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...

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Colombian States - Bolivar

Colombian States - Bolivar 1879 Scott 11 5c blue "Bolivar"
Dated "1879"; White Wove Paper; Perf 12 1/2
 Into the Deep Blue

Until the revolution of 1885, the States (including Bolivar) making up the United States of Colombia were sovereign states. After 1886, they then became Departments with governors appointed, but retained some of their rights, including issuing stamps up to 1904. 

Colombian States - Bolivar
Colombia (Map by Gerben van Gelder )

For Bolivar, stamps were issued between 1863-1904.

This is, of course, a bit in the philatelic backwaters of WW collecting, but Bolivar stamps are often quite CV inexpensive, and offer interesting identification challenges (Design, Paper).

Bolivar - a closer look

100 Centavos = 1 Peso

1979 Scott 12 10c violet "Bolivar"
White Wove paper, Perf 12 1/2
Dated "1879"
In 1879, the lithographed above design was issued in three stamp denominations, dated "1879". Of interest, the paper is either white wove or bluish laid: each a major number and an inexpensive CV.

This was the first perforated issue. The preceding ten stamps (major numbers) for 1863-1878 were imperforate (I don't have any).

1880 Scott 23 80c green "Bolivar"
White Wove paper
The 1880 issue of five stamps on white wove paper was identical in design to the 1879 issue, save for the "1880" date. CV for the issue is a very modest <$1-$5+.

Of interest, the 20c denomination is "red". But there is a 20c "green" ("error") color stamp listed in the catalogue (Scott 21a) for a very low CV $28!

I must comment though that, although the CVs are low, that doesn't mean the stamps are all that common in collections. 

1880 Scott 27 20c red "Bolivar"
Bluish Laid Paper
For the 1880 issue, four stamps can also be found on bluish laid paper (major numbers).

My scan washed out the bluish tint, but direct inspection reveals that this example is definitely laid bluish.

1882 Scott 29 5c blue "Bolivar"
White Wove paper; P 16 X 12
A somewhat older "Bolivar" and a different design, and dated "1882" issue on five stamps was released in 1882. CV is <$1-$1+.

The issue can be found with Perf 12 and Perf 16 X 12.  As far as I can recall, this may be the first 16 perf I've come across in my collection. 

1883 Scott 42 1p orange "Bolivar"
Dated "1883"; Perf 12 & 16 X 12
Next comes three lithographic "Bolivar" issues distinguished mainly by the inscribed date. 

The 1883 issue has five stamps, with CV <$1-$3+.

1884 Scott 45 20c red "Bolivar"
Dated "1884"
The "1884" issue of five stamps (CV <$1)...

The "Perf 12" of the 20c red is CV $16. The copy above (Perf 16 X 12) is CV nominal.

1885 Scott 53 80c green "Bolivar"
Dated "1885"
The 1885 issue of five stamps (CV <$1)...

1891 Scott 60 1p purple "Bolivar"
For 1891, a new design "Bolivar" issue of six stamps was released.

Of interest, the stamp appears "black" with the scan, but eye inspection reveals "purple".

1891 Issue Scott 55-60 "Bolivar"
Here is the complete 1891 issue in Deep Blue (Steiner pages).

1903 Scott 64 50c purple/pink "Bolivar"
Imperforate; Laid Paper
In 1903, a more interesting set was issued with four designs. The "Laid paper" version issue consists of  four denominations and eight major numbers in Scott.

The 50c denomination above comes in three major number (Scott 62-64) colors (dark blue, slate green, purple).

And then the paper color tints for the Scott 64 above comes in pink (major number CV $4), and minor numbers white, brown, greenish blue, lilac, rose, yellow, & salmon (CV $9-13).

1903 Scott 68g 10p dark blue/white 
"Jose Maria Garcia de Toledo"
Imperforate;  Laid Paper
The 10p dark blue I have is on white paper (Minor number 68g CV $20). The major number paper color tint is bluish (CV $2+), and there are six additional minor number color tints (CV $16-$24). Lots of possibilities!

1903 Scott 73 1p orange/salmon 
Jose Fernandez Madrid"
Laid paper; Sewing Machine Perf
The 1903 laid paper issue was also released in Sewing Machine Perforation (four denominations, eight major numbers, eleven minor paper color tint numbers). CV variations range from $2+ to $28.

There are also two minor number examples of white wove paper, and one example of minor number bluish wove paper. !!!

1904 Scott 90a 10c brown "Manuel Anguiano"
This 1904 lithographic issue for Bolivar consists of three designs and four denominations. CV is <$1-$16.

The major numbers have sewing machine perforations, and Scott lists imperforate pairs as minor numbers. My example looks like an imperforate, although obviously not a pair.

1904 Scott 92 20c red brown
"Pantaleon Ribon"
"Sewing Machine Perf"
Clearly the perforating machine and the stamps did not always line up well. ;-)

1904 Scott 95 2c purple 
The very last regular issue for Bolivar was an imperforate three denomination, three design issue.

CV is $1+-$2+. 

1903 Scott 67  5p carmine rose/lilac
"Jose Rodriquez Torices"
Imperforate;  Laid Paper
Out of the Blue
I know we are a bit in the weeds with the Colombian States issues, but I find them fascinating. And they generally have a low CV.  I didn't say they  are easily obtained, however. 

Comments appreciated!


  1. Very nice stamps and quite a nice description of them. I must admit that I had many questions about the states issues of Colombia while building a Smithsonian Stamp for Every Country album that your presentation here has admirably answered.

    1. Appreciated albumfilling. Yes, the Colombian States is a true philatelic backwater. ;-)

  2. It is amazing that the Scott 95 (2c purple imperforated) design is the same of the brazilian 1894-1906 stamp set!

    1. I don't see it. Could you be more specific?

    2. I think the Bolivar 2c purple imperforated (Scott 95) was inspired by the design of the brazilian stamps issued between 1894-1906. Check it, they are very similar: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-rFtHDtJDY_k/WqlbMxmT1LI/AAAAAAAAlxQ/_Ebkdi0amTMUSQ7f9pPNMUAwcAKcDrVUQCLcBGAs/s1600/Brazil112.jpg

    3. Yes, I see some of the design elements being similar.