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...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


1924 Scott 4 10c multi/gray blue "Scepter of Indra"
Surface Tinted Paper 
Quick History
Mongolia, the least populated country by land area in the world, is well marked in world history with the rise of the 13th century Mongol Empire under the brutal Genghis Khan.

Boundary of the 13th century Mongol Empire
The area in red is where Mongolian is spoken today
The Mongolian language is spoken by about 5 million people currently, and the script is now usually written in the Cyrillic alphabet, although the traditional Mongolian script can also be found.

The Capital is Ulan Bator (formally Urga) and the population was 540,000 in ~1940.

China, during the early 20th century, considered "Outer Mongolia" to be part of its own territory. But the White Russian forces, Chinese forces, and Red Russian /Mongolian Partisan forces fought over the territory in 1921, with the Bolsheviks winning. Consequently, Mongolia's "independence" was declared on July 11,1921, albeit with heavy Russian influence and alignment.

The Mongolian People's Republic was formed in 1924. (Stamps were also introduced in 1924.)

(About the same time-1921- the Republic of Tannu Tuva in northwestern Mongolia came into existence. The territory was likewise very closely aligned with the Soviet Union. But the colorful stamp issues, first introduced in 1926- and Tuva itself- will need to await a future blog post. ;-)

Collectives for livestock was instituted in 1928, Buddhist monasteries were destroyed, and the Stalinist repressions began.

But Imperial Japan invaded adjacent Manchuria in 1931, leading to the Soviet-Japanese Border War of 1939.

After WW II, there were still simmering land disputes between China and Russia. China agreed to a referendum over Outer Mongolia, and on October 20, 1945, according to "official" figures, 100% of the populace voted for independence (severing all ties with China).

As one would expect, after China became a People's Republic, the relationship softened, and both Russia and China affirmed Mongolia's mutual recognition on October 6, 1949.

But Mongolia continued to align itself closely with the Soviet Union even after the Sino-Soviet split of the later 1950s. The Soviets still had 50,000+ troops in Mongolia in the 1980s.

Today, after perestroika and the introduction of a new constitution in 1992, a market economy, if somewhat rough, now exists.
1932 Scott 65 10m dull green "Government Building"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Mongolia 1924-1932, 57 major stamp number descriptions. Of those, 15, or 26% are CV <$1-$1+. If one increases the CV up to $11, then 29, or 51% qualify. The last set-issued in 1932, and consisting of 13 stamps- are quite available and inexpensive. But the rest- even if the CV is modest- are actually fairly scarce, according to one dealer I talked to, who specializes in Mongolia.

What that means for the classical WW collector is that stamps of Mongolia - except for the ubiquitous 1932 set- may be difficult to find.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Dollar
100 Mung = 1 Tugrik (1926)
1924 Scott 4 10c multi/gray blue "Scepter of Indra"
Surface Tinted Paper 
I love this stamp. Exotic design (Scepter of Indra), multi-colors (light blue, blue, red). The script is Mongolian and Latin (English).

The Scepter (vajra) was given to the guardian who stood at the entrance of Buddhist temples, and used it to drive away evil spirits. It represents both a thunderbolt (irresistible force) and a diamond (indestructibility).

Indra was the leader of the Devas or Gods.

This stamp is part of the initial 1924 issue, which consisted of seven stamps, each differing in design somewhat, and in size. CV is a robust $5-$30+.

1926-29 Scott 32 5m lilac & black 
"Yin Yang and Other Symbols"
Mongolian and Latin script is on this stamp, which is part of a 1926-29 twelve stamp issue. The stamps are found with Type I/II design variations (consult Scott), and in different sizes. The CV for ten of these stamps is <$1-$8+. They appear to be less common than their CV would indicate.

1932 Scott 64 5m indigo"Mongol at lathe"
The rest of the stamp illustrations will be from the 1932 set. Again, Mongolian and Latin script is found. The stamps in the set are inexpensive ( CV <$1-$1+ for 11 stamps), and are ubiquitous in collections.  The stamp subjects reflect the outlook of the revolutionary People's Republic, closely aligned in attitude with Soviet Russia.

Here is a depiction of the people self-industrializing. 

1932 Scott 66 15m deep brown "Young Mongolian Revolutionary"
The Cyrillic script on the flag reflects the heavy Russian influence on the development of the People's Republic.  
1932 Scott 67 20m rose red 
"Studying Latin Alphabet"
This is an interesting scene indeed. Here a group is studying the Latin alphabet, which is placed on the side of a wall.
1932 Scott 69 40m gray black "Sukhe Bator"
Damdin Sükhbaatar (Suke Bator) was the leader of the Mongolian Partisan Army during the Mongolian Revolution of 1921, and a founding member of the Mongolian People's Party. He is considered the "Father of Mongolia's Revolution". He died without good explanation at age 30 in 1923. Popular rumor is that he had been poisoned.
1932 Scott 71 1t dull green "Lake and Mountains"
The higher denominations show the a quite dramatic "Lake and Mountains" scene. In reality, though,  most of Mongolia consists of steppes. CV for the three highest denominations is $1+-$10+.

Wmk 170- "Greek Border and Rosettes"
Where was the 1932 set, with the revolutionary themes, printed? A big clue is the paper watermark- "Greek Border and Rosettes". This watermark is also found on Russian stamps of the era.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has four pages for Mongolia 1924-32, and provides a space for all major Scott numbers.
1932 Scott 68 25m dull violet "Mongolian Soldier"
Big Blue
Mongolia in the '69 is found after Martinique, and is on one page with 21 spaces. Coverage is 37%.

There are five stamps with CV $10-$20 in BB.

Although 1929 Scott 34-37  is only CV <$1-$1+, I haven't been able to find any: if you find some, snap them up. ;-)

The complete 1932 thirteen stamp set is found in BB. Some of these stamps appear in every international album I've examined, so they are widely distributed.





A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1924 Scott 1 1c multi/bister ($10)
1924 Scott 4 10c multi/gray blue ($10+)
1929 Scott 44A 5m lilac & black ($20)
1932 Scott 73 5t brown ($10)
1932 Scott 74 10t ultramarine ($10+)

1932 Scott 70 50m dull blue 
"Monument to Sukhe Bator"
Out of the Blue
Fascinating. I especially like the earlier Mongolia. Now, if I could just find them. ;-)

Note: Maps, Ger pic appear to be in the public domain.


The traditional Ger (Russian: Yurt)

Thursday, January 23, 2014


1922 Scott 45 1fr black/yellow "The Rock of Monaco"
Quick History
The Principality of Monaco, hugging the French Riviera coast at less than one square mile, is known for its gambling tables ( Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo established 1858), as a tax haven ( no income tax - except by France if one is a French citizen), and generally as the richest location on earth (GDP $153,000 presently).
Principality of Monaco
Monaco was a Protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1814-1861, which explains why Italian and Monégasque (related to Italian), are spoken, in addition to French. Monaco used the stamps of Sardinia from 1851-1860, when, by the Treaty of Turin, Sardinia relinquished the protectorate.
Coat of Arms
France recognized Monaco's sovereignty by the Franco-Monégasque Treaty of 1861. French stamps with Monaco or Monte-Carlo postmarks can be found until 1885, when Prince Charles III visage was used on the first stamps of Monaco. And with the success of the casino, the House of Grimaldi  stopped collecting income tax from its residents in 1869, insuring that Monaco would be the playground of the Rich and Famous.

The Princes were absolute rulers until 1910, when a constitutional monarchy was founded. Nevertheless, the Princes still have considerable power.

In 1919, Monaco affirmed its reliance on French military protection, and that  it would not have a separate foreign policy.

Population was 24,000 in 1939.

During WW II, first the Italians, and then the Germans occupied Monaco.

In 1949, Prince Rainier III ascended the throne, and was involved personally in Monaco's philatelic issues, raising the awareness of its stamps among collectors.

For those of us of a certain age, his royal marriage with actress Grace Kelly in 1956 is  a warm memory. ;-)

1926 Scott 87 1.05fr red violet 
"St. Devote Viaduct (Bridge of Suicides)"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Monaco 1885-1946, 193 regular, 50 semi-postal, 1 air post, and 28 postage due major stamp descriptions (Total = 272). Of those, 142 are CV <$1-$1+, or 52%. I was pleasantly surprised by the affordability of Monaco stamps, although, naturally, the earlier issues and the semi-postals are at "European" cost levels. But, overall, a very attractive country because of the designs, and the modest number of issues, and, well, it is Monaco! ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1885 Scott 3 5c blue "Prince Charles III"
Charles III had been Prince of Monaco and ruler since 1856, so it was most appropriate that the first stamp issue show his visage. The 10 stamp issue of 1885 was produced when Charles III was 67 years old.  In this portrait, he looks a bit younger, no? ;-) He would continue to rule until his death in 1889. The famous "Monte Carlo" district was named for him: he was the founder of the famous casino in 1858.

CV ranges from $10+-$40+ for six stamps, with the 5fr rose/green @ $2000!.

1891 Scott 12 2c dull violet "Prince Albert I"
Prince Albert II is currently on the throne, but the original Albert- Albert I- began his reign in 1889 after his father's death (Charles III). He was interested in oceanography, and also founded the "Institute for Human Paleontology". He became a member of the British Academy of Science in 1909. He died in 1922.

Between 1891-1921, a 19 stamp issue was produced as shown. CV is <$1-$10 for 10 stamps.

1921 Scott 30 5c light green
Stamps of 1901-21 overprinted or surcharged
With the birth of Princess Antoinette, who was the elder sister of Prince Rainier III, three stamps commemorated the occasion. CV is <$1-$5+ for two stamps.

1923 Scott 42 30c scarlet "Oceanographic Museum"
A ten stamp issue, the first issue of Monaco with pictorials, was produced between 1922-1924. Here, on the 30c scarlet, is the "Oceanographic Museum", a legacy of Prince Albert I. Other pictorials have "The Rock of Monaco" (shown at the post header), and the "Royal Palace". CV is <$1-$4+ for seven stamps.

1923 Scott 55 50c ultramarine "Prince Louis II"
The son of Albert I, Louis II, became prince of Monaco in 1922, and reigned until 1949. His childhood was spent in Germany, as his mother disliked Monaco (and was unhappy with her husband Albert I), and so had left. Louis II first saw his father at age 11, when he was required to return.

When he became Prince in 1922, he was 51 years old. Five stamps were issued in 1923-24 with two portraits of  Louis II. CV is <$1.

1924 Scott 59 85c on 5fr dark green
Stamps and Type of 1891-1921 surcharged
In 1924, three of the Albert I issue were surcharged, as illustrated. CV is <$1.

1924 Scott 64 10c blue
"Grimaldi Family Coat of Arms"
Between 1924-33, a long 33 stamp  issue was released, of which the five lower denominations had the "Coat of Arms" design. CV is <$1-$1+.

1924 Scott 69 25c rose "Prince Louis II"
Most of the middle values- some 19 stamps- have this Prince Louis II portrait. Although he never quite matched his father in reputation, the Monaco Football Club was formed in 1924, and the Grand Prix of Monaco was first held in 1929.

CV is <$1-$1+ for these 19 stamps.

1925 Scott 77 60c yellow brown 
"Prince Louis II"
The other portrait of Louis II is only found on two stamps of the issue. CV is <$1.

1925 Scott 89 2fr violet & olive brown
"View of Monaco"
Thew four highest denominations for the issue has this "View of Monaco" pictorial. Lovely, no? CV is $1-$10+.
1926 Scott 98 1.25fr on 1fr blue/bluish
Type of 1924-26 surcharged with new value and bars
In 1926, seven stamps from the preceding issue were surcharged as shown. CV ranges from <$1-$8+.

1932 Scott 119 90c red "Prince Louis II"
Between 1932-37, a 21 stamp issue was released with both pictorials and a portrait of the prince. Four stamps show Louis II. CV is <$1-$10 for these stamps.

But what happened during WW II? Prince Louis was pro-(Vichy) French, but tried to remain neutral. However, most of the population in Monaco was of Italian decent, and supported the fascist Mussolini. The Italian army invaded in 1943, and set up a fascist government. With the collapse of fascist Italy, the German army then occupied Monaco. Prince Louis vacillated, pleasing no one. This caused a break with his grandson Rainier, heir to the throne, who unconditionally supported the Allies.

1932 Scott 117 65c blue green
"Gardens at Monaco"
The seventeen pictorials in the issue with six designs have classic scenes around Monaco. CV for the pictorials range from <$1-$140! ( For comparison, what is the most expensive commemorative during the 1930s for the U.S.?  The Imperf 1935 National Park flat plate printing Scott 765 10c gray black "Great Smokey Mountains" @ $3+! )

1937 Scott 132 10c violet
Postage Due 1925-32 surcharged or overprinted
In 1937-38, fourteen postage due stamps were surcharged or overprinted as shown. CV is $1-$7+ for twelve stamps.
1939 Scott 150 15c violet "Grimaldi Arms"
The Grimaldi coat of arms were on twelve stamps of a twenty stamp issue between 1937-1943. (The other stamps in the issue show Louis II.) CV is <$1-$2+ for seventeen stamps.

1939 Scott 160 20c rose lilac 
"Cathedral of Monaco"
A lovely 35 stamp pictorial issue was produced between 1939-46. There are six scenes shown. Beneath the placid exterior of this set is the tumultuous WW II occupation of Monaco.

1939 Semi-postal Scott B26 5c + 5c brown black "Lucien"
Some 50 semi-postals were issued by Monaco from 1914-1940. They tend to be fairly expensive, and I don't have many. ;-)

But shown is a stamp from a ten stamp issue of 1939- Lucien, Lord of Monaco 1505-1523, and House of Grimaldi, who murdered his brother Jean II to obtain the throne. Rough justice was served, however, as he was assassinated by his nephew in 1523.

1905 Postage Due Scott J3 10c rose
Look familiar? ;-) One has to remember that Monaco's stamp designs are heavily French influenced: never more than here. The 1905-43 sixteen stamp issue has a CV of <$1-$1+ for thirteen stamps. Of interest, the 1909 Scott J4 10c brown has a CV of $120+!

1910 Scott J17 10c light violet
"Prince Albert I"
Have you ever seen any modern day males with a beard cut like that? ;-) In 1910, a small three stamp postage due issue was produced as shown. The 1c olive green and the 10c light violet are nominal CV, but the 30c bister is CV $150+!

1925 Scott J21 1c gray green
Back to the French lookalikes with a 1925-32 six stamp set- these are actually "Recouvrements"
stamps, where charges due were recovered from the sender if the mail was refused or undeliverable.

Deep Blue
1891-1921 Prince Albert I issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has 19 pages for Monaco. Of interest, because the last pictorial issue was produced between 1939-46, the classic Steiner pages cover this issue until 1946. Since the Steiner follows the modern Scott catalogue, there is a space for every major number.

1932 Scott 118 75c deep blue 
"Fortifications and Harbor"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on five pages, has 143 spaces- coverage is 53%.

• There are five stamps that break the "Most Expensive" $35 threshold, and fourteen more between $10+-$30+. Eleven of the stamps are semi-postals, which, generally, are moderately expensive for Monaco.
• Although, naturally, there are a few holes, BB does a good job of covering the less expensive Monaco.
• The 40s editions are on four pages, and have a different layout. Although I did not do a formal evaluation, it appears the '69 edition has a little better overall coverage.








Next Page





Next Page


1937-38 (actually 1939)


160,161,162 or 162A,163,165, 166 or 166A,168,

Next Page


Next Page

Postage Due

B1,(B2),B3,B4,(B5),(B11*),B9, (B10),



Air Post


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1885 Scott 1 1c olive green ($10+)
1885 Scott 2 2c dull lilac ($20+)
1885 (Scott 3) 5c blue ($35)
1891 Scott 17 15c rose ($10)
1927 Scott 90 3fr rose & ultramarine/yellow ($10+)
1932 Scott 122 1.50fr ultramarine ($10)
1937 Scott 124 1.75fr carmine rose ($10+)
1919 (Scott B2) 2c + 3c lilac ($30+)
1919 Scott B3 5c + 5c green ($20)
1919 Scott B4 15c + 10c rose ($20)
1919 (Scott B5) 50c + 50c brown/buff ($39)
1920 (Scott B11*) 2c + 3c on B6 ($40)
1920 Scott B9 2c + 3c on B4 ($40)
1920 (Scott B10) 2c on 3c  on B5 ($40)
1937 Scott B22 2fr + 2fr violet ($10+)
1938 Scott B24 65c + 25c deep blue green ($10+)
1938 Scott B25 1.75fr + 50c deep ultramarine ($10+)
1939 Scott B31 1fr + 1fr ultramarine ($20+)
1933 Scott C1 1.50fr on 5fr ($20+)
B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *85 1.50fr blue/bluish space is placed before Scott 84 1.25fr blue/bluish. Curious.
D) *B11 ($40) can be put in, but B6 ($175!) is the more logical choice based on issue space sequencing of BB. But, in the interests of economic pragmatism, I offer B11. If you don't agree, feel free to put in B6. ;-)

1943 Scott 172C 4.50fr bright violet
"Palace of Monaco"
Out of the Blue
What great stamps and issues! I love them! This is why I collect WW classical era stamps. ;-)

Note: Map and Monaco pic appear to be in the public domain.


Modern day Monaco

Friday, January 17, 2014


1906 Scott 7 25c blue "Navigation and Commerce"
Quick History
Moheli is one of the Comoro islands, and is situated between Madagascar and Mozambique off the coast of east Africa in the Mozambique Channel. A (tiny) French colony, Moheli issued stamps between 1906-1912. Moheli had a population of 4,000, and the Capital was Fomboni.
 Moheli, Grand Comoro, Anjouan, Mayotte
The other French colonies in the grouping, -Grand Comoro, Ajouan, Mayotte-, have had blog posts. Now it is Moheli's turn. ;-)

The Sultanate of Mwali was established in 1830 over Moheli. But in 1886, France made the island a protectorate, under the French resident of Anjouan. French colonial stamps were issued between 1906-1912. The French abolished the sultanate in 1909, and Moheli was annexed.

The postal service was based on Mayotte, and although each colony had their own stamps, the postmark "Mayotte and dependencies" can be seen on used stamps.

The Comoro archipelago was administratively united with the Madagascar colony in 1912, and individual colony stamp production ceased.

1906 Scott 3 4c claret/lavender
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Moheli 1906-1912, 21 major stamp descriptions. Of those, none are CV <$1-$1+, although 11 are CV $2+-$4+. A modest collection is available for a modest price.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1906 Scott 4 5c yellow green "Navigation and Commerce"
The familiar colony design "Navigation and Commerce" was, of course, used for Moheli. The sixteen stamp issue of 1906-07 has a CV of $1+-$7+ for eight stamps.

1906 Scott 10c carmine
The "Moheli" script can be found in carmine and blue. Note the "Mayotte et Dependances" cancellation?

1912 Scott 21 10c on 45c black/gray-green
Carmine Surcharge
In 1912, stamps were surcharged (5c & 10c) in black and carmine as shown. These stamps could be used throughout the Comoros and Madagascar. The six stamp production has a CV of $2-$4+ for each stamp. There are minor numbers also with wider spacing between the surcharged numbers- be on the lookout for them, as their CV is higher.

Of interest, from 1912-1950, stamps of Madagascar were used on the Comoros.

Deep Blue
Moheli in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has Moheli on one page, and includes all the major Scott numbers. If one has any of the minor number 1912 issue with a wider space between the surcharge figures, one will need a quadrilled page.
1906 Scott 1 1c black/lilac-blue
Big Blue
Moheli was one of those small entries that was eliminated by the '69 editors. It is found, though, after Mexico and Modena in the 1940s editions.

Moheli in the '41 edition
The 1940s editions have one line for Moheli with five spaces for the 1906-07 issue, and three spaces for the 1912 issue. Coverage is 38%.

Coverage is fairly generous, and there are no expensive ($10 or higher) stamps. Since there is really no good reason why Moheli shouldn't be included, if one has a '69 or newer edition, perhaps an additional page might be in order. ;-)  I will add the Moheli checklist stamp numbers to the master Lebanon-Quelimane checklist.

Checklist (40s editions)



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None

1906 Scott 2 2c brown/buff
Out of the Blue
Ask your non philatelic friends where Moheli (Mwali) is located. ;-)

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.