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 29, 2018

British Honduras Pt A - a closer look

1884 Scott 14 1p rose "Victoria"
Wmk 2
Into the Deep Blue


English speaking Belize, despite its location just south of Mexico on the Caribbean Sea, is mostly unknown to Americans, unless one likes to snorkel (Belize Barrier Reef), is intrigued with Mayan culture, or have an interest in Mahogany.

British Honduras (yellow) -1892 Map
Unfortunately, it also has a high violent crime rate (notorious drug smuggling routes), and is still beset by a border dispute with Guatemala. Perhaps my opinion is colored by the fact that a friend's son, who was doing Jesuit Volunteer Corps work there, was mugged in broad daylight in his apartment in Belize City. On the other hand, I've been to next door Guatemala and Guatemala City, also racked by a high crime rate, and personally never felt threatened, and enjoyed very much the warm Guatemalan culture. I'm sure it is the same for Belize. One just needs to be careful.

Well, before Belize was Belize (renamed 1973) , it was British Honduras, a crown colony (1862-1973, Independent 1981).

For this post (Part A), and the next one (Part B), the historical focus will be through whatever the classical era stamp issues reveal.

British Honduras Blog Post & BB Checklist

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
100 Cents = 1 Dollar (1888)
1884 Scott 14 1p rose "Victoria"
Wmk 2
In 1862, British Honduras became a colony, but under Jamaica until 1884.

However, in 1866, this rather striking "Queen Victoria" De la Rue stamp design for British Honduras was introduced. The design, found unwatermarked (1866), with Wmk 1 (1872-79), and with Wmk 2 (1882-87), was used on all typographic stamp issues between 1866-1887 (seventeen major Scott numbers).

CV is $5+ to $30 for eight stamps.

Wmk 2; Wmk 3
Wmk 4
We might as well get out of the way any concern about remembering British Colonial watermarks, as they figure prominently in the stamp issues of British Honduras.

Wmk 1 "Crown and C C" (Not shown)
Wmk 2 "Crown and C A"
Wmk 3 "Multiple Crown and C A"
Wmk 4 "Multiple Crown and Script C A"

1888 Scott 28 2c on 1p rose
Surcharged in Black
The reality of being located in the Western hemisphere close to the United States meant that, in 1888, the currency was changed from Pence/Shillings into Cents/British Honduras Dollar. That resulted in the previous Queen Victoria Pence/Shilling  issues of 1872-1887 then being locally surcharged "cents" from 1888  to 1891 on nineteen stamps.

The 1888-89 issue of five surcharged stamps using the "c" type surcharge, specifically the 2c on 1p rose, is shown above. CV is <$1-$10+ for four stamps.

1891 Scott 34 6c (red) on 10c on 4p violet
1888 Scott 30 with additional surcharge
The 1888-89 surcharged issue was further surcharged.

In 1891, the 1888 10c on 4p violet was surcharged "6c" using two colors: black, and red (red illustrated). CV is only $1+-$2+ for the two varieties.

1891 Scott 35 5c on 3c on 3p brown
1888 Scott 29 with additional surcharge in black
Also, in 1891, the 1888 3c on 3p brown was surcharged "Five", as shown. CV is $1+.

1891 Scott 40 3c brown "Victoria"
Wmk 2
Beginning in 1891, and continuing until 1898, a new Victorian nine stamp issue denominated in "cents" was printed by De la Rue for British Honduras.

Note the "Postage...Postage" side panels.

CV ranges from <$1 to $10+ for eight stamps.

1899 Scott 48 5c ultramarine
Overprint 12 mm long
Regular Issue overprinted in black
In 1899, three stamps from the preceding 1891-98 issue, as well as one stamp from the 1888 surcharged issue, were overprinted "Revenue" in black. I suppose this was done so the stamps could also be used for fiscal purposes. In fact, all the subsequent issues from 1899-1933 have "Postage...Revenue" on the side panels.

Note that the Scott major numbers are for overprinted "Revenue" that is 12 mm long. If 11 mm long, then the stamp is a minor number.

There are a number of printing errors known which increase the CV substantially.

1900 Scott 52 5c gray black & ultramarine/blue
The 1899-1901 issue of six stamps change the design to "Postage...Revenue" on the side panels.

CV ranges from $3+ to $9 for two stamps.

1902 Scott 60 5c gray black & ultramarine/blue
"King Edward VII", Wmk 2
The "Baldies", the "Edward VII" stamps, were introduced for British Honduras with a four stamp, 1902-04 Wmk 2 issue. They are quite similar in design, except for swapping in the Edward VII vignette, to the preceding Victorian issue.

The 5c gray black & ultramarine/blue stamp was issued specifically on October 10, 1902. This was two months after Edward's coronation (August 9, 1902). I find it interesting that British Honduras manged to issue 16 "Baldies" between 1902-1911, while the preceding (alphabetical) British Colony, British Guiana, issued none, electing to go with their own "Ship- Seal of the Colony" design. Yes, British Colonies are siblings, but very different too.

1904 Scott 63 2c violet & black/red
"King Edward VII", Wmk 3, Chalky paper
Then, between 1904-06, an additional nine "Edward" chalky paper stamps with Wmk 3 were issued.

CV is <$1-$5+ for four stamps.

1909 Scott 70 2c carmine
"King Edward VII", Wmk 3, Ordinary paper
Between 1909-11, there were three stamps (2c, 5c, 25c) on ordinary paper in new colors released.

CV is <$1-$7+. This would prove to be the last of the "baldies".

1913 Scott 80 25c black/gray green
"George V", Wmk 3, Chalky paper
Beginning March 13, 1913, and continuing to 1917, ten "George V" denomination De la Rue printed stamps were issued on Wmk 3 paper. There are a number of minor number color varieties noted in both Scott and SG.

CV is <$1-$6+ for six stamps.

1915 Scott 87 5c ultramarine "George V"
With Moire Overprint in Violet
Now this is interesting, as one doesn't see moire overprint that often.

The moire overprint is found on "George V" three stamps (1c green, 2c carmine, 5c ultramarine) released between July 29, 2015 and June 6, 2016.

They were overprinted in violet.


Recall, this was during WWI.

According to SG, they were moire overprinted, so if they were seized by the enemy, they would be recognized, and declared invalid.

1921 Scott 91 1c green "George V"
Wmk 4
The last stamp released of this design (which was introduced in 1913) was on November 26, 1921, and consisted of a 1c green on Wmk 4 paper. Actually, this was the only stamp of this design released on Wmk 4 paper. All the other "George V" stamps of this design (13 stamps) are on Wmk 3 paper.

1922 Scott 90 4c dark gray
"Seal of the Colony and King George V"
Peace Commemorative Issue
Two engraved stamps by De la Rue were released for the Peace Commemorative Issue.

The Bahamas and some other British colonies had similar appearing stamps.

The two Peace Commemorative issue stamps for British Honduras differ slightly in design.

On April 28, 1921, a 2c carmine was issued.

On January 4, 1922, a 4c dark gray (shown above) was issued, but without the "Peace...Peace" on the ribbons on either side of the crown.

CV is $1-$1+.
1933 Scott 95 3c orange "George V"
Wmk 4
Between 1922-1933, thirteen typographic stamps of a redesigned "George V" was released.  They were all on Wmk 4 paper, except for the 25c black/emerald and the $5 black & violet/red which were on Wmk 3 paper.

CV is <$1-$8+ for ten stamps.

Deep Blue
1991-98 Victoria Issue in Deep Blue
British Honduras 1866-1951 is represented by eleven pages in Deep Blue (Steiner). All of the major numbers have a space. Nice!

1892 Scott 47 1c on 1p green "Victoria"
Type of 1866 Surcharged, Wmk 2
Out of the Blue
For those that love monarch vignettes on their stamps, British Honduras is all monarchs all the time. ;-)

I would think, though, that since British Honduras was a small country, that it might be an interesting choice to study postmarks and postal history without being too overwhelming.

The next post (Part B) will have some pictorials to break the trend.

Note: 1892 map appears to be in the public domain.


Comments appreciated!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Gold Coast - Bud's Big Blue

1920s and 30s
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Christiansborg Castle makes the scene, literally, on many Gold Coast and Ghanaian stamps; Big Blue has spaces for 16 of them. Also known as Osu Castle, it changed hands among Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, the Akwamu, British, and post-Independence Ghanaian authorities, becoming at several points the seat of government. It attained prominence among Ghana’s 17th century castles (forts, lodges, trading posts) that dotted the coastline. Some 30 such survive today.

1940s and 50s
The Swedish African Company built the first lodge in 1657.  Then, after some shenanigans and deceptions, the Danes acquired, rebuilt, and named it Christiansborg (Christian’s fortress, after the royal house in Copenhagen). At various times in its history it served as a trading post, garrison quarters with a Roman Catholic Chapel, a prison and port of departure for slaves, the seat of British colonial government, a museum, a psychiatric asylum, and a constabulary dining hall. Although greatly damaged, it survived an earthquake. Until recently the President of Ghana lived in it. Guests at Christiansborg include Queen Elizabeth, for whom a special apartment was built, and three US presidents.

That's a lot of change for one building, but it is almost 500 years old. A careful observer can find traces of multiple retrofittings, although most have been hidden or demolished.

Objections surfaced to Christiansborg continuing as the seat of Ghanaian government because of its previous involvement in slavery. That’s not surprising. Christiansborg, like Ghana’s other castles, was a slave fortress and a portal of no return for people regarded as being no more than commodities and cargo. Some six million of them endured dreadful conditions in these whitewashed castles, the last view of their homeland, before shipment to the New World.

The opposition won. Flagstaff House is now the presidential palace and seat of government.

British colonial stamps of the late classical era, for most colonies, feature assorted scenic views. Why only Christiansborg for Gold Coast?

Census: 61 in BB spaces, 16 on the supplement page.

Jim's Observations
With the defeat of the Ashanti in 1874, the British proclaimed the former coastal protectorate a crown colony, the Gold Coast Colony, on July 24,1874.

The Ashanti people were and are the major ethnic group of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), and established an empire in west Africa lasting from 1700-1896.

The peace treaty required that the Ashanti give up any claim to the coastal territory, and the British proclaimed a protectorate over the interior Ashanti kingdom. The British sphere of influence gradually expanded, and the Ashanti territory became part of the colony in 1901 after a final defeat.

The Capital of the newly formed  Gold Coast Colony, between the French Colonies of Dahomey and the Ivory Coast, was moved to the former Danish castle at Christiansborg in Accra.

Gold Coast Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

British Guiana Pt B - a closer look

1898 Scott 152 1c carmine & gray black
"Mt. Roraima"
Into the Deep Blue
British Guiana is luckier than most British colonies, as there are a generous number of pictorials issued. As they tend to be more interesting for the casual WW collector than a bland series of monarch vignettes, I thought I would show them here, the second blog post on British Guiana issues.

The first post, British Guiana Pt A - a closer look, is here.
Original British Guiana post and BB Checklist is here.

952 Scott 232 4c black & rose
"British Guiana Map"
Specifically, we will cover the 1898 issue (five stamps), the 1899 overprint issue (three stamps), the 1931 issue (five stamps), the 1934 issue (thirteen stamps), and the 1938-52 issue (twelve stamps).

Let's begin!

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Dollar
1898 Scott 154 5c brown & green
"Mt. Roraima"
For the 60th anniversary Jubilee of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne, an engraved bi-colored five stamp two design issue by De la Rue of London was released on July 18, 1898. (49 years later, on this July 18th date, the author of this blog was born to considerably less fanfare. ;-)

CV is <$1 to $1+ for four stamps.

1899 Scott 158 2c on 10c red & blue black
"Kaieteur (Old Man's) Falls" 
1898 Issue Surcharged in Black
In 1899, three stamps (5c, 10c, 15c) from the 1898 issue were surcharged "TWO CENTS" in black. The surcharge printing was done by the Daily Chronicle, Georgetown. As one can not uncommonly expect with a local printing, SG lists a  number of minor number printing varieties.

Kaieteur Falls
Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River has a world first 741 foot (226 meters) clean drop, with a tremendous flow rate of 663 cubic meters per second (23,400 cubic feet per second). The Falls is four times higher than Niagara Falls (U.S.-Canada), and two times higher than Victoria Falls (Africa).

One can tell that British Guiana is off the beaten track, as the Falls was only "discovered" in 1870. That is fourteen years after the British Guiana 1c magenta. !!

1899 Scott 159 2c on 15c blue & red brown
"Mt. Roraima"
1898 Issue Surcharged in Black
CV for the three stamp overprinted issue is $4+ unused for each stamp.

Mount Roraima
Located at the tri-point between British Guiana, Brazil, and Venezuela, the tabletop monolith Mt. Roraima has 1,300 feet (400 meters) sheer cliffs all around. The rock is some two billion years old.

1931 Scott 206 2c dark brown
"Indian Shooting Fish"
For the centenary of the union of Berbice, Demerara - (BTW, the cancel found on the 1c magenta), and Essequibo to form British Guiana colony, there was a five stamp four design engraved issue by Waterlow of London released July 21, 1931.

1931 Scott 207 4c carmine rose
"Kaieteur Falls"
A scene of Kaieteur Falls, but different than the 1898 design version.

1931 Scott 208 6c ultramarine
"Georgetown. Public Buildings"
CV for 1931 issue ranges from <$1 to $1+ for four stamps. If you want the fifth stamp ($1 violet), the CV is $60. !

Public Buildings, Georgetown Postcard
The "Public Buildings" consist of the offices of the executive government, and were erected between 1829 and 1834.

1934 Scott 212 3c carmine
"Alluvial Gold Mining"
On October 1, 1934, a thirteen stamp twelve design engraved pictorial issue was released. These were designed and printed by Waterlow of London, similar to the 1931 issue.

Actually, although twelve of the stamps were new designs, three of them only had a change in frame. while nine are new pictorials. In other words, three of the pictorials were recycled from the 1931 issue by Waterlow.

1886 Map of British Guiana Gold Centers
As bad luck would have it, the alluvial gold mining areas discovered in the late 1850s were in the disputed areas west of the Essequibo River, claimed by both Venezuela and British Guiana. British settlers moved in, and the British Guiana Mining Company was formed to mine the deposits.

Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with Great Britain in 1887. Eventually, an arbitration tribunal in 1899 awarded 90% of the disputed territory to British Guiana, while Venezuela only received the mouth of the Orinoco River.

Venezuela 1896 Scott 137 5c yellow green
Map shows Venezuelan lands to the Essequibo River
The 1896 Venezuela Map issue shows Venezuela owning the disputed territory (Guyana Venezolana).

As you can imagine, Venezuela was not happy with the decision. But they elected to abide by it.

However, in 1962, Venezuela reopened the dispute. It is on-going

1934 Scott 213 4c violet black
"Kaieteur Falls"
Recycled pictorials are fairly common among British Commonwealth stamps.

The frame has been slightly altered though. ;-)

1934 Scott 214 6c deep ultramarine
""Shooting Logs over Falls"
Isn't this better than another staid British monarch stamp?  ;-)

Forests covered ~88% of British Guiana. But the timber harvested up until the 1920s usually only included fairly easily accessible tracts close to rivers. Hence the obvious mode of transporting logs depicted here. A prevailing tree in the area - such as Crabwood, Mora, Greenheart, Wallaba, or Dakama - would also be the common name for the area forest. Greenheart was commercially the best known of British Guiana's woods during this time.

1934 Scott 215 12c orange
""Stabroek Market"
CV for the 1934 issue ranges from <$1 to $10+ for ten stamps.

Stabroek Market Square, Georgetown, British Guiana: Postcard
Stabroek market was named by the Dutch in honor of the director of the Dutch West India Company, and it still has that name today. This reflects the Dutch-British back and forth historical land ownership, The first market was operating by 1792, and consisted of enslaved Africans selling their plantains and other staple foods on Sundays.

The market building ( the one standing today) was built in 1880 , using steel as a frame. It covered 76,000 square feet, and was the largest public market in the Caribbean, if not the world, at the time.

The iconic clock, sixty feet off the ground, was a product of E. Howard Company of Boston.

1938 Scott 230 1c green
"Plowing a Rice Field"
Many British colonies had George VI pictorials beginning in 1938, and British Guiana was no exception. Many of the pictorials were recycled from the George V 1934 pictorials, including this one - "Plowing a Rice Field".

Rice growing in British Guiana increased for two main reasons. The Sugar Cane industry suffered a decrease from 1884 to 1904 because of subsidized beet sugar competition from European countries with the British Market. And Indians ( from India), brought over as laborers, began to farm rice between 1880 and 1920. By 1931, 30% of the cultivated land was planted in rice.

1949 Scott 233 6c deep ultramarine
"Indian Shooting Fish"
The "Indian Shooting Fish" pictorial is recycled from the 1931 and 1934 George V issue.

It is probably my favorite image.

Fishing with a Bow and Arrow
The traditional Amerindian way to fish is with a bow and arrow.

1938 Scott 234 24c deep green
"Sugar Canes in Punts"
By 1800, there were about 380 sugar estates along the coast of British Guiana. The Amerindian population was small, and lived primarily in the interior. So for labor needs to work the sugar cane plantations, some 100,000 slaves from west Africa were imported by 1830. Upon emancipation in 1838, most of the former slaves abandoned the plantations, and reverted to subsistence farming.

To increase labor supply for the plantations, some 240,000 indentured East Indians were brought to British Guiana between 1838 and 1917. (After 1917, indentured labor was abolished.)

1938 Scott 235 36c purple
"Kaieteur Falls"
Another stamp with the Kaieteur Falls pic.

CV for the 1938-52 twelve stamp Waterlow engraved issue ranges from <$1 to $10+ for eleven stamps.

1938 Scott 236 48c orange yellow
""Forest Road in the Interior"
Since 90% of the region is covered by dense tropical forests, cutting a road into the interior is not for the timid. ;-)

1938 Scott 238 96c brown violet
"Sir Walter Raleigh and His Son"
Sir Walter Raleigh was in search of El Dorado, the mythical (as it turns out) "City of Gold" when he embarked for Guiana in 1595.

He wrote a book a year later about his explorations titled "The discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana, with a relation of the great and golden city of Manoa (which Spaniards call El Dorado)". Yes, there are some gold deposits in Venezuela and the surrounding region, but the report was greatly exaggerated.

He did go back to Guiana in 1617, after being imprisoned by King James I for twelve years. On his return to England, he was tried for treason, as he disobeyed orders by King James to not engage the Spanish (he had attacked the Spanish on the river Orinco). He was executed in 1618.

Sir Walter Raleigh and Son, 1602
National Portrait Gallery, Unknown artist
Here is the portrait that the stamp design is based on.

Deep Blue
1940-52  Postage Due in Deep Blue
Glancing at postage dues in Deep Blue, rather than pictorials, one will note that British Guiana has a P.D. design similar to other British Commonwealth countries (Trinidad, Barbados, Basutoland etc).

Simple but effective.

1898 Scott 153b 2c blue & brown
"Kaieteur (Old Man's) Falls 
Out of the Blue
I'm both attracted (exotic) and repulsed (hot tropical climate) by British Guiana (Guyana).

Fortunately, no such negative ambivalence is felt for the stamps of British Guiana. 

Note: Map, postcard scans, Walter Raleigh painting scan,and scenic pics all appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!