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...

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Colombia 1871-1883 - a closer look

1877 Scott 73 5c purple "Condor"
Into the Deep Blue
We are continuing our closer look at the classical era stamps of Colombia.

Here are some previous post links.....

Colombia 1859-1870 - a closer look
Bud's Big Blue - Colombia

This blog post will look at the 1871-1883 era. All the issues are lithographic, and therefore counterfeits and reprints are still a concern.

But a vexing issue for the collector are the designs which often are quite similar. The "Coat of Arms" design continues to be a common motif. We will try to point out the differences.

A Closer Look
100 Centavos = 1 Peso
1872 Scott 66 1c green "Arms"
The  1871-74 issue (Scott 66-69) on thin porous paper consists of three denominations, three designs, four major numbers, but eleven spaces in Steiner for significant minor numbers.

The 1c denomination has three colors (green, rose, carmine).

This example appears to be genuine. The counterfeit - reprint has no cross bar in the "A" of "COLOMBIA". Another forgery does not have the "UU" joined at top.

1871 Scott 68a 2c red brown
The 2c denomination can be found in brown and red brown colors.

The counterfeit-reprint has scratches across "DOS". Another forgery has "EF" instead of "EE".

CV for the issue is a modest $1+ to $3+.

1874 Scott 69 10c violet "Arms"
Type I
The 10c denomination has two significant types. Let's look at the difference.

Type I: "S" of CORREOS  2 1/2 mm high
First "N" of NACIONALES small
Type I is as above.

1874 Scott 69b 10c violet "Arms"
Type II
Both types have identical CVs: $2+

Type II: "S" of CORREOS  2 mm high
First "N" of NACIONALES wide
Type II is shown above.

What surprises me is why Scott does not give each type a major number - they certainly deserve it.

1877 Scott 74 10c bister brown 
"Liberty Head"
The 1877 issue (six stamps) on wove paper shows off the condor (Header stamp with this post) and the "Liberty Head". The "Liberty Head" 10c reveals the possibilities for color variations. Here...bister brown.

1877 Scott 74a 10c red brown
"Liberty Head"
Then there is red brown.

1877 Scott 74b 10c violet brown
"Liberty Head"
And finally violet brown. The color vats clearly varied widely. ;-)

1877 Scott 75 20c blue "Liberty Head"
The 20c blue is, in my opinion, a very striking stamp.

1877 Scott 79 10p black/rose "Arms", redrawn
The "redrawn" version of the ten peso black/rose stamp have stars that are distinctly five pointed. CV is a modest $2+.

1881 Scott 95 20c blue "Liberty Head"
Blue Wove Paper
A group of stamps were printed on blue wove paper on 1881, as this 20c blue illustrates. CV for this specimen is $3+.

1881 Scott 103 1c green "Arms"
The 1881 four denomination issue is an example of a need for close inspection.

1881 Scott 103 1c green Close-up
The period before "UNION" is round and there
are rays between the stars and condor
The 1c green is characterized as described above. CV for the issue is $1+ - $4.

1883 Scott 112 1c green "Arms"
Then there is the 1883 "Redrawn" four denomination issue - a close "doppelganger" to the 1881 issue that requires attention to detail. (Sorry about the lack of umlaut over the "a",)

The 1883 issue has a CV of $1 to $4+.

1883 Scott 112 1c green Close-up
The period before "UNION" is square and 
the rays between the stars and condor have been
 wholly or partly erased
Note the difference. In this particular example, there is also a printing lacunae next to the square period.

1881 Scott 104 2c vermilion "Arms"
The "2's" and "C's" in the corners are placed upright
The 1881 2c vermilion can also be found with minor number "rose". 

1883 Scott 113 2c rose "Arms"
The "2's" and "C's" in the corners are placed diagonally
Compare the 1881 stamp with the 1883 2c rose here with the diagonal markings.

1881 Scott 106 5c blue "Arms"
The last star at the right almost touches the frame
The 1881 5c blue has a star on the right well clear of the condor wing, and the wing touches the frame.

1883 Scott 114a 5c ultramarine "Arms"
The last star at the right touches
the wing of the condor
The 1883 5c ultramarine (shown here in the 1883 minor number color) has the star on the right touching the condor wing, and the wing is not well printed at the frame.

1881 Scott 107 10c violet "Arms"
The letters of the inscription are thin; there
are rays between the stars and condor
The 1881 10c violet is as described above. Note the right wing does not touch the frame.

1883 Scott 115 10c violet "Arms"
The letters of the inscription are thick; there
are no rays under the stars;  and last star at
the right touches the wing of the condor and 
this wing touches the frame
The 1883 10c violet as described above. I don't think all of the inscription letters are thicker, but some of them are (Note the "A" in "COLOMBIA" and compare).

I suspect there is plenty of mistakes made with the 1881 and 1883 "redrawn" issues in many collections. But now you know. ;-)

1881 Scott 109 1c black/green 
"Liberty Head"
The "Liberty Head" is a popular stamp design motif among many South American countries.

Besides the 1877 issue for Colombia, there was a three stamp issue in 1881 with the "Liberty Head" design.

CV is $1+-$3+.

(Note: This particular 1c might be a reprint, as the characteristic is that the top horizontal frame line continues on to the left, as this does.)

You should have noted that all the regular issue 1859-1883 stamps so far have been imperforate.

1883 Scott 118 5c blue/bluish "Arms"
In 1883 a seven denomination perforated issue was released. The perfs are 10 1/2, 12, 13 1/2, but Scott gives no more detail. Actually, the Steiner pages have fourteen spaces for the issue, as a number of Scott minor number varieties are represented.

CV for the issue is $1-$3+, although minor numbers are more.

There are three spaces in Steiner for the 5c denomination, each for a color variation. The major number is blue/bluish. It is perhaps not as obvious with the scan here, but my eyes see the bluish paper when examining the stamp.

 1883 Scott 118a 5c dark blue/bluish "Arms"
The second color variation is dark blue/bluish. The bluish paper color is quite pronounced.

1883 Scott 118b 5c blue "Arms"
The third color variation is blue on ordinary (cream) paper.

By the way, this is the last regular issue for the "United States of Colombia". The issue of 1886 is for the "Republic of Colombia".

1883 Scott 122 50c brown/buff 
"Arms of Colombia"
Out of the Blue
Considering the many variations found for each issue during the classical era, Colombia is a fascinating country for philatelists.  And the cataIogue values tend to be modest. I suspect, unlike many European countries, there are still many unexplored avenues open to today's collector.

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Bud's L of N Album: Lugano -1928, Madrid - 1929

League of Nations (SdN) Album
7. Lugano (53rd Session, 1928); Madrid (55th Session, 1929); rare cancellations
(part 7 of a series)

Delegates to the Lugano and Madrid sessions accomplished little in the way of ensuring world peace; they sidestepped raging problems and postponed lesser matters for further study. But they did make philatelic history.


The League allowed their overprinted Swiss stamps to be cancelled in Lugano, the first authorized debut outside the League’s official post office in Geneva. So, the Lugano cancels are considered rare. As I write this post, none are offered on the auction networks.

Lugano cancellations
Originally, these 21 cancelled stamps were on a single sheet of paper, then cut apart by a previous owner.

Three Lugano cancellations exist: 1 - like those above, 2 - with three stars instead of “lettere” at the bottom, and 3 - with the inscription “53A Sess. d. Cons” at the top.
Additional Lugano cancellation types (1)
The Lugano scans illustrate official SdN stamps in circulation during 1928, including Scott #s 2o31a-34a, the Swiss coat of arms over the Matterhorn issue. Post #9 in this series (not yet on-line) elaborates on the coat of arms stamps and their variations.
The League moved the 53rd Session from Geneva to Lugano because doctors told Gustav Stresemann not to go to Geneva in wintertime. Stresemann, the highly regarded German representative, was Germany’s Foreign Minister (1923-29) and a Peace Prize co-laureate. Lugano’s palm trees and balmy breezes were presumed to be healthful.
An unexpected threat of war on the Bolivia-Paraguay frontier became a pressing agenda item for the Lugano Session and an ominous challenge to the League’s peace-promoting ambitions.
For the 55th Session, Spain produced stamps with the likeness of King Alfonso XIII overprinted “Sociedad de las Naciones” -- the first non-Swiss League-promoting postage stamps. The 14 stamps were valid for postal use only on 10-16 June 1929. They range from one céntimo to ten pesetas in face value, plus a 20c special delivery stamp. Control numbers appear on the back side of all but the two lowest values. Poor centering is common. The overprint reads “Sociedad de las Naciones LV reunión del Consejo Madrid” (League of Nations, LV Council meeting, Madrid).
These are curious creatures, but not so rare as the Luganos. Most auction networks have a few for sale, but complete sets tend to be pricey.
Spain, Scott #s 358-70, E4
The Session decamped to Madrid mainly because Spain wanted it there. It, like Lugano, accomplished little, although they did take up the question of ethnic populations that were disadvantaged by redrawn national borders following WWI. General Primo de Rivera's government stage-managed the event, in combination with the Seville and Barcelona International Expositions, to produce a Spanish extravaganza. Delegates resorted to secret meetings and private conversations in order to do their work, according to reporters for TIME magazine (June 24, 1929).
In addition to the stamps, Spain authorized special cancellations, two of which are shown below. Used examples are rarer than the mint, especially for the high values.
Royal Palace postcard, Scott #361, yellow green
Registered mail cancel on Scott # E4 (1)
The Table of Contents for the League of Nations series is here.
(1)  Charles Misteli provides lists and pictures of SdN and BIT cancels in Les Timbres S.D.N et B.I.T (Geneve, 1943), pp 37-46, K-N. The Lugano and Madrid cancellation illustrations are from page K.

Comments appreciated!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Mayotte - Bud's Big Blue

Madagascar, 1942, Centennial of Mayotte’s Colonization
Produced by the Vichy Government but not Sold in Madagascar 
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Stamps inscribed Mayotte, all with the key-type Navigation and Commerce design, replaced the generic French Colony stamps in 1892. Travelers in the late 19th century found that they could buy the earlier French Colony stamps in places where the local franc was cheap, then sell them at a profit in colonies where the franc was dear. The inscribed territory name at the bottom of the Navigation and Commerce stamps thwarted this philatelic arbitrage.

Forgers, however, specifically Fournier and his apprentice Charles Hirschburger, profited from this change, for they produced many Navigation and Commerce fakes, including some for Mayotte. The fakes, commonly seen on internet auction sites, can be identified by using a perforation gauge and watching for minor design variations.

The “Navigation and Commerce” allegory (the real, not the fake) was designed by Louis-Eugène Mouchon (1843-1914), a noted French painter, sculptor. and engraver. His work appears on stamps of many nations and in many museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Mayotte, Scott #3, claret
Signature barely decipherable under Mercury’s feet

On the right of Mayotte’s stamps, a Mercury-like figure, holding a fruit-filled cornucopia and a caduceus with two entwined snakes, represents commerce. On the left, a feminine figure, perhaps Athena or the marine Aphrodite who were both venerated by sailors, represents navigation. She holds a ship’s rudder, her means for steering followers through life’s changeable fortunes. Together, they support a standard with the French flag.

Allegories borrowing from ancient mythology are common artistic clichés. No doubt Mouchon was familiar with many of these. The Dutch artist Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617) may have inspired the Navigation and Commerce design.

The Alliance of Athena and Mercury (Hermathena), 1588
Engraved by Jacob Matham, after Hendrick Goltzius

Census: 16 in BB spaces, 6 on supplement page.

Jim's Observations
Stamps were issued for the colony beginning in  1892.

Surcharged stamps for Mayotte were issued in 1912, but they could also be used in Madagascar and the Comoro archipelago.

On July 25, 1912, the colony was annexed to Madagascar, and stamp production for Mayotte specifically ceased.

After WW II, the Comoro Islands became a French overseas territory, and the Comoros were administered separately from Madagascar.

In 1974, after referendum independence votes by the various islands, the Comorian Government controlled Grand Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli, but Mayotte continued under French administration.

Today, Mayotte, alone of the islands in the Comoros, has remained an overseas department of France.

Mayotte Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Colombia 1859-1870 - a closer look

1865 Scott 39 20c blue
"Arms of Colombia"
Into the Deep Blue

Consider all the countries in South America, and their philatelic output.

Then consider Colombia.

Colombia Blog Post & BB Checklist

Calling it a philatelic challenge doesn't approach doing justice for the WW collector.

It is like hiking the Coburg Hills near my hometown in Oregon, and then climbing the North Sister.


A lithographic printing process for many/most issues throughout the classical era, with the attendant unauthorized reprints and forgeries....

Information about reprints/forgeries scattered throughout obscure philatelic literature and forgotten, with little access for today's Internet oriented collector....

The SCADTA issue air post stamps...

And then there are all the Colombian States issues...


So what is the WW classical era collector to do?

Well, as best I can, I will try to muddle through part of the challenge with some planned three posts devoted to, at least, the classical era regular issues.

At least, I do have some information about reprints and forgeries gleaned from catalogues and my philatelic library. And there are some internet resources.

Let's begin...

1859-1870 - a closer look
100 Centavos = 1 Peso

1859 Scott 6 20c  blue "Coat of Arms"
Granadine Confederation
Part of the impetus for tackling Colombia at this time is that I acquired a new feeder album of Colombian stamps. My stamp count for Colombia proper (1859-1940) went from 276 stamps to 400 stamps. Considering that there are 450 Scott major numbers for Colombia proper (not including SCADTA stamps), if I don't do it now, when?

So off to an inauspicious start, here is a rather faded (or under-inked) 20c blue "Coat of Arms" from the first issue (seven major number stamps) of 1859 during the Granadine Confederation.

This lithographic stamp is an A1 design (asterisks in frame, wavy lines in background), which is characteristic of the 1859 issue. CV ranges from $70+ to $120.

There are 44 pearls. Pearl counting is important for the early issues as forgeries tend to get them incorrect.

The Serrane Guide  (I have a hard copy) says the 1859 issue lithographed forgeries are identifiable by the inscriptions, whose lettering is not aligned.

More 1860 issue forgeries (A2 design) - but not the 1859 issue - are shown at stampforgeries.com.

Note; Click on image below to enlarge...
From "Know Your Stamps" by Frank Aretz
1941 by Marks Stamp Company
I have a copy (ex "Friends of the Western Philatelic Library") of this book in my library, and it covers counterfeits worldwide of selected stamps. The 1861 stamp issue of the United States of New Granada consists of five stamps (Scott 13-18), and shows the "Arms of New Granada". The CV is high ($150-$400), and I don't have any stamps from this issue.

Naturally, there are multiple forgeries. But I am showing this page from the book which gives the signs for genuine stamps.

1862 Scott 19 10c blue "Coat of Arms"
United States of Colombia
For the first issue for the United States of Colombia, this 1862 five stamp release is considered in Scott as the first one (although the United States of Colombia actually came into existence in 1863).

There appears to be 45 pearls on this trimmed 10c blue (Agrees with Serrane). CV ranges from $125 to $1,000.

Note the bulb shaped design above the horns of plenty toward the top of the shield? This is characteristic of the genuine. The forgeries (illustrated at http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-colombia-1859-1869/) show an empty circle here or, the circle touches the top of the shield.

1863 Scott 26 20c red "Coat of Arms"
One can see what we are up against with these rather crude lithographic designs. The forgers must have been licking their lips. ;-)

The 1863 "Coat of Arms" issue consisted of five stamps; Two of them on bluish paper. CV is $30+ to $70+.

The 20c red (shown above) is not on bluish paper.

There is an interesting error involving the "20c red" : the transfer of the 50c denomination in stone of the 20c - CV $2,500!

1863 Scott 28a 10c blue/bluish paper
Period after "10"
Here is a bluish paper example of the 10c blue. This particular stamp has a period after the "10" - making this a minor number (28a).

1864 Scott 31 10c blue "Coat of Arms"
The 1864 "Coat of Arms" lithographic set consists of five stamps. CV is $15-$150.

The Fournier forgery of this stamp (shown at http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-colombia-1859-1869/) has star spikes that do not line up with the genuine shown here, and a horn of plenty that touches the left shield edge (clears in the genuine).

1865 Scott 35 1c rose 
"Arms of Colombia"
In 1865, eight major number denomination lithographic stamps were produced in three designs. The good news is apparently there are no reprints. The bad news is Serrane lists some five forgery types for the issue. Scott mentions that there are ten varieties each of the 5c, 10c, 20c, and 50c, and six varieties of the 1 peso. Unfortunately, Scott does not provide more detailed information.

I have three copies of the 1c rose, and they look identical; so this should be genuine I would think. Be aware  there is a minor number with bluish pelure paper.

1865 Scott 38 10c violet
"Arms of Colombia"
This over inked specimen is an example of the 5c through 1p design stamps. 

1865 Scott 42 1p vermilion
"Arms of Colombia"
CV for the set ranges from $4+ to $50+. It should be noted that Serrane says one of the signs of a genuine stamp is the top of the "A" in "Colombia" is sharp pointed.

NOT "1865 Scott 42a 1p rose red"
"Arms of Colombia"
What a surprise this turned out to be.

I thought this was a minor number color variation (rose red) of Scott 42 vermilion.

But on closer inspection, there are numerous differences, including a flat top "A". I suspect this is the "e" forgery as described by Serrane. 

1866 Scott 46 10c lilac
"Arms of Colombia"
The 1866 lithographic issue consists of seven stamps (major numbers), each with their own design.

The good news is Serrane describes no forgeries with the 5c-1p denominations. (The 5p and 10p: yes, but I don't have specimens.)

Be aware that the 10c lilac (above) can be found with minor number pelure paper.

1866 Scott 49 1p rose red
"Arms of Colombia"
The 1p rose red is also found in color vermilion (49a).

CV for the 5c to 1p (5 stamps) is $5+ to $30+.

1868 Scott 53 5c orange 
Interestingly. the lowest value (5c orange above) for the 1868 five denomination lithographic stamp issue (five designs) has the highest CV ($50+). The other stamps in the issue are CV $1+-$2+.

There are reprints/forgeries to worry about with this issue.

1868 Scott 54a 10c red violet 
Type I: "B" of Colombia over "V" of Centavos
The 10c denomination has two types. Type I is as shown above.

1868 Scott 54c 10c red violet 
Type II: "B" of Colombia over "VO" of Centavos
Type II is as shown above. Both types are only CV $1+.

1868 Scott 55 20c blue
The 20c blue well printed.

 1868 Scott 55 20c blue
Worn plate or reprint/forgery?
I think this ultramarine shade is just a badly worn plate with little of the central detail left. But...?

1868 Scott 66 50c yellow green
50c yellow green well printed.

1868 Scott 66 50c yellow green
Worn plate or reprint/forgery 
This is clearly a worn plate example or perhaps more nefarious.

"1869-70 Scott 59 2 1/2c black/violet"
On magenta paper - reprint/forgery
As this is on magenta paper, this is a reprint/forgery. The genuines are on violet paper.

1870 Scott 62 5c orange
The 1970 issue (Scott 62,63) begins with the 5c orange. CV is $1+.

1870 Scott 62a 5c yellow
This looks like the minor number yellow color.

1870 Scott 25c black/blue
This is where it gets murky. I think this is a genuine 25c black/blue. Serrane also says, with the originals, the loop of the "2" is closed, as found here. (Note: SForgCa agrees this is genuine.)

"1870 Scott 25c black/blue"
Change in color: Green/greenish
Scott has a note that counterfeits are found with various colors. Serrane says that green/greenish is a reprint. (Note: SForgeCa says this is a Michelson forgery. There are 6 known colors. The fat 25 touching the frame is key.)

"1870 Scott 25c black/blue"
This really confused me. Note the "stars" are asterisks. Weird. Serrane says the reprints have an open "2", as exhibited here. I think this is an out and out forgery. (Note: SForgeCa says this is a forgery-  possibly Schroeder?)

Forgery: NOT "1865 Scott 42a 1p rose red"
"Arms of Colombia"
Out of the Blue
As a WW collector, I sometimes feel like I am flying blind. I definitely feel that with Colombia. I would love to spend a year or two really sorting out the wheat from the chaff with this country.

Note: The book "Know Your Stamps" by Frank Aretz, published in 1941 by the Marks Stamp Company of Canada, is in my library. I scanned page 12 to show here for educational purposes.

Comments appreciated!