted or Surcharged in Black
Likewise the eight stamp 1898 Vasco da Gama issue was overprinted/surcharged "Republica" in 1911.

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

The First Portuguese Republic lasted sixteen years until the May 28 coup d'etat of 1926.

1911 Scott 151 20r orange; Vasco da Gama Issue
"The Zamorin of Calicut Receiving Vasco da Gama"
Overprinted or Surcharged in Black
On 1898 Postage Due Issue of Portugal 
Postage due stamps were also used during this period as regular issues. In 1911, six 1898 postage due  "Vasco da Gama" stamps were overprinted or surcharged.

CV is $1-$3+ for three stamps.

The First Portuguese Republic was not exactly a success.

The Republic burned through nine presidents, and forty-four Ministries. Corruption and anarchy was the order of the day.

Deep Blue
1910 King Manuel II Issue Overprinted in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has eleven pages for the 1868-1911 time period. All of the major numbers have a space.If one is collecting the numerous minor number entries for the 1871-1885 period, one will need some quadrilled pages.

1894 Scott 72 80r yellow green
Portugal Scott 97-109 Overprinted
Prince Henry the Navigator Issue
Out of the Blue
The 1868-1880 embossed King Luiz issues, with their numerous overprint types, perforations, and papers, is a real challenge!

Note: Azores 1868-1882 Types A, B, & C Illustration scan is from the Scott catalogue, and is used here for educational purposes. The Azores map, "King Luiz" pic, and the Prince Henry the Navigator panel all appear to be in the public domain.

Azores 1912-1931 - a closer look
Azores - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!


  1. But wait...there's lots more :) Just get a copy of the Afinsa Portugal specialized catalog, where these issues of Azores take up 148 major catalog numbers (in the 2005 edition that I have, there is a new edition 2016 published by Mundifil), plus shade varieties, perf varieties, paper varieties and die types from the basic Portuguese stamps! The fun never ends :)

  2. Yep, Agree with Gene. Afinsa catalogs are great resource for any Portuguese stuff.

    One thing I'd add is beware of forgeries. I once met a collector that had spent spent nearly 10k on classic era stuff only to later learn that 90% of it were fakes.

    1. Good point Keijo. It is surprising how many forgeries are offered, often by unknowing collectors and dealers.

      Caveat emptor