A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Monday, January 15, 2018

Estonia - Bud's Big Blue

Estonia Phantoms
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
If you’re building a collection by pillaging feeder albums, as I have, occasionally you’ll encounter phantoms. The previous owners, not knowing what else to do, stuck them in BB’s blank spots or laid them between pages. Some phantoms, the mischievous frauds, mean only to bilk unsuspecting collectors. Some want to cheat on postal rates. But the subversive sort aim to wreak political havoc.

What intentions did the five shown above have? When they first appeared in 1918-19, many thought they were genuine. Scott lists but then quickly withdraws them and, in a monthly journal, labels them “bogus” with the warning, “Collectors will be well advised to have nothing to do with them.” 

Conjectures about their origins, nevertheless, proliferated. Did a German speculator create them for personal gain? Did bolshevists print them to legitimate their attempts to gain control? Was someone trying to subvert the newly founded Estonian postal authority? Why is “Virumaa,” an ancient region of Estonia, inscribed?

Who knows?

I like such mysterious phantoms and happily include them on supplement pages. Phantoms ought to be considered a part of postal histories and, further, regarded as suitable for “representative collections.”

Census: 114 in BB spaces, two tip-ins, 39 on supplement pages (counting five on the airmail supplement page and five phantoms). Eight have been added to the supplement pages since the scans were made.

Jim's Observations
* The 1928-35 "Arms" issue and others of that era have an interesting colored network design embedded on the paper, no doubt to prevent re-use or counterfeiting. I believe the 14 stamp "Arms" issue has at least nine different web colors. Nice!

* The Estonian stamps found in BB are reasonably priced. The most expensive stamp space is for a triangular 1923 Air Post C3 (15m on 5m multi, a C1 surcharged in red) at $16; while the next most expensive is a 1939 Coat of Arms Semi-postal  B44  (50s + 50s brown lake) at $14.

* During the years 1936-1940, Estonia issued a Semi-postal four stamp "Coat of Arms" each year consisting of the armorial bearings of various districts. All of the issues (except 1936) are in BB. They usually are in the $3-$8 price range. They are highly attractive stamps.

Estonia Blog Post and Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

How did my collection grow this past 2017 year?

Chile 1862 Scott 13 20c green "Columbus"
London print, Wmk g
Into the Deep Blue
Every year at this time I like to see where I have been, and where I am going with my collection.

To recall, the "classical era" limit of my WW collection is 1840-1940, with an extension for British Commonwealth through 1952. The ultimate collection, 100% filled, would have 83,458 (Scott major number) stamps. Needless to say, that, is an unattainable goal, but the fun is the journey along the way!
"Deep Blue" in Vario F & G Binders, and the occasional Palo Binder
The stamps are kept in "Deep Blue", the name for my 6,500 Steiner album pages, presently in 1 Palo, 20 Vario G, and 36 Vario F binders. I added 1 Palo, 10 Vario G, and 17 Vario F binders this past year, while replacing 22 Avery binders. 

But additionally, I keep track of (and actively collect as a realistic goal) all the stamps that will fit into Big Blue, the Scott International Part I 1840-1940 album - some 34,903 spaces. My "virtual" Big Blue collection, housed within Deep Blue, is based on the checklist  I have developed for the stamp spaces in BB.

Well, how did I do in 2017?

To recall, the 2015 year started with 39,632 major Scott number stamps, and ended with 42,734 - a 3,102 stamp increase. 

With the 2016 year, I added 4,133 stamps to Deep Blue, for a  total of 46,867 stamps.

This past 2017 year, I added 1,672 stamps to Deep Blue, for a year end total of 48,539 stamps.

My Deep Blue currently has 58% of the spaces filled with stamps.

What about the virtual Big Blue?

My virtual Big Blue collection increased in 2015 from 26,087 to 28,134 stamps, a 2,047 stamp increase. 

And for the 2016 year, the virtual Big Blue ended with 29,657 stamps, a 1,523 stamp increase.

This 2017 year, I added 596 stamps to the virtual Big Blue, for a total of 30,253 stamps.

Hurrah, I have crossed the 30,000 BB milestone!

In total, Big Blue is  86.7 % full.

I will make a comment about adding fewer stamps overall this past year for the classical era in the "Out of the Blue" section.

Now,  back to the task at hand - how did my WW collection specificaly grow by country count during the 2017 year for the 1940-1940 (-1952 British Commonwealth), understanding the growth was from feeder albums, rather than want lists?

First, a review of the 2015 and 2016 years,,,

Countries/ Stamps added 2015
1) Italy/ 265
2) Yugoslavia/ 132
3) Belgium/ 120
4) United States/ 113
5) Austria/ 94
6) Gabon/ 88
6) Surinam/ 88
8) China/ 82
9) Colombia States/ 78
9) Luxembourg/ 78

Countries/ Stamps added 2016
1) Turkey/249
2) Uruguay/181
3) Angola/166
3) Portuguese Guinea/166
5) Portuguese India/149
6) St. Thomas and Prince/148
7) New Zealand/147
8) Azores/146
9) Italy/119
10) Mozambique/114
11) Macao/107

And here is the list of the top countries added for 2017 from feeder country albums.

Countries/ Stamps added 2017
1) Philippines/ 147 
2) France/ 93
3) Chile/ 82
4) Persia/ 73
5) Egypt/ 71
6) Brazil/ 56
7) Sudan/ 56
8) Iceland/ 51
9) Albania/ 48
10)Spanish Morocco/ 41
11)Poland/ 33

For an overview of all the countries in Big Blue/ Deep Blue, see the ......

Status of my Deep Blue & Big Blue Collections post. (Updated monthly.)

Let's take a closer look...
Philippines 1899 Scott 218 15c olive green "Clay"
Issued under U.S. Administration - On Scott 1898 Scott 284 Wmk 191
1) Philippines/ 147 
I obtained a country collection of the Philippines. and from that, added 147 stamps to Deep Blue. I also added 21 stamps to the virtual Big Blue, which completed the Philippines spaces.
Philippines 1938 Scott 436a 8c violet "Pearl Fishing"
"commonwealt" - missing "h" - Position 31 in sheet
Stamps of 1935 Overprint "b" in Black
Enclosed in the Philippines country collection was a sheet of 1938 Scott 436 8c violet "Pearl Fishing" stamps. But position 31 of the sheet reveals the missing "h" overprint error (Scott 436a), a CV $90 stamp. !
1896 Scott 19 1a on 10c black/lavender Type II
"Peace and Commerce", Blue Overprint
France Offices in Zanzibar
2) France/ 93
A Scott Specialty album of France yielded 93 stamps for Deep Blue, and 25 stamps for the virtual Big Blue, all from the French "Offices" section (mostly from China). The rest of the album awaits pillaging in 2018. !!
Chile 1855 Scott 8 5c brown red "Columbus"
Engraved, London print, Blued paper, Wmk c
3) Chile/ 82
I've said before that those that don't join a local stamp club are missing out on serendipitous possibilities that arise, especially for WW collectors.

I obtained a very nice Chile collection at single digit CV rates from a fellow club member, who is a part time local dealer.  I harvested 82 stamps for Deep Blue, and 18 stamps completed the virtual BB Chile spaces.
Persia (Iran) 1876 Scott 28 2s green & black
Lithographed, "Nasser-eddin  Shah Qajar"
4) Persia/ 73
Back when I was in my twenties, I had one of my periodic flares of interest in WW stamp collecting, and bought from a dealer in Duluth, Minnesota, a Persia,collection. That served as the basis of my Deep Blue/Big Blue holdings for Persia when I rekindled my interest big time in 2011.

That was until this year, when a second Persia (Iran) collection was obtained, yielding 73 stamps for both Deep Blue, and the virtual Big Blue.

Egypt 1866 Scott 3 20pa blue
Surcharged in Black, Turkish Suzerainty
5) Egypt/ 71
One of my favorite countries to collect is Egypt. I obtained an Egypt (and also Sudan) collection in a fine Palo album this year, yielding 71 stamps for Deep Blue. The album also produced 13 stamps for the virtual Big Blue, within one of completing all the spaces for Egypt.

Brazil 1866 Scott 44 30r black, Perf 13 1/2
With Cert
6) Brazil/ 56
A Brazil/Bolivia Minkus country album has awaited attention for several years, and I finally got around to it.

I found 56 more stamps for Deep Blue. For the virtual Big Blue, 2 stamps were added, leaving only 2 spaces not filled out of 274.

Brazil 1843 Scott 3 90r black (clipped)
Grayish paper, Fine Impressions, Engraved, Imperforate
Issues of the Empire
I do have a question for readers.

I have two Brazil stamps- the 90r black (shown above) and the Scott 2 60r black - that are significantly clipped on the upper right corner. Obviously that decreases the CV (for the 90r, $1,300), if they are genuine, to probably less an 5%. But why were they clipped? Remainders?

Sudan 1897 Scott 8 10p violet "Sphinx"
Wmk 119, Perf 14
Egyptian Stamps of 1884-93 Overprinted in Black
7) Sudan/ 56
The Palo album for Egypt also housed Sudan stamps. 

I harvested 56 stamps for Deep Blue, and 15 stamps for the virtual Big Blue, completing all the spaces.
Sudan 1931 Scott C12 4 1/2p gray & brown
"Statue of Gen. C.G. Gordon"
Engraved, Perf 14
The Palo album I have follows exactly the layout of Deep Blue (Steiner), except on a much larger page. In March of this 2018 year, I will do a comparison review of Steiner/Palo for those with an interest in this topic. 
Iceland 1873 Scott 4 16s yellow "Numerals'
Typographed, Perf 14 X 13 1/2, Wmk 112
8) Iceland/ 51
The most significant purchase for the year was a quite fine Iceland collection.

This added 51 stamps to Deep Blue, and 2 stamps to the virtual Big Blue, filling all the Iceland spaces.

A note about the 16 Skillings yellow shown here: Whether this is a genuine cancel (CV $3000) vs a false/favor cancel (CV $575) makes a lot of difference.
Albania 1920 Scott 121 10q rose
"Prince zu Wied"; Black Overprint
9) Albania/ 48
Albania is one of those countries that I find it difficult to find stamps for, or perhaps it may just be that I have other priorities, and Albania is an afterthought.

Nevertheless, I found a good (but not great) Albania collection, that yielded 48 stamps for Deep Blue, and 2 stamps for the virtual Big Blue. A reality check shows I have 70 spaces filled in Big Blue, but there are still 43 empty spaces. If one would like to appreciate full pages for Albania, take a look at Bud's astounding Big Blue album.

Spanish Morocco 1909 Scott 17 15c violet "Alfonso"
On Spain Stamps of 1909-10
Overprinted in Carmine
10)Spanish Morocco/ 41
Although the majority of stamps added this past 2017 year was through feeder collections/albums, an exception was Spanish Morocco. 

We had a local stamp show/bourse in town, and I went to one of those "floor to ceiling" dealers with a want list. ( A "floor to ceiling" dealer brings a huge stamp stock stacked in drawers literally from floor to ceiling with WW offerings for all countries.) 

I found 41 stamps for Deep Blue, and since I was working from a "Big Blue' want list, also 41 stamps for the virtual BB.

I now have, for the virtual BB, 95 spaces filled, and 39 spaces to go. !!

Poland 1918 Scott 38 45hal on 80h deep blue
Austrian Military Stamps of 1917 Surcharged in Black
Bars instead of Stars over Original Value
11)Poland/ 33
Poland is a favorite country of mine, perhaps because I admire the historical spirit of the Polish people in the face of Nazi Germany oppression and communist rule. So when an opportunity came up to buy a Minkus Poland country album, I did so.

I found 33 stamps for Deep Blue, and added 3 stamps to virtual big Blue. I now have 344 spaces filled, but still lack 11 spaces in BB.

Egypt 1932 Scott 167 100m on 1 Pound "King Faud"
ultramarine & dark violet, Perf 14
On 1924 Scott 103 Surcharged with Bars
Out of the Blue
Last year, for the 2016 year summary, I said this...

"I fully expect not to do as well this coming year with my classical era collection. I think another 4000 stamp increase is unrealistic.  The "low hanging fruit" from feeder collections will not be as available, because I am no longer significantly weak in any major regional category, except perhaps for the Spanish colonies.

But part of the reason I expect not to do as "well" this year is my goal for 2017 is a bit different.


I have, left over, from pillaging the 1840-1940 era, many feeder albums/collections that have a significant amount of stamps from 1940-1967. They are perfectly wonderful specimens of " Les Semi-Modernes" era, as the Yvert catalogue like to put it, and I would like to place them into my new thick paper Minkus Global Supreme pages I've acquired from Amos Advantage/Scott this past year." 


Well,, that is exactly what happened, so not surprising in the least. !!

With the virtual BB  ~ 87% complete, and Deep Blue ~ 58% complete, the ability to add new stamps at the same quantity as before is not realistic.

And, I added very few stamps from want lists this past 2017 year. (This is the most effective technique when a collection is already fairly full.)

Rather, my purchases were additional country feeder albums. Although clearly, I added stamps to the  "Deep Blue" album, an additional focus was expanding the WW collection coverage for the 1941-1969 years. For more, see my blog post - Beyond the Classic Blues - An Introduction.

This expansion of my collection up to 1969 WW is still ongoing. The results are pleasing to me. I am enjoying the stamps and the history they reflect.

But the 1941-69 collection is still very much a work in progress  (Some countries, a lot of stamps, many others, essentially nothing). I haven't even bothered to "count" the 1941-1969 stamps - it is too premature. ;-)

But I am having great fun with the 1941-1969 stamp era, and much of my current  time is involved with transferring these stamps from feeder albums to "Big Red" (Minkus Global Supreme Albums).

As far as the 1840-1940  (-1952 British Commonwealth) classical era, I am only short 1,400+ stamps from crossing the 50,000 stamp threshold. And the Big Blue virtual collection is over the 30,000 count this year!

This coming year I expect the same trends: more 1941-69 stamps from feeder collections, and some additions to the 1840-1940 collection though want lists and perhaps through collection purchases.

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Eritrea - Bud's Big Blue

Eritrea's best stamp (Bud's choice)
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Eritrea’s spaces are hard to fill, as are those for Italian colonies in general. Previous generations of collectors avoided them. Feeder albums ordinarily yield only common issues and partial sets.  Of course, the gaps can be quickly filled via the internet, but prices are unusually high and fixed. Sellers tend to label these stamps as “Key” values which, being translated, means “Look out, you’re about to be gouged.”

On the positive side, demand for these stamps is fairly low. Not many collectors, apart from BB’s crowd, compete for Eritrea or Tripolitania. So here are two strategy recommendations: 
1) At the outset, shop for a nearly complete Eritrea collection with many full sets. 
2) for the remaining gaps, play a waiting game; eventually someone will list the desired stamp at auction and no one but you will notice. 
I did this many times as my BB was nearing completion and, over a year and a half span, all gaps were filled. I paid less than 30 percent of CV, on average, for the last 100 stamps. Using the notification services provided by internet auctions helps greatly. Bon chance.

Study of Eritrea’s stamps can be enriched by frequent references to Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. Histories of these African nations overlap, sometimes tragically as in the era of Mussolini’s madness. He thought exploiting them would make Italy great again. It didn’t.

Census: 181 in BB spaces (6 more if parcel posts are counted as two), 6 tip-ins, 33 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
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- or is it? 

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 (albeit a different color), excepting  two overprinted Somalian issues.

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).

* But as Bud points out, although the CV cost is "high", the true demand isn't. So, play the waiting game.

Eritrea Blog Post and Checklist

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Comments appreciated!