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, 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!


  1. Colberg Hills/Sisters. Excellent. I went to Willamette University. My daughter is an enrolled freshman there...taking classes here though.

    1. Nice Joseph. Willamette University has a great reputation.

  2. Hope you and your stamps are safe from the smoke and fire!

    1. We are about 10 miles from the McKenzie River (Holiday Farms) fire. Lots of ash, sepia skies, and hazardous air pollution here, but we are not in the immediate fire zones thankfully. Thanks for asking Joseph!

  3. Your 1870 Scott 25c black/blue is Genuine
    The pale greenish one after is a Michelson forgery - the fat 25 touching the frame is key - there are 6 known colors
    The last 25C is a decent forgery source unknown (Schroeder?)
    BTW the 2 being closed is NOT a definitive forgery trait, I have one with a closed 2 and decent looking stars

    1. Thanks much SForgeCa! I added your comments to the post.