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. Interested? So into the Blues...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ceylon - Bud's Big Blue

Adam's Peak White Tea
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Sri Lanka rejected its colonial name in 1972, but their tea still is called Ceylon -- my standard breakfast beverage, usually Ceylon OP Black but SFTGFOP* when I have extra cash. Were I inclined to topical collecting, tea stamps would be my first choice, and I’d start with six stamps on these pages.

A tea picker appears twice on page 3 and, with an overprint, once on supplement page 2.  

“Adam’s Peak” (also two stamps, page 3) is located in Ceylon’s tea-growing mountains. Likely the lower mountainside has tea bushes. A tea company recently adopted Adam’s Peak as a trade name. It’s a holy mountain with a sacred footprint (Sri Pada) formed in stone at the top.  Some say Adam stood there during his 1000-year penance, others think Buddha’s foot made it, Hindus claim Shiva left the print. Some Christians mention St. Thomas as a possibility. (May their grace gently fall upon all tea-topical collectors.)  

The last tea stamp is not as obvious (supplement page 1, row 6, first stamp). Its violet handstamp reads “…n Estate, Maskeliya” which I take to mean “Banyan Estate”, a 19th century tea plantation near Adam’s Peak and Maskeliya. Experts say companies used such handstamps to keep local couriers from ripping off and reselling the postage. “CAVE” overprints (same page) provide further examples, these being traceable to a publishing concern in Colombo.

Opportunities for specialization abound. “Ancient tank” stamps offer one possibility, as do the corporate protective overprints. Ceylon’s queen and king series merit study. The next opportunity for such an array comes in the Gambia scans.

Census: 78 in BB spaces, seven tip-ins, 77 on supplement pages.

Error: First stamp on page 2 is incorrect, should be Scott #199.

*Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe tea, the best.

Jim's Observations
A warning:  There are TWO printing errors in Big Blue.

A) In the Victorian stamp section, one will find under "1886-93" a designated space "30c violet and orange brown". This is for A24 design Scott 140 30c violet and orange brown ('93). No problem there; put it in.

BUT, you will then find, under "1899-1900", a designated stamp space for another "30c violet and orange brown". Doesn't exist, no stamp like this for the 1899-1900 date range. 

HOWEVER, there IS an A24 design Scott 141 75c black and orange brown ,1900 issue. I'm fairly certain this is the stamp BB intended for the space. Of interest is this printing error has been embedded in BB's DNA in all the editions:'41,'47,'69,'97.

(Bud placed a copy of the 75c black and orange brown on Supplement page 1, and placed two examples of the 30c violet and orange brown on page 1.)

B) Under the George V issues for "1912-27", there is a printing error that crept into the '69, and has persisted in the '97 edition.

The designated space in the '69 and '97 editions says: "12c green on yellow". No such stamp exists. It should say: "15c green on yellow", as it does for the '47 & '41 editions. Put the Scott 236 15c "green on yellow" there.

Ceylon Blog Post and Checklist

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Central Lithuania - Bud's Big Blue

Polish White Eagle and Lithuanian Pahonia
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Uses for stamps often go beyond postage. They can assert sovereignty, much in the same as fielding an Olympics team does. Stamps also propagandize. “Please notice,” Central Lithuania’s stamps seem to shout. “We’re here! And we like Poland!” True enough, at least for some of the residents.

BB did notice, although most nations didn’t.

Following WWI, CL was caught in territorial strife between Lithuania and Poland and, more or less, sided with Poland. Matters were, of course, more complicated than that, but CL’s first stamps are inscribed “Poczta” and bear the Polish eagle. 

CL semi-postals overprinted “Na Slask” (for Silesia) were meant to raise funds to support Poland’s side of the 1921 Upper Silesia plebiscite. Poland lost; Upper Silesia became German. 

But in 1922 CL was conjoined to Poland, the result of heavily boycotted and contested election. Two years after it began, therefore, CL’s postal authority ended.

BB’s 1969 edition provides CL only half the spaces found in its predecessors. Separate spaces for perfs and imperfs are eliminated. So, if I have them, I place the perf variety in BB honored slots and exile the imperfs to the supplement page.

Census: 43 in BB spaces, 2 tip-ins, 27 on supplement page.

Jim's Observations
Central Lithuania, with the Capital Vilnius, was located east of Lithuania and north of Poland. Originally a Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the territory came under Russian rule by the end of the 18th Century. 

After WWI, Lithuania claimed the territory, but the Polish army under General Zeligowski occupied the land from 1920-22. During this time, the stamp issues were produced, and the General appears on Scott 26, 57, & 58. Subsequently, the territory became part of Poland.

Central Lithuania Blog Post and Checklist

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stamps of Argentina 1858-1892

1878 Scott 36 20c blue, Rouletted 
"Dalmacio Velez Sarsfield"
Into the Deep Blue
One of the rewards of completing a six year survey of the 1840-1940 A-Z countries, is that now I can, at my discretion, go back to earlier posts, and expand on the stamp coverage.

Argentina has wonderful stamps, and I will enjoy spending more time with them. The original Argentina post is here.

For the last post, I looked at the watermarking that is needed for Argentina, if one wishes to correctly identify issues. This post will look at, in greater detail, the Argentinian stamps issued between 1858-1892. The next post will continue the Argentinian theme, and review issues between 1899-1939.

For this post and the next, I will ignore the issues where watermarking is needed, as those issues were covered earlier..

The 1858-1892 stamp era for Argentina requires very little watermarking, so most of the issues are available for discussion. But, even with selecting for a smaller period, I will only have the time to cover and highlight certain issues and stamps.

One of the joys of South America in general, and Argentina in particular, are the modest CVs of the classical era stamps.

If we look at the 1858-1892 time period for Argentina, there are 125 major descriptive numbers for regular and official stamps. Of those, and selecting for CV <$1-$10+, there are 88 stamps available, or 70%. !! Compare that with the cost of the 19th century U.S. !

I've always been tempted to sub-specialize in South American countries as a WW collector, because of the modest costs, and the philatelic challenges. Perhaps I will at some point!

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centavos = 1 Peso
Argentine Confederation 1858 Scott 1 5c red
"Symbolical of the Argentine Confederation"
Lithographed, Imperforate
The first stamp of the Argentine Confederation was the 1858 5 centavo red, part of a three stamp lithographic set. A large cache of unused copies of Buenos Aires post office remainders were sold to dealers in 1890. That is one reason that unused specimens for the set are only CV $1+-$10+ some 160 years after issuance.

The other reason is the many fakes, at least four by Fournier, Spiro Brothers and others, have depressed the prices.

Characteristics of the genuine (which this appears to be) are a left serif extension to the bottom of the "N" of "CENTAV."; the patterns of both side borders are the same, beginning with a down stroke to the right, and the mouth line curves a bit downward on the right.

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1867 Scott 18A 10c green "Manuel Belgrano"
Perf 12; Groundwork of Horizontal lines
The stamps of Argentina between 1864-1882 were engraved, so they are rather striking in appearance, and forgeries (although they exist) are less of a problem.

The 1867-68 10c green "Belgrano" was part of a three stamp portrait issue, along with Bernardino Rivadavia and Jose de San Martin.

The stamp is characterized in Scott as having horizontal lines groundwork, but I do see some diagonal lines also.

The 1867-68 stamps (five total) range from CV $1+-$20+.

There was, in fact, a lithographic forgery produced by the Spiro Brothers of Hamburg, Germany. The genuine has the three "A's" with pointed tips in the upper inscription, while the Spiro forgery has all flat topped "A's".

Manuel Belgrano holding the Flag of Argentina
By Artist Rafael del Villar circa 1910
Manuel Belgrano was one of the Libertadores during the 1810-1818 Argentine Wars of Independence, and he created the flag of Argentina.

1873 Scott 26 90c blue "Cornelio Saavedra"
Perf 12
In 1873, there were five more portrait stamps issued, all engraved.

CV is <$1-$20+.

Cornelio Saavedra was a military officer and patriot who played a large part in Argentina's first step toward independence form Spain, the May 1810 Revolution.

1877 Scott 31 2c on 5c vermilion "Rivadavia"
In February, 1877, three stamps were surcharged with large black numerals.

The CV is higher than most @ $20+-$70+.

 Bernardino Rivadavia
Bernardino de la Trinidad Gonzalez Rivadavia y Rivadavia was the first president of Argentina, then called the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, from 1826-1827.

1878 Scott 40 25c lake "Alvear"
Three more portrait engraved stamps were issued between 1877-80.

CV is <$1-$6.

Carlos Maria de Alvear, as General of the army besieging Montevideo, forced the surrender of the Spanish troops in 1814.

1882 Scott 42 1/2c on 5c vermilion "Rivadavia"
Small "P" and Narrow "V" in "Provisorio"
Perforated across Middle of Stamp
The 1867 Rivadavia stamp was surcharged in 1882 as a provisional issue. There exists two types of surcharge: large "P"/wide "V" vs small "P"/narrow "V". The small "P"/narrow"V" stamp was further perforated across the middle of the stamp, and is illustrated here.

CV for these various versions is a modest $2+-$6.

1882 Scott 46 12c greenish blue, Perf 14
Typographed
In 1882, the numeral design illustrated here was released, typographed, in Perf 12 and Perf 14 (Perf 14 are the major numbers). An engraved issue with three stamps, and similar in design, was issued later in 1884-85.

1884 Scott 48 1c on 15c blue 
"Jose de San Martin"
Groundwork of Crossed Lines
In 1884, five previous 1867-68 stamps were surcharged in red or black.

The underlying stamp, the 1867-68 15c blue, can be found with a groundwork of horizontal lines or crossed lines. The surcharged stamp illustrated is the crossed lines version, although a horizontal lines surcharged stamp exists also.

Of interest, the underlying engraved crossed lines type originally issued in 1867-68 was forged lithographically by the Hamburg Spiro Brothers.

In the genuine, for the "ARGENTINA" inscription, the "AR" lower serifs touch, while the "NTIN" upper serifs touch. For the crude forgery, all the letters are separate.

Generals San Martin and  Chilean Bernardo O'Higgins crossing the Andes
Jose de San Martin was an Argentine general and the prime mover for independence from the Spanish Empire in South America.

One of the major feats was crossing the Andes with 4000 soldiers to liberate Chile from the Spanish in January, 1817.

1888-90 Scott 67 50c blue "Bartolome Mitre"
1888-90 Lithographic Issue
Between 1888-90, a large thirteen stamp lithographic portrait issue was released. Scott has a note that there are several varieties of each value, depending on the relative position of the head to the frame.

CV is <$1-$10+ for the issue.

Bartolome Mitre 1861
Bartolome Mitre was born in Buenos Aires to a Greek family, and the family name was originally Mitropoulos.

He was President of Argentina from 1862 to 1868.

1888-89 Scott 68 1/2c ultramarine "Urquiza"
Engraved
A six stamp smaller format engraved portrait issue was released in 1888-89.

You may have noted that the stamp above is labeled as released in 1888-89. Other Argentine stamp issues in Scott are similarly vague about a specific year date for release. Usually Scott, if they give a year date range for release of an issue, will give the specific release year date of each stamp as it is listed. But not for Argentina- perhaps the date release records for individual stamps were not kept? I think that is unlikely, and a specialized Argentinian catalogue would have this information.

Justo Jose de Urquiza y Garcia was an Argentine general, and president of the Argentine Confederation from 1854 to 1860.

1890 Scott 81 50c orange "Mitre"
Engraved
In 1890, a nine stamp engraved portrait issue was released. I show the entire issue under the "Deep Blue" section of this post.

CV ranges from <$1 to $4+.

1890 Scott 89 1c brown "Velez Sarsfield"
Re-engraving of 1888-89 stamp
In 1890, a re-engraved version of the 1888-89 1c brown "Sarsfield" stamp was issued.
I have them both, but I am only showing the re-engraved version, which has a short upper left sloping serif for the "1". The original has a much longer serif.

Since they are both about the same CV (<$1), it is equally likely they will show up in a collection. Why doesn't the reader check their own collection and see which one (or both?) they have. :-)

Dalmacio Velez Sarsfield was an Argentine lawyer who wrote the Argentine Civil Code of 1869, and this code remained in force until 1915.

If one does an internet search however, the most likely result will feature the Buenos Aires football (soccer) sports club, Velez Sarsfield. This First Division football team was named after a nearby railway station, which bears his name.

1892 Scott 90 2c light blue
"Santa Maria, "Nina", and "Pinta"
Discovery of America, 400th Anniversary
An engraved two stamp set was issued in 1892 for Columbus and the 400th anniversary discovery of America. 

The issue only had 100,000 sets, yet the CV today is only $3-$4.

I must admit I am taken with the design of this issue. I think it is better than most of the U.S. 1893 Columbian Exposition Issue stamps.

There are lithographic forgeries that are abundant. The engraved set has a small but distinct accent over the "U" of "REPUBLICA" (enlarge to see). The forgeries lack this accent. The genuines have the bottom serifs of the two "A's" in the upper inscription touch each other.

1884-87 Scott O5 4c brown "Mariano Moreno"
On 1873 Regular issue, Overprinted in Black
Argentina has a long history of "Official" and "Official Department" issues. All of them are overprints on regular issues.

In the Scott 1840-1940 catalogue, there are 54 overprinted "Official" stamps between 1884-1954.
Of those, 33 are CV <$1-$1+, or 61%.

The first "Official" issue, with diagonal overprint,  was released between 1884-87, and there are fourteen stamps from the regular category overprinted in black. These stamps are Perf 12 or 14, but there were nine additional stamps released 1884-85, either rouletted, and/or overprinted diagonally in red. The diagonal overprint can either be found reading upwards or downwards.

Mariano Moreno was a lawyer, journalist, and politician that played an important role in the first national government of Argentina (Primera Junta), after the May 1810 Revolution.

Deep Blue
1890 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner)  has nine pages for the stamps issued from 1858-1892. All of the major numbers in Scott have a designated space.

1887 Scott 56 24c blue "San Martin", Perf 12
Based on San Martin Rouletted Type of 1878

Out of the Blue
I now know a bit more about Argentine history, based on their classical 19th century stamps.

Note: The portrait paintings image scans appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cayman Islands - Bud's Big Blue

Cayman Islands and Piggy Bank
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Cayman Islands (CI for short) stamps are surprising for what they omit. British Caribbean countries’ stamps ordinarily show coats of arms and sailing ships. Not the Caymans. No arms. No ships, except for a sport schooner and cat boat. There exists a Cayman Islands coat arms suitable for stamps, of course, with a top-perching turtle. Columbus named the islands The Turtles (Las Tortugas).

Further, Cayman Islands navigation history might have inspired stamp designs, but didn’t. Records list over 300 local shipwrecks including, according to legend, one carrying Prince William, later King William IV. Ships did wreck, but William wasn’t aboard any of them. He appears on the 1932 series along with George V to celebrate CI’s legislative assembly centenary. Because of their mercy toward shipwrecked sailors William’s father, George IV, granted CI freedom from taxes, forever.

Now home to over 100,000 businesses but only 56,000 people, CI is served by 40 of the world’s 50 fattest banks. Once known as “guardian of the Caribbean,” modern CI guards wealth against taxation.

CI’s turtles (Chelonia mydas) make appearances in the 1935 and 1938 pictorial series, as does a booby bird with blue feet. The feet should be red, though. The blue-footed sort lives in the Pacific.

Update note to stamp changes made since scans were made: replaced scuffed #5; corrected error for #23, added seven to supplement, tipped-in two interesting cancels. Note: #s 114 and 115 on supplement page were issued in 1947.

Census: 51 in BB spaces, 1 tip-in, 22 on supplement page. 

Jim's Observations
Considering the wealth of the Cayman Islands, the issues in Big Blue are reasonable in cost. The most expensive stamp is the 1938 Scott 109 2s green ($10+). I did find, in addition, 17 stamps- including the 'dropped" war tax stamps- that could be added for <$1-$2+.

Cayman Islands Blog Post and Checklist

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