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...

Friday, January 29, 2021

Mozambique - Bud's Big Blue

Scott #s 137, 129, and 145, blue
Vasco da Gama at sea, Mozambique overprint
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

There’s a story about a cat that tried to swallow an ostrich instead of a canary. I won’t retell it here for it doesn’t end well for the cat or the ostrich. Portugal and Mozambique might provide a fitting illustration for that story, though. Portugal (the colonizing cat) consists of a mere 35,603 square miles, while Mozambique (the ostrich colony) spreads over 309,496 squares. The cat, over several centuries, found that catching the ostrich was easier than making a meal of it. 

Scott #s 270-73
da Gama sighting landfall

That is to say, from the time Vasco da Gama landed on Mozambique Island (1498) until the late 19th century, Portugal actually controlled very little of what is now Mozambique, except for a few costal settlements. The sails on da Gama ships emblazed with a cross (see above) where probably not unfurled as he approached the Island. He had decided to pretend to be a Muslim so as not to offend the locals. They found him out and forced him to leave. The cat’s troubles start there.

Early traders and prospectors did venture into the interior searching for gold, but various native military and raiding groups, many coming from the Zulu Kingdom, prevented Portuguese cat from fully exploiting the region. Livestock, hostages, and wares intended for trade were seized, thereby disrupting efforts to extract wealth and weakening feline colonial authority. Moreover, other European powers set up aggravating outposts along the coastline

In the late 1800s, the Portuguese cat decided it needed better strategies for extracting wealth from Mozambique. Even as alliances with various chiefdoms and sheikdoms began to yield some success, Portugal still had little hope of exploiting the entire region on its own, so it adopted two catlike schemes; coincidentally, both schemes generated many stamps for collectors.

The first strategy established provincial governments in areas where Portugal had some reasonable hope of consolidating control. These include, in addition to Mozambique Colony which is the topic of this post, the provinces of Lourenco Marques and Inhambane; both have their own Big Blue pages.

A Portuguese rough riding cat named Joaquim Augusto Mouzinho de Albuquerque was instrumental in “pacifying” some Mozambiquan provincial areas; he then became a governor of Gaza, a province that did not have its own stamps. Eventually Mouzinho de Albuquerque committed suicide, although some say he was murdered. He remains a hero in Portugal.

Scott #276, the rough riding cat
Mozambique issued a series of charity stamps (1930-31) commemorating Mouzinho de Albuquerque triumphs. Inscribed at the bottom are the names of Gaza towns and villages that he brought under cat control.

Scott #s RA32-6, the rough rider a governor

While stamps were issued in the 1890s for some but not all provinces, the Mozambique Colony stamps were distributed throughout the provinces. Use of these stamps during the early and mid-1890s is symbolic of colonial bureaucrats’ and settlers’ gaining domination. The cat seems to be winning.

Scott #25, red lilac

Where hope of Portuguese control was dubious, chartered companies were authorized to exploit the land and people -- the Mozambique Company, Niassa Company, and Zambezia Company (including Quelimane and Tete). Beginning in the 1890s, each of these companies had their own stamps, first Portuguese issues inscribed with their names, then stamps issued by the companies themselves. These stamps, to be discussed according to their respective Big Blue locations, are symbolic of foreign company shareholders’ growing clout.

Instead of grouping all of Mozambique’s stamps in one place under a single heading, the Big Blue’s editors spread them throughout the album alphabetically by province or company name, giving the false impression that they were issued by independent nations.

Throughout Mozambique, whether managed by provincial bureaucrats or foreign shareholders, extreme abuses arose --- virtual slave labor, obligatory crops for export, high taxes, low wages, and land confiscation.

Scott #s 106-8, 215-16, 200 

The “Republica” and “Provisorio” overprints denote political changes in Portugal. The cat had, in addition to difficulties with its colonies, troubles back home. The Republic began following the October 5, 1910 revolution, thereby ending the Portuguese constitutional monarchy. The Republic lasted only 16 years; a coup d’état squelched it in 1926. Mozambique stamps of the classical era show more evidence of the upheavals in Portugal than in Mozambique.

Did the cat ever consume the ostrich? Well, during the years covered by the stamps on BB pages (all showing below), it did make a start on its exploitive repast -- the ostrich (both African people and land) suffered. But full control (consumption) was never achieved. An extended war for independence began in 1964. After ten years, the cat went home, tail dragging. 

Even when formal independence was finally achieved (1975), matters remained unsettled. The ostrich suffered yet another debilitating war (1977 to 1992) before the current democratic era emerged. As a result of these protracted conflicts, Mozambique was not declared free of land mines until 2015. Even today, the long-suffering ostrich is crippled by extensive poverty, corruption, smuggling, pollution, and loss of natural habitat -- problems traceable to years under the cat’s paws.

Census: 137 in BB spaces, one tip-in, 169 on supplement pages.

Photo credits:



Jim's Observations

Considering how "exotic" Mozambique appears and appeals to me, it would be easy to lament the Portuguese designs- reflecting none of the land, animals, or people of the colony. ( A hint of what could have been done will be demonstrated by the soon to be published post - Mozambique Company.)

But with the many local surcharges, they are still interesting stamps to collect. 

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Comments appreciated!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A Review of 2020: What I added to the collection August-December

Zanzibar 1936 Scott 213 10sh brown & green "Dhow"
 Into the Deep Blue

This post will review the stamps I added to my collection for August - December, 1920.

The last post looked at the January - July, 2020 time period.

Reviewing for the year and recapitulating what I said in the January-July post ....

I did achieve the goal of adding ~50 stamps roughly per month to my collection. The total for the year was 613 new stamps for Deep Blue (Steiner pages), with 85 of them also having a space in Big Blue.

For interest, here is the summary for 2019 and 2018.

As many of you know, I collect 1840-1940 WW & 1840-1952 British Commonwealth. I have some 51,000 stamps out of 83,000+ major number Scott catalogue possibilities for the era (61%). For specifics, see this post.

How did I do it? Because of COVID, little was done in the usual way (No stamp shows, club auctions etc).

And, rather than targeting missing stamps through want lists,  I mostly resorted to my old tried and true habit of obtaining country collections/accumulations/albums, and using them as feeders for my main collection.

To that end, let's look at what happened month by month for August - December.

August 55

(Colombia 22, Peru 12, Montenegro 11, South Africa 9, Great Britain 1)

The Colombia feeder album was highly successful with a total of 127 stamps added from May through August, with 22 of them in August. And Montenegro (11) and South Africa (9) were added from a WW stash picked up before COVID, and now being worked through.

But let's look at Peru...

My Peru additions are from a Peru feeder collection obtained just before the COVID lockdown from a dealer in Portland.

Dec 1858 Peru Scott 7 1d slate blue
The "Coat of Arms Un Dinero " lithographic stamps of 1858-1860 come in three designs ( 3 Scott major numbers). This specimen appears to be the Scott 7 December, 1858 (A5) design with large letters, double lined frame, and wavy lines in Spandrels (CV $45). Other issues are the Scott 3  March 1, 1858 stamp with small letters (A2) (CV $47+), and the Scott 9 1860 stamp (A7) with zigzag lines in spandrels (CV $10+ - I have this stamp).

1872 Peru Scott 15 1p orange 
"Coat of Arms" Embossed
The 1862 1d red  (A9) (CV $4+), the 1863 1p brown (A10) (CV $37+), and the 1872 1p orange (A10) (CV $55) are all embossed stamps. These stamps were printed in horizontal strips. Scott has a ominous note that "counterfeits exist" for the  A10 designs. I couldn't find enough information to tell if my specimen is genuine or not.

Peru 1937 Scott C33 1s red brown Photogravure
"Mines of Peru"
South American countries tend to issue a lot of air post stamps in the 1930s. The stamp above (CV <$1) is from a 1936-37 photogravure or engraved  issue of 24 stamps. It looks like Waterlow of London produced most of the air post stamps during this era.

Peru  1935 Scott J54 10c crimson "Pizarro"
Regular stamps of  1934-35 Overprinted in Black
For Peru, the postage due stamps of 1896-1936 sometimes used a  "deficit" overprint on regular issues.

September 50

(South Africa 3, Surinam 1, Trinidad & Tobago 1, Turkey 12, Zanzibar 4, Virgin Islands 6, Uruguay 8, 
British New Hebrides 1, Mozambique Company 1, Nicaragua 2, Norway 1, Tunisia 1, Thrace 6, Trinidad 3)

September's additions were all from the grouping of WW stamps I obtained from a local dealer prior to COVID. 

Lots of possible choices to feature here, but I chose exotic Zanzibar.

Zanzibar 1895-96 Scott  8 3a orange "Victoria"
Stamps of 1882-95 British India, Black Overprint
The first issues of Zanzibar used Indian stamps that were overprinted. The 1895-96 issue consisted of fourteen stamps, and were overprinted as shown. Note the overprinted 3a orange is CV $13+, but there are several overprinted misspellings recognized (Scott 8a "Zanzidar", Scott 8b "Zanizbar") with CV $1,150 and $7,500 respectively!

Zanzibar 1898 Scott  61A 7 1/2a lilac & red 
"Sultan Seyyid Hamed-bin-Thwain"
After 1896, the Sultans were represented on Zanzibar stamps, and the designs bear a resemblance to the Malay States stamps. (Zanzibar was a British Protectorate, not a colony.)

The engraved 1898 issue had ten stamps, and the CV of the 7 1/2 anna shown above is $20+ unused.

I should mention that, during this era, the Imperial powers traded the world's real estate as if it was a giant Monopoly board.  Specifically here, Great Britain and Germany solidified their holdings for themselves with the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty.

Zanzibar 1936 Scott 213 10sh brown & green "Dhow"
The 1936 engraved thirteen stamp issue, features, for the high denomination, this lovely 10sh brown & green "Dhow" design.  CV is $40 (unused). I must admit, these classic designs for the 1840-1940 WW period hooked me into collecting the era, and I don't regret it. !!

Zanzibar 1949 Scott 225 10sh light brown
Silver Wedding Issue - Common Design Type
Engraved: Name Typographed
I usually don't show the "common design type" for the 1948-49 Silver Wedding Issue, as some 61 British Commonwealth countries have them, and they are the same (save for different colors).

But obviously the 10 Shilling specimen was not collected as vigorously by collectors because of cost. Therefore the CV (unused) for this particular specimen is $29.

October 63

(Niue 47, Bechuanaland 10, Bechuanaland Protectorate 6)

Both the Nuie and Bechuanaland/ Bechuanaland Protectorate additions were from country collections obtained from an Oregon dealer just prior to COVID lockdown.

Let's look at Niue....

Niue 1902 Scott 4a 1p carmine "Commerce", Wmk 63, Perf 11X14
Stamps of New Zealand, Surcharged (Here Blue color)
Northeast of New Zealand, Niue (Savage Island) is located in the South Pacific Ocean. It was annexed to New Zealand, along with the Cook Islands, in 1901.

In 1902, stamps of New Zealand were surcharged in carmine, vermilion, or blue and released, resulting in six major numbers.

Wmk 63 "Double Lined N Z and Star"
The stamps can be found with Wmk 61 and Wmk 63, and unwatermarked. The example I am showing here is Wmk 63, Perf 11X14: Hence a Scott 4 variety. This variety shows no period after "PENI", and therefore Scott 4a (CV $50 (unused)). !! The ordinary Scott 4 is CV $2 unused.

Niue 1923 Scott 33 10sh red brown/blue overprint
Postal-Fiscal New Zealand stamps of 1906-15
Overprinted in Dark Blue or Red
This New Zealand postal-fiscal stamp overprinted for Niue  has a CV (unused) of $145. !!

An advantage of picking up a feeder collection is I can find unusual gems like this that I would never have put on a want list. 

Niue 1927 Scott 44 4p dull violet & black
"Avarua Harbor"
This stamp (CV $8 unused) is part of a four stamp engraved 1925-27 release. I am delighted, as this stamp also fills an empty space in Big Blue!

Niue 1935 Scott 69 6p dull orange & green "R.M.S. Monowai"
Silver Jubilee Issue - Types of 1932 Issue overprinted in Black or Red
Most Silver Jubilee issues (3 stamps) from the British Commonwealth are "common design" types. But Niue is one of the exceptions. Handsome issue! CV ranges from <$1-$6+.

Niue 1938 Scott 75 3sh yellow green & blue
"Coastal Scene with Canoe"
In 1938, a three stamp bi-color issue was released, and this lovely 3 shilling stamp (CV $22+) was included.  What a languorous image!

November 37

The dealer in Portland had broken down a very nice WW collection into country lots. I picked up a  South Australia collection which yielded 37 stamps for November, and 31 more for December.

(South Australia 37)

South Australia  October 1855 Scott 3 6p deep blue 
Wmk 6, "Victoria"
There were two engraved issues for South Australia that were imperforate: The 1855-56 "London print" (Perkins Bacon) of four stamps, and the 1856-59 "Local print" (Printer, of Stamps, Adelaide), using the Perkins Bacon plates, of five stamps. As near as I can tell, the stamps are recognized by their colors for which issue they are placed, as the printing plates were the same.

In this case, the Six Pence denomination can be found in a "deep blue" shade ("London" 1855) or a "slate blue" shade  ("Local" 1857). The CVs are identical ($200 used). My stamp appears to be the "deep blue " shade (1855 Scott 3).

South Australia 1859 Scott 10 1p yellow green "Victoria"
Wmk 6, Rouletted
There was a rouletted issue of four stamps released in 1858-59. They have the same colors as the 1856-59 "Local print" imperforate issue. There was a second rouletted issue of fourteen stamps printed between 1860-69. These have different colors than the 1858-59 rouletted issue. OK, so the one penny rouletted stamp above could be a member of 1858-59 issue if "yellow green" (CV $70), or a member of the 1860-69 issue if "sage green" (CV $55). I'm placing this stamp with the 1858-59 issue because I think the color is "yellow green". What do you think?

South Australia 1865 Scott 20 dull blue "Victoria"
As mentioned, the 1860-69 rouletted issue of fourteen stamps is known by the characteristic colors. Actually the six pence for this issue has seven colors recognized by the Scott catalogue: dull blue, sky blue, Prussian blue, ultramarine, indigo blue,  violet blue, & violet ultramarine. (If it is "slate blue:, then a member of the 1858-59 issue.)

The problem for us WW collectors is we do not have enough experience with this issue and multiple stamp examples to be sure if we have accurately determined the right color. Is this "dull blue" (CV $7+)? I note that, perusing general on-line collections of South Australia for this issue, I have my doubts they are accurate with color either.

South Australia 1860 Scott 20h violet blue
Another example of a Six Pence color variation: this definite violet shade stamp (If Scott 20h, then CV $8).

I should mention that there also exists Perforation 11 1/2-12 1/2 X roulette stamps (eight major numbers) , issued between 1867-72. 

Although I am complaining a bit about determining an accurate color designation for these engraved 1855- 1872 "Victoria" stamps, if I had the time (and money), it would be great fun investigating these stamps further. 

December 49

(South Australia 31, New South Wales 18)

I also picked up a New South Wales collection from the Portland dealer.

The "View of Sydney Harbor" imperforate stamps of 1850-51 are a specialist's delight, quite expensive, and I don't have any. ;-)

Let's look at some imperforate 1851-55 "Queen Victoria Laureates" stamps, which were engraved in Sydney by John Carmichael or H.C. Jervis.

New South Wales 1852 Scott 13 1p red
Bluish or grayish wove paper
Hard to tell with this scan, but visual examination reveals this stamp is on bluish paper. That places this stamp as an 1852 Scott 13 one penny. Shades recognized include red (major number), carmine, scarlet, and brick red. CV for the 1p red is $200. Other one penny stamps issued include the 1851 carmine on yellowish wove paper (CV $400), and 1852 1p orange brown on bluish vertically aid paper (CV $600).

As one can surmise, it is important to identify the type of paper with the "Queen Victoria Laureates" issues.

New South Wales two pence blue 
Resembles 1852 Scott 14, but a Forgery
The "Two Pence" stamp adds another layer of complexity: Plate I on has a background of wavy lines; Plate II has stars in corners; Plate III has a background of crossed lines.

Unfortunately, there are also forgeries. Note the head rear bun consists of white triangles?

Also, Scott lists some six color shades for "blue": Good luck with that! ;-)

New South Wales 6p brown
Resembles 1852 Scott 18 or 19, but a forgery
The Six pence comes in some six color shades and two plates. Plate I shows a background of fine lines; Plate II shows a background of coarse lines.

And then there are forgeries, which this stamp is a member. Note the heavy prominent vertical background lines?

New South Wales 1854 Scott 23 1p orange
Wmk 49: Double Lined Numerals Corresponding to the Value
The 1854-55 imperforate issue of nine stamps is relatively easy to figure out: They have watermarks!

The one penny orange shown here has a "1" watermark, which is the value. CV is $57+.

Out of the Blue
I hope you got something out of the parade of stamps illustrated here that were added during the 2020 year.

For next year (2021), I'm going to lower my goal to ~25 stamps added/ month. We will still be dealing with COVID restrictions for at least the first half of 2021, and I think some 25 stamps/month is more attainable. 

Comments appreciated!