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...

Sunday, October 30, 2011


1924 2c on 1b brown "Elephant" & 25c on 2 1/2a blue "Lion"
 Italian Somaliland stamps overprinted in red or blue
There also exists a 1922 issue with overprinting in black
Quick History
This Italian colony of Eritrea in northeast Africa on the Red Sea ultimately became part of Italian East Africa in 1936. The Capital of Eritrea is Asmara, and the population was 60,000 in 1930.

Eritrea (or Italian Eritrea) was the first colony of the Kingdom of Italy. The colony began in 1890 with the first Italian overprinted stamps issued in 1892.  During WWII, the Italians were defeated in Eritrea, and the British occupied the land in 1941. With the Peace treaty of 1947, Eritrea was no longer an Italian colony, and the Ethiopians took control. After many years of conflict with Ethiopian rule, Eritrea finally gained Independence in 1993.

1930 15c dark green & black "Lineman" & 35c red brown & black "Lancer" 
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on nine pages, has 128 regular, 29 semi-postal, 8 air post, 4 special delivery, 6 postage due, and 6 parcel post spaces for a total of 181 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic specialized catalogue has 313 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 58%.

A) Expensive! I cringed after seeing the prices for a stamp issue in BB; and then the next issue I cringed again. It never stopped! The supply/demand is clearly tilting to the demand side here. Perhaps that is why there are not a lot of Eritrea stamps in most BB albums I've seen. It's not as if one is paying for great engraved unique stamps of Eritrea prior to 1930: No, every one is an overprinted Italian stamp, excepting  two overprinted Somalian issues.

The binned prices I use for stamp values in the catalogue often tilted towards the high end of the "bin" also. For Eritrea, if listed $2+, probably $4.50, if listed $5+, probably $9.25, if listed $10, probably $18, and so forth.

Some countries will have inexpensive stamps, but still have some "most expensive" candidates. Other countries ARE expensive, and yield a significant number of "most expensive" stamps. Eritrea is definitely in the latter category. Here is the list...

1930  Scott B32 semi-postal is 5 lira + 1.50 lira indigo & green ($85 mint)- overprinted type "f"
(on 1929 Italian semi-postal stamp)
1928-29 Scott 106 is 50c bright violet ($55 mint)-overprint type "a" on Italian stamp
1925 Scott 31 is 2 lira dark green & orange ($52.50 mint)- overprint type "a" on Italian stamp

1928 Scott 32 is 2.50 lira dark green & orange ($52.50)-overprint type "a" on Italian stamp
1916 Scott  42 is 40c brown ($37.50) -overprint type "a" on Italian stamp

B) Does all of this mean I find Eritrea not worth collecting? Not at all. :-) In fact, I like overprinted stamps, as they are generally more interesting than the plain variety. My wallet is the one that has problems. ;-)
And Eritrea does have some very nice stamps: the 1922/1924 Somalian overprinted issues, the 1930 "Lancer et al" issue, the 1934 "Camel et al" issue, the 1934 "Grant's gazelle" issue ( very large stamps!), and the 1934 Air Post issue ( Again, very large stamps).

C) Big Blue throws a few puzzlers for convoluted stamp spaces for Eritrea. First, we are dealing with Italian stamps that are not illustrated either in BB or in the Scott catalogue under Eritrea. All one sees in BB is just a series of overprint images for the spaces. One will have to look up the stamp design in "Italy" to be sure what stamp goes in which specific stamp space. O.K., fair enough. But then BB has some curveballs:

1) The  "1928-29" stamp spaces
All over the Scott catalogue map! Scott 105 and 106 have the King Victor Emmanuel III "A86" design; Scott 28,30,32 have the "A46" King designs; Scott 39 has the "A49" King design. The only thing this group has in common is the type "a" ("Colonia Eritrea") overprint!

2) The "1908-21' stamp spaces
Here even the overprints are different!...and with NO warning. ;-)
35,36,37($10+),53($2+),(<$1 eN)
Scott 53 is 20c brown orange, and has a different design ("A50") and a different overprint type ("f") than Scott 35,36,37,("A48" design") (overprint type "a").
One of the real "gotcha" spaces in BB. But now you know. :-)

3) One of the best stamp issue(s) in BB for Eritrea are the surcharged Italian Somaliland varieties for 1922-25 with an "Elephant" or a "Lion" design.. Although BB only gives one space, the stamp space is compatible with the 1922 issue (Scott 58-64) with black overprint, or the 1924 issue (Scott 81-87) with red or blue overprint. They are different enough, and gorgeous enough, that one might want to split out the two issues.

4) Additionals. Reflecting the high cost of Eritrean stamps, I only found four regular stamps (<$5) that could be added by the BB collector. ;-) There were a few more semi-postals, air post and postage dues that could be added for a total of 25 stamps. Details follow.




(1930) Virgil




Air Post

Special Delivery

Postage due

Living together: 1928-29 Scott 39 20c lilac brown & Scott 106 50c bright violet
The "75c" space to the right has still another design
All six stamps in the row have the same "Colonia Eritrea" overprint
Big Blue Checklist
(Eritrea stamps all overprinted (mostly Italian) until 1930.)

1892 stamps of Italy overprinted 
Blank space: suggest 5($5+)


1895-99 (continued)

19,20,21,22,23($1+),(<$1 eN)
Two blank spaces: suggest 26($2+), and 29(<$1)
eN=except noted


35,36,37($10+),53*($2+),(<$1 eN)
*Note 53 is 20c brown orange, and has a different design and a different overprint type. One of BB "gotcha" spaces.

40,42*($30+),43,44($20+).($2+ eN)
*Note 42 is 40c brown ($37.50); on the "most expensive" list.

1910 Government buildings at Massaua

1914 Farmer plowing


1922-25 Somalian surcharged stamps overprinted; "Elephant" and "Lion" designs
58 or 81 ($5+-$10+)
59 or 82 ($5+-$10+)
60 or 83* ($2+-$5+)
61 or 84 ($2+-$5+)
62 or 85 ($2+-$5+)
63 or 86 ($10+-$5+)
64 or 87 ($10+-$5+)
Note: 1922 Scott 58-64 has black overprint; while 1924 Scott 81-87 has blue or red overprint.
*Note 83 is 10c on 1a "rose red "while BB wants 60 "claret"; but all the other denomination colors match, and it is within the dates, so I am including it as a choice.

88,89($2+),90,($5+ eN)

38,41,31*($50+), ($10+ eN)
*Note: 31 is 2 lira dark green & orange ($52.50); on "most expensive stamp" list.

1923 "Fascisti" issue overprinted
Blank space: suggest 72($5+)

1925 "Victor Emmanuel" issue overprinted

1924 "Manzoni" issue overprinted

1927 "Volta" issue overprinted
102,103,104($10+),($5+ eN)

1926 "Saint Francis of Assisi" issue overprinted
*Note 96 is "red brown" in BB, "red violet" in Scott.

Note: confusing as different stamp designs, but all have the type "a" overprint.
*Note 106 is 50c bright violet ($55); on "most expensive" list.
*Note 32 is 2.50 lira dark green & orange ($52.50); on "most expensive" list.

On Italian  stamp of 1927, Overprinted Type "f"
107A *($45)
*Note 107A is 1.75l deep brown ($45); on "most expensive" list.
*Note 107A: was left off initial checklist by mistake

1929 "Monte Cassino" issue overprinted

1929 (continued)

1930 "royal wedding" issue overprinted

1930-31 (not overprinted!) Lancer et al
119($2+),120($2+),121,122,123,124($10+),($1+ eN)

(1930) Ferrucci

(1930) Virgil
*Note 134 is 15c violet black in Scott; but "black violet" in BB.


(1930) Victor Emmanuel III
150*($1+),151($1+),152,153,154,155,156($2+),157($2+),(<$1 eN)
*Note 150 7 1/2c "bister brown" in BB is "olive brown" in Scott

1934 Camel et al
158($2+),159,160,161($1+),(<$1 eN)
162,163($5+),165($2+),164,(<$1 eN)

(1934) Camel et al special overprint
Four blank spaces: suggest 170($5+),171($5+),173($10+),174($10+),

(1934) Grant's Gazelle

Semi-postal stamps

1928 "Fascism and victory"

1925 Italian "holy year" overprinted

1926 Colonial Institute Issue
B11,B12,B13,B14,B15,B16, ($1+)


B29,B30,B31,B32*($80+),($20+ eN)
*Note B32 is 5 lira + 1.50 lira indigo & green ($85); on "most expensive" list.

(1930)  "Agriculture"
B33,B34,B35,B36($5+),B37($5+),($2+ eN)

Air Post
1934 "Desert Scene; Plane & Globe

1934 (continued)


Special Delivery
*Note: "rose" in BB is "rose red" in Scott



Postage Due
J1($20+),J2,J3,J4($20+),($10+ eN)
Two blank spaces: suggest J7($20+) and J8($10+)

Parcel Post
Blank space: suggest Q13($5+)
Note: parcel post are two stamps: one on the parcel, one kept as receipt.

The 1908-21 row: yes the last stamp belongs there!
1921 Scott 53 20c brown orange
Kinds of Blue
The '41,'47,'69 and '97 are all identical in content.

1934 Scott C5 1 lira scarlet & olive green
Doesn't it look like the plane is headed for the moon...with propellers!
Big Blue Bottom Line
Expensive and Intriguing.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Eritrea today

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


1914 Scott 7 10 lepta carmine
"Infantryman with Rifle"
Quick History
This Territory in the western Balkans was long part of the Ottoman Empire, but during the Balkan wars (1912-13), Greece seized Northern Epirus. However, the Florence Protocol assigned the territory of Northern Epirus to the newly created state of Albania. This decision was highly unpopular with the majority Greeks in the area, and although Greece officially withdrew, there was an uprising  and revolt  among the local Greek population.  The rebels declared independence and announced the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus in February, 1914. Provisional government stamps were issued. They in fact did gain autonomy (under a nominal Albanian sovereignty), and were recognized under the Protocol of Corfu by the Albanians. The population was 128,000 Orthodox Christians and 95,000 Muslims in 1908, and the Capital was Argyrokastron.

However,  WWI broke out, Albania collapsed, and Greece reentered the area in October, 1914. The provisional government ceased to exist, having accomplished its objectives. Greece occupied northern Epirus through 1916, and overprinted Greek occupation stamps were issued. The Italians drove out he Greek forces in 1916, and the French occupied Koritsa.

Ultimately the area was ceded to Albania in 1921 ( with Italian backing).

During  WWII, the area was occupied by the Italians and the Germans. After WWII,  the territory ultimately remained part of communist Albania.

Northern Epirus is between the red solid and red dotted lines.
The green area is majority Greek speaking.
Big Blue Picture
The '97 Big blue, on one page, has 14 stamp spaces for the 1914 Epirus issues, and 6 stamp spaces for  the 1914-15 Greek occupation issues, for a total of 20 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has major stamp descriptions for 41 Epirus stamps and 27 Greek occupation stamps, for a total of 68 stamps. Coverage by Big Blue is 29%.

What a convoluted history. Naturally the provisional government stamps show fighting ( Infantryman), and a call to nationalism ( Epirus flag). The flag design borrows the white cross on blue image of Greece with the double headed eagle overlaying.

Although there are some expensively priced Epirus stamp issues, I did find eight additional stamps that could be considered by the Big Blue collector.

Additionals.... (<$1-$2+)
1914 Koritsa issue

1916 regular issues 1912 , lithographed, of Greece, overprinted

1914 August Scott 16 5 lepta green & blue
"Flag of Epirus"
Big Blue Checklist
1914 (March)Infantryman with Rifle
5,6,7,8,9($1+),10($1+),(<$1 eN)
eN=except noted

(1914 August) Flag of Epirus
19,20($2+),21($1+),22($5+), (<$1 eN)

1914-15 Greek occupation overprinted
Six blank spaces: suggest N1,N2,N4,N5($1+),N6($2+),N8($2+), (<$1 eN)

1914 25 lepta deep blue
Provisional Government Issue
Kinds of Blue
The '97,'69,'47,'41 editions are all identical in content.
Epirus can be found after the Dutch Indies section in the '69. In the '47 and '41, it can be found after the section on Ecuador.

1914 2d orange & blue
The white cross on blue background design is found on the Greek flag.
Big Blue Bottom Line
Where history, conflict and stamps meet.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Comments welcomed!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Elobey, Annobon & Corisco

1903 Scott 8 10c rose lake "King Alfonso XIII"
Quick History
Elobey, Annobon & Corisco were a group of Islands in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa. These Spanish colonial possessions were administered under the Governor General who also administered Fernando Po. The capital was Santa Isabel. and the population was 3,000 people in 1910.  The islands are now a part of Equatorial Guinea. Stamps were issued from 1903-1910. In 1909, the stamps of Spanish Guinea replaced these issues.

100 Centimos = 1 Peseta
Reverse of 1903 Scott 8 10c lake 
The 1903, 1905, 1907 issues have control nimbers on the back
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on one line of one page, has seven stamp spaces for the 1907 King Alfonso issue. The Scott 2011 Classic Specialized catalogue has 60 major stamp descriptions. Coverage is 12%.

All of the colonies stamps show a portrait of King Alfonso XIII.

We should be grateful that BB has a page devoted to this fairly obscure Spanish possession.
But since the '97 edition page is now mostly empty, perhaps a few additional stamps could be added? :-)

I found 25 additional candidates among the 1903, 1905, 1907, 1908-09, and 1910 issues. Twenty-one of these stamps can be had for <$1! So definitely add to the page, or find a supplemental page for these inexpensive stamps.



1908-09 black surcharge

1910 red surcharge

O.K., so I have made a case for adding  stamps. But is there a flaw in the logic?

Yes, acquiring them. ;-)

Rarely do I find "Elobey, Annobon & Corisco" stamps in general collections.

Annobon on Map; other islands (not shown) are closer to Equatorial Guinea
Fernando Po is now Bioko
Big Blue Checklist
1907 King Alfonso XIII
39,40,41,42,43,44($5+) (<$1 eN)
Blank space: suggest 45 ($1+)
Note: Scott 44 is 10c violet ($5+)
eN=except noted
1903 Scott 10 25c dark blue "King Alfonso XIII"
Kinds of Blue
The '97, '69,'47 and '41 editions are all similar in content. Elobey, Annobon & Corisco's stamp spaces can be found after Cuba in the '69, and after Cuba and Eastern Rumelia in the '47 and '41 editions.

Location of Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico
Big Blue Bottom Line
Obscure, but alive in Big Blue! Adding some additional stamps should not be a financial burden.

Now, finding them, well, that could be another story. ;-)

Note: Map images appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big Blue, the "Browns", and Steiner: A three album shootout

1869 20pa yellow green
First issue: This stamp found in the "Browns" and Steiner
Quick History
It occurred to me while reviewing the various 1867-1906 Egyptian "Sphinx and Pyramid" issues, a reasonably complicated, but not very expensive stamp series, that they might serve as a candidate for examining the capabilities and stamp organizing philosophy of namely three albums: Big Blue aka Scott International Part I 1840-1940, the Scott "Browns", the iconic five volume album set of the world, and finally Bill Steiner's 6,500 classic era PDF files that can be printed out using one's own computer and printer.

Let's meet the candidates a little more closely.

Big Blue
One binder (original) to two binders (interleaving) to four binders ('97 edition, supplementary pages)

Big Blue and the first page for Egypt
Big Blue
Of course the album we have been using on this blog. It has 35,000 spaces for a "representative" selection from the world during the classical era 1840-1940. Originally a large one binder "Junior" album, intended for juniors or those that found the "Browns" a little too much. My 1941 Big Blue still has "Junior" written on the spine, but the 1947 edition does not. It is important to remember that Big Blue was originally a "junior" album, and therefore the stamp selection tended to be inexpensive, and the stamp spaces were simplified, ignoring watermarks and perforation differences. That DNA, good or bad, is still with us today.

But what changed? The "Browns" (My copyright 1919-1939) stopped being published; Scott preferring to concentrate on the comprehensive, but more narrowly focused  Country albums. Scott then turned the "Junior" into the first volume of its "International" albums, intended for those that wished to collect the entire world. So the "Junior" became part I (1840-1940), part II covered 1940-1948+, part III covered until 1954, and so forth.

Has Big Blue changed much over the years? Surprisingly little. There were some elimination of smaller countries, and some deletions of BOB stamps in 1969, with some strengthening of the stamp issues remaining. That's about it. The most recent edition, the '97, has spread out the format so each countries stamp categories ( postage dues, officials for instance) begins a new page. But the '69 and '97 editions are substantially the same content wise. However, Scott/Amos now sell the Album in four parts (IA1,IA2,IB1,IB2) for a price north of $400. With interleaving (necessary!) and adding blank pages, the album today is a minimum two binder, and a more likely a four binder set.

With throwing off the shackles of a one binder album, it is possible that Scott/Amos could add substantially more stamp spaces to the album. My pet peeve about Big Blue are the many inexpensive stamps that have been left out. Could that actually occur? No idea.

The "Browns"
Nineteenth Century volume

    The first Egyptian stamp page in the 19th century "brown" album                    
The "Browns"
My International Postage Stamp Nineteenth Century Album states:
"Contains spaces for every principal variety of Postage Stamp issued by any Government in the World during the Nineteenth Century"
And yes, the album cover is "brown", hence the affectionate name these volumes are known by. The complete set by Scott came in five volumes, the last for the years 1934-1938 +/-. Sometime after Scott sold the rights to these albums, a sixth volume was produced bringing the coverage up to 1940. Presently, they can be purchased on good paper printed on one side at Subway Stamp Shop Inc.

A complete set of the "Browns" will take up a lot of shelf space, specifically 12-19 binders. Big Blue clearly wins that argument. Nevertheless, linking oneself to the great collectors of the past who used the "Browns" is hard to resist. :-)

Stamp Albums Web: Bill Steiners PDF files
Computer, Printer, your own paper
The CD-ROM holds over 50,000 pages, including 6,500 classic era pages

A Steiner page for Egypt
Stamp Albums Web
Stamp Albums Web is the name of the web site where Bill Steiner sells access to his created album PDF files. He has created over 50,000 pages in total, and offers pages for virtually any country. More importantly, he has a separate section for the classic era 6,500 pages. And the cost? The CD-ROM disc is $30. And it has everything on it. If you are thinking about computer/printer generated album pages, it is clearly one of the great bargains out there. He also sells access to his website for $30/year; perhaps more important if you need up to date modern issues pages. He sells both the CD and one year subscription for $40. You can perhaps tell I am somewhat enthused. ;-)

He does not have a licence to print Scott numbers on his stamp spaces, but he follows the Scott catalogue almost exactly. I have NO problem figuring out which stamp goes where with his pages.

I will refer to his pages as "Steiner" in this blog.

This might be a good place to remind ourselves that all three of these albums are catalogue Scott-centric. If one is collecting Europe (Michel), or the British Commonwealth (Stanley Gibbons), or the French world (Yvert & Tellier/Maury), then think about which catalogue ( and album layout) fits best.

1874 Scott 26c 5pa brown with blurred impression, rough perforations, and Numerals inverted.
Steiner has a specific space; Big Blue & the "Browns" have a shared generic space
The challenge: Egypt "Sphinx and Pyramid" Stamp Issues
My proposal is to evaluate the stamp space offerings by Big Blue, the "Browns", and Steiner for the first three issues of Egypt's iconic "Sphinx and Pyramid" design. The "Sphinx and Pyramid" offers a moderately challenging group of varieties; yet for the most part is inexpensive. I hope this will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each album's approach to these stamp issues. But I believe the results can be used to show the general tendencies of each album.

1869 Scott 9 10pa lilac
Found in the "Browns" and Steiner
Despite moderate catalogue value ($10+), not found in Big Blue
The first issue: 1867 "Sphinx and Pyramid"
The first issue, with the Sphinx placed directly in front of the Pyramid, was issued as a 5pa orange ($10+), 10pa lilac($10+), 20pa yellow green($10+), 1pi rose red($1+), 2pi blue($10+), and 5pi brown($200+).
The first five denominations are modestly priced for classics.

Big Blue
Big Blue offers two spaces for this series: the 5pa orange($10+), and the 1pi rose red($1+). Missing are the inexpensive (for classics) 10pa lilac($10+) and the 20pa yellow green($10+). I believe this highlights one of the weaknesses (for me) of the Big Blue album. Big Blue promises a "representative" album, not an album in which they will include most of the affordable classic era stamps.  I would prefer the latter.

The "Browns"
Naturally, the "Browns" offer a space for the entire series. So far, so good. But the description for the 20pa yellow green is "green" in the "Browns". This again highlights a problem. Based on the copyright of the Album ( 1919 for the Nineteenth Century album, 1939 for the Fifth volume), the Scott descriptions are fossilized.
Yes reading the descriptions means you are reading a Scott 1919 catalogue! Naturally descriptions change. My 1947 catalogue describes the 20pa stamp (major number) as "blue green" with the minor number "a" given to "yellow green". Notice that the descriptions had already changed by 1947. Today (2011), the catalogue describes the major number as "yellow green", while the minor number "a" has "blue-green". So descriptions change, stamps drop out (Colombian States-City of Cucuta anyone?), and stamps drop in ( Five blank page coverage by the 19th Century "Brown" for the Indian Native Feudatory States, while Steiner has 131 page coverage in total). Big Blue has a similar, albeit not as severe of a problem, as their descriptions were fossilized in the 1940s-1960s.

So for the "Browns", one will need to interpret the 2011 catalogue through a 1919 catalogue lens. Not impossible, but a challenge nevertheless.

The Steiner naturally likewise has a space for all the denominations in this issue. BTW, the Steiner usually just prints the denomination description in the stamp space, not the color description of the stamp. But they will print the color description if there could be confusion because of two or more different colored stamps of the same denomination.

As an interesting aside, the color descriptions in Steiner do not always follow Scott. I noted, at least for some of the British colonies, they used the Stanley Gibbons color descriptions. (But they still followed the Scott catalogue sequence.)

1874 Scott 22b 1p vermilion blurred impression & perforation 12 1/2 rough
Five varieties of this denomination stamp 
clear/blurred, thick/thin paper, clean cut/rough perfs,
 typographed/lithographed, different colors and perfs
The second issue: 1872-75 "Sphinx and Pyramid"
A specialist's delight or a generalist's nightmare, depending how you look at it. ;-)

The primary denominations/images are 5pa brown ( Also found with Numerals inverted), 10pa (lilac,dull lilac,gray lilac), 20pa (blue,gray blue)(found Litho also), 1pi (rose red, vermilion) (found Litho also), 2pi (dull yellow,yellow), 2 1/2pi (dull violet,deep violet), 5pi (green, yellow green).

Scott lists 34 varieties ( 8 major numbers: 7 for the denominations, 1 for the Numerals inverted). 

The catalogue values are 5pa ($5,$9+,$3+,$4+,), 10pa ($3+,$4+,$3+,$3+), 20pa ($4,$20,$80 Litho,$50+ Litho,$240+ mint Litho,$4,$3+),1pi ($2+,$8, $20 Litho, $50 Litho,$1+,$3+),2pi ($15,$8,$5+,$6,$10), 2 1/2pi ($11,$220+,$3+,$12+), 5pi ($35,$75,$22+,$220+). 

Therefore the cheapest values are 5pa($3+), 10pa ($3+),20pa ($3+),1pi ($1+), 2pi ($5+),2 1/2pi ($3+), 5pi ($22+). The cheapest Numerals inverted stamp is 5pa brown ($3+). Except for the lithography varieties, there are clearly many inexpensive stamps for this classical era.

There are two major stamp issues.  The 1872 issue has clear impressions, thick paper, and clean cut perforations. These are then subdivided into different perforations, and the lithography variety. (Total 19 varieties)

The second major issue, the 1874-75, has blurred impressions, thinner paper, and rough cut perforations. These are then subdivided into different perforations. (Total 15 varieties)

So how did the albums fare?

Big Blue
5pa brown : Scott 19($5) or 26 ($3+)
The Scott 26 is also the Numerals inverted type.
10pa: Scott 20 lilac ($3+) or 20b gray lilac (($3+)
1pi vermilion : Scott 22b ($1+)
2pi yellow: 23b ($5+)

Big Blue has four spaces, and offers six varieties a "chance" to be put in. This includes the Numerals reversed stamp. But BB does not offer a space for the 20pa ($3+), 2 1/2pi ($3+), & 5pi ($22+). Certainly the 20pa and 2 1/2pi are quite inexpensive. IMHO, BB should have provided some spaces for these quite affordable stamps.

The "Browns"
The "Browns" offer a space for all eight major numbers; the seven denominations and the Numerals reversed variety. Clearly, a simplified, but complete (major numbers) approach. If one wasn't interested in parsing this issue, this approach might be satisfactory. But the 2011 Scott catalogue seems to make a "big deal" out of this issue, and most of the varieties are inexpensive. IMHO, I believe the "Browns" do not offer quite enough.

Steiner offers a space for all 34 varieties-amazing! Although Scott lists many of these varieties as minor numbers, there must have been enough interest in these issues for Steiner to offer the complete listing. Since many of these varieties are inexpensive, a modicum of interest should yield many filled spaces. I'm impressed.
Some, however, might consider the coverage overkill.

Third design: 1879-02 Scott 39a 2pi orange brown
On chalky paper: note the shiny glazed smooth appearance
Fourth design: 1888-1906 Scott 49 10p purple; on ordinary paper
The third issue and design: 1879-1902 "Sphinx and Pyramid"
The third issue has 13 denominations:
5pa brown (<$1)
10pa violet ($5)
10pa lilac rose ($5+)
10pa gray ($1+)
10pa green (<$1)
20pa ultramarine ($2+)
20pa rose ($1+)
1pi rose (<$1)
1pi ultramarine (<$1)
2pi orange yellow ($1+)
2pi orange brown ($1+)
5pi green ($5+)
5pi gray (<$1)

Chalky paper varieties(1902) are found for:
1pi ultramarine (<$1) (Scott 37a)
2pi orange brown (<$1) (Scott 39a)
5pi gray (<$1) (Scott 41a)

All the stamps are modestly priced.

Big Blue
Big Blue has eleven stamp spaces, and misses the 10pa lilac rose ($5+), and the 5pi green ($5+).
Perhaps on purpose, Big Blue does not provide spaces for the two more expensive varieties. As an aside, Big Blue does a great job of mostly providing spaces for modestly priced stamps. In this case, though, I would have liked to see the complete set. :-) The chalky paper varieties are not given an individual space; but as we shall see, none of the albums provide an individual space for these stamps.

The "Browns"
Of course the "Browns" have all thirteen denominations provided. Again, though, no separate stamp spaces for the chalky varieties.

The layout for the "Browns" illustrates another difference with the Steiners. The  "Browns" list the stamps separately by issue year; so the issue is divided into 1879 (6 stamps), 1881 ( 1 stamp), 1882 (1 stamp), 1884 (4 stamps), and 1893 (1 stamp). Although the "Browns" are historically accurate for issue year, Scott now lists the stamps under the 1879-1902 grouping. Scott then indicates the issue year next to the description in the catalogue. As a consequence, if one is mounting stamps in the "Browns",  the number sequence will be 29,30,34,36,38,49;31; 32; 33,35,37,41; 39. More challenging.  Interestingly, Big Blue does list the issues under "1879-93", following the more modern Scott grouping. So one is left with another 1919 Scott catalogue legacy here for the "Browns".

Again Steiner has all thirteen stamps listed, and in  the correct Scott 29-41 sequential listing. An absolute piece of cake mounting the stamps in the album. Paradoxically, although Steiner provides the least information on the stamp spaces ( for copyright reasons) of any of these albums, they are the easiest by far to correlate using a Scott catalogue by one's side.

Now lets discuss the 1902 chalky issues varieties. Steiner does not provide individual spaces for these common minimum catalogue valued stamps. Why? Steiner simply follows the Scott catalogue in this case, and since they are minor number varieties (although bolded in Scott to show their importance), they are not in the album pages. (Since Steiner is open to suggestions, he might be willing to add these varieties.)

So this brings up a clear point. If one is interested in the subtleties of a stamp (minor color changes, different paper etc), then the Steiner-or any general album- will not be enough for you. They will provide the one major number space, and one will need to add supplementary pages. Or better, for a specialized country collection, making one's own pages is probably the best solution.

So what have we learned by putting these albums through the "Sphinx and Pyramid" torture test? ;-)

Big Blue
This examination parameters were such that  Big Blue was predestined to not do well. Big Blue's strengths are certainly not completeness, or even providing spaces for most of the inexpensive stamps in the catalogue. This was clearly demonstrated here. If one is interested in a specific country, Big Blue's offerings will probably not satisfy in the long term. But as one pulls back the focus to a general "representative" collection for the whole world ( and not getting bogged down at the country level), Big Blue fulfills its intent. The best way to use Big Blue is accept the offerings for what they are, and work within that framework. One would still have 35,000 possibilities, a number few who collect classic era stamps will ever accumulate.

The absolute best approach is one Bob Skinner of "Filling Spaces" blog fame does; simply make it a goal to fill as many of Big Blue's spaces as possible. That makes collecting classical stamps affordable, specifically defined, and completion, although difficult, is attainable, Go Bob!

The "Browns"
The "Browns" have a septia toned aura about them that reminds one of the days when world wide classical stamp collecting was the norm. But the stamp issues gushing forth as the years went by put an end to this quixotic goal for most. I love the ambitious nature of the 'Browns", and even the peculiarities of the anachronistic 1919 Scott album.

But back to reality: How easy to use in 2011?
Caveat emptor.  Definitely not as easy as the Steiner. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to say anything bad about the "Browns", because I still hold them in awe. The advantage is one can order the pages-all six volumes- from Subway Stamps- and be up and running without the fussiness of printing out one's own pages, and continue to share in the legacy of the many classical collectors whom have used this album.

Steiner was a revelation. Putting stamps into the proper spaces was like cutting through butter using the Scott catalogue. Now Steiner has 6,550 classical era pages, so one can do the math regarding how many binders that would be for the full set. ;-)  An advantage is one only needs to print out the countries or sections one needs at the moment, leaving the others as bits and bytes on the CD-ROM, or at the web site.

The Steiner is in another league compared to Big Blue. Although obviously all the affordable stamps will have a space, so will esoteric or expensive entries. One is leaving the friendly comfortable confines of Big Blue. It is like embarking on the ocean when one is used to a lake. Then there is the question of mounting in the Steiners: hinges or mounts (Expensive)? The Steiner seems to demand mounts.

Finally, one will need to give up the thought that one can fill all the blank spaces. :-) But if there are indeed 90,000 stamps for the era, filling half of them might be attainable.

Hope you enjoyed this review. Comments appreciated!

BTW, I measured the stamp space dimensions for the three albums for the "Sphinx and Pyramid"stamps, and here is the results...
Big Blue 28mm X 23mm (No space between the "boxes")
The "Browns" 28mm X 23mm (No space between the 'boxes")
Steiner 29mm X 25mm with 4mm spaces between the stamp space "box".

Of interest is Big Blue and the "Browns" share a similar space area. I've noticed using mounts (Showguard, Scott) for a series of stamps in BB is "tight", unless one vertically cuts the mounts close to the edge of the stamp. Also at times, I've had to place the first left stamp in a row a bit over to the left beyond the "box" to anticipate being able to mount all the stamps reasonably in the row. But it can be done.

The Steiner obviously provides more than enough room for mounts.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


1867 Scott 9 10pa lilac
First issue of the "Sphinx and Pyramid" design
Quick History
The banks of the Nile have been a source of civilization for 6000 years. "Modern" Egypt was a "nominal" part of the  Ottoman Empire, Turkey, until 1914, when a British Protectorate was declared. In reality, since the Suez Canal was built with the French in 1869, the Egyptian government with the Head of State, the Khedive from 1867 to 1914, and the Sultans after 1914,  were required to have French and British controllers in the Egyptian cabinet. But finally, an independent Kingdom was established in 1922.
The Capital is Cairo, and the population was 17,000,000 in 1942.

Turkish Suzerainty surcharged stamps were issued in 1866, with the iconic "Sphinx and Pyramid" stamps first issued in 1867.

Second design: 1874 Scott 22b 1pi vermilion "Sphinx and Pyramid"
This stamp has blurred impression & rough 12 1/2 perforations
Big Blue Picture
The "97 Big Blue, on nine pages, has 198 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott classic Specialized catalogue has 390 major stamp descriptions for Egypt. Coverage by Big Blue is 51%.

Big Blue has 24 "Sphinx and Pyramid" design stamp spaces covering the 1867, 1872-75,1879-93, 1888, and 1888-93 issues. These iconic designed stamps makes Egypt a collector's delight right at the start. Big Blue's selection for the "Sphinx and Pyramid' is quite inexpensive; the most catalogues for $11. In fact, the most expensive required Egyptian stamp in BB (J11 postage due) is only $14.

There are four major designs on the "Sphinx and Pyramid" stamps. The first and second designs should not be confused. The third and fourth designs are similar, except the "postes egyptiennes" inscription is above the vignette in the former, and below on the latter.

Chalky paper varieties for some stamps in the third (1879-93) and fourth (1888-93) series were reissued in 1902. These are not given a formal space in Big Blue. Since these chalky paper varieties are very common (minimum catalogue value), it behooves the collector to be able to distinguish them. I have an illustration on this blog which might help. If one is fastidious, one might want to separate out the paper types, and find space elsewhere.

The second issue (1872-75) can be a bit hairy for the varieties.
Here is a strategy...
If the stamp has a clear impression, on thick opaque paper, and has nice clean cut perforations, then it is an 1872 issue. But not done yet. :-)
Check the perf: 12 1/2 vs 13 1/2 horizontal perf. This separates out the major numbers (19-25) (12 1/2 perf) from the "a" minor numbers (19a-15a) (13 1/2 perf). But not done yet. :-)
If a 20pa blue or a 1pi rose red, could be lithographed rather than typographed. There are of course different minor numbers for the lithographed variety. One hint is a lithographed stamp has a very "flat" appearance.

If the stamp has a very blurred impression, on thinner paper, and the perforations are cut very rough, then it is a 1874-75 issue. But not done yet, :-)
Check the perf: 12 1/2 rough vs 13 1/2 X 12 1/2 rough vs 12 1/2 X 13 1/2 rough. Different minor numbers for each one.

The next issue which is a bit more complicated than it appears in Big Blue is the 1914 "scenic views" issue (Scott 50-59). Big Blue gives 14 stamp spaces; no problem there. And the 1914 issue is watermarked 119- star and crescent. But there is no room in BB for the re-issued 1921-22 series (Scott 61-69, 72-74)  with wmk 120- triple crescent & star. Some also come in different colors than the 1914 issue. You will need to work to keep these issues "out", if that is your desire.

More comments....
1)  "Military" stamps are found in the Scott Egyptian catalogue. These were used by the "British Forces" stationed in Egypt on letters sent to Great Britain. They could purchase these stamps at a reduced rate.

2) Fun with magnifying glass and /or scanner. The 1927 King Faud issue has two types of vignettes for Scott 128,129,130,132,135,136, & 139. See Scan on this blog.

3) Additionals: plenty! :-) 
65 regular, 6 air post, 7 military, 14 postage due, and  19 official stamps. ( 111 total)
See the "additionals" section for specifics and comments.

4) Kinds of Blue gone wrong.
I usually don't comment much on the changes in the BB editions, but the '69 did "quite" a job on some later 1937-38 regular issues. ;-)  The '69 BB  in THREE separate cases drops the LAST stamp in a three stamp series (222,227,233), then REMOVES a series (228,229,230,). All of these stamps are <$1. And all of these stamps were happily ensconced in the '47/'41 editions. Despite the much greater spread out format of the '97, these stamp spaces were not returned.

5) Enjoy the King Farouk issues of 1937 when he was age 16. Later, after the 1952 revolution, these stamps were issued with the vignette defaced.

Additionals..... (<$5 unless noted)

1867 Sphinx and Pyramid

1872-75 Sphinx and Pyramid

1902 Sphinx and Pyramid (chalky paper)

1902 Sphinx and Pyramid (chalky paper)

1921-22 wmk 120 triple crescent & star

1920-23 (stamps of 1921-22 overprinted)
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.

(1920-23) King Fuad
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.


Note: the 1929-32 King Faud issues (133,136,138,143,144,) were left out of BB.


(King Farouk)
211 or 213 choice, 214,215,216,
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.

Note: here BB in three separate cases drops the last stamp in a three stamp series (222,227,233), then doesn't  include a series (228,229,230,). All of these stamps are <$1.

1939-46 King Farouk and Pyramids

Air post (6 additionals)
Comment: BB leaves this issue too early.

Military stamps (7 additionals)

Postage Due (14 additionals)

Official stamps (19 additionals)






Third design: 1879-02 Scott 39a 2pi orange brown
On chalky paper: note the shiny glazed smooth appearance
Fourth design: 1888-1906 Scott 49 10p purple
On ordinary paper: note the duller appearance, and that the ink embeds into the paper
Big Blue Checklist
1867 Sphinx and Pyramid
Note: Four types of each value

1872-75 Sphinx and Pyramid
19 or 26($2+), 20 or 20b($2+),22b*($1+), 23b*($5+)
Note: 1872 Scott 19-25 have clean cut impressions, thick paper & Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/2; 1874-75 Scott 26, minor "b"'s- have blurred impressions, thinner paper & Perf 12 1/2 rough.
Note: see Scott for more minor number different perfs
*Note  22b is 1 pi vermilion; therefore 22 1 pi rose red ($2+) is R/O for color.
*Note 23b is 2 pi yellow: therefore 23 2 pi dull yellow ($10+) is R/O for color.

1879-93 Sphinx and Pyramid
*Note 37 1pi ultramarine; 39 2 pi orange brown; 41 5 pi gray.  The 1902 37a,39a,41a(<$1) on chalky paper R/O for dates.

1888 Sphinx and Pyramid
Note: chalky paper 1902 variety (43a,44a,48b)(<$1) R/O for dates.

1888-93 Sphinx and Pyramid
Note: chalky paper 1902 variety (46a,49b)(<$1) R/O for dates.



Note: No room in BB for similarly designed 71($2+)

1914 wmk 119-crescent & star "scenic views"
Note: No room in BB for 1921-22 wmk 120 triple crescent & star Scott 61-69, 72-74.
Some also come in different colors than 1914 issue. See Scott. You will need to work to keep these issues "out", if that is your desire.

1920-23 (stamps of 1921-22 overprinted)
78,79,80,81,82,83,84 or 85,(<$1)
Note: overprints exist as four types
Note: ironically, the "original" 1921-22 issue is not given space in Big Blue.

(1920-23) King Fuad 

1926 Oxen plowing
Blank space: suggest 111($2+)

(1926) Ship of Hatshepsut

1927 Branch of Cotton

1927-28 King Faud
*Note 136a-requested by BB- is 10m orange red Type I, now a minor number; while 136 is 10m dark red(<$1).
Note: two types of vignettes for Scott 128,129,130,132,135,136, & 139. See Scan on this blog.
Note: the 1929-32 King Faud issues (133,136,138,143,144,) were left out of BB.


180,181,182*,183($1+),184($1+),185(<$1 eN)
*Note: 182 is 10m "bright violet" in BB, "violet" in Scott.
eN=except noted

1936 King Fuad

*Note: 205 "sapphire blue" in BB is "sapphire" in Scott.

198,217,218($1+),219($1+),225,(<$1 eN)
Blank space: suggest 226(<$1)

(King Farouk)
Blank space: suggest 211 or 213(<$1)

Blank space: suggest 221(<$1)
Blank space: suggest 232(<$1)

1939-46 King Farouk and Pyramids

Semi-postal stamps
1940 Princess Ferial
Note: One stamp issued by Egypt for semipostals; that's it.

Air Post
C1($20+) or C2($2+)

Three Blank spaces: suggest C7,C18,C19,

Special Delivery

Military stamps

Postage due
J11 5m rose red ($10+)
Note: actually $13+ : most expensive "required" Egypt stamp in BB.


1898 surcharge
Note: There are two types of surcharge varieties.

J20 or J23,J24*,J22 or J25,(<$1)
*Note: J24 4m "green" requested by BB; therefore J21 4m "vermilion"(<$1) is R/O.


Official stamps




Blank space: suggest O25(<$1)

Blank space: suggest O35(<$1)

O39,O40,O41,O42($1+),O43,O44,O46,(<$1 eN)

O51,O52,O53($1+),O54,O55,O56,(<$1 eN)

1927 King Fuad 5m dark red brown
Type II: Note the dots in the vignette are diagonal, here obvious at the neck

1927 King Fuad 4m yellow green
Type I: note the dots in the vignette are vertical & horizontal
Kinds of Blue
The '97 and '69 editions are identical in content.
The '47 and '41 editions are identical in content.

The '47 and '41 editions have a different layout for the "Sphinx & Pyramid" designed stamps, but the coverage is the same compared to the '69/'97 editions.

The '47/'41, contrary to the usual pattern of not necessarily being up to date on later issues, provides seven! more spaces for the  1937-38 issues, and provides three more spaces for the 1923 King Fuad issue. Therefore, a total of 10 spaces were removed in the '69 edition, and did not return in the '97 edition.

The '47/'41 does have a printing error which is described below,

Finally, the '69/'97 does provide for 5 more spaces; mostly in the air post section.

The '47/'41 has three more spaces for the 1923 Scott 99 20m dark green, Scott 100 Scott 50m myrtle green, & Scott 101 100m red violet (<$1).
The '47/'41 has an extra space for the 1934 Scott 186 50m prussian blue(<$1).
The '47/'41 has a two extra spaces for the 1937 Scott 214 15m & Scott 215 20m stamps(<$1)
The '47/'41 has an extra space for the 1937 Scott 222($1+)
The '47/'41 has  three extra spaces for the 1937 series Scott 228,229,230,(<$1)
The '47/'41 has an extra space for the 1938 233($1+)

The '47/'41 has an error: a 1936 series Scott 201 description (15m dark violet) space, AND a 15m illustration space- the same stamp! Should be Scott 200 13m copper red. This was corrected in the '69/'97 editions.

The '69/'97 has an extra blank space (suggest 111) for the 1926 series.
The '69/'97 has four more spaces for the Air post 1933-38 series (C17, suggest C7,C18,C19,)

1922 Scott 81 4m green "Giza Pyramids"
Overprinted on the 1921-22 series, which ironically is not in BB
The identical 1914 issue was wmk star & crescent; 1921-22 issue has triple crescent and star
Big Blue Bottom Line
I really like the Egyptian stamp issues, and the "Sphinx and Pyramid" designs are classic in every sense.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


1901 Scott 151 1s brown & black 
Jose Joaquin Olmedo
Quick History
Ecuador, off the northwest coast of South America, was constituted in 1830 after a civil war which split up the original members of the Republic of Gran Columbia. The Presidency of Quito was renamed the Republic of Ecuador ( In English "Equator").
The Capital is Quito, and the population was 3,000,000 in 1942.
Stamp issues of the Republic began in 1865.

Ecological note: The Galapagos Islands are well known, but all of Ecuador has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any world nation.

1872 Scott 9 1/2r blue
Coat of Arms
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on 12 pages, has 198 regular, 54 air post, 7 official, and 20 postal tax stamps, for a total of 279 stamp spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 773 major stamp descriptions. Overall coverage by Big Blue is 37%.
Coverage is actually a reasonable 52% for regular and air post. But BB has no coverage of  postage due stamps (17 descriptions).  More significantly, it provides for only 7 spaces for the 218 official stamps in the Scott catalogue. I counted 120 official stamps in the affordable <$1-$2+ range. There are also an additional 25 postal tax stamps that are inexpensive. Altogether, I found a whopping 304 additional stamps that could be added by the BB collector. See "Additionals" for specifics...

1) Ecuador's stamps are generally inexpensive, although Ecuador does contribute to the "Most expensive" list with the 1865 Coat of Arms Scott 5 1r green ($50+).

2) BB at times is up to its old tricks with stopping an issue too early.
(1907 Presidents (2), 1909 National Exposition (3), 1912(2), 1920 Cent. of Independence of Guayaquil (10!))

3) Huge number of affordable regular issue surcharged/overprinted left out of Big Blue.
1896-1897 surcharged/overprinted: 39 stamps!
1925-29 surcharged/overprinted: 23 stamps!
1933-37 surcharged/overprinted: 21 stamps!

4)As mentioned, a huge cache of affordable Official (120!) and Postal tax (25) stamps could be added by the BB collector.

5) Contrary to some other countries, there are not that many Ecuadorian stamps fighting for the same space in Big Blue. That's good. But for many stamps, Big Blue simply leaves them out altogether. :-)

6) The 1894-95 Rocafuerte issues were reprinted with thick paper. Beware: they are only worth minimum catalogue value.

Additionals...( <$1-$2+)
1892 President Juan Flores

1893 surcharged
Two stamp choices from checklist not taken from : 31,33,36,34,37,38,

1894 Pres Vicente Rocafuerte  (dated 1894)

1895  Pres Vicente Rocafuerte  (dated 1895)

1896 Coat of Arms

1896 Roca,Noboa,Olmedo,Elizalde

1896 surcharge (not in BB)

1897 overprinted "1897-1898" (not in BB)

1897 overprinted "1897-1898" (not in BB)

1897 overprinted "1897 Y 1898" (not in BB)

1901 portraits

1903-06 surcharged on revenue stamps

1907 Presidents
Comment: BB left this series too early.

1909 National Exposition
Comment: BB left this series too early.

1909-10 surcharged (not in BB)

Comment: BB left this series too early.


1920 Cent. of Independence of Guayaquil
Comment: BB left this series w-a-y too early!

1915-28 Presidents

1927-29 overprinted/surcharged (not in BB)


1930 Centenary of founding of the Republic

1933-37 overprinted/surcharged (not in BB)

1934 Landscape
Five additionals would be available from the choices not taken in the checklist.


Air Post







Air post Official stamps (category not in BB)




Official stamps (106!)

Postal tax stamps (25!)

Postage Due (category not in BB)

1930 Scott 306 5c deep green & violet brown
Cacao Pod
Big Blue Checklist

1865 Coat of Arms
Blank space: suggest Scott 5* 1r green ($50+)
*Note Scott 5: Ecuador's only stamp on the "Most expensive" list ($35 cutoff).

1872 Coat of Arms

1881 Coat of Arms
12,13,14,15,16,17($1+),(<$1 eN)
eN=except noted

1887 Coat of Arms
19,20,21,22($5+),(<$1 eN)

1892 President Juan Flores

1893 surcharged
31($5+) or 33 or 36,($1+ eN)
32 or 34 or 37,($10+)
Two blank spaces: suggest 38($2+) or above choices not taken.

1894 Pres Vicente Rocafuerte  (dated 1894)
Blank space: suggest 44($1+)
Note: Thick paper reprints are minimum CV

1895  Pres Vicente Rocafuerte  (dated 1895)
47,48,49,50,51($1+),(<$1 eN)
Note: Thick paper reprints are minimum CV

1896 Coat of Arms
55 or 62A,56 or 62B,57 or 62C,58 or 62D,59($1+) or 62E($10+),(<$1 eN)
Note: 55-59 wmk 117-liberty cap; 62A-62E unwmk
Note: Thick paper reprints are minimum CV

1898 surcharged

1896 Roca,Noboa,Olmedo,Elizalde
63,65,67,64,66,68($1+),(<$1 eN)

1897 Coat of Arms
127,128,129,130,131,132,133,134($1+),(<$1 eN)

1899 portraits
137,138,139,140,141,142,143($1+),(<$1 eN)
Note: these stamps, for control purposes, can be found handstamped by the government provinces.

1901 portraits
145,146,147,148,149,150,151($1+),(<$1 eN)
Note: these stamps, for control purposes, can be found handstamped by the government provinces.

1903-06 surcharged on revenue stamps

1904 Calderon
160,161,162,163,164($2+),(<$1 eN)

1907 Presidents
Note: "control marks" handstamped often found


1908 portraits on triangular stamps, and Mt. Chimborazo
178,180($2+),179,($1+ eN)

1909 National Exposition


1911-13 Presidents


1915-17 (continued)

1920 Cent. of Independence of Guayaquil

1920 Cent. of Independence of Guayaquil (continued)

1925 Presidents (types of 1911-13)
Note: 1911-13,1915-17,1925 Presidental issues have different colors: pay attention. :-)


1930 Centenary of founding of the Republic

1934 Landscape
321* or 322 or 323,324, "three blank spaces",330,(<$1)
Three blank spaces: suggest choices not already taken, or 325,326,327,328,329,
*Note: the 5c denomination also was issued in "slate", Scott 323A, a '45 issue.






Air Post
Note:"SCADTA" (See Colombia) handled air post for Ecuador in 1928: all too expensive for BB.


1936 overprinted "aereo"

1936 overprinted "aerea"



C63,C66,C67,C69($1+),(<$1 eN)

1939 (continued)


Official stamps
1892 (carmine overprint)
Comment: The tip of the iceberg; 106 more Official stamps that are affordable could be added.

Postal Tax stamps







1939 1s dull violet "Wrestlers"
The ringside spectators are smoking?!
Kinds of Blue
The '69 and '97 editions are identical in content.
The '47 and '41 editions are identical in content.

The "47 and '41 editions have a space for the 1892 Scott 30 5s purple ($1+) The '47/'41 editions also have under Officials, 5 blank spaces for the 1886-87 issue. Suggest O1,O2,O4,O7,O8,O9,($2+) as possibilities.

The '69 and '97 editions has three more space for the 1893 issue ( Scott 37 ($10+) & two blank spaces).
For the blank spaces, suggest 38($2+), and choices not taken (31,33,36,34,37,($2+-$10+))

1881 Scott 17 50c blue green
There are five different issues of the "Coat of Arms" design between 1865-1896
Big Blue Bottom Line
Very nice attractive inexpensive issues.  Lots of Coat of Arms, and Portrait (often bi-colored) designs. If you like overprinted/surcharged, Officials, and Postal tax stamps though, there is a large gap in BB's presentation

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Note: prices are roughly binned; consult a Scott catalogue for actual valuations.

Comments are appreciated!

1821 Map of the three Departments that made up the Republica de Gran Colombia
Venezuela, Cundinamarca, & Quito

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Missing E's-Eastern Silesia

1920 Eastern Silesia plebiscite stamps from Czechoslovakia
S O = Silesie Orientale
Quick History
Eastern Silesia , originally Austrian Silesia, was  desired by both Czechoslovakia and Poland after WWII, as the border between the two nations was not yet firmly set. The Capital was Troppau (Opava), and the population was 680,000 in 1920.
But Czechoslovakia occupied the territory in January, 1919 after negotiations fell through with Poland. Nevertheless, a  plebiscite was planned.  Both nations issued overprinted plebiscite stamps, and they were in use from February to September, 1920. However, a plebiscite was never actually held. Rather, an agreement between the two nations occurred on July 28, 1920, and the territory was divided.

1920 Scott 17 300h green overprint in red
Big Blue Picture
Eastern Silesia's plebiscite issues were dropped in the '69 edition, and did not return in the '97 edition. The '47 and '41 editions, on one page, had 28 stamp spaces, all for Czechoslovakian overprinted stamps. The categories included are regular, newspaper, special delivery, and postage due varieties. As alluded, there were no Polish plebiscite issues represented. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 51 Czechoslovakian, and 10 Polish major stamp descriptions. Overall coverage by "47 & '41 Big Blue was 46%.

Although 46% coverage is clearly better than none ('69 and '97 editions), there are 7 regular (<$1-$2+) and 4 postage due (<$1) stamps from Czechoslovakia that could additionally be picked up. Since none of the Polish stamps are in Big Blue, all 10 stamps (<$1) would be a nice addition.

Additionals.... (<$1-$2+)
1920 (Czech stamps 1918-20 overprinted "SO 1920" in black,blue,violet, or red)

Postage Due (Czech postage due stamps overprinted "SO 1920" in blue and red)

1920 ( Polish stamps of 1919, overprinted "S.O. 1920")

1920 Scott 46 1k deep green overprinted from Poland
Big Blue Checklist ('47 & '41)
1920 (Czech stamps 1918-20 overprinted "SO 1920" in black,blue,violet, or red)
1 or 22, 2, 3*($20+) or 23, 4($10+) or 25, 26, (<$1 eN)
5, 6 or 27,7,28, 8,(<$1)
9,11,12,13,14($1+), (<$1 eN)
Note: Scott 1-21 Imperf; Scott 22-30 Perf.
*Note 3 or 23 are 5h blue green in Scott; "yellow green" in BB
eN= except noted

Newspaper (Czech newspaper stamps overprinted "SO 1920")
1920 Imperf
P1,P2,P3,P4,P5, (<$1)

Special Delivery
1920  Imperf (Czech special delivery stamps overprinted  "SO 1920" in blue)

Postage Due Imperf (Czech postage due stamps overprinted "SO 1920" in blue and red)
J1,J2,J3,J4, (<$1)
Two blank spaces: suggest J5,J6,(<$1)

1920 120h gray black with red overprint
Kinds of Blue
The '97 and '69 editions do not have these plebiscite stamps in the album.
The '47 and '41 editions are identical in coverage. The page is found after the Dutch Indies section.

1920 25f olive green from Poland
Big Blue Bottom Line
Nice different colored overprints for a plebiscite that was never held. Clearly, reserving space for the Czechoslovakian and Polish issues is recommended.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

If you would like to comment, please do so!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Missing E's-Eastern Rumelia

1884 Scott 17 20pa carmine & pale rose "Eastern Rumelia"
 Stamp is in four languages: French,Greek, Bulgarian, and Turkish
Quick History
Eastern Rumelia was an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire from 1878, created by the Treaty of Berlin in the same year. The Treaty of Berlin also recognized the rights of sovereignty for Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, along with affirming the autonomy of the Principality of  Bulgaria. The other nations party to the Treaty wished to prevent a Russophile "Greater Bulgaria" from developing. In fact, the Kingdoms of Romania (1881), Serbia (1882), and Montenegro(1910) did occur.

Now Eastern Rumelia (Known as Northern Thrace to many) consisted of 70% ethnic Bulgarians, and 20% Turks and Muslim Bulgarians. The inevitable naturally occurred, and by 1885  Eastern Rumelia was under Bulgarian control, with Bulgarian stamps now used for the territory. This reality was not formally recognized until 1908.

The Capital was Philippopolis (Plovdiv), and the population was 815,000 in 1884.

But, happily for philatelists, Eastern Rumelia had stamp issues between 1880-1885.

Bulgaria divided after the 1878 Treaty of Berlin
Big Blue Picture
Unhappily for Big Blue collectors, Eastern Rumelia was removed from the '69 edition, and did not return in the '97 edition. The '47 and '41 editions had, on one line of one page, seven Ottoman Empire inscribed 1881 & 1884 stamp issue spaces. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 40 major stamp descriptions. Coverage is 18%.

The initial 1880 issue were stamps of Turkey overprinted R.O. (Roumelie Orientale) in blue. The least expensive stamp is $40+, and the issue does not appear in the '47/'41 Big Blue.

In 1885, the stamps of Eastern Rumelia were overprinted or handstamped with the Bulgarian Lion image. These are considered "South Bulgaria" issues, just prior to Bulgarian stamps being used in 1886. Stamps that are <$20 in cost include Scott 25, 27, and 38. These are interesting stamps, but again are not in the '47/'41 Big Blue.

The stamps that ARE in Big Blue are the Ottoman Empire "Crescent and Turkish Inscriptions of Value" of 1881 and 1884. They look similar to other Turkish stamps, except they have the "Roumelie Orientale" inscription down the left side. In fact, the province is named in four languages and scripts: Turkish (arabic), French (latin), Greek (greek), and Bulgarian (cyrillic). Talk about a language/ethnic crossroads!

The prices for the stamps in Big Blue are inexpensive (<$1-$2+).  That would certainly argue that price was not the reason Eastern Rumelia was removed from the '69 edition. But  other than the stamps I mentioned earlier, there is only one additional (1884 Scott 18(<$1)) stamp I can suggest.

Ethnic and Language Map for "Turkey in Europe"
Big Blue Checklist
1881  "Crescent and Turkish Inscriptions of Value"
10,11,12, ($1+-<$1)
Blank space: suggest 13 ($2+)

1884 "Crescent and Turkish Inscriptions of Value"

1884 Scott 15 5pa lilac & pale lilac "Eastern Rumelia"
Includes Crescent and Turkish Value Inscriptions
Kinds of Blue
The Eastern Rumelia section is not in the '69 and '97 editions.
The '47 and '41 editions are identical in content.

Overview of Southeastern Europe after the 1878 Treaty of Berlin
Big Blue Bottom Line
I'm including a number of maps on this blog because of the interesting crossroads of language and ethnicity represented in and around this territory. That is a good reason enough to find room for these stamps in the '69 and '97 editions. ;-)

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

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