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...

Monday, December 26, 2022

Prince Edward Island - Bud's Big Blue

Scott #6, blue

Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

All Prince Edward Island (PEI) stamps bear the image of Queen Victoria, some resembling the artists’ original depictions, others not so much. Early British colonial postage often slumps toward the dowdy. A. A. Bartlett, an early advocate of PEI stamps, penned the improbable hope “that these wretched little things, though far removed from being ‘things of beauty,’ may still become ‘a joy forever’ to many a philatelic album.”(1) In 1895, catalog values for his PEI collection fell far short of those enjoyed by New Brunswick and Newfoundland fanciers.

As with other colonies, PEI relied on the familiar profile on the British “penny black” for its first stamps. This can be traced to a sketch drawn by Henry Corbould based on medal of Princess Victoria designed by William Wyon. The medal commemorates Victoria’s first visit to London after becoming Queen (1837).

Medal by William Wyon, 1837

PEI added a curious burelage to this design. It appears to the naked eye as wavy chain links, but magnification shows a network of lines and dots (on Scott #s 1-8 only, although others have similar). Most colonies use fine parallel lines or solid backgrounds, as did PEI for some later issues.

Magnification of Scott #6 

A more stunning image resulted from Samuel Cousin’s engraving of Alfred Chalon’s portrait, which was printed and distributed on the day of Victoria’s coronation.

Queen Victoria in coronation robes by Alfred Chalon

This full-faced image, used in several colonies, is to me more attractive than the alternatives. Sadly, PEI tried it only once (Scott #10). The “Stg” and “Cy” denominations at the bottom of the stamp refer to respectively to British sterling and PEI’s considerably devalued currency – two prices, depending on whatever cash was in the purchaser’s pocket.

As adapted by Samuel Cousins, Scott #10, brown

When the currency changed from pence to cents (1872), the queen’s philatelic visage became less flattering, although she gains a ribbon for her hair. This final PEI image is based on the British 1860 “bun penny,” a bronze coin, also designed by William Wyon. BB provides five spaces for these last PEI stamps under the rubric “1861-68”, which should read “1861-72”.

1860 “Bun Penny”, Wyon

The “bun penny” image was adapted, unsuccessfully in my opinion, for many colonial stamps – note the pouting lips and bulging eye not obvious on the coin.

Scott #14, green

PEI joined the Canadian Confederation in 1873, thereby ending its philatelic history as well as its options of it becoming a discrete British-related dominion or a state within the USA.

Four more brief comments.

Over a century after A. A. Bartlett worried about poor catalog values for PEI stamps, collectors of his “wretched little things” now find their PEIs have CVs that compare favorably with those of other maritime colonial stamps. Bartlett would feel vindicated.

In her day, Queen Victoria’s image appeared on more stamps than anyone else’s. BB provides the evidence, should you care to make a count. Now her great-great granddaughter holds that record. 

Isle of Man, Scott #889, multi, 3 Victorias, 1 Elizabeth

All my PEIs showing below are mint, owing probably to the large number of unused stamps remaindered after PEI joined the Dominion of Canada. At the time, they were sold at a small fraction of their face value and the more common of them took years to deplete.

A final comment. The best lobster meal, perhaps the best meal of any sort, we ever had away from home was thanks to PEI lobsters. We went to the wharf to pick them out when the dory returned. Husky critters, snapping fresh from the traps. Then our B&B host prepared them and served them with fresh asparagus and lettuce, and an excellent chardonnay. Absolute serendipity. Unfortunately, no PEI stamps commemorate these famous residents. 

Census: nine in BB spaces, three tip-ins.

(1) A. A. Bartlett, “Prince Edward Island Stamps”. The Stamp News (October 1895).

Jim's Observations

Anne of the Green Gables (1908) , a novel set in Victorian times on Prince Edward Island, forms for many, the first exposure to the people and landscape of this small province, located in the Canadian Maritimes.

Big Blue '69 has Prince Edward Island on two lines of one page, shared with Penrhyn Island. There are nine spaces, or 56% coverage of the total stamp output. The page is located after Panama, and before Papua.

The 40s BB editions have the same coverage, but the page is located before Persia.

The coverage cannot be faulted, as any missing spaces are more expensive.

There are three stamp spaces in BB with CV $10+-$20+.

Except for the 1870 3/4 portrait queen which is engraved, all the other issue stamps are typographed. I admit I prefer engraved stamps for my "classics". I think they look better.

But the prices are right for these unused specimens- so I am not complaining much. 

Page 1

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

COGH 1858-64 Triangular Six Pence Varieties

1864 SG 20 (Sc 14) 6p Bright Mauve (Purple) 
DLR Printing

Into the Deep Blue

The Six Pence, like its fellow COGH Triangular siblings, was printed by Perkins Bacon (1858-63), and, on PB plates, by De La Rue (1864).

The Perkins Bacon era can be further divided into the slate-lilac (1862) or slate-purple (1863) on blued paper issues; and the 1855-58 deep rose lilac (1858) or pale rose lilac on white paper issues.

The DLR 1864 Six Pence is bright mauve (Scott says "purple").

(Note: SG color descriptions will be used primarily, although I will include Scott's description also.)

I should mention at the outset that Chris Dorn (Beryllium Guy) of The Stamp Forum helped significantly to clarify my thinking on these Six Pence stamps. Thanks Chris!

The best way to learn is to look at examples in my collection, so let's begin. 😎

Example 1

1862 SG 7c 6p slate-lilac/ blued paper 
(Sc 5b 6d grayish-lilac on bluish paper)
PB Printing

The slate-lilac colors of the 1862 issue are relatively easy to identify. This example to me has more "slate" than "lilac". The CV is a rather hefty $540.

Reverse- 1862 SG 7c 6p slate-lilac/ blued paper 
PB Printing

The other reason the PB slate-lilac (or slate-purple) stamps are more easily identified, is they are the only ones to have paper "more or less blued', seen here on the reverse. (For the other Six Pence stamp varieties, the paper is "white")

Example 2

1862 SG 7c 6p slate-lilac/ blued paper 
(Sc 5b 6d grayish-lilac on bluish paper)
PB Printing

Here is another "slate-lilac". To me, this stamp shows more "lilac" than "slate". Probable "fiscal" use.

Close-up: 1862 SG 7c 6p slate-lilac/ blued paper 

Could this stamp actually be the rare "purple" color (1863 SG 7d (Sc 5c) with a CV of $1200? Well, the "slate-lilac" can come in shades, so this is probably still within the "slate-lilac" group. And the "slate-purple" is rare. But it has a fiscal script of 1865, so possible (but not likely).

Reverse- 1862 SG 7c 6p slate-lilac/ blued paper 

The reverse only shows spotty bluing, but definitely there.

Example 3

1858 SG 7 6p pale rose-lilac/ white paper
(Sc 5 6d pale lilac); PB printing

Now we will look at the other major Six Pence PB grouping - the pale or deep rose-lilacs of 1855-58, on "white" paper.

This stamp appears to be a 1858 "pale rose-lilac". CV is $300.

The major problem for collectors of the "rose-lilacs" is the frequent fading of the stamp color, due to light exposure. This example is an exception: it shows decent detail and color.

Reverse- 1858 SG 7 6p pale rose-lilac/ white paper

Note the "white" paper. 

Example 4

SG 7b 6p deep rose-lilac/ white paper
(Sc 5a 6d rose lilac/ white paper)
PB Printing

This example has a deeper color, and is probably a "deep rose-lilac" variety. Again, decent detail with no apparent fading. CV is $400.

I should mention that the PB "deep rose-lilac" color can sometimes be confused with the 1864 DLR "bright mauve" (Scott "Purple"). But this stamp looks like a PB printing with more detail evident.

Reverse- SG 7b 6p deep rose-lilac/ white paper

The reverse shows "white paper".

Example 5

1858 SG 7 6p pale rose-lilac/ white paper
(Sc 5 6d pale lilac); PB printing

A local dealer had a cache of "Six Pence" stamps - six or seven of them. All of them were badly faded, except for this example. I was hoping this might be a DLR stamp, as I did not yet have one. But closer inspection shows some background detail, and the color is probably not "bright mauve". 

Reverse- 1858 SG 7 6p pale rose-lilac/ white paper

White paper- no evidence of bluing.

Example 6

1864 SG 20 (Sc 14) 6p Bright Mauve (Purple) 
DLR Printing

When I saw this stamp for sale at the APS site, I had high hopes this would turn out to be a DLR 1864 "bright mauve".  Notice the very poor detail in the background and the lack of detail with "Hope". 

I should mention, though, that Six Pence DLR stamps are not as commonly found compared to PB stamps. 

Reverse- 1864 SG 20 (Sc 14) 6p Bright Mauve (Purple) 
DLR Printing

"White" paper as one would expect. One can see the watermark.

Comparing a PB "rose-lilac" with a DLR "bright mauve".

I asked for a Cert. The APS uses two experts for APEX, and they have to agree. Four months later, I got the result: Indeed a DLR 1864 SG 20 (Sc 14) 6p Bright Mauve (Purple)! CV is $450.

Out of the Blue

The major problem with Six Pence stamps is finding a good specimen, as the "rose-lilacs"  are prone to fading. And then finding a genuine DLR Six pence is sometimes difficult. They are not that common, and the PB "deep rose-lilac" can be confused (and sold as) the DLR stamp.

Comments appreciated!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Penrhyn - Bud's Big Blue

Scott #s 62-63, 1974
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Some 266 Polynesian Islanders live atop a “pie crust” reef that rests on a long-extinct volcano. Their 40-mile-long strip circles a 90 square mile lagoon (compare Oregon’s Crater Lake at 20 square miles). The Penrhyn Atoll, aka Tongareva, lies south of the equator and is the outermost part of the Cook Islands (see map in Scott #63, above). Total land area is 3.8 square miles. Its nearest neighbor is 220 miles to the southwest. Ships pass by rarely. Air transport is unscheduled and unpredictable.

Stamps were issued for Penrhyn Island two times in their history. From 1902 to 1920 stamps of New Zealand were overprinted for Penrhyn, followed by stamps like those of the Cook Islands but with “Penrhyn” inscribed, 1920 to 1932. In all, Scott list 31 major numbers while Stanley Gibbons counts 40. BB provides spaces for 19. 

Scott #8, blue with carmine overprint

Then, from 1973 to the present, Penrhyn stamps were again issued, this time with the additional inscription “Northern Cook Islands.” Recent issues have attracted a following of bird and fish topical collectors. Penrhyn Atoll has few terrestrial flora and fauna.

Scott #61

Remoteness and population decline have severely limited Penrhyn’s postal services. Today’s population is almost half what it was when the stamps in Big Blue were in use. Authentic cancellations, therefore, cost more than mint examples. Philatelically inspired cancels are commonly pinked on more populous islands.

Capt. James Cook, Scott #27, violet and black

My collection is entirely mint. There is no Penrhyn supplement page.

Census: 19 in BB spaces.

Jim's Observations

I suspect only philatelists, Pacific ocean yacht owners, and assiduous National Geographic readers are aware of Penrhyn Island. 😎

Page 1 Closeup



Comments appreciated!