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, September 24, 2021

Nossi Be - Bud's Big Blue

Madagacar #398, multicolored, 1966
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Nossi Be,” in the language of those who live there, means “Big Island.” Never mind that it rates only a tiny dot on most maps, if it gets any notice at all, and that it is dwarfed by its nearby neighbor, Madagascar, a truly big island. Ten Nossi Bes would fit snugly into Rhode Island; over 1842 into Madagascar.

 The motto on its coat of arms, “Nosy Magnitry,” proclaims it to be an island of perfumes. Coffee, vanilla, rum, black pepper and cinnamon are produced there, too, and it has become a hot tourist resort despite warnings about traveler safety.

 France issued postage for Nossi Be from 1889 through 1894, first using overprinted French Colonies stamps and then the Navigation and Commerce series with “Nossi Be?” inscribed -- a total of 44 regular issues and 17 postage dues. Since 1896, the island has been part of Madagascar.

French Colonies #J6 cancelled in Nossi Be, 1902 (?)

This small number of stamps might be tempting to collect in its entirety were it not for the forgeries. For now, I’ve contented myself with filling Big Blue’s seven spaces. I would like to have an early cancellation form Hell-ville, though. Named for the French Admiral de Hell, Nossi Be’s capital shows up as Helville rather than Hell-ville on cancelled stamps. Was the postmaster too genteel? too prudish?

Hell-ville post and telegraph office

Since I don’t have a Hellville cancel yet, I borrowed the one shown above. I strongly suspect the obliteration is fake since I’ve seen several virtually identical to it on-line. And 1902 is rather late for a cancel on French Colonies #J6.

Census: seven in BB spaces.

Jim's Observations

Nossi-Be (Nosy Be, "Big Island" in Malagasy) is an island in the Indian Ocean, five miles off the coast of Madagascar.

It was a French protectorate, and had surcharged/overprinted French Colony stamps issued between 1889-1893, and "Navigation and Commerce" stamps issued in 1894. 

The population was 9,000 in 1900, and the Capital was Hell-ville (now Andoany). (The capital was named after a person, not for a region in the netherworld. ;-)

In 1896, the island was put under the administration of Madagascar, and the stamps of Madagascar were hence used.

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Comments appreciated!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Denmark "Royal Emblems" Issues 1851-1863: A closer look

1855 Scott 3 2s blue "Royal Emblems"
Dotting in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
Into the Deep Blue

The 1851-1863 "Royal Emblems" square shaped imperforated and rouletted stamps of Denmark, the very first issues, are fascinating - Definitely worth a closer look!

They are typographed printed (Alas, not engraved!), and have a "Small Crown" (Wmk 111) watermark, with a few examples having a "Crown" (Wmk 112) watermark.

Scott has ten major numbers between 1851-63, and  nine major numbers show the "Royal Emblems" overall design (Scott 1 has a different look).  The CV is relatively modest for Scott 2 ($40), Scott 4 ($15), and Scott 7 ($8+). Others are a bit more expensive: (Scott 3 ($60); Scott 5 ($67+); Scott 8 ($82+)). 

Finally, the Scott 1($1,000) is quite expensive (Not a "Royal Emblems" design, and will not be covered here); the Scott 6 is $190, and the Scott 10 is $650 (although "Royal Emblems", I don't have, and will not be covered). These CV prices are for "used" from the 2020 Scott catalogue.

Resources consulted for this post include the Scott catalogue, the Michel Classic Europe 1840-1900 catalogue (2017), and the Scandinavian Facit catalogue (2008 Special).

96 Skilling "S"  (Rigsbank Skilling "RBS") = 1 Rigsbank Daler

1851 Scott 2 4rs brown "Royal Emblems"
A2 design; Yellow Brown Burelage
The "Royal Emblems" motif design was used for the first issue (1851- this one stamp), the 1854-57 issue, and the 1858-62 & 1863 issue. 

The 1851 Scott 2 (above) has an A2 design; the 1854-57 issue (four stamps) has the A3 design; the 1858-62 issue (two stamps) has the A4 design, while the rouletted 1863 issue (two stamps) have an A4 and A3 design respectively. The difference in design will become clear as we discuss the respective issues.

The A2 design (above): for the frame, has "Kongeligt" and ""Frimerke" printed out on the left and right sides respectively (unique for A2).

The major color is "brown", although Scott does list "yellow brown" & ""chestnut" for minor colors.

Note the numeral postmark "36" for this stamp? The 2020 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue lists the towns/ P.O locations (some 173 of them!) that these numeral postmarks signify, and "36" is "Kolding" with a CV of $52+.

Note the Yellow Brown Burlage?
All of the "Royal Emblems" designs stamps have a burlage imprinted on the stamp paper (sometimes fairly weak). Of interest, the first printing of the 1851issue (Scott 1 & 2) had the burlage printed from a copper plate, giving a clear impression, while the rest of the impressions for the issue(s) were typographed.

In total, four plates were used for the 4rs, with 100 cliches in each plate.

1st printing (plates 1 & 2): (Ferslew): April 1, 1851: 3.8 million
2nd printing (plates 1 & 2): (Thiele): April, 1852: 4 million
3rd printing (plates 1 & 2): (Thiele): 1853: 4 million
4th printing (Plates 3 & 4): (Thiele): 1854: 4 million

Upper row: "Small Crown" (Wmk 111)
Lower row: "Small Crown" & "Crown" (Wmk 112)
All of the 1851-63 "Royal Emblem" stamps are watermarked. And the good news, is they are usually easy to see, often even without watermarking fluid. !!

The 1851, 1854-57, and the 1858-62 (with one exception) issues are all Wmk 111 ("Small Crown"). The rouletted 1863 issue is Wmk 112 ("Crown").

The difference? The lower oval is larger for Wmk 112, and the upper two irregular circles for Wmk 112 also are larger and bulge out a little more (But not as much as Wmk 113).

1851 Scott 2 4rs"Royal Emblems"
A2 design; Yellow Brown Burelage
I think the color for this 1851 Scott 2 is more of a "maroon-brown" rather than "brown". Michel lists a "red-brown" for 1852. Facit lists "chocolate-brown" shades, "red-brown" shades, "black-brown", "yellow-brown", "chestnut", "grey-brown", "olive-brown", and "nut-brown".

Note "1"? for the numeral postmark? - Might be "Kjobenhawn" (CV $40). 

1851 Scott 2 4rs"Royal Emblems"
A2 design; Yellow Brown Burelage
It is clear that a bulls-eye cancel (with dot in the middle) was also used. The numeral cancellations are only found after October, 1852.

I should mention that Facit illustrates a number of consistent plate flaws for the 1851 4rs, if one wants to go down that specialist's rabbit hole. ;-)

1855 Scott 3 2s blue "Royal Emblems"
A3 Design: Dotting in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
Between 1854-57, a four stamp issue was produced with the A3 design.

The issue has "KGL" and "FRM" in the frames along the left and right sides respectively. But the 1858-62 issue has the same look, so the difference is the "Dotting in Spandrels".

This 2s stamp was first issued July 5, 1855.

CV (unused) is $75 for the 2s.

The Scott 3 2s in Scott is only listed as "blue". To me, this stamp has more of an aquamarine color. Michel also lists "light blue". Facit has "blue in shades", "light blue", "greenish blue", and "dark blue".

1855 Scott 3 2s blue "Royal Emblems"
Dotting in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
The color looks to me to be a "blue".

The "1" numeral postmark indicates "Kjobenhavn" (CV $40).

The 2s was printed using 2 plates. (One printing: 4 million)

Close-up of "Dotting in Spandrels"
Here is a close-up of the A3 "Dotting in Spandrels" design.

1854 Scott 4a 4s yellow brown  "Royal Emblems"
Dotting in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
The 4s was issued May, 1854, and, like the rest of the 1854-57 issue, has an A3 design (dotting in spandrels). CV is $15.

Scott lists Scott 4 as "yellow brown" and Scott 4a as "brown". My example looks more orange-brown, which agrees with Michel's description of color choices as "red-brown" and "orange-brown". Facit has, for the 4s: "brown", "orange-brown" (1854), "light chestnut" (1854), "reddish brown" (1855), "light orange brown" (1856), "orange brown" (1857), ""reddish brown" (1860), and "dark red brown" (1860).

There were six printings from three pairs of plates.

More importantly, there are three types of stamps printed of the 4s: Type I, Type II, Type III.
Type I: Control number in lower left corner square is a 4. Dot only after FRM.
Type II: Control number in lower left corner square is a 4. Dot after R and M in  FRM.
Type III: Control number in lower left corner is a 2. Dot after R and M in  FRM.

Let's take a look at this example...

Unfortunately, this example has a color "blob" in the right upper corner of the lower left corner square, so is it a "4" or a "2"? :Unknown. But this example only has one one dot after "M" of FRM. Therefore this is a Type I.  

1854 Scott 4a 4s yellow brown  "Royal Emblems"
Dotting in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
The color again looks "orange-brown". This stamp has a "55" numeral postmark: "Ribe" 

Let's look at what type...

Unfortunately, the cancel ink goes right through the area of the lower left corner square, so I cannot discern if it is a "4" or a "2". But there is a dot after "R" and "M" in FRM. Therefore, I can narrow the possibilities to Type II or Type III.

1857 Scott 6 16s gray lilac"Royal Emblems"
Dotting in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
Scott gives only "gray lilac" as the color, and this stamp is definitely gray. CV is $190.

The numeral postmark "30" indicates that this stamp was cancelled in Horsens.

Michel indicates that 565,000 stamps were produced.

Facit says there was one printing from one plate of Type III. And, if one looks carefully, one can see a "2" in the right upper corner of the lower left corner square, :-)

Facit also lists three colors: "grey", "violet-grey", "grey-violet".

1858 Scott 7 4s yellow brown "Royal Emblems"
A4: "Wavy lines in Spandrels", Yellow Brown Burlage
The 1858-62 issue of two stamps (4s & 8s) is identical to the 1854-57 issue in outward appearance except there are wavy lines in the Spandrels rather than dots.

The 4s stamp was issued May, 1858 in double sheets of 2X100 stamps. There were five printings from two double plates: output 44 million. CV $8+.

The 4s stamp can exist as Wmk 111 (small crown) and Wmk 112 (Crown), so check watermatks for this issue denomination.

Scott lists "yellow brown" as the major color, and also "brown", for the 4s stamp. Michel has "orange brown" and "dark brown" as the colors for the Wmk 111 stamp, and "brown" for the Wmk 112 stamp.

Facit lists "brown", "orange brown" (1858), "brown reddish brown" (1859), "red brown", "dirty brown" (1860), "dull brown", "dark coffee brown", and "rose brown" (1861).

1854 Scott 7 4s yellow brown  "Royal Emblems"
Waving lines in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
The numeral postmark on this 4s looks like "1": "Kjobenhavn".

Wavy Lines in Spandrels close-up
If it is not already apparent, here is a close-up of the wavy lines in the Spandrel (A4 design).

1854 Scott 7 4s yellow brown  "Royal Emblems"
Wavy lines in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
Perhaps this stamp is the closest I have to Scott's "yellow brown". It is curious though that neither Michel or Facit describes any 4s stamp with that color. I think "orange brown" is more accurate.

1854 Scott 7a 4s  brown  "Royal Emblems"
Wavy lines in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
Now this is interesting. This 4s is clearly a "brown" color (compared to the others I have). Michel also lists "brown" as a color that can be found with the Wmk 112 stamp.

Upper row (Control Examples): Wmk 111 (small crown); Wmk 112 (Crown)
Lower row: (Specimen to be examined): Looks like Wmk 111
I dipped the 4s "brown" into the watermarking tray, and it is clearly a Wmk 111, not a Wmk 112.

Therefore, this example is Scott 7a "brown", with Wmk 111. If the watermark had been Wmk 112, my example would have been 1862 Scott 7b.

1858 Scott 8 8s green  "Royal Emblems"
Wavy lines in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
The other stamp, in the two stamp 1858-62 issue, is the 8s green. CV is $82+.

This stamp was issued Sept 25, 1858 with one printing from two plates. There were 777,000 stamps produced.

"Green" is the only color listed by all my catalogues.

1863 Scott 9b 4s red brown "Royal Emblems"
A4: "Wavy Lines in Spandrels", Yellow Brown Burlage
Rouletted 11, Wmk 112 (Crown)
In 1863, a two stamp rouletted issue, with Wmk 112, was released.  Recall that all preceding "Royal Emblems" stamps were imperforated, and had Wmk 111 (Except for the 1858-62 4s, which is found with both Wmk 111 & Wmk 112).

The Scott 10 16s violet is an A3 design, and I will not say more about it as I don't have it, and it is expensive (CV $650).

The above A4 design 4s, though, is a much more modest CV $15.

Scott lists three colors: Scott 9 "brown", Scott 9a "deep brown", and Scott 9b "red brown". To me, my specimen is a "red brown" color.

Michel only has "reddish brown", while Facit lists "brown", "dull yellow brown", "dull brown", and "red brown".

1858 Scott 8 8s green  "Royal Emblems"
Wavy lines in Spandrels; Yellow Brown Burelage
Out of the Blue
I learned a bit more about these early Danish "Royal Emblems" stamps, and I hope you did too!

Comments appreciated!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

New Hebrides - Bud's Big Blue

New Hebrides, French: 1925 Scott 50 50c (5p) ultramarine
Upside down, Port Vila cancel
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

New Hebrides has attracted an enthusiastic cadre of specialists; so much the better for us generalists.

I particularly like Roland Klinger’s database (https://www.ro-klinger.de/NH/index.htm). He’s thorough and avuncular in a chatty sort of way -- and he brooks no non-sense, of which there is a sizeable amount when it comes to New Hebrides stamps. Check his web pages often as you fill Big Blue’s spaces.

For example, there is much excitement about a 1903 fantasy stamp which shows a missionary being roasted on a spit. The originals, of which three still exist, were printed on pink paper, according to Klinger. As might be expected, forgers have gone berserk faking a fantasy. A green flimflam currently being offered on eBay costs GBP39.99.

Make no mistake, a few early missionaries to the South Pacific were cannibalized. But none were commemorated philatelically, including the hapless Presbyter Cocidus named on the fantasy stamp. For images, if you must, google "roasted missionary".

The keen interest in New Hebrides stamps is no doubt largely attributable to the condominium arrangement wherein France and Great Britain shared a single colony. The French and British each had their own stamps, and also separate settlements, schools, churches, markets, and so forth. The stamps were designed by the French and printed by the British -- same images, different inscriptions in the banners (“New” and “Nouvelles”). The two colonizing powers got along well enough with each other; with the indigenous peoples, not so much.

As is the case in many South Pacific nations’ stamps, used New Hebrides stamps ordinarily command higher prices than mint stamps. All but two of mine are, alas, mint. One of the two (shown above upside down) is common, cancelled in Port Vila in December, 1931. Klinger labels this variety as PM6.

New Hebrides, French: 1911 Scott 12 10c red
Port Vila blue cancel

The second cancellation is more interesting. Since I could not identify it using Klinger’s categories, I sent him a scan of it and asked for his opinion. His response came the next day, and is quoted herewith:

Hello Bud,

The stamp you show here is postmarked with PM4 with two variations:

 1. Color blue, which is scarce. I didn't mention it when I made the postmark pages [in the database] many years ago. But this happened in the New Hebrides. Even postmarks in red can be found. They took everything very lightly in the islands.

 2. The day slug precedes the month. This happened, but very scarcely. As this postmark was used very rarely in the 1910s (most covers have PM2), I suppose that the date is (3)1 AU (192)3, the last digit being a "3" in my opinion.

 So, this is a rather unique variant of the postmark on this stamp. Changing the colors shows the postmark a bit better:

 Greetings from Germany.  Roland Klinger

"New Hebrides, French: 1911 Scott 12 10c red"
"Port Vila blue cancel", Note:  Color modified for clarity

Well, Klinger’s response made my day. Even a generalist sometimes finds a rarity or, as my grandmother often said, even a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn.

Altering colors of a scan for clarification of the postmark is a neat trick.

New Hebrides private local stamps can provide another source of rarities. But the two issued by the Australasian New Hebrides Company Ltd. (1897), shown below, are common. The scene represents ANHCo buildings in Port Vila. New Hebrides local stamps generally attest to the difficulties colonists had in getting their mail carried to nearby islands and to the outside world.

ANHCo local postage, 1897

Census: 47 in BB spaces, 32 on the supplement page.

Jim's Observations

The New Hebrides islands (now the nation of Vanuatu) are located in the South Pacific 300 miles (500 kilometers) north of New Caledonia. The islands were colonized by both the British and French in the 18th century, and mirabile dictu, rather than fighting over the colonial spoils, an Anglo-French condominium was formed in 1906.

Beginning in 1911, a joint issue was produced with the Coat of Arms design of both countries placed on either side of a "Native idols" central design. More joint issues were produced in 1925, 1938, and 1953.

The Condominium continued until 1980, when Vanuatu became independent ( although, even now, the French and the English communities maintain their own traditions and language).

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Comments appreciated!