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, November 29, 2023

Rhodesia - Bud's Big Blue

Arms of The British South Africa Company (BSAC),
featuring commercial interests – gold, farming, exports, and wild animals

Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Few people, no matter how famous they are, have a country named for them. Cecil John Rhodes did, but only for about 85 years. His charter company, The British South Africa Company (BSAC), named the 440,900 square mile swath of south-central Africa after their boss. Rhodes himself, it’s said, preferred to name it Zambezia (after the Zambezi River) rather than Rhodesia, but yielded to the popular opinion of Europeans who had settled there.  

Settlers waiting to board a mail coach, Bulawayo, Rhodesia, circa 1896 (1)

The BSAC operated in much the same way as other crown charter companies. At the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, European nations drew boundaries of control over Africa without native Africans’ knowledge, consent, thought or opinion. The “scramble for Africa” ensued, but European governments often lacked sufficient funds for exploiting African resources, and they were loath to raise taxes to do so. Instead, they relied on private companies that could raise the funds needed by giving investors hope of grand future profits.  These companies had broad powers of government – including building roads and railroads, taxation of residents, law enforcement, and postal services as well as the discovery, extraction, and export of valuable resources.

Rhodesia, Scott #55, violet and salmon

Some charter companies failed, but BSAC profits from gold, diamonds, and other resources did, in fact, make Rhodes one of the world’s richest men. However, his dream of building a railroad from Cape Town to Cairo, by which the British would dominate Africa, was never achieved. Rhodesia was to be a major link in that railroad. 

The stamps in Big Blue’s Rhodesia section are all inscribed British South Africa Company; some of them bear the BSAC arms. The same stamps were overprinted “BCA” and used in British Central Africa. 

British Central Africa, Scott #5, dark blue

The word “Rhodesia” appears first on stamps as an overprint on a 1909 issue, although the BSAC had made the name quasi-official in 1895. 

Rhodesia, Scott #85, cobalt blue

“Rhodesia” is inscribed, along with BSAC, on the ever-popular “double head” stamps of 1910, 17 values replete with many color variations and curious flaws. A commemorative-cum-definitive issue, its debut coincided with the Royal Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught who were substituting for the newly crowned King George V and Queen Mary. The new king could not attend because of the death of Edward VII (6 May 1910).

Rhodesia, Scott #115, bright blue and carmine

These were followed by a final definitive issue (1913) featuring the new King in naval uniform. 

Rhodesia, Scott #128, carmine rose and blue

The area designated as Rhodesia continued under BSAC control until the 1920s when the part south of the Zambezi River became Southern Rhodesia, a self-governing colony in the United Kingdom. BSAC handed control over to the white settlers, the postal authority included. See Big Blue’s Southern Rhodesia section.

Rhodes was known for his unrestrained racism toward native Africans, a sad tradition that continued throughout Rhodesia’s history. The overburdening effects have continued long after the colony became independent and renamed Zimbabwe in 1980 – residual white privilege, economic upheaval, food insecurity, inadequate sanitation, and poor medical care. In post-colonial times, Rhodes’ legacy has been attacked and his memorials defaced, literally. Surprisingly, his burial site in Zimbabwe, an increasingly awkward tourist attraction, has thus far escaped damage.

Decapitation of Rhodes’ statue, Table Mountain, South Africa, 2020 (2)

And yet, Bantu people have long-suffering resilience. This was the overwhelming impression my wife and I had when we visited Zimbabwe a few years ago. She had received a grant to study the works of Zimbabwe’s women sculptors who were emerging on the world art scene, particularly that of Agnes Nyanhongo and Colleen Madamombe. Their much-sought-after art depicts themes of buoyant womanhood – marriage, motherhood, gracious beauty, hard work, proud bearing, and survival at all odds. As a counterpoint to the BSAC’s rampant, male-dominated exploitation of Bantu tribal lands, which echoes throughout Rhodesian philately, this post concludes with pictures of Shona sculpture in our collection.

“Proud Woman” by Agnes Nyanhongo

“Where are you, boy” by Colleen Madamombe

Happy Happy.” By Colleen Madamombe

“I love my baby” by Agnes Nyanhongo

Census: In BB spaces 53, tip-ins 14, on supplement pages 40.

1 – National Archives of Zimbabwe

2 – Reuters via https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8522465/Statue-British-colonialist-Cecil-Rhodes-beheaded-South-Africa.html

Jim's Observations

Wow! I had the privilege of seeing those art works when I visited Bud several years ago. Incredible!

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Comments appreciated!

Monday, November 13, 2023

A "Show & Tell" on 1857 USA 1c blue "Franklin" for Type V & Type Va


10L9 (Plate 9)
Type V, Ear Ring Variety

Into the Deep Blue

We are in for a treat! - Thanks to Ray McIntire and his specialized plated Type V/ Type Va collection. !!

Ray is well known within BB circles, as he has a Big Blue with currently 29,500 ( and counting!) filled spaces. 

And unbeknownst to me, among his previous main interests, were the 1c blue Franklins!

As I mentioned in the my "study group" post, the perforated 1857 1c blue "Franklin" Type V stamps are found on Plates 5, 7, 8, 9, 10. And, indeed Type V is the most common type.

But Plate 5 is a special case: yes, the first several columns are Type V (CV $37+), but all the rest are Type Va (CV $250). 

This has lead to much confusion. 

The great Stanley Ashbrook, who published the seminal book  "The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857" thought that Type Va stamps came from the supposed plate 6, when in fact they were subsequently shown to be from plate 5. 

Recall the differences between Type V and Type Va stamps....

Type V: The top and bottom curved lines outside the labels are substantially cut away in the middle ( similar to Type III); but, unlike Type III, which has the side ornaments substantially complete, Type V has the side ornaments partly cut away. About one half of all positions have side scratches.

Type Va: Stamps from plate 5 with almost complete ornaments on the right side and no side scratches. Many, but not all stamps from plate 5 are Type Va, the remainder being Type V.

Note; If the reader needs a refresher on plating nomenclature, I added an explanatory note at the end of this blog post.

Well, as I said, we are in for a treat!

Ray McIntire sent me a note after my "study group" 1857 1c blue post, and revealed he has a specialized collection of Type V and Type Va stamps - and over 50 of the Type Va stamps have been plated! He offered to send me scans of some of the more interesting stamps and include some of his thoughts and notes about them. 

So off we go with Ray's scans and notes and comments!.....

(Note: Click on scan image for larger example.)

10L5 (Plate 5)
1857 Scott 24 1c blue, Type Va

10L8 (Plate 8)
1857 Scott 24 Type V

For these two examples, the upper here is a great example of the differences between Plate 5, Type Va and a non-Type Va stamp (Type V from Plate 8). 

The stamps are 10L5 and 10L8.  Both are top row of the left side of the plate, and the last stamp on the right side, so there is a center line included on each of these (Note far right).  Note the dot of ink attached to the center line, just to the right of Franklin's nose (next to center line).  That dot is consistent on 10L5 and 10L8. 

Then look at the completeness of the ornaments on the 10L5 compared with
the 10L8. 


Jim's Observations: 

If I was identifying this Type Va, I would note the wide break in the bottom frameline that is evident, the left side ornament partially cut away, the almost complete ornament on the right side, and no side scratches* exhibited on the stamp. Since I am not an expert on these stamps as I haven't plated, I would also ask for an opinion - such as from Ray. ;-) 

The Type V example shows the top and bottom curved frame lines cut away in the center, and both side ornaments partially cut away. No side scratches seen. (*About ~50% of Type V stamps can show side scratches. See 32L5 and 24L5 examples below for "side scratches".)

2R5 (plate 5)
1857 Scott 24 1c blue, Type Va

3R5 (Plate 5)
1857 Scott 24 1c blue, Type Va

The top example is the Type Va stamp that has, in my opinion, the best impression imaginable:  This is 2R5, which is the 2nd stamp on the top row of the right pane of plate 5.  

The bottom stamp is another really nice impression.  My copy plates out as  3R5.


Stanley Ashbrook notation about stamp on cover

Close-up of stamp on Stanley Ashbrook notation cover

Jim, this is one of my 4 favorite pieces of anything in my collection  mostly because of the historical content.  BTW, the other three are: 

  • my Syria 106c (you would have guessed that), 
  • and my US 66TC3, which used to be US #66, the Lake shade of the 3c 1861
  • and a cover I found in a box lot with a rubber stamp on the back stating that it was from the FDR collection.

The cover has notes in several different places, all in the handwriting of Stanley Ashbrook.  He authored the first study on the 1c 1851 and 1857, and at that time, as you mentioned in your blog entry, they thought that there was a Plate 6, but they had never seen a plate number before.  At some point, there was a block of 24 purchased, and it was found that the stamps on the right side of the block matched those with the supposed Plate 6, but the stamps on the left were Plate 5. 

The historical content here is with the note that came with the cover, also in Ashbrook's handwriting, on the right side of the image which reads "Top Row Pl. 6, Type Va" with S.B.A., Ashbrook's initials.  What I love even more about this cover is that it comes with a note written on the back side with initials RHC, who was Dick Cellar.  Dick passed a couple of years ago and it was a huge loss to philately, and to the students of the 1c Franklin stamp, as he was the preeminent plater of this issue.  The note says "5L8, RHC".  So, Ashbrook was incorrect on this stamp, as it is not Type Va, and is a Type V from Plate 8.  It has the impression we see with Type Va stamps, and the first look from anyone would guess Va.


8R8 (Plate 8) Example One
1857 Scott 24 Type V
Double Transfer

8R8 (Plate 8) Example Two
1857 Scott 24 Type V
Double Transfer

Double Transfer

Position 8R8, the 8th stamp on the top row of the right side pane.  This is one of the best double transfers of the Type V stamp.  The double transfer is evident in the letters "POSTAGE" at the top.  I loaded two examples - Example One is on cover.


10L9 (Plate 9)
Type V, Ear Ring Variety

Position 10L9, the Ear Ring variety, the last stamp on the top row of the left pane of Plate 9.  Several bruises on the plate make it look like Franklin is wearing a long-chained ear ring. BTW, this one is MNH...


32L5 (Plate 5)
Type V, Side scratches

24L5 (Plate 5)
Type V, Side scratches

Also, I've included 2 stamps from Plate 5 which are not Type Va. 

The rule is that all Type Va stamps must come from Plate 5, but not all Plate 5 stamps are Type Va.  

The first several columns on the left side pane of Plate 5 do not have the same characteristics that the rest of the plate has-- which contributed to the confusion of Plate 5 vs. a hypothetical Plate 6.  These stamps have side scratches if they are Relief B, C, and D, and do not have the completeness of the ornaments that Type Va stamps do. 

The two that I've attached are 32L5, a D relief with side scratches from the 4th row of the left side of Plate 5, and 24L5, a C relief with side scratches from the 3rd row of the left side of Plate 5. 


Out of the Blue

Jim's Observations: Thanks for the wonderful scans and notes Ray! Very, very informative! And now some concluding comments from Ray...

I mainly started into plating the 1857's because I wanted to understand the difference between Type V and Va.  I have 50 Type Va positions now, and some of them are better impressions than others, but I do have a few absolute gems.

A big problem with sellers on eBay who have "Va's" for sale is that they aren't even close to being Type Va.  If they don't see side scratches, most of the dealers think that they have a Type Va.  Problem is that with 6 different reliefs (A,B,C,..F), there are never any side scratches on Reliefs A, E, and F.  If there aren't side scratches, it can be Va, but only confirmed if it's a B, C or D relief.  The only way to confirm A, E, and F relief as Va is to have them plated.


A note about plating nomenclature...

The left side plate has 100 cliches and the right side plate has 100 cliches, each in the form of 10 X 10 (ten rows, 10 columns). 

---The plate is named "5" for plate 5, for instance.

---The specific side is given by "L" or "R" (for left or right side plate).

---numbered then..

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 (first row)

11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20. (second row)

and so forth to...

91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99,100 (tenth row)

If one is plating, each of the 200 possibilities for each plate is then specified.

For instance "32L5" is plate 5, left side, position 3rd row 2nd column. 

"10L9" is plate 9, left side, 1st row, 10th (last) column.

Comments appreciated!

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Réunion - Bud's Big Blue

Réunion’s Arms, 1924

Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

Excellent introductions to Réunion Island’s stamps can be found by clicking here and here, the first by Jim Jackson and the second by Sergio Sismondo. I won’t repeat what can be found there. Instead, this post discusses the artwork and heraldry found on Réunion’s stamps. 

From the early 20th century onward, French colony stamps commonly include the artist’s and/or the engraver’s names. Sometimes the names are incorporated in the stamps design, sometimes they appear inscribed below the design. 

Scott #s 68 (black and ultra) and 71 (gray green and blue green)

The first such for Réunion were issued in a definitive series beginning in 1907 and continuing to 1928 with new values, colors and overprints being added. Two designs incorporate the names of Chauvet and Puyplat in the engraving. The first, a map of Réunion Island, includes longitude and latitude markers. In the second, a view of Saint Denis harbor is flanked by the city’s arms and motto – “praeter omnes angulus ridet” – part of a quotation from Horace, the whole of which translates “This corner of the earth smiles for me more than any other.”

The French painter and illustrator Jules Adolphe Chauvet (1828-1905) is considered the likely artist of the first two stamps, although they were issued after his death. These are the only stamps bearing his name. Chauvet’s other artwork is still sold at auctions; he excelled in architectural drawings and ribald erotica (of the 19th century proclivity).

Scott #j6 (carmine on yellow)

The name Puyplat is found on stamps much more commonly than Chauvet. Jules-Jacques Puyplat (1843-1915), a wood-engraving specialist, is remembered for his magazine and newspaper illustrations as well as his many stamp designs – for Indochina, Cameroun, Mauretania, Guyana, etc. He also designed Réunion’s second postage due series. The Societe des Artistes Français inducted him into membership in 1893.

A third similar design in this series is used for the higher values and features a view of St. Pierre. It has no signatures. Its graceful engraving – the bird and wavessuggest that it may not be from Chauvet’s hand, but possibly from Puyplat’s.

Scott # 97 (red violet)

A second definitive pictorial series with new artwork was issued beginning in 1933 and continued to 1943, ending with “France Libre” overprints. While the first series portrays the Indian Ocean and shoreline, the second draws its inspiration from the island’s volcano-sculpted interior and a native son, Léon Dierx, a noted French poet born in St. Denis (1838). Two artists rendered the drawings: Robert Caulet (1906-1984) and C. Abadie (unknown dates). Both are also credited with the engravings.

A great deal is known about Robert Caulet – a painter and French Resistance fighter during World War II. He taught at a St. Denis high School in the early 1930s and his art was exhibited in the Léon Dierx Museum, the entrance of which he drew and engraved for Scott #s 153//166.

Scott # 156 (ultra)

Caulet also produced the view of the Demoiselles-Salazie waterfall which he likely visited while in Réunion. He also painted fine china (Sèvres), taught art classes, illustrated books about Africa, and drew an anti-Nazi comic strip.

Scott #s 129 (olive green), 130 (red orange) and 131 (ultra)

One Réunion’s many waterfalls

Little is known about the artist signed as C. Abadie who drew and engraved Salazie, mare aux poules d'eau et piton d'Auchain (aka in Scott’s catalog, Walterfoul Lake and Anchain Peak). He/she is also credited with the graphics for the third postage due series featuring Réunion’s arms. Perhaps Abadie is someone Caulet met while in Réunion. Clearly both are accomplished artists. Their philatelic work is limited to Réunion stamps.

Scott #144 (olive green)

Both Caulet’s and Abadie’s designs were printed by Institut de Gravure et d'Impression de Papiers-Valeurs, Paris, a well-known source of philatelic elegance.

Scott #s j24 (deep blue) and j25 (carmine)

Réunion’s arms speak of the island’s beauty and close connections with France – the mountains and exploding volcano, a 17th century sailing ship (the St. Alexis), three fleurs de lis, and a swarm of bees. It is surrounded by vanilla branches (Vanilla planifolia – Orchidaceæ), of economic importance to the islanders, and carries the motto Florebo quocumque ferar (I will flourish wherever I am carried).

Réunion became an integral part of France in 1946 and its citizens, being fully and properly French, have used the stamps of France since 1975 without surcharges or overprints.

Census: 135 in BB spaces, four tip-ins, 71 on supplement pages.

Links for first line above.

1 - https://bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.com/2015/04/ClassicStampsofReunion.html

2 - https://www.linns.com/news/world-stamps-postal-history/la-reunion-brief-history-of-its-postage-stamps.html

Jim's Observations

Reunion (more properly Réunion) is presently an overseas department of France, but has been in the French realm since 1642. The island, located 120 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, was an important stopover on the East Indies trade route, but less so after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

Interestingly, there were no indigenous people on the island during historical times, so the population was a melting pot of immigrant African, European, Malagasy, Indian, and Chinese groups.

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Comments appreciated!