Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Worldwide Album Shootout: Portuguese Colonies

If you mainly add to your "Blue" collection from other International albums, you are only rarely jolted into reality by stamps that don't match the spaces in your own album. But once you start using other sources to build your collection, missing spaces become more apparent. I recently received a circuit of sales books for Portugal and its Colonies from the American Philatelic Society. One thing that stood out were some affordable stamps from the 19th century (i.e., under $5) that were missing from the album. But not from all of the colonies. I'll say up front that what I initially thought was going to be some major lacuna in 19th century coverage of these colonies in the "Blue" turned out to be less than I had feared.

While I'm sure everyone but me has these memorized, for the record, here are the Portuguese Colonies in the Scott Catalog: Angola, Angra, Azores, Cape Verde, Funchal, Horta, Inhambane, Kionga, Lourenco Marques, Macao, Madeira, Mozambique, Mozambique Company, Nyassa, Ponta Delgada, Portuguese Africa, Portuguese Congo, Portuguese Guinea, Portuguese India, Quelimane, St. Thomas & Prince Islands, Tete, Timor, and Zambezia.

In the "Blue" International Volume One, most of the above colonies include at least a space or two for stamps like the following:

The differentiating point is the 1898 King Carlos set, an example from which is to the right of the white line. The Colonies that Scott supplies spaces for stamps issued before this set are: Cape Verdi (7 spaces for stamps before 1898), Funchal (3 stamps), Horta (2 stamps), Lourenco Marques (3), Macao (23 stamps), Madeira (9 stamps), Mozambique (12 stamps), Mozambique Company (11 stamps), Nyassa (7 stamps), Ponta Delgada (4 stamps), Portuguese Africa (5 stamps), Portuguese Congo (3 stamps), Portuguese Guinea (14 stamps), Portuguese India (19 stamps), St. Thomas & Prince Islands (14 stamps), Timor (19 stamps), Zambezia (4 stamps).

The exceptions are Angola, Angra, Azores, Inhambane, and Kionga. (Scott is off the hook with Kionga as its issues don't begin until 1916.) The other four colonies start with the 1898 King Carlos issues, ignoring anything earlier even though similar stamps are represented in the majority of the album's other Portuguese Colonies. What seems particularly strange is that Scott devotes 3 pages to Angola, 5 to the Azores and even 1 full page to Inhambane. In all fairness, the earlier stamps of Inhambane are expensive and don't belong in the "Blue." But that doesn't explain why they are missing for Angola or the Azores which have multi-page coverage.

The Minkus Supreme Global provides 29 spaces for Angola before the 1898 issues; 3 spaces for Angra; 21 spaces for the Azores, but none for Inhambane (where the first stamps are expensive). The Master Global also omits the earlier stamps for the Azores and Inhambane, but includes examples for Angola and Angra.

The corresponding coverage for the Scott Brown is: Angola (37 stamps before the 1898 issues), Angra (12 stamps), and the Azores (98! stamps). Interestingly, I cannot find Inhambane in my copy of the 19th Century Scott Brown (c1930).

Finally, the counts for Steiner's album pages are: Angola (37 stamps), Angra (12 stamps), the Azores (94 stamps), and Inhambane (14 stamps).

I was surprised that the Scott Brown had more stamps for the Azores than Bill Steiner's album pages as, in my previous comparisons, the coverage of Steiner's pages has always been equal or greater. The difference is Scott 16-19A, four stamps which are no longer in the Scott Catalog but were when the Scott Brown was created.

For a quick overview of the Portuguese Colonies, see this Refresher Course on the Linn's website.

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