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, August 29, 2021

Dominican Republic 1902 Issue - Center Inverted!


1902 Scott 145a 2c scarlet & black
"Juan Pablo Duarte"
Center Inverted
Into the Deep Blue

I think many of us collectors harbor the not so secret wish that we might discover a great rarity someday: better still if it is a spectacular "center inverted", such as the upside down "Jenny" (Scott C3a CV $850,000 never hinged).

Well, what if I told you, although a great rarity is probably not in the cards, obtaining inverted specimens from the classical stamp period is not out of the question?

At a local Stamp Club meeting back in 2011, I was offered a complete set of "inverteds" from the engraved bi-color Dominican Republic 1902 Scott "400th anniversary of Santo Domingo" issue. How could I pass it up?

For more on the Dominican Republic proper and their stamps, see...

1902 Scott 144 & 144a 1c dark green & black
"Francisco Sanchez"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Original & Center Inverted
Well, how could an engraved bi-color stamp become "inverted"?

Rather simple. Back in the early classical stamp era, generally a bi-color stamp would require two printing press passes to manufacture the stamp: One for the frame, and one for the center.

If a mistake was made in placing the frame and center correctly, a sheet of "center inverted" stamps might be produced.

Regarding this stamp...

Note the lovely portrait of a sailing vessel under the "1502" date? Then note the more "modern" ship under the "1902" date? Interestingly, the modern ship is still equipped with sails.

Regarding Francisco Sanchez....

Francisco Sanchez was one of the three hero-patriots of the Dominican Independence (from Haiti) movement in 1844. When Duarte was exiled, Sanchez was the voice of the rebellion. The Son of Afro-Dominican parents, he was a man of action, but also taught himself Latin and French. He was exiled by General Santana for four years, but then returned. When he objected to Santana returning the Dominican Republic to Spain as a colony in 1861, he was executed.

1902 Scott 145 & 145a 2c scarlet & black
"Juan Pablo Duarte"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Original & Center Inverted
Well, what did I pay for the six "center inverted" 1902 issue stamps? - $39 or $6.50/stamp. The CV in 2011 for these "center inverted" stamps was $6/stamp (unused). (The CV for 'normal" stamps in the seven stamp set ranged from 25c to 50c.)

If you compare, the price is about 14,000 times less than the 1901 U.S. Pan-American 4c inverted (CV $85,000). !!

The CV price in the 2020 Scott catalogue has risen somewhat: $17.50/stamp - Not much!

Why is this "inverted" so inexpensive? - I can think of three reasons..

a) Example: The Liberia Scott 62a bi-color 1905 5c ultramarine & black "Elephant" "center inverted" stamp has a CV of $1,600 presently. It objectively is as rare as the USA "inverted Jenny" C3a, as both are known with only ONE SHEET of 100 stamps. Yet the USA C3a is 280X- 530X CV more expensive.  Clearly, POPULARITY and DEMAND is a large part of price.

b) I greatly suspect there were many sheets of the "inverted center" 1902 Dominican Republic issue available (more on this later). That would clearly drive down price.

c) The third reason is that Scott is undervaluing the CV for these stamps.

The Linn's article (7-5-2019) above, by Henry Gitner & Rick Miler, says there is strong demand for these 'center inverted" stamps, and one could pay at least $30/stamp for them, even in less than very fine grade.                                                                                                             
Regarding this stamp...

Note the wonderful period artistry of the stamp with the native portraiture on the left (carrying "mail"!) , and the "modern" poles and wires on the right.

1902 Scott 146 & 146a 5c blue & black
"Juan Pablo Duarte"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Original & Center Inverted
A look at the "center inverted" stamps would suggest they are of the same quality as the originals. This does not look like worn plates being pilfered and "center inverted" variations being produced, or printer waste. Rather, it suggests that the "center inverted" stamps were produced deliberately (My own opinion); or, if produced by production error, the "center inverted" stamps were not destroyed (as the U.S. postal administration would try to do), but obtained by the philatelic trade.

Regarding Duarte...

Duarte is considered the Father of the independence movement from Haiti. The highest mountain in the Dominican Republic (Pico Duarte) is named for him, and there is Juan Pablo Duarte Square along the Avenue of the Americas in New York City.

He was asked to be the first President in 1844, but was exiled by General Pedro Sanatana. Now Santana and his conservative cohorts believed the best way to prevent being absorbed by Haiti was to align the Dominican Republic with Spain's interests. In fact, as mentioned, in 1861 Sanatana returned the Dominican republic to Spain as a colony. Duarte died in exile in Caracas, Venezuela.

1902 Scott 147 10c orange & black
"Francisco Sanchez"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Original (No Center Inverted exists)
Of interest, the 10c orange & black is not known inverted. The other six stamps in the set are known inverted. I'm sure there is a story behind this.

1902 Scott 148 & 148a 2c purple & black
"Ramon Meila"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Original & Center Inverted
I speculated earlier above on the possible origin of the inverted stamps. My own opinion is that the 1902 "center inverted" samples were deliberately produced.

Of interest, the Gibbons Stamp Weekly of Oct 16, 1909, page 377 states:

"There seems to be some doubt as to the status of these six stamps, it being considered by certain people that all of the above errors were the outcome of a "special request". Whether or not these inverted stamps  were printed to order I do not profess to know, that being scarcely a point of concern here. The stamps are not rare and can be in the collection of all who desire them."

One can tell from this early comment (1909), two points:

a) It is clear that the origin of these center inverted stamps was not definitively known by the author: otherwise he would have said so. Certainly, the speculation was that shenanigans was involved. It might even be hinted (in the circuitous writing style of the day ), that some people actually did know the "special request" story. It is certainly possible that a Dominican Republic specialist, or a specialist journal might know or reveal more of the story.

b) It was recognized, even at this early time, that the 1902 "center inverted" stamps were easily available and obtained.

Regarding the stamp design...

Note the man with a torch under "1502", and the street lamp under "1902". There is a woman on a pedestal below the street lamp. What does that signify?

1902 Scott 149 & 149a 20c rose & black
"Ramon Meila"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Original & Center Inverted
Regarding "Ramon Melia"...

Ramon Mella was the third patriot of the Independence movement. He was known for "the shot". When the rebel group was vacillating about strategy- inviting failure- a load from his blunderbuss shook the group out of their hesitation.

1902 Scott 150 & 150a 50c brown & black
"Ft. Santo Domingo"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Original & Center Inverted
The highest denomination (50 centavos brown & black) has a center inverted of Ft. Santo Domingo.

Regarding the stamp design...

Note the man on a horse on the left, and the 'modern" train on the right.

1902 Scott 150a 50c brown & black
"Ft. Santo Domingo"
"400th Anniversary of Santo Domingo"
Center Inverted
Out of the Blue
Well, these are lovely "center inverted" stamps! I would think, considering that they are some CV 14,000 times less than the 1901 U.S. Pan-American 4c inverted, and equally as handsome, the discerning WW collector might want to obtain an example or two. !!

Note: Some of the information presented here was originally posted by me on 9-15-2011 on the Stamp Community Family forum  (https://www.stampcommunity.org/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=18564)

Comments appreciated!

Friday, August 20, 2021

New Guinea - Bud's Big Blue

A 1930 map of eastern New Guinea Island (*)
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Big Blue has a full roost of Guineas. Jim sorts out this confusion, “confusion” being the proper word for a brood of guinea fowl, in his post on Guinea (Portuguese Guinea) (click here).  

This particular Guinea, being the former German New Guinea, is known as the Territory of New Guinea. It’s a section of New Guinea Island, but not the whole island -- only about a fourth of it.  When Germany lost World War I, the League of Nations divided its colonies among the victors. As of December 17, 1920, Australia got to administer what became the “new” New Guinea. Although in many ways linked to and reliant on Papua, its neighbor to the south, New Guinea continued as a distinct territory until 1975. Then it formally joined Papua to become Papua New Guinea, an independent nation in the British Commonwealth.

Junkers monoplane over the Bulolo Valley Goldfield, #c47, one pence, green

New Guinea, the island, is mostly steep mountains, some with snowy tops. It’s home to thousands of tribes and maybe more than 800 different languages. Few roads, no railways. European colonization never achieved more than a thin veneer of control along the coastline. The coastal and sparse interior settlements were, and still are, connected mainly by boats and airplanes. New Guinea, not surprisingly, produced a greater variety of stamps for airmail than for surface mail.

#c7, six pence, bister

New Guinea issued stamps from 1924 through 1937. Japanese occupation during World War II ended this sequence. Following the war, Australian stamps were used until 1952 when the first Papua New Guinea issues were released (well before formal unification).

There are only four New Guinea stamp designs, some with overprints and minor variations: native huts, bird of paradise, and an airplane flying over a river valley, plus the George VI coronation common design. In some ways interesting cancellations make up for the lack of variety. 

“Finchhafen” cancel on #7, six pence, bister

For example, the “Finchhafen” cancel (above) has a spelling error. It should be Finschhafen, but the Australians running the postal service dropped the “s”. Germans would not have made the mistake. Cancellations are the main topic of book titled The Postal History of the Territory of New Guinea from 1888 to 1942 by John Powell and updated by Andrew Loughran. Page images are accessible online, but cannot be downloaded.

Wau cancel, 27 July 1939, on #c49, two pence, red orange

Wau is situated on the western slopes the Bulolo River Valley and was the gateway to the goldfields. The mining warden lived there as well as geologists and surveyors. Before air transport was introduced, 1927, native carriers took weeks to cross mountains and rivers to reach the settlement, a distance of 70 miles from the coast. The Wau post office opened in 1930.

Gold dredging near Wau

Notice the fleet of Junkers monoplanes (above, upper left) that shuttled gold, machinery, personnel and mail between the Bulolo site and the coast. Gold dredging was rather more invasive (less romantic, less green) than New Guinea’s airmail stamps portray.

#c47, right panel

Collectors interested in New Guinea cancellations can find resources online -- well documented descriptions of gold mining, often rather self-congratulatory, and histories of the postal service that connected the mines to the rest of the world. Used New Guinea stamps commonly command higher prices than mint; the same is true in many South Pacific countries.


A linguistic digression:

How did an island in the East Pacific get named after a part of Africa?

Yñigo Ortiz de Retez, a Spanish explorer, landed on the large island north of Australia in 1545 and, because he thought its people resembled those he had seen along the West African seaboard, he named it New Guinea. European adventurers of the 15th century typically referred to the area near modern-day Senegal as “Guinea,” a label that persisted during 18th century colonization of West Africa -- hence Portuguese Guinea, Spanish Guinea, Gulf of Guinea, Guinea hen, and so forth.

Some linguists trace the word “guinea” to a Berber language, Tuareg, in which aginaw refers to black people (**). Others, who suggest that aginaw is a bit of a stretch, offer Djenné, an African city name, as being a more probable origin. In any case, Europeans found many uses for the term, including a British gold coin. Colonizers feverishly extracted West African gold long before the New Guinea mines opened.

I should also mention my granddaughter’s guinea pig, Cookie. She, the rodent not my granddaughter, is banned from my stamp room where a strict no-paper-gnawing-pet ordinance holds sway. Cookie is cute, though. Her forbearers came from South America, not Africa or the South Pacific islands. Perhaps early domesticators mistook guinea for Guyana. We addle-pated stamps collectors sometimes make the same mistake. It’s what wordsmiths call a malaprop or “eggcorn” (acorn). Guyana, for its part, has laid philatelic claim to its furry ex-patriots

2014 Guyana souvenir sheet (obviously not in my collection)

Census: 68 in BB spaces, six on the supplement page.

*   https://recollections.nma.gov.au/issues/vol_1_no_1/papers/the_papuan_collection

** https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2017/09/12/why-the-world-has-so-many-guineas

Jim's Observations

Obscure territorial changes after wars- and their subsequent stamp production- is one of the delightful surprises awaiting WW classical collectors.

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Comments appreciated!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Cyprus 1928-34 - a closer look

1928 Scott 121 18pi dark brown & black 
Into the Deep Blue

Cyprus has some wonderful pictorials between 1928-1934. Let's show them off! 

The original Cyprus blog post is here.

1928 Scott 114 3/4pi dark violet 
"Silver Coin of Amathus"
The engraved 1938 set of ten pictorials, issued for the 50th year of Cyprus as a British colony, is particularly well designed. There is much of Cyprus and little of British influence, which is refreshing.
Lion's Head Facing Right
Silver Coin from Amathus, 350 B.C.

The stamp has a similar image as this 350 B.C. standard circulation coin from Amathus, an important ancient royal Greek settlement on Cyprus.

1928 Scott 115 1pi Prussian blue & black
"Philosopher Zeno"
5th century B.C.E. Zeno of Elea is known for his paradoxes.....

"For anyone (S) to traverse the finite distance across a stadium from p0 to p1 within a limited amount of time, S must first reach the point half way between p0 and p1, namely p2.

S is on a line at p0 on a line that extends to p1. p2 is halfway between p0 and p1 and p3 is halfway between p0 and p2. p4 is halfway between p0 and p3.

Before S reaches p2S must first reach the point half way between p0 and p2, namely p3. Again, before S reaches p3S must first reach the point half way between p0 and p3, namely p4. There is a half way point again to be reached between p0 and p4. In fact, there is always another half way point that must be reached before reaching any given half way point, so that the number of half way points that must be reached between any pn and any pn-1 is unlimited. But it is impossible for S to reach an unlimited number of half way points within a limited amount of time. Therefore, it is impossible for S to traverse the stadium or, indeed, for S to move at all; in general, it is impossible to move from one place to another.*"  * From Plato/standford.edu

1928 Scott 116 1 1/2pi red "Map of Cyprus"
The engraved ten stamps of the 1928 issue, which celebrates the 50th year of Cyprus as a British colony, has a rather high CV: ranges from $1+ to $275. !!

1928 Scott 117 2 1.2pi ultramarine
"Discovery of the Body of St. Barnabas"
St. Barnabas is the patron saint of Cyprus, and was thought to have been born around the same time as Christ's birth.

1928 Scott 118 4pi deep red brown
"Cloisters of Bella Paise Monastery"
Bellapais Abbey is the ruin of a monastery built in the 13th century by the Canons Regular.

1928 Scott 119 6pi dark blue
"Badge of the Colony"
In 1960, British rule ended. Conflict between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots continued, ultimately leading to war in 1974, and the division of the island.

Division of Cyprus

1928 Scott 120 9pi violet brown
"Hospice of Umm Haram at Larnaca"
The historic Islamic Mosque of Umm Haram , built in the 1700s, was to honor the foster mother of Mohammad.
1934 Scott 125 1/4pi yellow brown & ultramarine
The 1934 engraved issue of eleven stamps likewise mostly feature Cyprus scenes.

1934 Scott 127 3/4pi violet & black
"Peristerona Church"
The issue does have a small vignette of George V on some stamps. Nine of the 1934 Cyprus scenes were repeated for the 1938-44 George VI issue.

1934 Scott 128 1pi brown & black
CV for the eleven stamp 1934 set ranges from <$1 to $85.

1934 Scott 133 9pi dark violet & Black brown
"Queen's Window, St. Hilarion Castle"
This is a scene which is only found in the 1934 issue.

1934 Scott 134 18pi olive green & black
I must say these scenes are most agreeable, and are full of ancient history references. For those that would like more, I've linked the stamp descriptions with a resource.

1934 Scott 132 6pi blue & black
Out of the Blue

I hope these classic stamps will whet your appetite to learn more about ancient Cyprus!

Note: Lion's Head Coin image © American Numismatic Society (ANS): Used here for educational purposes.
Cyprus Division Map is from Wikipedia.

Rueful note: I don't think I've ever had a harder time completing a blog post as this one. It sat for a month without me finishing it. True, I was quite busy with other things.

Comments appreciated!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Newfoundland - Bud's Big Blue

Newfoundland #s 15a violet brown and 19 reddish brown
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Because Newfoundland stamps are highly sought after, Big Blue’s Newfoundland spaces are rather difficult to fill. Feeder albums tend to have many blank spaces, especially for the earlier stamps. Filling these blanks individually takes time and luck unless, of course, you resort to forgeries. In earlier years, Newfoundland’s stamps were not given the respect they deserve. But, judging from prices recently realized at on-line auctions, that’s no longer the case. Serious Newfoundland collecting requires a Pentagon-sized budget,

Forgeries make collecting Newfoundland dangerous. Not only are the early stamps forged, often crudely, but bogus copies extend through to the end of Newfoundland’s stamps for the rarer examples. Some of these fakes are expensive. Ed Wener has produced a comprehensive guide to the forgeries, found at: http://www.jacestamps.com/e-books/Newfoundland_Stamps_Fakes_and_Forgeries.pdf. This 36-page essay can be downloaded. Using Wener’s pointers, I’m in the process of evaluating my entire Newfoundland collection. For example, I judge my green three pence triangle to be a genuine #11a. (I’ll post the full results when I’m finished.) Thankfully, #11a is the least expensive of the green triangles.

Newfoundland #11, green

Newfoundland’s variety of youthful Prince of Wales stamps provides and interesting challenge for collectors. Scott assigns seven major numbers to these, plus two minor numbers. But there are only two spaces provided in Big Blue for them. These one cent stamps were intended for mailing newspapers and are often found in “mint” condition but without gum. Actually, they’re used. The post office ordinarily did not cancel stamps on newspapers, so they were easily soaked and sold as mint in the collectors’ market. 

New Brunswick #11 black, Newfoundland #s 32 violet, 32a brown lilac, 

41 violet brown, 44 deep green.
Note: these are showing stacked as tip-ins on the supplement page

The first of these (#32, 1868) was designed by the National Bank Note Company (Boston). When the initial supply ran out, replacements were ordered from the American Bank Note Company (New York) which created a new die and used a slightly different color (#32a, 1871). This variety went through several printings, including a rouletted issue (1877). Forgeries by the Spiro brothers and possibly by Oneglia exist, according to Wener, as well as sundry extremely poor efforts, including one in blue. Based on Wener’s descriptions, I think my #s 32 and 32a are genuine.

In 1880 yet another slightly different design was produced -- this by the British American Bank Note Company (Montreal) -- and issued in various shades of brown and green. (See #s 41 through 45, 1880-1897). Wener identifies no forgeries for these, they being perhaps too common to reward a forger’s efforts.

All of these stamps appear to be inspired by a photo of the Prince in a Scottish highland outfit (see it in Bud’s Big Blue New Brunswick post), but there are subtle engraving differences. Sometimes his tartan sash is secured by a broach, sometimes not. Sometimes the feather is on the right side of his cap, sometimes on the left. The tartan pattern, meant to be Royal Stewart and Dress Stewart Saxony, varies from stamp to stamp. Engravers took their liberties, perhaps working from earlier stamps rather than the original photo. I wonder if prince, later King Edward VII, noticed or cared.

Newfoundland stamps are sure to provide collectors with many entertaining hours. See Jim’s three detailed posts (here) (here) and (here).

As mentioned above, I intend to reevaluate all my Newfoundland stamps thanks to Wener’s tutelage. I’m hoping my #s 28a and 31 are both genuine, but we’ll see….

Newfoundland #s 28a pale red brown, 31 blue

Census: 153in BB space, eleven tip-ins, 23 on the supplement pages.

Jim's Observations

Newfoundlanders are self reliant, many making a living through fishing (cod, herring, lobster). But the Depression hit Newfoundland hard, and they ceded self governance back to London in 1934. Yet, the reluctance to join Canada as one of the provinces continued until 1949: and even then, 48% voted no on the referendum.

What that means for the stamp collector is a long run of fascinating issues from 1857-1949 on the topics of native animals and nature, an extractive economy, and royalty! 

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Comments appreciated!