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...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bermuda - A Closer Look 1865-1934

1866 Scott 2a 2p bright blue "Victoria"
Perf 14, Wmk 1
Into the Deep Blue
The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Bermuda 1865-1949, 147 major descriptions. Of those, 50 are CV <$1-$1+, or 34%. Raising the bar to CV $5, yields 72, or 49%. A representative collection is attainable, but Bermuda is popular with British Commonwealth and North American collectors, so one may need to spend more.

The handstamped/surcharged specimens of 1874-1875 (six stamps) range from CV $300+ to CV $19,000, and needless to say, are more the province of specialists/ well healed collectors - we ordinary WW collector types may need to take a pass. ;-)

There are also the Postmaster stamps of 1848-1861, some of the great rarities in philately (CV $38,000 - $$225,000).

Basic historical information about Bermuda, as well as coverage of Big Blue is available at:

Bermuda Blog Post and BB Checklist

This blog post (Part A) will give close-up views of the stamps issues of 1865-1934.

The following post (Part B) will cover the 1936-1951 pictorials.

Bermuda: A Postal History
Groten & Pitts; 2017 Publication APS
If the reader would like to further pursue Bermudan philatelic history, especially the 17th to early 19th century postal history, may I suggest the above publication, recently available from APS? Fascinating.

More information about the stamps of Bermuda are available at:

A closer look at the stamps 1865-1934
4 Farthings = 1 Penny
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1874 Scott 5 6p lilac "Victoria"
Perf 14, Wmk 1
The first issue for Bermuda consisted of six denominations released between 1865-1874. The 1p, 6p brown lilac, and the 1sh were issued on September 25, 1865. The 2p (1866), the 3p (1873), and the 6p lilac (1874) were issued later. The 1p rose red was for the internal rate, while the other denominations were for the overseas rate.

The typographic issue is from De La Rue in London, and has the same Victoria portrait on all stamps, accompanied by various frame designs. The watermark is "Crown and C C" (Wmk 1). The usual perforation is 14. There are Perf 14 X 12 1/2 stamps extant for the 3p, 6p, and 1sh, issued between 1882-1903 with a much higher CV.

CV(used) for the 1865-1874 issue range from $1+ for the 1p rose red, to $90 for the 6p brown lilac.

If we could go back in time, what advice we we give for those that saved stamps?  Keep them on the cover! Values for stamps range from 5X to 30X more if they remain on cover for early issues!

1880 Scott 17 4p orange "Victoria"
Wmk 1
In 1880, two additional denominations (1/2p, 4p) were released.

CV is $2+-$5+.

Note here the "Hamilton" (Capital) postmark.

British Colonial and Crown Agent Watermarks
Top Row: Wmk 1 "Crown and C C"
Bottom Row, Left: Wmk 2 "Crown and C A"
Bottom Row, Right: Wmk 3 "Multiple Crown and C A"
For a refresher, here are the first three British Colonial watermarks referenced on this blog post for Bermuda. The Wmk 4 "Multiple Crown and Script C A" is not shown, but should cause little confusion. If you need to see an example of Wmk 4, refer to the Gibraltar post.

1898 Scott 21 2p brown purple "Victoria"
Wmk 2
Between 1883-1904, eight stamps were released on Wmk 2 ("Crown and C A") paper. Some of the stamps were the same color (1p,2p), some were different colors (1/2p, 2p brown purple, 3p, 4p,1sh), and there was one new denomination and design (2 1/2p ultramarine).

CV is <$1-$10+ for six stamps.

1901 Scott 26 1f on 1sh gray "Victoria'
Black Surcharge
On January 11, 1901, a one shilling stamp was released with a black "One Farthing" surcharge. The stamp design and watermark (Wmk 2) were similar to the 1893 one shilling release, but the color was changed from olive bister to gray.

CV is $1+.
1906 Scott 37 2 1/2p blue & brown "Dry Dock"
Wmk 3 "Multiple Crown and C A"
In 1902-03 (three stamps - Wmk 2) and in 1906-10 (nine stamps- Wmk 3), a mostly bi-colored typographed issue was released featuring a "Dry Dock" design.

These were the first stamps of the British Empire that did not show the monarch's portrait (in this case, Edward VII).

CV is <$1-$4+ for eight stamps.
Bermuda Floating Dock under construction in England
Towed to Bermuda in 1869 

The Royal Navy Floating Drydock "Bermuda" 
at the Royal Navy Dockyard, 1869 
Of interest, the porous limestone of Bermuda prevented a conventional drydock, so a floating drydock was constructed in England and towed to Bermuda in 1869.

1913 Scott 45 3p violet/yellow "Caravel"
Wmk 3
Between 1910-1924, a nine stamp engraved issue with a "Caravel" design was released on Watermark 3 ("Multiple Crown and C A") paper. In addition, the higher denominations (six stamps) had a large format bi-color "George V" presentation. also on Wmk 3 paper.

CV for the Caravel stamp design issue is <$1-$10+.

The "Caravel" design is considered to be from the Seal of the Colony.

A actual caravel type sailing ship, originally developed and used by the Portuguese, was popular for exploration voyages during the 15th and 16th centuries. Christopher Columbus used caravels.

I'm not sure exactly why the stamps of Bermuda depict  a "caravel", as Bermuda's history is more directly linked to "The Sea Venture", built in Aldeburg, England, as the first single timbered armed merchant ship, and launched in 1609. Her maiden voyage was supposed to be to Jamestown, Virginia.

The Sea-Venture, the flag ship of Virginia Company, was subsequently ship wrecked on Bermuda in 1609. The ship, part of the third supply mission to Jamestown Colony, Virginia, was driven onto the reefs of Discovery Bay in eastern Bermuda. All 150 people landed safely ashore. Thus began the fledgling settlement of Bermuda.

The Sea Venture ship wreck was thought to have been the inspiration for The Tempest, by Shakespeare.

1920 Scott 55 1/4p brown, Wmk 3
"Seal of the Colony and King George V"
In 1920-21, a six stamp (Wmk 3) and a three stamps (Wmk 4) typographed issue was released for the "Tricentenary of Representative Establishment of Institutions", apparently originating in 1620.

The stamp is rather busybody, and, in fact, was designed by an amateur, the Governor of Bermuda, General Sir James Willcocks.

1920 Scott 67 1p rose red, Wmk 4
"Seal of the Colony and King George V"
CV for the six stamps total is <$1-$30+.

1921 Scott 75 2 1/2p ultramarine, Wmk 3
"King George V"
In 1921, an engraved  "George V" design, also commemorating the "Tercentenary of Establishment of (Local) Representative Institutions", was issued with three stamps (Wmk 4, lower denominations) and six stamps (Wmk 3, higher denominations).

1927 Scott 92 1sh black/emerald "Caravel"
Wmk 4
Between 1922-1934, thirteen engraved stamps were issued similar to the 1910-24 Wmk 3 "Caravel"stamps, but on Wmk 4 paper.

I must admit, this is really a lovely classical design - and engraved also!

CV ranges from <$1 to $1+ for ten stamps.

1922 (T I) & 1928 (TIII) 1p carmine "Caravel"
Wmk 4
The one penny carmine actually has three types in the catalogue.

Type I (Scott 83b) was issued in 1922 (CV <$1), Type II (Scott 83a) in 1926 (CV $7+), and Type III (Scott 83) in 1928 (CV <$1).

1p carmine TI & TIII Scroll
Both Scott and Stanley Gibbons mention the Type I and Type II stamps have a scroll at top left that is "very weak". The Type III scroll is redrawn, and the scroll is completed with strong line.

I could not find the area they were talking about for awhile, until I focused on the area of the scroll design over the "B" of BERMUDA. Let's take even a closer look....

Type I (and Type II) Characteristics for top left of Scroll:
Note the top horizontal line of the scroll to the left of the "U shaped" dip
 is weak and not completed
Note the horizontal line to the left of the "U shaped" dip is weak, and not attached to the left curly cue portion of the scroll.

Type III Characteristics for top left of Scroll:
Note the top horizontal line of the scroll to the left of the "U shaped" dip
 is strong and completed
In contrast, Type III shows a horizontal line in the same area that is redrawn, and is strong and completed to the left curly cue portion of the scroll.

Obvious now, isn't it?

1p carmine TI - TII- TIII
Scanned from Stanley Gibbons Catalogue
The second major sign for TI-TII-TIII is the shape of the "1 d" denomination, which varies by type.

As I do not have a Type II from my own collection to show, I am using the Stanley Gibbons illustration from their 1840-1970 catalogue.

Type I: Figure "1" has pointed serifs
Type II: Figure "1" has square serifs, and "1 d" is thicker
Type III: Figure "1" has long square serifs. (Recall also that the scroll has been redrawn.)

1p carmine TI & TIII 1d
Looking at my own stamps, I believe the left stamp is a Type I (pointed serifs). Also the cancellation date on the stamp appears to be "1924" which precedes the other two types.

The right stamp has long square serifs (and shows the scroll has been redrawn) - Type III.

This is fun!
1926 (TI) & 1932 (TII) 2 1/2p ultamarine "Caravel"
Wmk 4
The 2 1/2p ultramarine likewise exists as Type I (Scott 87a) & Type II (Scott 87).

Both types are CV <$1.

2 1/2p ultramarine TI & TII
Type I: shorter "d", thick figures of value
Type II: taller "d", thinner figures of value

1924 Scott 96 10sh red & green/emerald
"King George V"
The four higher denominations, issued between 1924-1932,  have a "George V" design with large format, are engraved, and are on Wmk 4 chalky paper. (Earlier, this design was also used between 1910-1922, was typographed, and was on Wmk 3 chalky paper.)

CV(unused) is $50+-$300. Genuinely used have a higher CV.

However, many of these large format stamps have revenue cancellations (as does my example). Apparently these stamps were often utilized as "Head Tax" for travelers leaving the country. 

Deep Blue
1922-34 "Caravel" Wmk 4 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has twelve pages for the 1965-1949 stamps of Bermuda. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1927 Scott 95 2sh 6p red & black/blue
"King George V"
Out of the Blue
I'm only scratching the surface with the Scott catalogue presentation. The Stanley Gibbons 1840-1970 catalogue has many more minor numbers (color shades, wmk inverted specimens etc), and considerable information/illustrations on plate flaws found with the Bermuda issues.

The next blog post will discuss/illustrate the pictorials of 1936-1951. More fun soon!

Note: The scan of types of the 1p carmine "Caravel" 1922-34 Wmk 4 issue is from the Stanley Gibbons 1840-1970 catalogue, and is used here for educational purposes. The map and Pic scans of the Drydock "Bermuda" and the Hamilton Panorama appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Hamilton Panorama, 1911


  1. Hello friend, very nice postage, regards

    1. Thanks Postmail.

      And a shout-out to your fine blog..


  2. Just a minor errata. Below the picture of the 1920 Scott 55 Seal of the Colony and George V, you wrote "1/2p" when it's actually 1f, i.e. ¼d.

    1. Thanks Steamboat. I changed it to 1/4p rather than 1/4d, as that is Scott's approach.