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...

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Eritrea - Bud's Big Blue

Eritrea's best stamp (Bud's choice)
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Eritrea’s spaces are hard to fill, as are those for Italian colonies in general. Previous generations of collectors avoided them. Feeder albums ordinarily yield only common issues and partial sets.  Of course, the gaps can be quickly filled via the internet, but prices are unusually high and fixed. Sellers tend to label these stamps as “Key” values which, being translated, means “Look out, you’re about to be gouged.”

On the positive side, demand for these stamps is fairly low. Not many collectors, apart from BB’s crowd, compete for Eritrea or Tripolitania. So here are two strategy recommendations: 
1) At the outset, shop for a nearly complete Eritrea collection with many full sets. 
2) for the remaining gaps, play a waiting game; eventually someone will list the desired stamp at auction and no one but you will notice. 
I did this many times as my BB was nearing completion and, over a year and a half span, all gaps were filled. I paid less than 30 percent of CV, on average, for the last 100 stamps. Using the notification services provided by internet auctions helps greatly. Bon chance.

Study of Eritrea’s stamps can be enriched by frequent references to Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. Histories of these African nations overlap, sometimes tragically as in the era of Mussolini’s madness. He thought exploiting them would make Italy great again. It didn’t.

Census: 181 in BB spaces (6 more if parcel posts are counted as two), 6 tip-ins, 33 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Expensive! I cringed after seeing the prices for a stamp issue in BB; and then the next issue I cringed again. It never stopped! The supply/demand is clearly tilting to the demand side here- or is it? 

Perhaps that is why there are not a lot of Eritrea stamps in most BB albums I've seen. It's not as if one is paying for great engraved unique stamps of Eritrea prior to 1930: No, every one is an overprinted Italian stamp (albeit a different color), excepting  two overprinted Somalian issues.

Does all of this mean I find Eritrea not worth collecting? Not at all.  In fact, I like overprinted stamps, as they are generally more interesting than the plain variety. My wallet is the one that has problems. 

And Eritrea does have some very nice stamps: the 1922/1924 Somalian overprinted issues, the 1930 "Lancer et al" issue, the 1934 "Camel et al" issue, the 1934 "Grant's gazelle" issue ( very large stamps!), and the 1934 Air Post issue ( Again, very large stamps).

* But as Bud points out, although the CV cost is "high", the true demand isn't. So, play the waiting game.

Eritrea Blog Post and Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

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