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 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...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bulgaria - Bud's Big Blue

Български пощи
Bulgarian Post
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Bob, author of the savvy “Filling Spaces” blog, often asks of advanced BB collectors, “What would you do differently if you were starting over?”

For one, I would learn to transliterate (sadly, translation is way beyond me) from Bulgarian Cyrillic to Latin alphabet equivalents. Sometimes this task is complicated by typeface variations, as on the St Clement, Paisius of Hilendar, and Tsar Simeon stamps, page 6. Further, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, and Ukrainian also require transliteration, for these have slightly different alphabetic characters. Not only would learning transliteration have helped me better to understand the subject matter of the stamps, but also the cancellations would have been more readily identifiable. So, I’m trying to catch up. Bulgaria does Romanize some cancels, such as the София/Sofia on the bottom row, page 1, last stamp.

One effect of my not bothering to learn something of Cyrillic is that the Bulgaria BB section filled up without my giving much attention to it. The stamps are plentiful and inexpensive, so feeder albums provided almost all that BB specified. Page 6 was the last to fill up, and 5 lev (лева) postal tax stamp was the hardest to find. I actually bought it from a dealer in Bulgaria.

Census: 314 in BB spaces, 30 tipped-in, 62 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Bulgaria's stamps are really inexpensive, and the Big Blue collector should have a field day. 

You might very well have stamps in your collection for which Big Blue does not provide spaces. I found 68 stamps close to the minimum catalogue value that are not included. But Big Blue DOES have ten pages-not bad for this interesting country!

The collector might want to double check the 1902 Battle of Shipka Pass Issue- forgeries abound.

Bulgaria Blog Post and Checklist

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Brunei - Bud's Big Blue

From cover: Robson Lowe, Brunei: The History and a Plating Study, 1973
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
The Brunei River shows prominently on all stamps from 1895 to 1949, except the overprinted Labuan stamps. More interesting, however, are the houses shown on the river. Roofs and walls of stitched nipa-palm fronds and floors of bamboo are attached to the frame with rattan; the whole is supported on wooden stilts anchored in river mud. Parts are joined without nails or milled lumber.

The homes cluster in small villages linked by foot-bridges. Collectively the water villages are known as Kampong Ayer. Villages have other buildings, too, such as mosques, restaurants, shops, schools, and infirmaries. 

Some of these, with a little imagination, might be identifiable in the 1924-31 panoramic issue (row 3). These stamps do clearly show a passing tug boat towing coal barges and, in the foreground (forewater?), three water taxis. On the far shore is the site where the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque will be constructed.

In 1942 the invading Imperial Japanese Government hand-stamped Brunei stamps in violet (see fifth row, fourth stamp -- 5c Scott #N6; beneath is original #51).

Census: 24 in BB spaces, five tipped-in.

Jim's Observations
Nice issues- hard to tell they are "British", as no typical queen-king clues on the stamps. The fact that Brunei was a British protectorate, rather than a crown colony, probably explains this.

Brunei Blog Post and Checklist

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017


1898 Scott 18 20r gray violet "King Carlos"
Quick History
Drained by the Zambezi River in the middle portion of the Portuguese East Africa Colony (Mozambique), this territory from the Quelimane settlement on the coast to the Tete settlement upriver was given to the Zambezia Company to initiate tea, copra, and livestock production by exploiting forced African labor, and to explore mining opportunities.

In addition, Portuguese settlements were encouraged through the creation of prazeiro holdings (land grants).

East Africa and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) area 1880-1914
Zambezia Province: Quelimane to Tete along the Zambezi River
The Zambezia Company were given the rights in 1892, and although the largest, and comparatively the most successful, they are not as well known today as the the chartered Mozambique Company and Nyassa Company that produced their own postage stamps.

The territory was named the Zambezia Province (or District) in 1894, and stamps were issued.

The last issue for Zambezia was produced in 1917.

The capital of the Zambezia Province was the Quelimane settlement.

Portuguese East Africa 1922
Zambezia was divided into the Quelimane and Tete areas
The Zambezia Province name went away in 1920, leaving the Tete Province and the Quelimane Province.

(Tete and Quelimane were already named districts within Zambezia by 1902, apparently.)

All three present and former areas - Zambezia, Tete, Quelimane - then were exclusively covered by the stamps of Mozambique (Portuguese East Africa).

General Note: Although the Portuguese territory was referred to as Mozambique or Portuguese East Africa, the scattered settlements (and chartered companies) early on had their own stamps- hence MozambiqueInhambaneLourenco Marques, Quelimane, Tete, Zambezia, Mozambique Company, and Nyassa (Company) issues were produced.

Clarifying Note: Tete and Quelimane are both specific settlements and a region.

It is all rather complicated, and Michael Adkin's Dead Countries Mozambique Area Transition Chart might be helpful to review. 

In addition, Gerben's Stamp World History has a nice synthesis map of the era, and a detailed history.

Present day Mozambique - Note "Zambezia"
In present day Mozambique, Zambezia Province is again partially reconstituted (as of 1943), claiming the former named Quelimane area. 

I will close with an observation that speaks volumes about the Portuguese era: Until as late as 1961, Africans were considered indigenas (natives) rather than citizens.

1902 Scott 47 400r on 200r blue/blue
Stamps of 1894 Surcharged
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Zambezia 1894-1917, 105 major number descriptions. Of those, 49 are CV <$1-$1+, or 47%. The rest are modestly priced higher, with only one of the major numbers in the catalogue priced above CV $10+.  Clearly, classical Zambezia should not have high cost for WW collectors.

Zambezia offers typical fare for Portuguese colonies with key plate types, surcharges and overprints.

Of some interest, the "Republica" overprints are found with Lisbon print and local print on various issues.

And it is rewarding to collect Zambezia paying attention to the postmarks from Zambezia regions.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
1000 Reis = 1 Milreis
1894 Scott 8 80r yellow green "King Carlos"
Perf 12 1/2
Note the Quelimane cancel? 

In 1894, a twelve stamp set with the "King Carlos" visage was released, and was the first regular issue for the district of Zambezia.

CV is <$1-$3+ for eleven stamps.

The 2011 Afinsa (Portugal) Colonias Portuguesas catalogue parses the set into those with Perf  11 1/2, 12 1/2, and 13 1/2 respectively. The 80r yellow green shown above only is found with Perf 12 1/2. But there are five stamp denominations (15r, 50r, 75r, 200r, 300r) where more than one perforation exists. 

1903 Scott 20 25r carmine "King Carlos"
1898-1903 Issue, Perf 11 1/2
Note the Tete cancel?

Between 1898-1903, a twenty-three stamp "King Carlos" keyplate set was released, all with perf 11 1/2.

1903 Scott 22 50r brown
Note the Quelimane cancel?

This familiar Portuguese colony design for Zambezia has a CV of <$1-$3+ for sixteen stamps.

1903 Scott 29 130r brown/straw
Looks like a "Zambezia" cancel.

One of the most interesting things one can do for obscure colonies is pay attention to postmarks.

1902 Scott 45 400r on 50r light blue, Perf 12 1/2
Stamps of 1894 Surcharged
Changing rates resulted in a surcharged thirteen stamp set on the 1894 issue in 1902. The stamps can be found in Perf 11 /2 and Perf 12 1/2, with the 65r on 300 blue/salmon, 130r on 75r carmine, and the 400r on 50r light blue found with both perfs.

For Zambezia, the issue is on the high end CV wise, @ $3+-$7 for the stamps in the set.

1902 Scott 52 75r rose
Stamps of 1898 Overprinted
Provisional overprinted stamps (four) were issued in 1902.

1911 Scott 65 200r red violet/pinkish
Stamps of 1898-1903 Overprinted in Carmine or Green
In 1911, a fifteen stamp set was overprinted as shown (Lisbon overprint), reflecting the 1910 revolution.

CV is <$1-$1+ for every stamp in the issue.

1914 Scott 74 115r on 25r blue green
Stamps of 1902-05 Overprinted in Carmine or Green
This 1914 issue is perhaps a bit more interesting, as the "Republica" overprint was applied locally.

Note the shape of the "R", compared to the overprints from Lisbon.

Both perf 11 /2 and perf 12 1/2 can be found, with perf overlap for the 130r on 75r carmine and 400r on 50r light blue.

CV is $1+-$2+ for every stamp in the set, save for the 50r on 65r dull blue @ $1,200!

By the way, both Quelimane and Tete issued some of their own stamps beginning on May 31, 1913.

1915 Scott 87 130r on 75r carmine
Overprinted in Carmine
On Surcharged Issue of 1902
The 1915 issue is similar to the 1914 issue, but the "Republica"overprint is from Lisbon, not locally.

The eight stamp issue is <$1 for seven stamps.

1917 Scott 101 100r blue/blue
Stamps of 1898-1903 Overprinted Locally in Carmine
The last regular issue for Zambezia has thirteen stamps, and the overprint is again local. Note the "R" shape compared to the Lisbon overprint.

CV is $2+-$6+ for eleven stamps.

After July 17, 1920 ( If I'm reading the Portuguese in the Afinsa catalogue correctly), the stamps of Mozambique were used.

1894 Scott P1 2 1/2r brown Newspaper Stamp
The newspaper stamp for Zambezia was actually the first stamp issued for the district. If I'm reading the Portuguese correctly in the Afinsa catalogue, it appears to have been  released on May 8, 1893.

CV is <$1.

Deep Blue
1911 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has, for Zambezia 1894-1917, seven pages. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1914 Scott 76 130r on 2 1/2r brown 
Stamps of 1902-05 Overprinted in Carmine or Green
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 37 spaces for the stamps of 1894-1915 Zambezia

Coverage is 35%.

There are no expensive stamps (CV $10+) required for the spaces of BB.

The coverage is adequate, if not generous.

The 1902 surcharged issue on the 1894 issue (Scott 36-48) is not given coverage.

The locally overprinted "Republica" issues of 1914 and 1917 (25 stamps) are also without coverage.










A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1917 Scott 104 200r red violet/pinkish
Stamps of 1898-1903 Overprinted Locally in Carmine
Out of the Blue
The last of the Mozambique area and era stamps to be covered with a blog post. 

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

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