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, May 27, 2022

Four Types of the 1867 Egypt 20 Para green "Sphinx and Pyramid"


1867 Scott 11a 20pa blue green
Type 2

Into the Deep Blue

As discussed before in these blog posts..

...the 1867 lithographic  issue presents some very interesting challenges for the collector: Namely the differences among the four engravings resulted in four major types on the stones, so that any block of four will have the four types. For a sheet of 200, there will be 50 of each type. 

What makes it even more challenging is the information on the four types isn't easily found. Yes, the Egypt specialist literature has it, but all the major catalogs do not give specific information.

Well, I went on a quest to find the four types each of the six denominations. So far, I have four types for the 5pa orange (published link above), three types for the 10pa lilac, two types for the 1pi rose red, two types for the 2pi blue, and one type for the 5pi brown. Finding more type used copies of the 10pa, 1pi, and 2pi is still feasible (CV $10+), but, budget wise, probably not for the 5pi (CV $200). I will continue to try to obtain all four types for the 10pa, 1pi, & 2pi denominations. This is not just because I am a "completist": For my own stamps, I can scan @1200, and pick up all the subtle changes seen in types - the pics and scans available elsewhere are of lower resolution.

Now the good news: I also have all four types for the 20 Para greens! So here we go!

1869 Scott 11 20pa yellow green
Type 1

There were two printings of the 20pa (1867, 1869), and they differ somewhat by color. Smith, in his Egypt book, states the colors of the 1867 printing are pale to dark myrtle green, a scarce light green, and a pale apple green (color trial). The 1869 color is described as "bright green" - but often listed as "yellow-green", in comparison to the 1867 myrtle green "bluish" tinge.

Scott has the 1869 Scott 11 yellow-green as the major number, with the 1867 11a blue green as a minor number (CV used  $14/ $17 respectively). SG has 1867 SG 13 deep blue green, 13a pale blue green, and 7/ 1869 SG 13b yellowish green. Michel has 1867 10a green, and 1869 10b yellow green.

1869 Scott 11 20pa yellow green
Ionic Column, Type 1

There are a number of signs for Type I, and the left panel "Ionic Column" area presents one of the best. There are more signs for Type 1, which we will present further along. I should mention that all the signs presented (until I state otherwise) are part of the "Official" list found in the appendix after chapter XIII - The Second Issue in Smith's book. (More information about Smith's book in the 5 PARA blog post.)

In Type 1, in the left panel, the shaft of the Ionic Column is centered to the left of its capital and pedestal  (shifted at both top and bottom). This is quite a marked shifting of the Column to the left. No other 20pa types show this sign. Diagnostic.

1867 Scott 11a 20pa blue green
Type 2

Type 2 was the last type I acquired, and I had to obtain my example from the Netherlands. !! Much of early Egyptian issue stamps seem to reside in Europe. Also, if one is hunting for 1867-69 issue "Types", be aware that most dealers/sellers do not identify the type. That will be your job!

I spotted Type 2 by the sign  "numerals 2 are narrow and tilt to the left" (very useful sign!).

Type 2 Center Oval close-up

For Type 2, the summit of the pyramid is clear of the frame line, unlike the other types. This is actually a bit of a subtle sign, and requires an explanation. For Type 2, the summit (tip) of the pyramid clears (is above) the top horizontal frame line within the oval, but does not touch (in any form) the thin oval frame line above. The other types have the tip either stop (just touch) the horizontal frame line (Type 1,4), or actually touch the thin oval frame line (Type 3). (Note: Also Type 4 actually has a line that extends from the tip to the oval frame line.)

Type 1,2,3,4 top to bottom
Pyramid Tip

Here is a close-up of the pyramid tips for the four types. As said, Type 2 is the only one with a tip that is clearly above the top horizontal line, and also clearly ends before the thin oval frame above it. Although it is listed as one of the "official" signs, it is subtle enough that it should probably be used as a confirmatory sign rather than a diagnostic sign.

1867 Scott 11a 20pa blue green
Type 3

Here is Type 3. We will show Type 3's signs further down. 

I should mention that I have a lot more 20pa stamp examples than I am illustrating on this blog (Don't want to clutter!). For Type 1, three stamps, for Type 2, only one stamp!, for Type 3, two stamps, and for Type 4, five stamps! Type 4 stamps are quite interesting, and require more examples to illustrate, as we shall see next.

1869 Scott 11 20pa yellow green
Type 4

It turns out that only one stone was used for printing the 5pa, 10pa, 2pi & 5pi. But, "Two or more stones , differing in orthographic detail of the Arabic inscription on the bottom were required for the 20pa and 1pi". It further turns out that there is a fairly easy sign to spot on the Type 4 stamps that determines Stone A from Stone B.

In order to look at stone A/stone B differences, we first need to know if this is a Type 4 stamp. Although there are other signs for Type 4 that we will discuss further on, the most diagnostic sign is a "tear-drop hanging from the ball of the "2" on the right side. Do you see it here - the white dot below the ball of "2"? This is a Type 4 stamp. 

Then look at the far left Arabic word - there are two dots above the script and to the left of the right end of the script (- that also ends in an attached ball dot.) This is Stone A.

Here is another example close-up of the diagnostic Type 4 white dot below the ball of the "2" on the right side. Sometimes the dot is very prominent, sometimes less so, but should always be there for a Type 4 stamp.

OK, let's look at the far right Arabic word in the bottom panel. The word fadda (para) at the left end of the bottom inscription should only have two dots. The original Stone though, was made with three dots. The thought is, when the transfer was made to the printing Stone A , the unwanted dot was stopped out or de-inked. Hence Stone A shows the proper word with only two dots, as above.

20pa yellow green, Example 2
Type 4

Ok, this is a Type 4, as evidenced by the white dot below the ball of the right "2".

But the far left Arabic word has three dots! This is Stone B. What happened? When Stone B was made, the printers overlooked the unwanted dot, which therefore appeared in full on the original stone and the printing stone. !!

20pa blue green, Example 3
Type 4

Another example of Type 4. The dot is less prominent below the ball of the right "2", but definitely there.

And, this example also shows three dots for the far left fadda Arabic word: Therefore Stone B!

Type 1,2,3,4 top to bottom
Bottom Panel

Now we are getting into some of the heart of the differences between types.

For Type 1, the second dot from the left touches the frame line above it. You will note that it does not occur for any other type. Diagnostic.

For Type 2, the numerals 2 are narrow and tilt to the left. Diagnostic.

For Type 2, the three dots above the right hand word are farther to the left than in the other types. Diagnostic. 

For Type 4, in the upper left of the 2 in the right hand corner is a small colorless dot. Described as a "teardrop hanging from the ball of the 2". Diagnostic

Type 1,2,3,4
Top Panel

Many good diagnostic signs for types are found examining the top panel.

For Type 2, in the right side PARA, the P and A are spaced apart. Diagnostic.

For Type 3, the second A of the right side word PARA is narrow and close against the right. But Type 2 & 4 also have narrow A's in this position: Just not quite as narrow.

For Type 3, the second dot from the left is closer to the stroke below it than on the other types. Diagnostic.

For Type 4, in the left word PARA, the sloping leg of the R is thick and broken. Diagnostic.

For Type 4, the letter ya' (looks like a large florid S) does not touch the frame line below, unlike the other types. Diagnostic.

OK, the signs discussed above were all part of the "official" signs listed in Smith's book and in the Egyptian philatelic literature. They are probably sufficient for most collectors. But there are additional "markers" if one examines other parts of the stamp that can provide confirmatory signs. So, dear reader, if your eyes have not glazed over yet, here are some more markers below. ;-)

Upper Column Close-up
Type 1,2,3,4 Top to bottom

Look at the  left side of the stamp, and examine the upper Column and Capital area. One will note that the stroke markings within the Capital are unique for each type. Some of my stamps show the marking better than others due to worn plates. Here, Type 2's markings are light, but still there with careful inspection.

Upper Obelisk Close-up
Type 1,2,3,4 Top to Bottom

One will notice that the markings on the upper Obelisk, although similar for all types, have enough subtle stroke differences to identify each type. Helps to scan @1200! ;-)

Sphynx Face Close-up
Type 1,2,3,4 Top to Bottom

There are enough differences in stroke markings on the face to help confirm a type. I will let the reader pick out their favorite differences.

Center Oval Close-up
Type 1,2,3,4 Top to Bottom

Check the dark thick oval and it's position. Does it touch the rectangular frame on any side? Here, for type 1, type 2,and type 4 it clears on all sides (sometimes barely).  Type 3 touches the right frame line. 

You can count the horizontal lines on each side of the pyramid.  Actually, in the case of the 20 Para, I get 20 lines on the left and right side for all types.

Check the position of the sphinx head within the pyramid. Type 4 head is very close to the left edge of the pyramid. 

Check the width of the drawing of the right side face of the pyramid. Type 2 looks wider.

The reader can probably find other subtle markers and stroke differences with inspection.

Out of the Blue

Will there be additional posts showing the type differences for the other 1867 issue denominations (10pa, 1pi, 2pi, 5pi)? Maybe. I need more material. 

In the meantime, Ron of Classic Stamp Forgeries has recently published a review of the Egypt 1867 issue. He lists salient characteristics for all four types of each denomination of the 1867 issue. Although his images do not show as much detail (mainly because I am scanning the stamps in my collection at a very high resolution (1200)), it is a very welcome addition indeed. 

Comments appreciated!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Bud's Big Blue - Northern Rhodesia

Northern Rhodesia #4, brown orange, Broken Hill cancel
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

A while back a friend of a friend asked if I’d give her an opinion about a stamp collection she had inherited from her great aunt Joan. We fell into a conversation about Scott #4 (see above) cancelled in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia, now called Kabwe, Zambia. It’s one of several stamps I bought from her. 

Map salvaged from Gerben Van Gelder’s now sadly defunct "stamp world history" web site

Our discussion about great aunt’s stamp collection and the cancelled Northern Rhodesia #4 inevitably led to the history and significance of Broken Hill – its metal mines, its role in Cecil Rhodes’ unfulfilled dream of a Cape to Cairo railway, and its archaeological treasures.

Great aunt Joan may have interested to know that Broken Hill had plentiful silver, lead, and zinc ore, but getting it transported and refined was a challenge. A railroad reached Broken Hill in 1906, four years after Rhodes died. While his dream may have inspired it, visions of big mining profits built it. A short way beyond Broken Hill, “the Cape to Cairo railway came to an end in the middle of a burnt out vlei [dried up swamp] without even a buffer-stop at the rail terminus” (1).

The Rhodes Colossus”, Punch Magazine, December 1892,
not to be confused with the ancient Colossus of Rhodes
(from my collection)

Worse, profits from mining failed to cover transportation costs (2). Rhodes’ vision nevertheless continued to warm colonists’ hearts until the 1930s depression ended all hope for it.

The Punch cartoon (shown above) is apt. Rhodes, a British mining magnate and politician in southern Africa, famously said “If there be a God, I think that what he would like me to do is paint as much of the map of Africa British Red as possible…” (3). He intended the telegraph lines, he holds them up in the cartoon, and the railway to bind African colonies securely to Britain. Post-colonial Africa, of course, scorns Rhodes’ views.

Our conversation moved along. Three years before Northern Rhodesia became an official British protectorate and it’s first stamps were issued (1924-25), a major archaeological discover was made in Broken Hill’s mining territory -- homo rhodesiensis, aka the Broken Hill skull. Much has been made of this fossilized skull of an extinct human species and how it fits into the genetic heritage of homo sapiens. Zambia currently is lobbying for the skull’s return.

Great aunt Joan, her grandniece said, was well read in anthropology. So, she may well have known about the Broken Hill skull. We speculated further; her Northern Rhodesia #4 may have traveled on Rhodes’ dream railway carrying a message about archaeological discoveries in Broken Hill’s mining territory. But probably not.

Homo rhodesiensis (4)

Our conversation meandered through several other parts of great aunt’s albums. At the end, the grandniece commented, “I didn’t know stamps provided such interesting windows into history.’ I suspect great aunt Joan knew that very well.

Census: 33 in BB space, eight on the supplement page.

1) The Financial Times, April 24, 1907. As quoted by Ms. Buzandi Mufinda in her master’s thesis, pp 28-9. http://scholar.ufs.ac.za:8080/bitstream/handle/11660/906/MufindaB.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

2) Ibid.

3) https://quotecatalog.com/quote/cecil-rhodes-i-contend-that-LaDO49p

4) Photo credit: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, East London.

Jim's Observations

Northern Rhodesia, the lands north of the Zambezi river, became a British protectorate in 1924 when the British South Africa Company (A Cecil Rhodes founded commercial endeavor) gave up administration, in exchange for cash. At the same time, Southern Rhodesia ( or "Rhodesia"), south of the Zambezi, was turned over to the white settlers, who established highly discriminatory laws against the black African majority.

I look at the changing history of Northern Rhodesia through a series of maps. If interested, click on the blog link.

Page 1




Page 1

Comments appreciated!