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...

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Lithuania - Bud's Big Blue

Showing in the Lithuania supplement pages
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
I’ve sorted through hundreds of feeder albums in building my collection, including nine this past week. It netted me an additional 37 stamps I didn’t have, all of which fit somewhere In Scott’s International volumes 2 through 5 or on volume 1’s supplement pages.  Such treasure hunts are always enjoyable, I find, even when the “treasures” have very small CVs and, sadly, even less resale value. I think none of my new 37 would go for more five cents.

But once in a while, as the old saw goes, even a blind pig finds an acorn.

The Lithuania pages have one such acorn. Scott # B43 is supposed to be green and dark green (see above). However, the stamp on page 6, magnified below, is brown and dark brown, a variety Scott does not list. Hummmm.

Showing in BB’s Lithuania spaces
Well, it’s not an upside-down Jenny equivalent, but it is a significant error and I’ve seen another such sell on eBay for more than $1000. It’s enough to make a blind pig continue the hunt.

Don’t remind me that forgers have played havoc with Lithuania stamps and that my B43 error might be bogus. Let me enjoy my acorn! Anyway, I’ve been encouraged by those who are supposed to know authentic acorns when they see them that mine is real.

Census: 163 in BB spaces, three tip-ins, 236 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Enjoy the luminous cultural beauty of stamps from independent Lithuania between the World Wars!

The  history turns much darker between 1939 and 1944.

The Red Army invaded Poland on September 19,1939. In exchange for "allowing" 20,000 Soviet troops within Lithuania, Vilnius was returned to Lithuania. On June 14,1940, the Soviets demanded the formation of a pro-soviet government. 150,000 additional troops crossed over into Lithuania, and Lithuania lost its independence.

With the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany, the Nazis occupied Lithuania on June 24, 1941. Policy decisions were made by high ranking Germans, but much of the lower government was in the hands of Lithuanians, as the Germans did not have enough manpower to staff everything. The Holocaust in Lithuania was efficient and brutal. Between June, 1941- July 1944, 91% of the Lithuanian Jews (191,000) were liquidated.

The USSR re-occupied Lithuania in July,1944, and the  Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic was re-established.

It is estimated that Lithuania lost 780,000 people during WW II.

Lithuania Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Liechtenstein - Bud's Big Blue

Vaduz Castle, home to the Prince of Liechtenstein. 
A frequent image on the post 1921 stamps shown below.
Photo credit: Michael Gredenberg
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Given the political chicanery of the past 1000 years, it’s no small wonder that the Principality of Liechtenstein has survived. Its mountainous isolation, combined with some deft footwork during and following World War I, helped.

Big Blue’s stamps document part of that story.

Before 1912 Liechtenstein used Austrian stamps. Its first definitive stamps are inscribed “K. K. Österr. Post im Fürstentum Liechtenstein” (The Imperial and Royal Austrian Post in the Principality of Liechtenstein), reflecting the alliance with to Austria. These are denominated in the Austro-Hungarian krone.

But Liechtenstein managed a de facto neutrality during the War and no fighting occurred within its borders. Following the War, establishing independence became a priority. Links with Austria were dissolved. The immediate philatelic result was stamps inscribed ”Fürstentum Liechtenstein” (1920), but still denominated in kroners.  By 1921, all Austria-related stamps were declared invalid and, because of a monetary union with Switzerland, they were replaced by stamps of Swiss design and denominated in rappen.

For much of Liechtenstein’s history its princes resided on their large estates in other parts of Europe. They also owned important artworks, including Leonardo da Vinci ’s portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, a painting the Princely House eventually sold to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Worth a trip to Washington, it’s the only Leonardo in the western hemisphere. Prior to the sale, Liechtenstein featured this portrait on a 1949 stamp (see below).

Ginevra de’ Benci

Liechtenstein Scott #227
Liechtenstein’s 1930 airmail series provides a curiosity. They show airplanes and zeppelins circling Vaduz Castle and nearby mountains as if looking for a place to land. But tiny Liechtenstein has no airport. Presumably the soaring birds featured in the 1934-4 airmails had no difficulty finding roosts.

Census: 127 in BB space, two tip-ins, 42 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Imagine if all the Principalities, Duchies, Free Cities, and Kingdoms in Europe had not coalesced. We would have a smorgasbord of small stamp issuing entities today.

Well Liechtenstein still exists as a Principality and a constitutional  monarchy.

Today, Liechtenstein is quite wealthy, as measured by GDP per capita. The Principality is also, to interject some trivia, the world's largest producer of sausage casings and false teeth.

Liechtenstein Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!