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...

Saturday, November 30, 2013


1858 Scott 8 blue "Britannia"
Quick History
Mauritius, an island in the Indian ocean some 500 miles east of Madagascar, was the original home of the flightless Dodo bird, and is found today with a polyglot mixture of English, French, and Creole speaking languages, with peoples of Indian, African, Chinese, and European descent.
The Capital is Port Louis, and the population was 420,000 in 1941.

The French created a colony in 1715 (Isle de France), that had an economy based on production of sugar, with Port Louis becoming a naval base, and a shipbuilding site. This situation lasted until 1810 and the Napoleonic Wars, when the British then wrested control from the French.

Mauritius subsequently was under the British sphere until 1968, when the island became independent.

Stamps were initially issued in 1847: not just any stamps, but the famous "Post Office" Victoria Mauritius stamps. Mauritius, then, is a rich specialists delight, with some 24 major and minor number "Post Paid" stamps issued between 1847-1859, and a catalogue value in the thousands up to a million. !

But there are also many interesting issues produced that are attractive for the WW classical era collector of modest means, as well.
1876 Scott 46 1/2p on 10p claret
Stamps of 1863-72 Surcharged in Black
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Mauritius 1847-1954, 261 major number for regular, special delivery and postage due categories. There are 232 stamps for 1847-1940.

Of those, 89 stamps or 38% of the 1847-1940 era are CV <$1-$1+. The first some 70 issues stamps from 1847-1885, though, are all above this catalogue value. Mauritius has the famous "Post Office" stamps of 1847 CV $1,000,000+!), and then many more during the 19th century that are expensive for the WW classical era collector.

But let's take a  look....

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
100 Cents = 1 Rupee (1878)
1847 Scott 2 2p dark blue & Scott 1 1p orange
"Queen Victoria", Post Office Mauritius Rarities
A blog post of the stamps of Mauritius without a pic of the "Post Office" rarities wouldn't do. ;-)  These were engraved locally in Port Louis by J. Barnard. Today each stamp is valued between $900,000- $1,250,000.

Subsequently, in 1848, 1p orange ( in shades) and 2p blue were printed with a "Post Paid" inscription, and on different colored papers. Scott recognizes early, intermediate, and late impressions. Values range from under a thousand to tens of thousands.

Naturally, this is the philatelic playground of the great collections. ! 
1858 Scott 8 blue "Britannia"
In 1849, a red brown/blue, and then in 1858, a blue "Britannia" design was produced without values on the stamps. These imperforate stamps were never placed in use, but are found in the catalogues anyway. CV is a much more modest $7+-$20+.

1861 Scott 20 6p gray violet "Britannia"
The "Britannia" designs, this time with values, were again used between 1859-1862 on six stamps, some imperforate, some perforated.  CV ranges from $30+-$400+.

1863 Scott 33 2p blue "Victoria"
Overprinted "cancelled", sold as remainders
Between 1860-63, the more familiar "Victoria" vignette was used for an eight stamp issue. These are unwatermarked, and have a rather high CV of $30-$200.

Then between 1863-72, a 10 stamp issue with the same vignette was produced, this time with British Colonial Watermark 1, "Crown & C C".

Of interest, the remaining stock of unused stamps were overprinted "cancelled" after the change in currency to Cents/Rupee in 1878, and sold as remainders. An example is shown above.

1876 Scott 43 1/2p on 9p dull lilac
Surcharged in black  on stamp of 1860
In 1876, three stamps were surcharged "half penny" on the unwatermarked issue of 1860-63. Although the illustrated surcharge is in black, the other two stamps in the issue were surcharged in red, never actually placed in use, and are rather valuable (CV $2000+!).

1877 Scott 47 1/2p on 10p claret
Stamp of 1872, surcharged in black
The wmk 1 stamps of 1863-72 were also surcharged on four stamps between 1876-77. Some of these can also be found with the 1878 "cancelled" overprint, as shown.

1878 Scott 52 8c on 2p blue
Stamps of 1863-72 Surcharged in Black
In 1878, with the change in currency from Pence/Shilling to Cents/Rupee, the previous issue of 1863-72 was surcharged with the new currency on eight stamps. Five of the stamps have CV $3+-$7+.

1878 Scott 57 50c on 1sh green
On stamp of 1863
Another example of the 1878 surcharge/change in currency is shown here. Really lovely specimens.

1880 Scott 61 8c blue "Victoria"
Between 1879-80, a nine stamp set (wmk 1) was produced with the new currency denominations. Four stamps have CV $4+-$7+.
1893 Scott 68 1c violet , wmk 2
Then, between 1882-93, an eight stamp set was issued using the preceding designs. Some of the stamps are in new colors and denominations. These stamps were on paper using wmk 2 " Crown & C A".

Note: If one needs to refresh the memory about the British Colonial watermarks 1,2,3,4- Check out the Jamaica blog post.
1894 Scott 81 15c blue "Victoria"
A different Victoria frame design was used on three stamps between 1885-94. Here the 1894 15c "blue" is illustrated.
1891 Scott 87 2c on 38c on 9p violet
Surcharged on 1878 stamp
In 1891, three previously surcharged stamps were surcharged again with "two cents". One must admit, it makes for an interesting stamp!

1893 Scott 90 1c on 16c orange brown
On 1885 issued stamp
In 1893, two more stamps were surcharged "one cent". The orange brown 1c on 16c is shown here.

1895-1904 Scott 92 1c gray black & black 
"Coat of Arms"
The scene now changes to the "Coat of Arms" issues. This large 21 stamp wmk 2 set was produced between 1895-1904. Twelve of the stamps are CV <$1-$1+.

The coat of arms design has a key and white star in the lower quadrants, referring to the Latin Motto "Stella Clavisque Maris Indici", or "The Star and key of the Indian Ocean". The upper quadrants have a Lymphad or Galley ship, and three palm trees.
Coat of Arms of Mauritius 1906
Although not shown on the "Coat of Arms" design stamps, in 1906 the official Coat of Arms of Mauritius added a Dodo bird and a Sambar deer drawing to the left and right respectively of the shield.

1899 Scott 114 15c on 36c brown orange & ultramarine
 On "Diamond Jubilee" issue
In 1898, Mauritius issued a 36c brown orange & ultramarine stamp in honor of Victoria's "Diamond Jubilee". The stamp was then surcharged for 15c in 1899, and is valued at CV $2, rather than the original 1898 CV $10+.
1899 Scott 115 15c ultramarine 
"Admiral Mahe de La Bourdonnais"
La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius from 1734-46, was honored with a birthday bicentennial stamp in 1899. La Bourdonnais was, in large part, responsible for the early development of Mauritius. It is also interesting that a French developer of the settlements in Mauritius is recognized here on a British colony stamp. ;-)
1902 Scott 118 4c lilac & carmine/yellow
Overprinted in Black
Six preceding issues were overprinted in black as shown in 1902. CV is <$1-$4+ for five stamps.

1905 Scott 129 2c dull lilac & violet
"Coat of Arms"
Then between 1904-07, the "Coat of Arms" design was used on wmk 3 paper for eight stamps. Since there are similar wmk 2 stamps found, watermarking is advisable for these issues.

1910 Scott 138 2c brown "Arms", wmk 3
In 1910, a new "Arms" issue was produced in a different design (compare!) on seven stamps. CV is <$1-$2+. There was also eight "Edward VII" keyplate stamps produced for the 1910 issue at the same time (not shown).
1912-22 Scott 154 25c black & red/yellow
"King George V", wmk 3
Beginning in 1912, the George V keyplate variety were issued with wmk 3 on nine stamps.

1921 Scott 169 6c violet "Arms", wmk 4
Between 1921-26, eighteen "Arms" stamps were issued on wmk 4 paper. CV is <$1-$2+ for 15 stamps.

1922-34 Scott 184 5c gray & carmine
"George V", wmk 4
Likewise, wmk 4 paper was used for the 1922-34 "George V" issue. In addition, the "George V" stamps in general can be found as Die I or Die II types- sometimes both types exist for the same denomination. For a refresher on Die I/Die II stamps, view the Fiji blog post.

1938-43 Scott 216 12c salmon pink "George VI"
Between 1938-43, 12 "George VI" stamps were issued as illustrated. CV is <$1-$1+ for nine stamps.

1948 Scott 228 1r light red brown & deep blue
"Post Office" Stamp of 1847
In 1948, Mauritius marked the 100 year anniversary of the "Post Office" stamps with this attractive four stamp issue, as shown. CV <$1. A bit less expensive than the originals. ;-)

1950 Scott 243 25c violet brown 
"Statue of Mahe la Bourdonnais"
One of the advantages of the Scott Classic Specialized album is that it covers the British Commonwealth through 1952. Often, there are few stamps issued between 1940-52 for the British colonies; but here, there is a 15 stamp pictorial set that was issued in 1950.

Note: Look for the Scott 241 12c olive green "Map and Dodo". This is the first Mauritius stamp, I believe, that shows the long extinct Dodo. ( I don't have it.)
The Dodo circa 1625 by Ustad Mansur
A little Dodo bird history: Dutch sailors recorded the Dodo in 1598, and subsequently, it was hunted by them, and their domestic animals. The last sighting was in 1662.

1954 Postage Due Scott J7 1r orange
These rather functional "Postage Due" stamps for Mauritius were issued between 1933-54. All of them are CV <$1.

Deep Blue
1895-1904 "Coat of Arms" issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue (Steiner) album has 17 pages for Mauritius, and provides spaces for all the major Scott numbers. I suspect, though, that Scott 1 & 2, the "Post Office" spaces in Deep Blue (Steiner), will remain empty for awhile. ;-)
1880 Scott 59 2c red brown "Victoria"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 81 spaces for Mauritius. Coverage is 35%. Considering that BB selects for the more inexpensive stamps generally, the coverage is acceptable.

• One stamp space- the 1891 Scott 85 2c on 17c rose  is CV $125! Three more spaces are CV $10+-$20+.
• The 1895-1904 & 1904-07 "Coat of Arms" series have different watermarks ( wmk 2 or wmk 3), while BB provides one space and ignores wmk differences, as usual.
• Likewise, the 1910 (wmk 3) and the 1921-26 (wmk 4) "Arms" issues have only one space, ignoring watermarks.
• Similarly, the "George V" keyplate issues of 1912-22 (wmk 3) and 1922-34 (wmk 4) are lumped, without wmk consideration. Also, be aware that Die I and Die II types exist.



24 or 32, 25 or 33, 26 or 35,

59 or 69 or 70*, 60 or 71 or 72*, 61 or 73, 82,89,90,85,






96 or 130, 99,100 or 131,102,104 or 132, 105,106,108 or 133,

137 or 161, 138 or 162, 139 or 164, 140* or 165, 142,143 or 170, 173, 145 or 175,

Next Page


152,153 or 188,154 or 194, (156),






Postage Due

Special Delivery


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1849 Scott 7 red brown ($20+)
1863 Scott 32 1p lilac brown ($10+)
1863 Scott 33 2p blue ($10+)
1891 Scott 85 2c on 17c rose ($125!)
B) *70- is green, while 59 & 69 are red brown
C) *72 is rose, while 60 & 71 are orange
D) *1902-08- choice wmk 2 vs wmk 3
E) *1910-26-choice wmk 3 vs wmk 4
F) *140 or 165 space- BB "pale olive & rose", while Scott "olive-green & rose"
G) *1912-22- choice- wmk 3 vs wmk 4
H) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
1898 Scott 80 15c orange brown "Victoria"
Out of the Blue
Even if I don't have any of the famous (and expensive) stamps of Mauritius, it was a pleasure sorting through the collection.  Hope you enjoyed it also. :-)

Note: Map, pic of the "Post Office" Mauritius stamps, pic of the Coat of Arms, and the pic of the Dodo bird all appear to be in the public domain.


Sunday, November 24, 2013


1907 Scott J5 30c red/straw 
Quick History
Mauritania borders the Atlantic Ocean on the northwest coast of Africa. The Capital  now is Nouakchott (formerly Port Etienne), and the population was 372,000 in 1942.

Mauritania is mostly semi-desert, with flat arid plains. The nomadic Berber tribes in the area had already absorbed the Islamic traditions, when France began making the lands north of the Senegal river the "Civil Territory of Mauritania" in 1904. Prior, the area was loosely administered from Senegal.
French West Africa 1936
As one can see from the map, France had many colonies in the area: Senegal, French Sudan, French Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Dahomey (Benin), and Niger. Although Mauritania was initially separate from French West Africa, it was always tied administratively. In fact, Mauritania formally became part of French West Africa in 1920.
Stamp production, sharing the designs of the other territories, was initiated in 1906. Two large pictorial stamp series were produced from 1913-38 ("Crossing Desert"- 37 stamps), and 1938-40 ( Four designs- 34 stamps).

Mauritania eventually gained its independence in 1960.

1913 Scott 19 2c black & blue "Crossing Desert"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for 1906-1940 Mauritania, 145 major descriptions for regular, semi-postal, air post, and postage due categories. Of those, 102 are CV <$1-$1+. or 70%. Clearly, for the WW classical collector, many stamps are in the affordable range.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1906-07 Scott 2 2c chocolate "General Louis Faidherbe"
The first issue of 17 stamps had three designs: all of them also found for the other French West Africa colonies. The five lower denomination stamps showed "General Louis Faidherbe", Governor of Senegal between 1854-1861 and 1863-1865.  He had opened up the Gum Arabic trade for the French by securing the north bank of the Senegal river.

CV for the issue is a bit high, with only four stamps @ <$1-$1+.

1922 Scott 29 25c green & rose "Crossing Desert"
The massive "Crossing Desert" issue, some 37 stamps, was released between 1913-1938. All of them had this design. Certainly, more "local" than showing some queen or king. ;-) And the issue is quite inexpensive, with the group, save one, @ <$1-$3+.

1922 Scott 55 60c on 75c violet/pinkish "Crossing Desert"
Stamps and Type of 1913 Surcharged
Between 1922-25, a three stamp surcharged issue was released, as illustrated, with this "socked on the nose" specimen. Bogué is found along the north bank of the Senegal river. CV is $1+.

1927 Scott 61 1.50fr on 1fr blue & deep blue "Crossing Desert"
Another surcharged issue was produced between 1924-27 with seven stamps. Three stamps are CV <$1-$1+.
1937 Scott 72 50c dark brown & black
Common Design Types- Paris International Exposition Isuue
 The 1937 Paris International Exposition issue was overprinted for Mauritania in 1937. Lovely design.

1938 Scott 77 3c deep ultramarine "Camel Rider"
In 1938, a new 34 stamp pictorial issue was developed. "Camel Rider" is found on six lower denomination stamps.
1938 Scott 84 30c deep brown "Mauris on Camels"
"Mauris on Camels" design is shown on seven stamps. By the way the "Moors" or Mauri was the name given to the nomadic tribes of the area. Great design- I feel like the camel and rider are going to momentarily ride out of the stamp! ;-)
1938 Scott 102 2f rose violet "Mauri Couple"
The "Mauri Couple" is found on the eight highest denomination stamps. Wonderful pictorial!

1939 Scott 110 2fr bright violet
Common Design Types- Caillie Issue
For the centenary of the death of René Caillié,a French explorer, this common design type was used by Mauritania. CV is $1+ for the three stamps in the issue.

Semi- Postal 1915 Scott B1 10c + 5c rose & red orange
Surcharged in Red
Not many semi-postals released by Mauritania, but a two stamp set as shown was issued in support of the Red Cross between 1915-18.

Air Post 1940 Scott C3 4.50fr dark gray green
Common Design Type
Another common design type: this time for the 1940 Air Post five stamp issue. CV is <$1-$1.

Postage Due  1907 Scott J8 1fr black/pinkish
Along with the initial 1906-07 regular issue that was shared in design with the other West Africa French colonies, there was also a 1906-07 postage due issue that was released. The eight stamp issue varies in CV from $2+- $10+. The postage due design is certainly more intriguing than most postage due releases of the era.
Postage Due 1914 Scott J10 10c rose
In 1914, an eight stamp postage due issue was released as shown. CV is <$1-$1+ for the stamps.

1927 Scott J17 2fr on 1fr lilac rose
Type of 1914 Issue Surcharged
Two stamps were surcharged on 1914 postage due designs in 1927. CV is $2+-$3+.

Deep Blue
The 1906-07 Postage Due Issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue (Steiner) Album has 12 pages for Mauritania, and follows the Scott catalogue, offering a space for all the major numbers.
1938 Scott 78 4c rose violet "Camel Rider"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 3 1/2 pages, has 81 spaces for Mauritania. In the '69, the country section begins on the same page as Mesopotamia, and ends before Mauritius.

Coverage is 56%.

• Only one stamp meets the $10 threshold
• The 1913-38 "Crossing Desert" issue has 31 spaces, missing Scott 30,38,46,52, & 54 (CV $1-$3).
• The 1938-40 issue has 30 spaces, missing Scott 106,107,108 (CV $1+). Of interest, also "missing" is the 1940 Scott 99A 1.50fr red brown @ CV $100!!!.
• No Air Post or Postage Due stamps in the '69 BB, missing 13 stamps @ CV <$1-$1+. On investigation, it is clear that the '69 editors removed one page (16 stamps) with the semi-postals, air post, and postage due categories.  I added the stamps back to the checklist here for those that are interested.




Next Page




Next Page



Next Page




End of '69 edition

In '41/'43/'47 BB*



Air Post

Postage Due


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1928 Scott 47 1.10fr violet & vermilion ($10)
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
C) *79- 5c "henna brown" in BB, "orange red" in current Scott.
D) *'41/'43/'47 BB- The semi-postals, air post, and postage due categories ( One page- 16 stamps) was removed by the '69 editors. I added them to the checklist here.
Semi- Postal 1918 Scott B2 15c + 5c dark brown & black
Surcharged in Red
Out of the Blue
Obscure (to me) parts of the world are made a little more real with the tangible pieces of paper in my collection.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.