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, May 2, 2021

German South West Africa - a closer look

1906-19 Issue Scott 34 5m slate & carmine
Wmk Lozenges; "Hohenzollern"
Into the Deep Blue

I obtained an almost complete collection (major number stamps) of German South West Africa just before the COVID lockdown last year. Why not then, do a "show & tell"- a closer look?

The original post is here...

I need to mention at the outset that the historical treatment of the Herero and Nama people of GSWA was grisly.  Bud explores this shameful chapter with his Big Blue Blog post.

A Closer Look
100 Pfennig = 1 Mark
1897 Stamps of Germany Overprinted
Hyphenated "Sudwest-Afrika"
The first issue was overprinted "Deutsch-Sudwest-Afrika", and derived from the 1889-90 German issue.  This 1897 issue is characterized by the overprint having a hyphen in "Sudwest-Afrika". CV (unused)  ranges from $4+ to $225.

1897 Scott 4 20pf ultramarine
Stamps of Germany Overprinted
Hyphenated "Sudwest-Afrika"
German immigrants were present in GSWA - 2,600 in 1902; 13,000 by 1913.

So it is fun to look at postmarks - here GOBABIS

1897 Scott 5 25pf orange
Stamps of Germany Overprinted
Hyphenated "Sudwest-Afrika"
The 25pf orange and the 50pf red brown were prepared, but not sent to the colony*. This unused specimen (above) has a CV of $225,

* A few specimens were, in fact, postmarked from the colony. CV = $28,000. !!

1898-99 Stamps of Germany Overprinted
No Hyphen in  "Sudwestafrika"
The 1898-99 overprinted issue does not have a hyphen in "Sudwestafrika". CV ranges from $3+ to $350.

1898-99 Scott 8 5pf green 
Stamps of Germany Overprinted
No Hyphen in  "Sudwestafrika"
Note the postmark "Swakopmund"("Mouth of the Swakop River")? This was a port (harbor - founded 1892) on the coast with access into the interior, and linked towns via the State Railway (Staatsbahn -1902) such as Windhoek (capital) with the coast. 

GSWA Map ~Circa 1915
Note "Swakopmund" on the middle coast, with the Staatsbahn  (red lines) into the interior. 

1898-99 Scott 11 25pf orange
Stamps of Germany Overprinted
No Hyphen in  "Sudwestafrika"
Provided this overprint and postmark is genuine (Swakopmund), this used 25pf orange specimen has a CV of $400 (unused is $350).

1898-99 Scott 12 50pf red brown
Stamps of Germany Overprinted
No Hyphen in  "Sudwestafrika"
The 50pf red brown has a considerably less CV @ $20. 

1901 Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern" Issue 
3pf-80pf Denominations; No Wmk
The 1901 Kaiser's Yacht "No Wmk" issue has nine typographed stamps for the 3pf-80pf denominations.  CV ranges from a modest $1+ to $2+.

1901 Scott 18 30pf orange & black/salmon
No Wmk; "Hohenzollern" 
The 30pf is $2+ used, but $80 unused. Note the 4-12-01 postmark from Skakopmund.

1901 Scott 20 50pf purple & black
No Wmk; "Hohenzollern" 
Rather an iconic design. The 50pf has the same CV for used and unused: $2+.

1901 Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern" Issue 
1m-5m  Denominations; No Wmk
The 1m-5m denominations are engraved in a horizontal format.

1901 Scott 24 3m black violet
No Wmk; "Hohenzollern" 
The 3m black violet has a CV of $30+ (unused). Another iconic stamp.

1901 Scott 25 5m slate & carmine
No Wmk; "Hohenzollern" 
The 5m slate & carmine has a postmark from Windhuk (Windoek), the capital. The CV is $160.

1906-19 Kaiser's Yacht "Hohenzollern" Issue 
Wmk Lozenges
The second "Kaiser's Yacht" issue of nine stamps was watermarked, and was nominally issued between 1906-19. But GSWA was occupied in 1915 by South African troops during WWI, and then mandated in 1922 to the Union of South Africa (South-West Africa) by the League of Nations.

Wmk Lozenges (125)
The "Lozenges" watermark is usually fairly easy to see. If in doubt, use watermarking fluid (I use "Clarity", a non-toxic solution).

1906 Scott 27 5pf green "Hohenzollern" 
Wmk Lozenges
A 5pf green with a clear "Deutsch Westafrika" postmark. Generally, "used" have more CV than "unused" for this issue..

1912 Scott 31 1m carmine "Hohenzollern" 
Wmk Lozenges
Remember that German horizontal higher denomination stamps of the era traditionally have two postmark strikes per stamp. I think this "Swakopmund" postmark has a 1914 date. CV is $80 (used), while an unused specimen has a CV of $10+. Obviously, one has to be aware of the possibility of forged cancellations.

1911 Scott 32 2m blue "Hohenzollern" 
Wmk Lozenges
The 2m blue (Wmk unused) has a CV of $10+. Be aware that the 3m black violet (Wmk ) was issued in 1919, and hence never placed in use. Therefore, the stamp is only found "unused" in collections. 

1911 Scott 30 30pf  orange & black/pale yellow 
Wmk Lozenges; "Hohenzollern" 

Out of the Blue
I think it would be fun to delve deeper into "used" GSWA stamps, and see what postmarks one could find, and relate them to the settlement history of the day.


Comments appreciated!


  1. Lovely, informative post with great content and stamps!

  2. A sad history. Namibia is a wonderful and beautiful country to visit. With the pandemic and being stuck at home and desperately needing an outlet from work, I took up stamp collecting from my youth once more. I relatively recently came across this blog and have been inspired and informed by the information and community. I recently subscribed to Steiner as this suits my interest best, but I will try and keep a virtual Big Blue. I wanted to thank everyone and especially Jim for all the wonderful and useful information provided.

    1. Thanks for your kind comments Tyrannus - much appreciated! I went with Steiner some 10 years ago, and have never regretted it. Good choice!