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, August 20, 2020

Cilicia 1919-1920 - a closer look

1919 Scott 66 1pi blue; Scott 9 20pa carmine rose; Scott 13 10pa green
Into the Deep Blue
Cilicia was occupied by the British and French in 1918 after the upheaval of WWI, and the French took control in 1919. Stamps were issued under the French Occupation from 1919-1921. Stamps of Turkey were either handstamped or overprinted "Cilicie" initially. Then Newspaper stamps were used, stamps of the French Offices in Turkey were surcharged, and finally stamps of France were surcharged.

Cilicia became part of southern Turkey in 1923, adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea. The population was 380,000, and the Capital was Adana.

Cilicia Blog Post & BB Checklist
Turkey Blog Post
Turkey Overprints - Ten Hints

Since Cilicia stamps present initially with handstamped, and subsequently overprinted stamps of Turkey, it behooves the collector to have a good grasp of Turkish stamps. One might want to review the blog posts on Turkey first.

And then the Scott catalogue for Cilicia is very poorly illustrated in terms of showing the underlying Turkish stamps, only referring back to the Turkey section with Scott numbers for Turkey.

Again, a good knowledge of Turkish stamps will make identification of the stamps of Cilicia much more pleasant.

Cilicia - a closer look
40 Paras = 1 Piaster

Issued under French Occupation

1919 Scott 4 6pa dark blue
On Turkey Scott 257
Turkish Stamps Pictorial Issue of 1913
The initial stamps for Cilicia were handstamped as above beginning in 1919.

This first handstamp was used on 25 stamps from various Turkish issues.

1919 Scott 12 5pi yellow brown & black
On Turkey Scott 349
Turkish Stamps Commemorative  Issue of 1916
The first handstamp, illustrated in the Scott catalogue, is larger than the second handstamp (shown beginning with Scott 32 below).

1919 Scott 21 5pi pale blue & black
On Turkey Scott 557a
Turkish Stamps Issue of 1919
The CVs for these handstamped specimens are moderately expensive: here $30+.

1919 Scott 22A 20pa carmine rose
On Turkey Scott B8
Turkish Stamps Semi-Postal of 1915
One can see how complicated these stamps are (various overprints), and one would be lost without a good grasp of Turkish overprinted stamps.

1919 Scott 32 4pa dark brown
On Turkey Scott 255
Turkish Stamps Pictorial Issue of  1913
The second handstamp type is found on 10 stamps from various Turkish issues.

1919 Scott 41 5pa on 10pa gray green
On Turkey Scott P137
Turkey Stamps Newspaper of 1916
Complicated - Yes? The CV for this stamp is $20+.

1919 Scott 51 2pa red lilac
On Turkey Scott 254
Turkish Stamps Pictorial Issue of 1913
The third handstamp shows cursive writing, and so cannot be mistaken. There are 20 stamps from various issues of Turkey with this handstamp.

1919 Scott 55 5pa ocher
On Turkey Scott 328
Turkish Stamps Issue of 1915
CV here is $30+.

1919 Scott 60 5pa orange
On Turkey Scott 421
Turkish Stamps Issue of 1916-18
Does one have to worry about handstamped counterfeits? Scott makes no mention of counterfeits (for the most part), but of course! Especially for a higher priced CV stamp, check to see if the handstamp resembles the Scott illustration. Unfortunately for WW collectors (and non specialists in these stamps), that is about all one can do, short of sending the stamp off for authentication.

1919 Scott 66 1pi blue
On Turkey Scott B19
Turkish Stamps Semi-Postal of 1916
But this is a fascinating part of the world, and, for myself, I have managed to accumulate some 84 stamps through feeder collections.

1919 Scott 77 20pa ultramarine
On Turkey Scott 347
Turkish Stamps Commemorative Issue of 1916
Overprinted in Black
Beginning with this issue, the stamps for Cilicia using Turkish stamps are overprinted in black, red, or blue.

"T.E.O" means "Territoires Ennemis Occupes".

1919 Scott 93 10pa red violet
On Turkey Scott B46
Turkish Stamps Semi-Postal of 1916
One will note that some Turkish Semi-postals and Newspaper stamps were handstamped or overprinted for Cilicia. In these cases, the stamps were used for ordinary postage.

1920 Scott 99 3 1/2pi on 5pa red 
Blue Surcharge
Issued in 1920, this issue, consisting of two values, is only CV #2+.

1920 Scott 103 20pa on 10c rose red
Stamps of France, 1900-17, Surcharged
The French authorities switched over in 1920 to using French derived stamps. This issue consisted of nine stamps with CV ranging from $1+ to $900!

Note "O.M.F." means "Occupation Militaire Francaise".

1920 Scott 114 2pi on 15c gray green ( on France Scott 139c)
Stamps of France, 1917, Surcharged
The "Eastern County" ("Sand. Est.") issue consisted of seven stamps. CV is $6 to $190. They were prepared for use, but never issued. Hence, one will only find "unused" in collections.

1920 Scott 124 5pi on 40c red & gray blue/grayish (GC)
First Setting: 1.75-2mm spacing between "Cilicie" and figures of value
1920 Scott 124d 5pi on 40c red & gray blue/grayish (GC)
Second Setting: 1 -1,5mm spacing between "Cilicie" and figures of value
The nine stamp issue of 1920 consisted of two settings.  The first setting (major number) has a space of 1.75-2 mm between "Cilicie" and the figure of value, while the second setting (minor number) have a space of 1 -1.5 mm.

Most of the stamps printed for these issues were on poor quality grayish paper (GC).

Handstamped "Air Post" 1920 France Scott 122d, 123c, 124d, 125d
Genuine Air Post stamps for Cilicia consist of a handstamped overprint (Poste Par Avion), and are quite rare. Only two air mail flights between Adana and Aleppo were flown. CV for these stamps (C1, C2) are $9,000!

However, according to Scott: "At a later date, impressions from a new handstamp were struck "to oblige" on stamps of the regular issue of 1920 (Scott 123-126) that were in stock at the Adana Post Office".

This cover fragment is either an example of this, or possibly an elaborate counterfeit.

Postage Due 1921 Scott J13 1pi on 10c chocolate
Postage Due Stamps of France Surcharged
The earlier 1919 postage dues consisted of handstamped Turkish postage due stamps.

The 1921 postage due issue used four French stamps, and was surcharged as above. 

1919 Scott 14 50pa ultramarine
On Turkey Scott 428
Turkish Stamps Issue of 1916-18
Out of the Blue
Cilicia is a wonderful challenge for the collector, as it gives tangible evidence of a bit of post WW I history, and it requires a decent knowledge of Turkish stamps.

Comments appreciated!


  1. Thanks Jim, I have inherited about a 100 stamps that deal with the French mandate, some in Cilicie, others Syria in Arabia. Have found it difficult to categorize being a neophyte in the field. The only access to catalogues is limited,only old issues which do not represent present day values. I am really appreciative of any information dealing with these stamps. Regards, Ron

    1. Hello Ron

      Yes, Cilicia and other stamps from the Arabic area are challenging to identify. Glad this helps.