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, November 30, 2020

Colombian States - Antioquia

1886 Scott 56 2 1/2c black/orange
"Coat of Arms"
Into the Deep Blue
How can one tell that one is in the (exciting to me!) philatelic backwaters of the hobby? Perhaps an unconventional way is comparing the Scott 1840-1940 classic catalogue over the years. I believe Scott began replacing black & white stamp illustrations around 2004. By 2011, it was rare to find a black & white stamp illustration, because they had been replaced with colored ones. Yet, with the Colombian States, the 2011 catalogue still had 51 B&W illustrations - Wow! My 2020 Classic catalogue now has none - finally. !!

The original post....

Colombian States & BB Checklist

Colombia (Map by Gerben van Gelder )
Stamp Issuing States in Red
If you enjoy exploring the backwaters of an interesting era, then the Colombian States offer much!

From my original Colombian States post...

"The United States of Colombia (1862-85) consisted of nine original States: Antioquia, Bolivar, Boyaca, Cundinamarca, Panama, Santander, Cauca*, Magdalena*, and Tolima. Naturally, all of them  issued stamps as early as 1863. After a new constitution was adopted in 1886, the States became Departments, losing their sovereignty. But the Departments retained some rights, including issuing stamps as late as 1904. It should be noted that Panama left the Republic in 1903.
* Cauca and Magdalena did issue "stamps", but they are not presently listed in Scott."

I thought we would revisit these Colombian States.

This is actually a big topic. I will illustrate some (what I have) of the stamp issues from each State/Department. To make it manageable, I will publish several posts. 

A Closer Look - Antioquia
100 Centavo = 1 Peso

1873 Scott 16 50c blue
Imperforate, Lithographed
Most issues of Antioquia (Medellin the most prominent town) and other Colombian States stamps were lithographic printed, which give them a flat, somewhat primitive quality. Of course, Colombia itself had mostly lithographic issues during this era.

I actually wish I had more Colombian States stamps, as I find the issues fascinating, and frankly not that well known, and somewhat hard to obtain. And yet the CV prices tend to be in the $1's and $10's (There are exceptions of course).

Antioquia had an 1868 issue (four stamps- CV $500-$1000), an 1869 issue (six stamps - CV $6-$20+), and then an 1873 issue (eight stamps, eight designs - CV $3+-$40+), of which the above is a member.

1886 Scott 61 50c yellow brown/buff
"Coat of Arms", Lithographed
There were three more issues produced (1875-85- nine stamps; 1878-85 -eight stamps; 1883-85 - seven stamps) before this shown 1886 stamp (eight stamps, one design - CV $1-$9). Recall that 1886 is when the "States" became "Departments" with a new constitution, and the governors were appointed by the President of the Republic. Perhaps this issue signaled the new era.

1887-88 Scott 64 1c red/violet
"Coat of Arms", Lithographed
In 1887-88, five more stamps were issued, similar in design to the 1886 issue, but in different colors. CV is <$1-$3+.

Just like Colombian stamps, there are forgeries extant for the primitive lithographic Colombian States issues also. (I can't guarantee that all of these illustrated stamps are genuine.)

For instance the above 1887-88  1c red/violet and the 1886 header stamp 2 1/2c black/orange are on the suspect list.

Here is another list of stamps where forgeries need to ruled out...
1868: 2½ 5 10c 1p
1869–73: 2½c–1p 1c–5p
1869–72: 2½c–1p
1869–73: 5 10 1p 5c
1873: 5p
1875–7: 1 1 1c
1889: 2½ 2½ 5 5c

1889 Scott 75 5c black/yellow
In 1889, the first perforated (13 1/2) issue for Antioquia was released (four stamps, one design). CV is <$1. Note the stamp know states "Departamento".

The "errors" of color found for the issue are essays or possibly reprints. 

1890 Scott 85 5c black/orange
Typeset, Perf 14
A five stamp provisional issue (four designs) was typeset in 1890. Scott states there are 20 varieties of the 5c denomination. Talk about primitive! CV is $4+-$10+.

 Printed by the 'IMPRENTA DEL DEPARTAMENTO' in Medellín, as a shortage of stamps existed.

1892 Scott 90 2 1/2c purple/lilac
Lithographed, Perf 13 1/2
In 1892, a lithographic three stamp, one design was issued. 

1893 Scott 95 5c vermilion
And in 1893, four more stamps in the same design, but different colors, were published.

CV for both the 1892 & 1893 issues are <$1-$2+.

1896 Scott 108 20c blue
Lithographed, Perf 14
In 1896, a twenty stamp one design issue was released.

1896 Issue Scott 97-108
Although lithographed, the stamps have an almost engraved appearance.

CV ranges from <$1 to $200.

1899 Scott 127 2p olive gray
"General Jose Maria Cordoba"
In 1899, an eleven stamp lithographic issue with one design (as above) was released. They are still extremely ubiquitous in general stamp mixtures, and for many collectors, would represent their first introduction to Antioquia. I noticed when I had many Big Blue albums as feeder albums, invariably there would be some of these Antioquia stamps in them.

1901 Scott 129 1c ultramarine
Typeset, Perf 12
In 1901, another typeset issue was released (five stamps, three designs). There are four varieties of the 1c denomination, according to Scott. Do you like primitive? I do. ;-) CV is <$1-$9.

1902 Scott 137 20c gray green
"Atanasio Girardot", Lithographed
The 1902 set (ten stamps, four designs) is very inexpensive (CV <$1).

1902 Issue Scott 131-140
But what is truly more attractive - a set produced by a well know printing house in New York or London for a country, or a set that is produced "in house"? I vote for the latter. ;-)

1903 Scott 143A 1c blue
In 1903, two more stamps were issued, in different colors, with the same design as the 1902 set.

1903-04 Scott 152 1p olive gray
"Custodio Garcia Rovira" 
In 1903-04, another thirteen stamp, three design issue was released, using lithography.  

1903-04 Issue Scott 145-152
CV is <$1-$10+. This 1903-04 issue would prove to be the last of Antioquia's output.

Registration 1899 Scott F3 2 1/2c dull blue
"Cordoba", Lithographed
An 1899 Registration stamp...

Acknowledgment of Receipt 1902-03 Scott  H1 5c black/rose
An Acknowledgement of Receipt stamp....

Late Fee 1901 Scott I2 2 1/2c red violet
A Late Fee stamp, in primitive typeset....

1896 Scott 55 1c green/pink
"Coat of Arms', Lithographed
Out of the Blue
Hopefully, this review of the primitive, but fascinating issues of Antioquia was found interesting!

Comments  Appreciated!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Monaco - Bud's Big Blue

Monaco, Scott #C53-C54, Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Although smaller than the average Kansas corn farm, Monaco cultivates more super wealthy folks per acre than any place on earth. It can afford tax shelters to protect this tender crop thanks to proceeds from tourists, gamblers (foreigners only) and stamp collectors.

The government prints more stamps than the locals need, then exports the surplus to not-so-wealthy collectors, a trickle-up irrigation scheme. Usually eBay has more Monaco stamp lots on offer than the country has people living there. Delcampe, a European auction site, is trying to sell ten times that number, starting as low as $0.02.

Some Monaco princes are said to have collected stamps but, apparently, not avidly enough to dry up the overproduction.

My Monaco stamps - all common as corn in Kansas - came entirely from feeder albums. A few have moderately high CVs, but none will win county fair ribbons.

Census: 143 in BB spaces, one tip-in, 49 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Bud has a realistic view of Monaco and it's stamps. I have imprinted on me - for better or for worse- my childhood romantic view. You see, I clearly recall the exotic triangular shaped Monaco stamps I received "on approval" from a certain well known dealer from Boston who advertised in "Boy's Life", guaranteed to increase in value. Then there was the whole Princess Grace - Prince Rainier thing in the news. Even now, there is a certain extra thrill when I obtain a Monaco stamp - vestiges from my childhood memories.

Monaco Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Middle Congo - Bud's Big Blue

Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
The following message arrived as I working on the Middle Congo post. It is written in Kikongo-Kituba, a creole language of the Kongo and Ndundu peoples who lived in the equatorial forests of the Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Brazzaville), formerly called Middle Congo and even more formerly the French Congo. I know nothing about Bantu/creole languages so I had to pay for a translation.

I’ve copied a few exact words from the message in italics.

French Congo Scott #42 pale blue; Middle Congo Scott #11 blue and green

Mbóté! (Hello!) Wa fasó? (How are you?) Please write this….

I told Bud “Stop! I want to write this post, not you!”

I am ndumba (the young woman) whose kifuanisu (picture, likeness) shows up many times in your Big Blue albums. You make a mistake to call me “Bakalois woman.” Mpilá ve! (No way! That’s impossible!) My language has no such word, and no other language has it, except Haitian Creole where it means dried cod fish. I am not Haitian and not a nkentó mbizi ya kuyúma (dried fish woman).

I am a nkongo (hunter) of the baladi a Bakongo (Bakongo tribe). See my dikongó (spear) and throwing club?  I am kuwa makasi nswalu ve (slow to anger) but can kupasula musuni bonso bambwa (tear flesh like dogs???) if I need to. I do not hunt elephants or sell dínu ya nzawu (elephant ivory).

My picture got reengraved after they quit calling where I live the French Congo. I like the second picture best. The ngò (leopard) got reengraved, too. 

French Congo Scott #37 scarlet and gray blue
Middle Congo Scott #3 blue and brown

My picture got used on stamps because the French wanted make people think they were very kind to us, and not like the Belgians who hurt and killed many of my people in what they call Belgian Congo. They wanted my kitoko (beauty) to say that we are not living in bumpika (slavery) but are being civilized. Our great French hero, di Brazzà, proved those claims untrue just before he died in 1905. No one paid attention to him.

After the Middle Congo ended, my picture was used on stamps of Chad and other places that they call French West Africa, I forget exactly where. You can’t see me very well because of ugly black ink on top of me.

After they no longer used me on their stamps, pictures of some buildings I’ve heard about took my place. One of them helps sick people. I’m glad about that.

 Matondo. (Thanks). I wish you ndunzi (happiness).

Pasteur Institute, Middle Congo, Scott #75 black on green

Sadly, she did not sign her message or give a return address. Her handwriting made translation difficult, but I think her meaning is clear enough.

She’s right about being reengraved. The first was done by Benjamin Damman who, although a great engraver for books, did poorly on stamps. The second, by Jules-Jacques Puyplat, improved greatly on the original. Puyplat also redrew and reengraved Damman’s French Somalia stamps.

She’s also right about what Brazza wrote just before he died. Word had gotten back to France about brutal crimes against local people committed by colonial overseers (1905). If true, the reports would threaten to falsify France’s loudly proclaimed “colonial civilizing mission.” Brazza, much trusted by native Congolese, was recruited to investigate. He found massive atrocities, but died on his way back to France. His report did not come to light until many years later.

And, I think she's correct about "Bakalois" being a word invented by stamp collectors. I've found no reference to it except for stamps with her image.

Brazza Monument and Mausoleum, Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo

Census: 97 in BB spaces, two tip-ins, 14 on the supplement page.

Jim's Observations
Of interest, Middle Congo had issued 33 postage due stamps between 1928-33, 30 of which are included in Big Blue.

I think it is somewhat surprising- and amusing- how many of the French colonies have a large number of issued postage due stamps. Did they really need that many? . Meanwhile, a literate country like Norway got by with 12 stamps during the same era. ;-)

Middle Congo Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!