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, April 1, 2019

India - Bud's Big Blue

An Indian Native Postman
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
What exactly is India? Winston Churchill snarked, “India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator.”1 Judging from India’s classical era stamps, Churchill may have had a point. There were, in all, 43 authorities issuing stamps. BB offers a patchwork of spaces for Colonial and Feudatory (princely states) stamps, plus a single blank page for the Convention States -- far too thin for feeder-album fanatics like me.  So, in my albums 26 supplement pages follow BB’s nine. Moreover, most of the open bits showing on the supplement pages (see below) have been filled since the scans were made.

The India count is greatly increased by a flood of official stamps. Every clerk and minor colonial official, it would seem, used and abused their franking privileges. While all of these are interesting to collectors, even the most casual among us, the Feudatory stamps are by far the most enchanting and, as the result, the most often forged. Sorting the honest from the bogus requires an expertise that’s both expensive and in scarce supply. I’m saving up for it.

1From a speech at London’s Constitutional Club in 1931, cited by The Economist, February 9, 2017, and often elsewhere to the dismay of India’s citizens.

Census: 244 in BB spaces, 16 tip-ins, 763 on supplement pages.

Hyderabad Post Office

Jim's Observations
India was essentially made up of two types: "British India", directly ruled by the Empress of India (Victoria) through the Governor-General, and then the "Princely States" ("Native States"), in which the government of British India, through a Viceroy, granted self-rule through a British matrix.

In 1947, when India and Pakistan became independent from Britain, there were 565 princely states! Most, though, were small, and had contracted out the business of government (and stamp issue production) to the British. The larger ones had their own treaties with Britain, spelling out the rights of the Prince. 

Collecting the stamps of India during the classical era is complicated, essentially a world into itself, and fun!  One can spend a lifetime with the stamps of India. Big Blue only scratches the surface, but what a surface it is!

One can see by reviewing Bud's pages here that the stamps of India overflow Big Blue's modest representation: in fact, 26 supplementary pages! Enjoy!

India 1854-1940 Blog Post and BB Checklist
India - BOB, Convention States
India - Native States

Page 1




Page 2





Page 3





Page 4





Page 5




Page 6




Page 7




Page 8





Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

Page 9

Page 10

Page 11

Page 12

Page 13

Page 14

Page 15

Page 16

Page 17

Page 18

Page 19

Page 20

Page 21

Page 22

Page 23

Page 24

Page 25

Page 26

Comments appreciated!


  1. Good day!very nice issye!I would like to ask you if You ever seen a stamp of British India with king Georg 5 or6 (I dont remember),wearing a turban?I cant find this one.I am waiting for your answer.

    1. No, but the crown that George V & VI wears looks "Indian".


    2. Note: There are many Indian States stamps with turbaned rulers, but no George V or VI.

  2. O.K.thank you so much.I will go on search for this one.

  3. if i fined i will share with you its image !!

  4. Ray McIntire, Springfield, TNFebruary 9, 2020 at 4:19 PM

    Sorry Jim if you see this twice....but I love how Bud has displayed each Convention and Feudatory State. BB is really lacking here, and I'm using the '47 version. Very similar with the Italian Aegean Offices. Boo!
    I wondered myself what to do, and decided to expand my collecting of the States by using the Minkus Supreme Global pages-- thanks to your reviews, I purchased a set and may even try to put the pages into my BB. Much more coverage- expanded coverage on the Convention states and more Feudatory States, and YES, all stamps have their own space! Thanks again to Bud and Jim!! Ray

    1. Glad you appreciate Bud's presentation - it is indeed inspiring. Yes the Global Supreme actually provides spaces.