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...

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Nyassa - Bud's Big Blue

Scott #25 (Mozambique #68 with overprint), King Carlos I, dark blue on rose
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Colonization was an expensive experiment. When European governments lacked the capital necessary to finance their exploitive ambitions for Africa, they turned to private investors, often merchants, to undertake the job. Then, when private financing proved insufficient, handsome stamps were printed to pinch the pockets of young philatelists worldwide. The stamps of Portugal’s northern Mozambique (aka, Nyassa) illustrate the pattern.

Scott #31, black and orange

Kids prefer pictures of exotic animals over royal portraiture – hence the menagerie found on stamps issued by the Nyassa Company (1891-1929) and the Mozambique Company (1891-1942).

Eagerly sought and enthusiastically traded during my childhood, the Nyassa collection shown below now suffers from neglect. No new stamps have been added to it for over 50 years. And I’m not shopping for more. Beloved in my childhood, they’re spurned in my dotage.

Scott # 38, black and yellow green

Why my indifference, if not disdain, toward these stamps? It can be traced only in part to the fact they were printed solely to extract profits from the buoyant philatelic market, and not for any apparent postal need. There were fewer than 200 Europeans in Nyassa in 1915 (1) and perhaps two million non-stamp using native Africans. How much postage could the Europeans use? Further, I don’t resent the revenue generated by sales to collectors. While considerable, it took only a small bite out of the Nyassa Company’s red ink problems.

Scott # j3, red

What repels me can be summed up in one word – chibalo, the system of forced labor that the Nyassa Company adopted when earlier plans failed to produce big profits. Imposed against indigenous Africans by whipping and rape (2), chibalo was tantamount to slavery, although slavery had been formally outlawed. Chibalo compelled black people to build roads with their bare hands and to sweat blood on settler’s plantations in order to pay their never-ending tax debts. The Company provided no clothing, no tools, and no food; pay was meagre.

Moreover, the Company levied parasitical “hut taxes” to ensure laborer’s long-term compliance and, they hoped, docility. As the result, labor became abundant and lucrative, allowing much of it to be sold to mining companies in South Africa and later in Katanga and Belgian Congo. Chibalo continued long after the Company’s demise (1929) and was a major grievance in the Mozambican wars for independence (1964-1974).

Scott # 122, black and green, zebra and huntsman

I visited Mozambique some years after the independence wars ended. The scars of chibalo were still apparent and painful. Mozambique has not recovered from the colonial experiment, nor will I forget what I saw and heard there. Nyassa’s stamps remind me. So, I buy them no more, no matter how pretty.

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

Census: 85 in BB spaces, 17 on the supplement page.

1) https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/africa/pt-nyasaland.htm

2)  Urdang, Stephanie (1989). And Still They Dance: Women, War, and the Struggle for Change in Mozambique. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press. Cited by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chibalo

Jim's Observations

O.K., we will have the same old, same old, run of Portuguese colony stamps? 


By 1901, the Nyassa  Company (or Niassa Company)  arranged (with permission) for printing it's own designs by Waterlow and Sons in London. And the subsequent stamp issues are....magnificent!

But we have to be realistic- these stamps were intended for the philatelic market (Waterlow and Sons must have made a killing! ;-). Most of the printings of an issue were never sent to Nyassa.

Although tons of stamps were sold, ultimately, the Portuguese government was not impressed, and the concession was terminated in 1929. Mozambique stamps were then used.

And as Bud has so eloquently underlined with his essay above, the Company instituted a forced labor policy (chibalo system), which required the natives to work the plantations under horrendous conditions. The stamps have a stain on them.

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Comments appreciated!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Cape of Good Hope Triangulars: 1853-1864 Four Pence Blues Part B

1864 Stanley Gibbons 19a 4d blue "Hope" Seated
De La Rue "Wooly" Print

Into the Deep Blue

We are identifying the COGH triangulars, based on the Stanley Gibbons (preferred) and Scott catalogs, by looking at examples from the accumulation collection I recently acquired.

The link for the initial post for the Four Pence Blues is below.

Cape of Good Hope Triangulars: 1853-1864 Four Pence Blues Part A

This post will continue with the evaluation of these fascinating Four Pence Blues stamps.

Admittedly, this is a complicated area to correctly identify, and I was tutored and helped immensely by Chris Dorn ( Handle @Beryllium Guy) from The Stamp Forum group in their Cape of Good Hope thread. Thanks Chris!

The COGH triangulars are lumped together into three main groups...

1) The 1853 Group (Perkins, Bacon) - One pence, Four Pence. They are characterized by "more or less" blued paper.

2) The 1855-63 Group (Perkins, Bacon) - One, Four, Six Pence, One Shilling. They are characterized by "White paper" (actually non blued paper).

3) The 1863-64 Group (De La Rue) - One, Four, Six Pence, One Shilling. They can have a change in color hue to the stamp. The can have sharp impressions or fuzzy (wooly) impressions. 

All of the groups used the same plates, so identification relies on the factors above.

OK, lets continue with the Four Pence examples....

Example Ten

This example certainly has a cream-tan back (not blued), so places it in the 1855-58 (PB)  or 1863-64 (DLR) group. But the blue background details (Engine Turned Background) are there around "Hope", as is the lace pattern around the letters - probably a PB printing. It has an intense "blue" rather than a "deep blue" color. 

This looks like a SG 6a (Sc 4) blue, part of the 1855-58 "white paper" group. 

Example Eleven

I have this down as a SG 6a (Sc 4) blue, with "white paper". The blue color is not quite as bright as example ten.

Example Twelve

Now this is interesting. Note the "rouletted" marks around the edges? This stamp appears to be  SG 6a (Sc4) blue with "white paper". The color is a different blue hue (more pure blue) than example ten and eleven.

Yes, consensus is that this is a "rouletted" stamp (SG10) - as one can find them unofficially rouletted. CV =  $2,500! Sadly no, because they are really only collected on cover because of possible fraudulent attempts to make rouletted copies. :-(

Example Thirteen

This is probably a COGH SG6a (Sc 4) blue 1855-58 "white paper" variety. But it has a more unusual blue (milky blue?) than the preceding examples. Of interest, Scott ( but not SG) lists a 4e "bright blue" as a color option for the 1855-58 group. However, no one that I talked with seems to know what that is or has seen an example of that color. The CV for all the three colors listed by Scott (blue, deep blue, bright blue) are all basically the same, so one would think they would be equally as common.

In talking with Chris Dorn, he believes this stamp is "over inked", which gives it almost a DLR issue look. There is less detail in the Engine Turned Background, and this might be an example of a "wooly" PB print (which is not that common, compared to the DLR wooly prints). Also, Chris believes the blue color hue argues for a PB print.

You can see how complicated the evaluation can be? !!

Example Fourteen

This example shows fuzzy, flaky, or wooly characteristics in the blue background around "Hope", and the lace background around the letters are worn. And someone wrote Scott "13" (DLR print) on the back. ;-)  This is probably a DLR print SG 19a blue (Sc 13c?) or possibly a SG 19 deep blue (Sc 13 dark blue)

(Note: CV for "blue" and "deep blue" are about the same -$135-$140. That would argue that they should be approximately equally common (or rare!). A prominent COGH expert looked at this scan, and labeled it a "blue". Who am I to argue? ;-)

A couple of comments...

1) The DLR prints can have a more Navy Blue (Indigo) color. Is this more a Navy Blue (possibly)? Note the color of Example 14 is not as deep as Example 15 (below). This could indeed be a "blue" rather than a "deep blue".  Now the SG catalog lists four colors for the DLR prints: 19 deep blue, 19a blue, 19b slate blue, and 19c steel blue. The slate and steel blue colors are much more rare, and, frankly, one needs a Cert for these colors (and even then, there seems to be a lot of disagreement). 

2) The Four Pence DLR stamps can be a sharp print or a wooly print. It is much easier (in my view) to be able to identify a Four Pence  DLR stamp if it has wooly characteristics. If the color is more characteristic for a DLR print (such as Navy Blue (Indigo)), then that is also helpful.

Example Fifteen

This is a deeper blue than Example Fourteen, and perhaps this is a good example of "Navy Blue" (Indigo) ? The stamps appears wooly, flaky, and fuzzy, with less lace detail around the letters: a wooly SG 19 (Sc 13) deep blue type stamp. But look at the next pic...

It turns out this stamp is a "Watermark Sideways" example: Therefore SG 19d (13d). CV = $400 (unfortunately, not my flawed example). If the paper sheet is printed on the reverse side (put in to be printed, not on the side of the sheet that was prepared to be printed on, but flipped over to the reverse side), the "anchor" watermarks, rather than be upright, will be printed sideways, usually two half-anchor watermarks visible along the lower horizontal edge of the stamp. My example above actually shows the whole sideways watermark on the stamp, which is unusual.

What is wooliness?

Chris says "Look at the background. The more fine detail one can see, such as distinct dots or even boomerang shapes, the sharper the print. The more the background appears solid (absence of detail), the more wooly it is. And the netting around the letters is either blurred or gone."

And Richard Debney, an expert on COGH triangle issues, points to the white patchiness - (I call them round snowball fuzzies) - one can often spot for DLR issues. He refers to this as the classic De La Rue look: "Patchiness in the background behind "Hope"". 

What causes "wooliness"?

Apparently, not plate wear as such. The "wooly" or "flaky" appearance is due to poor absorption of the ink onto the paper in the DLR printing process. (DLR may have polished the paper prior to using it.)
There may be lumps of ink on the surface.

Example Sixteen

I include Example Sixteen here, because someone, on the back, labeled this Scott 13, thinking this was a De La Rue print.  But, in fact, it has nice background detail around "Hope" and the lattice work around the letters looks good. Probably a SG6a (Sc 4) blue.

But notice it has brownish area spots around "Hope" and her feet? This looks like sulfuretting.

Therefore, I tried the Stamp Smarter Oxidation Reduction technique again. (Yes, Stamp Smarter does label the topic "Removal of Oxidation", but admits that is not correct - Sulfuretting in this case is actually a "reduction".)

Wow, what a difference between "before" (original top) and "after" (H2O2 technique bottom)! It restored the original blue color throughout the stamp (notice one can only see this original blue color in only a small part of the original stamp before).

And notice the brown sulfuretted spots throughout the stamp are now gone!

Overall, this was quite a success!

(Note: See the "Part A" post for more discussion, and some cautions.)

This is a comparison of the "before" and "after" reverse side of the stamp. The gum and debris are gone, so that is good. And the "anchor" is more obvious. 

But H2O2 can also have bleaching qualities on paper, and it appears the paper is a bit whiter now. 

Example Seventeen

Because of the color of the stamp, Chris Dorn places this as a DLR printing: SG 19a blue.

But Chris points out the lattice around the letters is intact, and there is detail to be seen around "Hope", so overall this is not a significant "wooly" specimen. 

I thought  this was a DLR printing, but for a different reason than color. The stamp shows white fuzzy patches (see above)  in the background around "Hope". ( Richard Debney, a COGH triangle expert,  calls this "patchiness" a classic clue for DLR stamps.) 

But, for DLR issues, the color ("Navy Blue" (Indigo)) is an important factor.

We will continue with the COGH blog posts, featuring the One Penny Reds next.

Out of the Blue

Quite an adventure! I have learned more.

But there are two problem areas with COGH triangles - specifically with the Four Pence Blue stamps. 

1) Determining Scott 2 Four Pence lightly blued paper stamps from Scott 4 with white paper. 

2) Determining Scott 4 Four Pence Perkins Bacon printings from Scott 13 Four Pence De La Rue printings. (The other De La Rue stamps for 1p, 6p, and 1sh have just enough color change to differentiate.)

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Nyasaland Protectorate - Bud's Big Blue

Map salvaged from Gerben Van Gelder’s now sadly defunct 
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Nyasaland, now Malawi, followed a well-worn historical path for British intervention in Africa:

·       First explorers (David Livingston, 1850s),

·       followed by missionaries (Church of England, Church of Scotland and others, 1860s),

·       then came British settlers, farmers, and traders (1870s onward),

·       closely followed by commercial export interests (Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company and others, initially for ivory and native rubber, later for coffee and tea),

·       then a protectorate (The British Central Africa Protectorate, 1889, to defend British interests against the Portuguese), and first stamps (British South Africa Company stamps overprinted BCA, 1891),

·       followed by a name change (Nyasaland Protectorate, 1907), and new stamps with the changed name (1908) and dropping the “protectorate” designation (1934),

·       finally, independence under African control (Malawi, 1964), new stamps inscribed Malawi. 

Nyasaland symbol, a leopard against a rising sun, 
appearing on Scott #38 and thereafter

Nyasaland, Scott #46, orange and black

The British Central Africa (BCA) and Nyasaland Protectorate stamps were used almost entirely by the tiny white minority population, which in 1908 accounted for 0.057 percent of the total (1). For many years I’ve searched for a cover with stamps clearly used by an African native, but have found none. I suspect such might exist, especially because many Africans migrated out of Nyasaland in protest against colonists taking over their land for plantations. Mostly able-bodied men, they may have wanted to communicate with family member left behind.

The closest I’ve come to finding native use of stamps, likely not by them personally but perhaps in their behalf, is two larger denomination BCA stamps (shown below) which may have been receipts for paying “hut taxes.” The amount is right but, given the single circle cancel, they may be postal usage.

British Central Africa, Scott #s 53 carmine and black and 52 gray green and black

The British forced native Africans to pay a tax on all residences to help defray the cost of government. Not being able to stop emigration, the Government taxed it, too. Those who sought employment in Rhodesia and South Africa had to pay twice the rate of those who stayed behind. Moreover, they were also taxed in their destination countries.

South Africa issued “hut tax” stamps well into the 1950s. “Hut tax” stamps may be found readily on stamps auction sites, sometimes masquerading as postally used.

South Africa, YO 137-8, green and red brown

Census: 33 in BB spaces, one tip-in, nine on supplement page.

1) Caution: Native African populations are notoriously underestimated in early colonial reports. https://libsysdigi.library.illinois.edu/ilharvest/Africana/Books2011-05/469188/469188_1907_1908/469188_1907_1908_opt.pdf

Jim's Observations

Bud, Kudos for the information on "Hut Taxes" - I learned something.

Some information from my blog post....

Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company (BSAC) was actually in charge of the protectorate when their authority was withdrawn in 1907, and direct British rule was instituted.

One of the legacies of British Central Africa and the BSAC is white settlers were brought in who developed coffee plantations using African labor.

Nyasaland was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland between 1953-1963, but became independent as the nation of Malawi in 1964.

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Comments appreciated!