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...

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Recent Additions to the Collection for 2019

The Iconic Two Penny Blue
1840 Great Britain Scott 2 2p blue "Queen Victoria"
Into The Deep Blue
For eight years I've been looking for a Two Penny Blue.

First issued May 7, 1840, one day after the equally iconic One Penny Black, this engraved GB design has rarely been surpassed for simplicity and beauty. Only two plates were needed, compared to the eleven plates for the Penny Black, and then the Two Penny Blue design had white lines added in 1841.

So really only a year for the original Two Penny Blue. Naturally the CV cost is high ($900+). But a nice opportunity arose, and I took it.

And that is indicative of this past year - a year of changes and opportunities. As I stated in the last annual review for 2018, this year would be more about a targeted "want list" approach, and less about purchasing feeder albums. Recall that I collect WW 1840-1940 (-1952 British Commonwealth).

So how did I do?

Well, I still purchased country feeder albums, but ones in which I felt would yield enough new stamps to justify the overall cost. Then I bought select stamps and sets from dealers and the internet (mainly the APS store). And sometimes an opportunity would present itself (as above, and more stories to follow).

I also lowered my new stamp goal total for the year: 500+ (rather than 1000+).

I began the year with 49,560 stamps in Deep Blue (classical era Steiner pages) and 30,496 stamps in my virtual Big Blue (Scott 1840-1940 International Part I). As many of you know, I keep my stamps in Steiner pages (Deep Blue), but keep virtual count of stamps that have a space in Big Blue.

I added 620 stamps to Deep Blue, with 185 stamps also having a space in Big Blue. Total, beginning January 1, 2020, is then 50,190 stamps in Deep Blue (60% filled) and 30,681 stamps in Big Blue (89.5% filled). I have crossed the 50,000 classical era count, and 60% filled level! Yes!!!! For more on the specific country counts, see the Status of My Deep Blue & Big Blue Collection post, which is undated monthly.

Which countries did I add the most stamps for the year?

1) Russia 53
2) Brazil 46
3) Cilicia 44
4) Liechtenstein 35
5) Orange River Colony 28
6) Albania 26
7) Ireland 24
8) Monaco 21
9) Salvador 19
10) Germany 18
      Andorra 18
11) France/China Offices 16
      Oltre Giuba 16
      Northern Nigeria 16
12) St, Pierre & Miquelon 15

In prior years for this annual review, I  would illustrate a few of the stamp additions for each country on the list. But some of these countries (Russia, Brazil, Germany, France/China Offices, St Pierre & Miquelon) I've already shown with timely posts this past year. And others (Cilicia, Orange River Colony) I plan to do future in-depth posts. That leaves me with the delicious choice to do what I like for this year's review. ;-)

So here is an eclectic group of countries that have had additions recently...

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia 1853 Scott 1 1p red brown 
"Queen Victoria"
A good friend of mine in town was thinking of downsizing parts of his collection, especially British North America, which he had built up over the years. Well, I love British North America issues, and it wasn't too long that we came to an agreement. The long and short of it is that I found myself with two nice early Nova Scotia stamps, and an early New Brunswick stamp. CV ranges from $500+ to $2,200+. All three stamps were still housed in their Steve Ivy Philatelic Auction envelopes.

Nova Scotia 5 1857 6p dark green
"Crown of Great Britain and Heraldic Flowers of the Empire"
I think one of the reasons I like early Nova Scotia and early New Brunswick (the New Brunswick 1851 Scott 2 6p olive yellow is shown at the end of the post) is because some of my earlier ancestors, finding themselves on the wrong end of the Revolutionary War because of their Tory leanings, fled from Lancaster, Pennsylvania  to Nova Scotia in 1781. (Others fought on the Patriot side.)

Cyprus Scott  1938-44 Scott 143-155 Pictorials
One of the longtime dealers in Oregon, one which I've had dealings with ever since I bought a large stuffed Big Blue feeder album from him eight years ago, specializes in British Commonwealth issues.

Cyprus 1938 Scott 153 45pi black & emerald
"Forest Scene"
He had a full unused set of the 1938-44 pictorial issue for Cyprus. I was missing the last three stamps in the set, which is where most of the CV resides. Look at this gorgeous engraved stamp! Who could resist?

Cyprus 1938 Scott 155 One Pound indigo & dull red
"George VI"
A common scenario for us WW collectors is obtaining/accumulating perhaps 80% of a set through picking up one or two stamps at a time. Yet the rest of the set is where the CV lies. So, although counter-intuitive, as we have most of the stamps, the smart thing is then to buy the whole set. At least one will have duplicates for trading. ;-)

France 1884 Scott J22 60c black
This came out of a dealer's box. Not much to look at, but being France, the CV is $50+.

Gibraltar 1938-49 Scott 107-118 Pictorials
This was a pick-up from my friendly British Commonwealth dealer in Oregon. (See earlier Cyprus.)

Gibraltar 1944 Scott 116 5sh dark carmine & black
"Government House"
As I said, the high values of a set is also where the CV for the set is mostly derived.

Gibraltar 1943 Scott 117 10sh blue & black
"Catalan Bay"
I am a sucker for the engraved pictorials issued for many British Commonwealth countries beginning in 1938. Just click on the stamp, enlarge it, and enjoy the fine line detail. !!!

Gibraltar 1938 Scott 118 One Pound Orange
"Edward VI"
This modest little stamp has a high value denomination (One Pound), and a similarly high CV ($30).

Ireland 1925 Scott 77 2sh6p gray brown
"1922" is 5 1/2 mm long
A local dealer in town had several thousand higher value individual WW classical era stamps housed in separate glassine envelopes that he had picked up from a deceased meticulous collector. Each stamp, as it turned out, was correctly identified. Do you know how uncommon that is? Whenever I obtain a stamp, I make sure to do my own watermarking, perforation measuring etc, because not infrequently, the stamp is not quite what it was labeled to be.

The dealer had no time to evaluate and market these stamps, and gave the whole box to me to ferret out what I needed. I found several hundred WW stamps I could use, and paid a minimal % CV for them.

Ireland 1937 Scott 98 10sh dark blue
"St. Patrick and Paschal Fire"
Here are a couple of examples from Ireland. CV is an amazing $175 and $90 respectively.

Monaco 1885 Scott 4 10c brown/straw
"Prince Charles III"
At our local stamp show, there is a "Floor to Ceiling" dealer, who is based in Oregon, but goes to all the major US stamp shows. By "Floor to Ceiling", I mean his stock is WW, each stamp is housed individually by country, and he needs a Mercedes Sprinter Van to bring everything. Naturally, his stock is a fertile hunting ground for WW collectors, especially if one has a "want list", as he is likely to have some to most of it.

Monaco 1891 Scott 20 25c green
"Prince Albert I"
The reality of a "Floor to Ceiling" dealer is, since he has done most of the parsing work to make his enormous stock accessible down to the individual Scott number, his % CV prices will be in the higher range (50%). 

Monaco 1928 Scott 99 1.50fr on 2fr violet 7 olive brown
"View of Monaco"
But, if one has a want list with individual spaces to fill, yes, it can be worth it, ;-)

Monaco 1938 Scott 143 2.25fr on 2fr dull red
Postage Due Stamps of 1925-32 Surcharged or Overprinted in Black
These are some of the stamps I picked up for Monaco from him. The CV ranges from $7 to $40.

Paraguay 1934 Scott C90 13.50p blue green
""Graf Zeppelin" over Brazilian Terrain"
Overprinted in Black
A local dealer tends to have varying stock for Central and South America, and he also has an interest in carrying Zeppelin stamps.

And that is how I acquired some Zeppelins from Paraguay.

Of interest, note how the scene depicts the Zeppelin over Brazil! I guess Paraguay wanted to get in on the stamp action. ;-)

Paraguay 1935 Scott C97 45p blue
Types of the 1933 Issue Overprinted in Black
CV for the two examples here is $10 and $20+ respectively.

New Brunswick 1851 Scott 2 6p olive yellow
""Crown of Great Britain and Heraldic Flowers of the United Kingdom"
Out of the Blue
I hope the examples of stamps acquired by me this past year warms your heart, and gives you a greater appreciation of the stamp art and design during the "golden age" (classical era).

Comments appreciated!


  1. My collecting and other hobby interests have wandered about the past couple of years. I've looked at my Blues on the shelf and the reams of empty pages.

    I needed a spark. I ordered and just opened a new Vario F binder and ordered some paper based on your specs. Wow, I wish I had done this years ago.

    Now off to fill a virtual big blue a a deep blue steiner based album(s)!

    1. I also have the excel spreadsheet. Is that what you use to track your inventory? Or do you use something like EZ Stamp?

    2. The excel spreadsheet would be a good choice for inventory. Actually, I only keep my own inventory by putting a marker in the Scott 1840-1940 catalogue. ;-)

  2. Hi Jim and Happy New Year !
    I'm impressed by your statistics... I have only recently achieved an inventory of my collection, and I have just crossed the 30,000 stamps mark (my cut-off date is 1930 so the repository is smaller !)

    Like for you, my progress is made both by buying feeder collections (more and more difficult though to find lots with enough new stamps to justify the price)and targeted purchases.

    1. Pascal - very impressive!
      Having 30,000 before 1930 is a high mark indeed. You and I may very well have similar numbers for this era.

  3. Nice progress this year with the collection. It seems incredible that you have reached 60% completion for the Steiner pages! WOW!

    I have been continuing with my International 1840-1963 collection and just reached the 20% completion mark with 1,818 stamps added this year. I anticipate though that 2020 will see about half that level of increase as I begin to complete inclusion of a backlog of purchases. I am continuing to purchase only uncanceled stamps for the album and actually managed to replace a significant number of Canada issues in the 1840-1940 era where some used stamps were initially included. Still need to do the same thing for Japan and some isolated other issues where a small number of stamps were on the pages that I originally acquired but the albums are looking quite nice now. The USA section is essentially complete from 1916 up except for back of the book issues which are pitiful if not completely bare, especially envelopes and revenues. :)

    I continue to be somewhat surprised by how balanced the albums are in their completion with a high of 23.7% in the smallest album, Part IV, and a low of 18.75% in Part III.

    Pascal's 30,000 different before 1930 is a very significant accomplishment as well. I have been adding some duplicates that appear from time to time to a like new Scott International Junior album that is copyright 1930 mainly because the album is easy to carry around as I visit stamp shops and shows and it is fun to see what low cost mint items I can locate for it as well. It does have quite a few countries included that were removed from the current edition on which my main collection is based. So far only 650 stamps for that album out of a potential 22,528 spaces in the album. It is amazing that adding ten years to the album increases the number of issues for completion by almost 12,000 stamps!

    1. Albumfilling - Appreciate the conversation and report on your own progress. Enjoy!

  4. Quite unexpectedly my collection really took off this year as I completed inclusion of a few prior purchases and took advantage of access to multiple pick books from various sources. On 2020-01-11 I had added 17,317 stamps to my 1840-1963 album and as of 2021-01-05 I have reached 30,817 stamps in the album set. I am continuing to target uncancelled stamps: MNG, MH, and MNH with at least 98% being MH/MNH. In addition to the BigBlue issues I have a total of 739 tip-ins which are not counted in the totals. The BigBlue 1840-1940 Parts 1A1-1B2 albums contain 12,256 stamps plus an additional 582 tip-ins in the albums. Overall completion has reached 36% for the 1840-1963 albums with the 1840-1940 period now at 35.6% so quite well balanced.

    1. Very good progress albumfilling - isn't it fun? !!

  5. Yes, it really has been fun! And with an upcoming somewhat unexpected but increasingly exciting retirement at the end of next week time should become more available although funds will take a hit as well. I am looking forward to spending some time with a new Scott Classic Catalog for 2021 and my 1840-1940 albums in particular and doing some list making for both haves and have nots. :)

    1. And with retirement coming up..!! Even if somewhat unexpected, congrats!.. it will indeed open up possibilities.

  6. As I approach the mid-point of 2021, currently it is 6/25/2021, I have now reached 36,916 unused stamps in my International 1840-1963 albums for 43% completion. The International 1840-1940 section has reached 15,180 stamps for 44% completion. In addition the 1840-1940 pages have an addtitional 743 tip-ins while the 1840-1963 range has a total of 964 tip-ins.

    All acquisitions are now coming from individual stamp purchases as there have been no collections that would make sense to purchase in terms of the number of useful mint stamps in an album for my collection. Fortunately I have had access to a number of country collections and one really nice 1940-49 Part II album as pickbooks based on a percentage of Scott catalog value. The most complete album now is the Part II album for 1940-49 with 49% completion. So far every time I think I am going to run out of new stamps another source has appeared and fortunately not at a rate that exceeds my ability to pay for them :) . Choosing to see how far I could get with the albums filling them with just mint stamps has served as a very effective break on purchases as there are far fewer available mint stamps to me than used stamps.

    1. Great progress with the mint collection! - I'm thinking our readers might be interested in your approach - would you be possibly interested in doing a guest post albumfilling?

      I could fill you in a bit more about how to do it if you are - send me an email..
      and now some words to confuse bots...