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...

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Nigeria - Bud's Big Blue

As it was before and after 1914
Map salvaged from Gerben Van Gelder’s now sadly defunct "stamp world history" web site

Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

As the French split up their West African colonies to gain greater control ( see Niger comment British consolidated administrative units with the same goal in mind. In 1914, they forged the new colony of Nigeria from the former Niger Coast Protectorate (aka Oil Rivers), Lagos, Northern Nigeria, and Southern Nigeria (including areas once managed by the Royal Niger Company) and, eventually, parts of German Cameroon. All of these, except the Royal Niger Company, are shown on the above map and have their own sections in Big Blue.

Both French and British strategies appear to have worked as intended. The boundaries remained basically the same until the independence movements of the 1960s and 70s, although Biafra, the former Oil Rivers area, seceded from Nigeria in 1967.

Scott #21 gray, die 2, Lagos cancel 1922

Since Nigeria Colony was formed rather late in the classical stamp era, there are relatively few stamps to collect. Scott’s catalog lists 78 for 1914 through 1949 while Stanley Gibbons counts only 67. This small number might lead collectors to believe Nigeria’s stamps could be a purchasable complete collection. All are readily available, but the higher values are pricey. More so for freaks, anomalies and rare die types. And so, my supplement page has only four stamps. Although all Big Blue spaces are filled (see below), completing my Nigeria collection awaits the arrival of an unexpected windfall.

Nevertheless, Nigeria’s expensive stamps might be a good long-term investment. Lagos, the nation’s capital, will soon become the world’s most populous city and may have 100 million residents by the end of the 21st century. If stamp collectors count for some small portion of these millions, prices will soar, especially for excellent used examples.

Even in 1914, the amalgamated colony’s population exceeded 17 million, of which only 2700 were European, of which only 1100 were colonial officials (according to “Colonial Report No. 920 – Nigeria, 1915”). Stamps were used, of course, mainly by the European population. Therefore, better used examples are scarce and command high prices.

Most of Nigeria’s classical era stamps have common British colonial designs. The only pictorial series, however, reveals Britain’s commercial aims for the colony – coco, tin, timber, palm oil, etc. The series begins, tellingly, with a cargo ship anchored at a wharf in the Lagos Lagoon. A Danish company now operates the wharf. The pictorial designs continued in use from the reign of George V through that of George VI. They portray a bucolic, prosperous utopia, rather unlike Nigeria’s burgeoning urban reality.

Scott #s 38 green, 39 rose carmine and 40 brown 

Census: 38 in BB spaces, four on supplement page

Jim's Observations

The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria came into administrative (and stamp issue) existence in 1914 with the union of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate and the Southern Nigeria Protectorate. The name "Nigeria", of course, is derived from the Niger river that runs through the colony.

The reality was that the north and south were still only loosely affiliated.  The north, with its Islamic culture, was governed through Emirs, and Christian missionaries were banned. Hausa was recognized as an official language in the north. In the south, Christianity and western education were more prominent.

In 1920, a portion of German Cameroon was mandated to Britain. and was absorbed into Nigeria.

The Capital is Lagos, and the population was 21,000,000 in 1941.

Nigeria became independent in 1960, although the country is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

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Comments appreciated!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Egypt 1867 "Sphinx and Pyramid" Issue - Introduction

Egypt 1867 Scott 15 5pi brown
"Sphinx and Pyramid"

 Into the Deep Blue

The stamps of early Egypt from 1867 to 1906 are known for their iconic design: namely the "Sphinx and Pyramid". They are fascinating, to say the least.

They also offer quite a challenge for the WW collector, as the earlier issues especially (1867, 1872, 1874-75) are filled with complexity. Can a WW collector (such as myself) dive a little deeper? 

The 1867 lithographic issue (stamp example shown above), the first of the issues with this iconic design, is both simple and complex.  "Simple" in that it is the only issue of its kind with the Sphinx placed directly in front of the Pyramid. With all the other issues, the Sphinx is off to the left side of the Pyramid. With the unique 1867 issue design, it is easy to identify.

1867 Lithographed Issue Scott 8,9,11,13,14,15
"Sphinx and Pyramid"

But a closer reading of the catalogue reveals the complexity. Namely, "each value was engraved four times, the resulting blocks being used to form sheets of 200. There are therefore four types showing minor variations for each value".  Alas, the general catalogues do not give further clues, other than Michel states: "4 types each, which differ in the position of the pyramid in the middle oval and the shape of the Arabic letters". I am unable at this time of the post to locate a graphic illustration of the differences, as it is buried somewhere within the philatelic literature and not easily accessible to me.

(Note: This post was put together before I knew specifically the four type differences. I do now. Therefore, this post will serve as an introduction to the fascinating 1867 issue, while the next posts in the 1867 issue series will explore more specifically the four types for select denominations.)

Well, let's take a look at the stamps I have for the 1867 issue. Perhaps some of the differences between the four types might be found. (Hint: They do!)

Note: This post will cover the 5 PARA and 10 PARA values I have.

But there is another problem. The lithographic process often leaves a rough design, with degradation as the stamps are turned out. And plate flaws and repairs are possible. That might interfere or give a false signal as I try to figure out the four types.

And finally, lithography is the playground of many forgeries. Yikes!

August 1, 1867 Scott 8 5pa orange Copy one
"Sphinx and Pyramid"

The six stamp issue was designed by F. Hoff, and produced through lithography by V. Penasson, Alexandria. The perforations were 15 X 12 1/2. It was released on August 1, 1867. (Some color shades were issued on 7/1869.)

Today, the CV for the six stamps range from $1+(used) for the 1pi rose red to $200 (used) for the 5pi brown. The other stamps in the issue are CV ~$10+ (used).

Scott Wmk 119 (SG Image 6)
"Crescent and Star"

Also the issue was "watermarked" with a "Crescent and Star" by pressing the "watermark" on the stamp reverse (some call this a "pseudo-watermark"). This "watermark" image for the 1867 issue is actually a bit different than the true "watermark" images used later for the 1872-75 issues, as Stanley Gibbons points out, even though Scott does not differentiate, and calls them all "Wmk 119".

1867 Scott 8 5pa orange yellow Copy two
"Sphinx and Pyramid"

You might notice that my "copy two" stamp has a different color shade. I call it "yellow orange", while "copy one" is "orange". For reference, Stanley Gibbons has "orange yellow", Michel has "yellow" and "orange", while Scott has "orange".

Ok, with my two stamps, do we have different types? Recall, there are four types, so I have a good chance they may be different.

Well, actually, I found a number of differences. Let's check the center oval and the bottom Arabic script for differences, as they were mentioned specifically by Michel.

Position of the Pyramid in the Oval
Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)

1) The top of the Pyramid touches the oval (copy one), while the top of the Pyramid (copy two) does not touch the oval. (positional change)

2) The horizontal lines within the oval to the left of the Pyramid number 21 lines for copy one, while 22 lines for copy two.

Subtle but real.

Bottom Arabic Script
Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)

Clearly, there are positional and length differences between the two scripts. 

I found other differences not mentioned by Michel in other parts of the stamps. Whether these differences are also part of "Types", or due to vagaries of printing, degradation of the plate, or "states" of the stamp, I cannot say. Let's take a look. 

(Update note: Yes, they are real, and part of different types.)

Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)
Right "PARA" tablet

The "A's" in particular are different.

Left "5" tablet
Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)

The "5's" are clearly different.

Left "PARA" tablet and top of column

There are differences in the PARA letters (especially the "A's"), but the top of the column (below the PARA tablet) shows noteworthy differences.

In summary, it does appear I have two different types for the 5 PARA denomination. I really don't know if all the differences are due to "types", though, as I mentioned above. (Update note: they are indeed "types". !)   Also, I am obtaining six more copies of the 5 PARA stamp, so I plan another blog post if I find what might be additional types.

Could I be fooled, and one of these stamps is a forgery? Both stamps show the impressed watermark on the reverse, so that makes it more unlikely (but not impossible). The problem is I don't know what forgeries look like for this issue, although I know they definitely exist. (Update note: I have a better idea on forgeries now, and these examples are genuine.)

1869 Scott 9a 10pa lilac Copy one
"Sphinx and Pyramid"

The 10pa lilac was issued in 1869. Or is this a "violet"? Then 1867. I go back and forth. The catalogues have different descriptive colors for this value. Besides "violet" (1867), Scott has "lilac" (1869). Stanley Gibbons has "dull lilac" ('67) and "bright mauve" ('69). Michel has "violet" and "lilac".

1869 Scott 9 10pa brown lilac Copy two
"Sphinx and Pyramid"

My copy two of the 10 PARA is a  brown lilac, perhaps accentuated, because it is on quite yellow paper. Both of my copies have impressed watermarks on the reverse, which would increase the chance that they are genuine, as opposed to forgeries.

Position of the Pyramid in the Oval
Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)

1) The top of the Pyramid is closer to the oval line (copy one), compared to copy two.  (positional change)

2) The horizontal lines within the oval to the left of the Pyramid number 21 lines for copy one, while 20 lines for copy two.

3) Facial markings on the left cheek are different (subtle).

Bottom Arabic Script
Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)
There are positional, size, and length differences between the two scripts. 

Let's look at other differences not mentioned by Michel.  As said, whether these differences are also part of "Types", or due to vagaries of printing, degradation of the plate, or "states" of the stamp, is unclear.

(Update note: The differences are indeed because of "types".)

Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)
Right "PARA" tablet

The end "A" is much narrower in copy two.

Right "10" tablet
Copy one (top); Copy two (bottom)

For copy two. the center hole in "0" is narrower, and the "1" is thicker. Note the purple colored bulge in the right lateral vertical line for copy one. (transient or consistent finding? - a plate flaw?)

Left "PARA" tablet and top of column

There are differences in the PARA letters (especially the first "A"), but the top of the column (below the PARA tablet) shows noteworthy differences.

In conclusion, it looks like we have two types for my two 10 PARA stamps. I'm not sure, though, if all the differences shown here are strictly due to "types". (Update note: They are do to "types".)

1867 Scott 11a 20pa blue green
"Sphinx and Pyramid"
Out of the Blue

As we are getting pretty deep into the weeds with this issue, I decided to stop here, and will pick up the more about the 1867 issue with the next post. 

There is certainly enough to digest here already. ;-)

Update note: The differences between my stamps shown here are indeed because of differences in "types". The above illustrations and discussion then serve as an introduction to the 1867 issue, which will be explored in more depth (and knowledge) with the next several posts. I am looking forward to it!

Update note: For the curious, look at the scan of the six stamp issue (second scan from the top).  One of the stamps is a forgery! Can you spot it? ;-)

Comments appreciated!

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Niger - Bud's Big Blue

As it was in the 1900s
Map salvaged from Gerben Van Gelder’s now sadly defunct http://www.stampworldhistory.com/
(See Note * below)
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

France had problems with its West Africa colonies.  They were remote – Timbuktu, now in Mali, became a synonym for “in the middle of nowhere.” Deserts made travel unpleasant. Native Africans resisted and fought colonial authorities.  French bureaucrats spurned West Africa assignments.

Jules Ferry, a French politician, had declared at the outset of the European scramble for Africa, "The higher races have a right over the lower races, they have a duty to civilize the inferior races." West African annoyances blew the lid off such cruel, ill-logical and deceptive claims. 

The mission: white France arriving to bless black Africa, Scott #75 red orange

Nevertheless, France tried to manage its colonial headaches by redrawing administrative frontiers and changing colony names – hoping to strengthen its control. Niger provides a case in point. In 1899 French Sudan split up and part of it was renamed Upper Senegal and Middle Niger (Haut-Sénégal et Moyen Niger). The name changed in 1902 to Senegambia and Niger (Sénégambie et Niger) and it stayed that way just long enough for a few stamps to be issued.  Then the name changed again (1904) to Upper Senegal and Niger (Haut-Sénégal et Niger); new stamps were printed. Less than a decade later Niger became a separate military district (1911), although on maps and in stamp albums it was still considered a part of Upper Senegal and Niger. 

As it became in the 1920s
Map salvaged from Gerben Van Gelder’s now sadly defunct http://www.stampworldhistory.com/
(See Note * below)

Finally, in 1922, Niger became a separate colony with civilian administrators and, yet again, new stamps were issued, the first of which were the overprinted camel and rider stamps of Haut-Sénégal et Niger. The Territoire du Niger overprint typically blocks out the inscribed Haut-Sénégal et Niger. The same series was also overprinted for the new French Sudan, which was the remaining part of Haut-Sénégal et Niger.

Upper Senegal and Niger #34, Niger #21, and French Sudan #49, all violet and black

Only four stamp designs are unique to Niger: a water well, a boat on the Niger river, a fortress, and a prostrate camel peering at a Timbuktu caravansary in the distance (even though Timbuktu was no longer near the Niger border). Camels and water were/are essential in Niger, and therefore apt selections for stamp designs. Ever efficient in deserts, a typical camel can gulp down a beer keg of water in less than a minute. When fully hydrated, it carries about 53 gallons in its hump.

Scott # j13 orange and green

All other classical era Niger stamps are French Colonial common designs.

Collectors who use BB Part 2 will notice that Niger has no “France Libre” overprints. During World War II, Niger was loyal to German dominated France and Marshal Pétain’s Vichy government, while other colonies supported de Gaulle. “France Libre” appears only on the stamps of colonies where de Gaulle was organizing resistance.

Census: 102 in BB space, 14 on the supplement page.

Jim's Observations

"Timbuktu", in modern use, refers to a place that is so out of the way, that it is virtually forgotten.

And that, perhaps ironically, is one of the attractions of WW classical stamp collecting.

*NoteStamp World History website: Alas, presently not available. BUT, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has this:

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Comments appreciated!