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...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Straits Settlements

1883 Scott 41 2c carmine rose "Victoria"
Quick History
Straits Settlements (on or near the Malacca Strait, hence the name) was a group of British territories established in 1826 by the British East India Company.

Penang (Pinang), Malacca, Singapore (Red outlines)
Straits Settlements 1844 under East Africa Company
The Straits Settlements  were a consequence of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of  1824, where the Malay archipelago was divided between the Dutch south zone and the British north zone.

British Malaya 1922
Straits Settlements (Red)
Federated Malay States (Yellow)
Unfederated Malay States (Blue)
Stamps of India were used in the Straits Settlements from 1854-1867 with octagonal postmark B/172 (Singapore), B/147 (Penang), and B109 (Malacca).

Initially, Penang was the administrative center, but quickly (1832) Singapore, with its advantageous location, became the leading settlement.

In 1867, Straits Settlements became a crown colony, and De la Rue produced new Victoria stamp designs. 

The population was 572,000 in 1901, with the Chinese and the Malays far outnumbering the Europeans.

The Governor of the Straits Settlements was also High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States, British North Borneo, Sarawak, and the sultanate of Brunei.

Labuan joined the Straits Settlements in 1907.

(There were smaller entities as well- Dinding (which never had much population or development), Christmas island, and Cocos (Keeling) islands. A map of all of the parts of Straits Settlements is available at the fine Dead Countries Stamps website.)

For further reading and viewing of the history and stamps of the British Malay Peninsula region, see my blog post- Malay and States.

The Japanese occupied the Malay Peninsula during WW II until 1945.

Straits Settlements was broken up in 1946. Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union. Labuan was attached to  British North Borneo, while Singapore became a Crown Colony.

Present Day Singapore and Malaysia
The British led Malayan Union of 1946 was changed quickly to the Sultan led Federation of Malaya in 1948. Independence was achieved for Malaya in 1957. Then, with the addition of Singapore, Sarawak, and North Borneo (State of Sabah), Malaysia was born in 1963. Finally, Singapore exited in 1965.

1935 Scott 213 5c black & ultramarine "George V"
"Silver Jubilee Issue"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Straits Settlements 1867-1948, 310 major number descriptions. Of those, 93 are CV <$1-$1+, or 30%. As a former British Colony composed of Singapore and parts of Malaysia, there is demand and interest, and consequently cost for these stamps.

There are also pockets of expensive to very expensive stamps for the Straits Settlements...
* 1854-1867 stamps of India used in Straits Settlements (Singapore; Penang; Malacca) (79 stamps with Scott "A" prefix).
* 1867 surcharged Stamps of India issue (nine stamps)
* 1880 surcharged (10c) on  the 1872 Scott 18 30c claret (fourteen stamps)
* 1883-1887 surcharged issues (fourteen stamps)
* 1907 Issue (eleven stamps)- Stamps of Labuan 1902-03 surcharged (Some are inexpensive, but I don't have any).
* 1922 Issue for Industrial Fair- overprinted  "Malaya-Borneo Exhibition"(fifteen stamps- minor numbers)
* 1942-43 Japanese Occupation Issues (thirty stamps)

The above categories, attractive as they are, are really specialist territory, and, at the moment, I don't have any. I will, however, mention a few of the issues briefly.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Dollar
1867 Scott 10 2c bister brown "Victoria"
Wmk 1: "Crown and C C"
The initial production  for Straits Settlements proper was on September 1, 1867, with a nine stamp overprinted crown and surcharged issue, using stamps of India. The least expensive is CV $40+, and I don't have any.

As mentioned, with the advent of "Crown Colony" status in 1867. Straits Settlements also received their own stamps, printed by Dr la Rue. The 1867-72 nine stamp design shows a center portrait of the queen, surrounded by script on a white background.

The watermark is "Crown and C C". One will need to pay attention to this, as the similar 1882-99 series repeats some of the same denominations and colors, but with a "Crown and C A" watermark.

Upper Left: Crown and C C (wmk 1)
Upper right: Crown and C A (wmk 2)
Lower left: Multiple Crown and C A (wmk 3)
Lower right: Multiple Crown and Script C A (wmk 4)
As a refresher, here are the British Colonial Watermarks 1-4.

1894 Scott 50 8c ultramarine "Victoria"
Wmk 2: "Crown and C A"
In 1880-81, there were some 21 stamps of the 1867-72 issue surcharged with either 5 cents or 10 cents. Most are quite expensive, and I don't have any. (Are you getting the feeling it may be costly to specialize in Straits Settlements? ;-)

The next major issue was produced between 1882-99, and utilized the four designs from the 1867-72 issue, as well as two new designs. The eighteen stamp production was printed on "Crown and C A" watermark paper. Since the denomination and colors for some of the stamps are the same as the earlier 1867-72 issue, one will need a watermarking tray.

CV is <$1-$4+ for eleven stamps.

1894 Scott 74 3c on 32c rose
Between 1883-94, there were some 25 stamps of preceding issues surcharged (1c,2c,3c,4c,8c,10c,30c). Clearly, there was specific and wide denomination stamp shortages during this period. The Straits Settlements, especially Singapore, was growing, and the available stamps were not keeping up with the mail volume.

1892 Scott 82 1c on 8c gray green
During the 1883-94 surcharge period, there are both inexpensive and expensive stamps. The 1c on 8c gray green, illustrated above, is only CV $1+.

On the opposite end, the 1884 Scott 69 4c (red surcharge) on 1884 Scott 68 4c on 5c ultramarine is CV $37,000+: only found on ten letters sent by the Postmaster General to his wife. ;-)

1892 Scott 83 1c gray green "Victoria"
Between 1892-99, six "keyplate" type stamps were issued. Three stamps are CV <$1.

1899 Scott 89 4c on 5c ultramarine
Stamps of 1883-94 Surcharged
In 1899, four stamps were surcharged 4c. This was the last occurrence of surcharged issues for the Straits Settlements.

1902 Scott 97 8c violet/blue "Edward VII"
With the ascension of Edward VII, a thirteen stamp issue was released in 1902, using the keyplate design on Wmk 2 paper.

1903-04 Scott 107 4c violet/red "Edward VII"
Wmk 2: "Crown and C A"
In 1903-04, an oval portrait design of Edward VII was issued on four stamps. Watermark is "Crown and C A".

1910 Scott 128 $5 green & red/green "Edward VII"
Wmk 3; Chalky Paper
The 1904-11 twenty-two stamp chalky paper issue used the previous Edward VII 1902 keyplate and the 1903-04 oval portrait designs. The watermark is "Multiple Crown and C A".

The values go up to denomination $100. !! Clearly, the higher denominations are found more frequently on revenue cancellations, and the CV is much less for a revenue cancel.

Chalky paper can be tricky. Soaking a stamp in water tends to remove the chalky character. Obviously, most "used" stamps have been subject to this process. Examining the perforation area of the stamp sometimes reveals chalky evidence.

But the entire twenty-two stamp issue was printed on Wmk 3 "Multiple Crown and C A" paper, which should differentiate this issue from the preceding ones.

1911 Scott 132 4c lake "Edward VII"
Wmk 3; Ordinary Paper
Lastly, for Edward VII, a six stamp issue on ordinary paper was printed between 1906-11. Fortunately, these stamps have different colors compared to the preceding issues. CV is <$1-$3.

I should mention that when Labuan joined the Straits Settlements in 1907, a group (ten stamps) of their 1902-03 stamps were overprinted and/or surcharged for use in the Straits Settlements. Some are only moderately expensive ($3-$10: five stamps). They were not given spaces on Big Blue and I don't have any. But they are on my Bucket List. ;-)

1918 Scott 154 4c scarlet "George V"
Wmk 3; Chalky Paper
A long (23 stamps) issue for George V was produced between 1912-18 using six designs. The entire issue is found on Wmk 3 "Multiple Crown and C A" paper": helpful. Some denominations/colors are found both on chalky and ordinary paper (10c violet/yellow, 45c, $2, $5).

Also, the A24 design on nine stamps (see next illustration) is Die I for this issue.

1932 Scott 187 5c dark brown "George V"
A24 Design; Wmk 4; Die II; Ordinary Paper
The 1921-32 twenty-six stamp issue uses the same designs as the 1912-18 issue, but on watermark 4 "Multiple Crown and Script C A" paper: again helpful. The lower denominations through the 10c ultramarine are on ordinary paper; while the higher denominations, beginning with the 10c violet/yellow, are on chalky paper.

The A24 design (ten stamps) is found as Die II.

Die I/Die II illustrative/descriptive differences can be found on "Dies of the British Colonial Stamps" in the introduction section (page 38A) of the 2014 Scott 1840-1940 catalogue, or link to my Gold Coast post.

1921 Scott 199 $1 black & red/blue "George V"
Wmk 4; Die II; Chalky Paper
The CV for the 1921-32 issue is <$1-$1+ for twelve stamps.

1936 Scott 226 25c rose red & violet "George V"
The 1936-37 "George V" issue is found exclusively on chalky paper, and has a CV of <$1-$1+ for fourteen stamps.

1937 Scott 241 5c brown "George VI"; Die I
1939 Scott 241a 5c brown; Die II
(Enlarge for examination)
The 1937-41 George VI issue of eighteen stamps with one design, but two dies.

This issue proved to be the last before the Japanese invasion. The issue can be found with Japanese handstamped overprints in 1942 (5 stamps) , and 1942 ( 15 stamps), Some of the handstamped overprints are inexpensive (CV $3-$4: four stamps), but I don't have any at the moment.

The interest (for me) is that the issue was printed with two dies.

Die I: printed from two plates. Horizontal lines of the background touch outside the central oval. Palm frond in front of King's eye has two points.

Die II: printed from one plate. Lines of background separated from central oval. Palm frond in front of King's eye has one point.

Usually, the denomination was printed with either Die I or Die II, but not both. However, the 4c brown orange, and the 5c brown ( illustration) were printed with both dies. Can you find an example of both in your collection?

1924 Scott J4 8c red
A functional appearing six stamp postage due issue was released between 1924-26. The French had more fun with their colony postage dues (Here, specifically St. Pierre and Miquelon), if one would like a comparison. ;-)

Deep Blue
1882-99 "Victoria" Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 17 pages for the 1867-1948 stamp issues, and all major Scott numbers have a space. Unless one is a specialist with deep pockets- because of expense-, sections of Deep Blue for the Straits Settlements are unlikely to be filled.

1938 Scott 250 $1 red & black/blue "George VI"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69 has just two pages and 92 spaces for the stamps of Straits Settlements  (Malacca, Penang, and Singapore). The '69 editors separated out "Malaya" and gave them their own section.

The 40s BB editions, as noted, had the Federated Malay States, Johore, Kedah, Kelantan,  Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, Sungei Ujong, and Trengganu still included under the "Straits Settlements" section.

Subtracting the 46 stamps for the 1942-48 period (which BB doesn't cover) leaves 264 major numbers in the catalogue. Overall, then, coverage in BB is 35%.

To BB's credit (and the fact I altered the 1882-91 issue stamps to 1867-91 dates ;-), there are no expensive stamps ($10 threshold).

There is the usual wmk 2 vs wmk 3; wmk 3 vs wmk 4 choices for stamp spaces to be made.

The '69 editors dropped the postage due category (eight spaces), which was in the 40s editions.

Checklist

1882-91* (Actually 1867-91 here)
10 or 40, 12 or 48, 13a or 49, 51, 41,45,54,

1887-92
73,75,77,78,79,80,82,

1892-1900
83,84,85,43,46,47,50,

1894
74,

1899
90, 91a or 91, 92,

1902-04
93,94,95,96,97,98,(99),(100),

1903-11*
105 or 109, 129, 106 or 110, 130, 107 or 111, 131, 112,
132, 133, 108 or 114, 134, 116, 118, (119),(120),

Next Page

1912-22*
149,150 or 179,151 or 180,152,182,153,154,

1912-22*
155 or 186, 156 or 188,157,158 or 191,159 or 190,192,

1929-32
185,187,

1935
213,214,215,216,

1936-37
217,218,220,222,223,224,226,227,
229,(230),

1937
235,236,237,

1937-38
238,239,240,241,242,243,

244,245,246,247,248,(249),

Comments
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold): None
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1882-91- there is no reason to keep this narrow coverage, so I expanded the date range to 1867-1891, which allows other and less expensive stamps to be considered. You are, of course, free to keep BB's original time period if you wish, ;-)
D) *1903-11- choices are wmk 2 vs wmk 3.
E) *1912-22- choices are wmk 3 vs wmk 4

1945-48 Scott 266 25c rose red & violet 
Stamps of Type of 1937-41 Overprinted in Red or Black
B M  A = "British Military Administration"
Out of the Blue
192, 194X3, 223 on Envelope
Fascinating part of the world, and the philatelic history, especially with the addition of  covers, would be a great  specialty collection. Many of the stamps are priced in the inexpensive range, but others will tax the pocketbook. I feel drawn to it... wait! I still need to finish the WW classical era blog posts.... Oh, well...  ;-)

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

Have a comment?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Spanish Sahara

1924 Scott 3 15c turquoise blue
"Tuareg and Camel"
Quick History
Spanish Sahara or Spanish Western Sahara, as it was formerly known, was established in 1924 from the colony of Rio de Oro and the territory of Saguiet el Hamra.

1913 Map of Colonial Africa
Magenta Color shows the Spanish Claims in North-West Africa
With the Berlin Conference of 1884, and the European Powers setting up spheres of influence in Africa, Spain declared an African Coast protectorate from Cape Blanc to Cape Bojador, and informed the other powers on January 14, 1885. (The Sahrawi had nothing to say about it. ;-) The colony was called Rio de Oro.  But the "Rio" was a wadi, there was no gold, and the landscape mainly consisted of coastal fog and desolate sandy escarpments.

(See the Rio de Oro blog post for more history- both real and philatelic.)

 Map showing the Spanish Region of Western Sahara circa 1912
The borders of the Spanish claims were not well defined until France and Spain, through treaties, established limits in the early 20th century.

But in 1924, Spanish Sahara was created, and the "Tuareg and Camel" stamp issue was released.

Besides Rio de Oro and Saguiet el Hamra, the lands also included La Aguera, the Cape Juby strip and Ifni.

Spanish Morocco was administered separately.

The capital was Aaiun (Laayoune), and the population was 32,000 in 1940.

Spain had opposition to "ownership", both internally (indigenous Sahrawi tribes), and externally ( Morocco, after gaining independence from France in 1956, laid claim to Spanish Sahara as part of its historic territory). To appease Morocco, Spain ceded the Cape Juby strip to them in 1958. Mauritania also claimed the lands (The Mauritania claims were eventually withdrawn) . Ifni was returned to Morocco in 1969.

Western Sahara
Finally, with additional UN resolutions demanding decolonization, Spain withdrew in 1975, and Morocco occupied the country. But, in turn, there was a Sahrawi guerilla war against Morocco, lasting sixteen years, until the UN negotiated a cease-fire.

Western Sahara is considered a "Non Self-Governing Territory" by the UN
Morocco has resisted allowing a referendum on independence to be held, and the sovereignty of the lands is still under dispute. 

Vertical Stripes: Territory under de facto Moroccan control
Light Solid Gray: Territory under de facto SADR control
The African Union (54 countries) considers Western Sahara to be the sovereign state of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic- although occupied.

1929 Scott 21 1p blue black "Exposition Buildings"
Seville-Barcelona Issue of Spain, Overprinted in Blue or Red
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Spanish Sahara 1924-1931, 47 major descriptive numbers in the regular and semi-postal categories. Of those, 29 are CV <$1-$1+, or 62%. From the point of view of CV, the WW classical era collector should be able to put together a representative collection without much cost. The problem for U.S. based collectors, as I've mentioned before, is Spanish colony stamps are not that prevalent in general collections. One may need to hunt for them.

For myself, when I was ready to review Spanish Sahara, and prepare this blog post, I had only two! stamps in my collection. Fortunately, I found an auction lot on the 'bay, and ended up with 100% coverage. That was lucky- my other Spanish colony holdings are not nearly so complete. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimos = 1 Peseta
1924 Scott 12 10p claret "Tuareg and Camel"
The first issue for Western Spanish Sahara proper as a new administrative and colonial entity was the twelve typographic stamp issue of 1924 with "Tuareg and Camel" design. For prior issues of the region, see Rio de Oro.

Sahrawi and Camel
The Tuareg people and language is a subset of the Berber branch, and they are found within the Saharan interior of North Africa. Traditionally, they live a pastoral and nomadic existence.

Specific to Western Sahara, the Sahrawi people are found, and have mainly a mixture of Berber-Tuareg culture.

Of interest, my 1947 Scott catalogue labels the scene "Moor and Camel".

The 2014  Scott catalogue has a note that this issue was for use in La Aguera and Rio de Oro.

As is usual for Spanish colonial stamps, there are control numbers on the back.

1929 Scott 23 10p brown 
"King Alfonso XIII and View of Barcelona"
Seville-Barcelona Issue of Spain, Overprinted in Blue or Red
Like Spanish Guinea and Spanish Morocco, Spanish Sahara also had the Seville-Barcelona issue of Spain overprinted for use in 1929 on eleven stamps.

1931 Scott 34 4p chocolate 
Stamps of 1924 Overprinted in Red or Blue
Spain in 1931 replaced the Constitutional Monarchy of Alfonso XIII with the Second Spanish Republic. Alfonso XIII left the country, but did not abdicate until 1941.

The overprinted Spanish Sahara twelve stamp issue of 1931 reflects the new reality.

The overprint can be found going up (usual), going down, and horizontal.

1926 Scott B1 5c black brown
"Queen Victoria Eugenia"; Red Cross Issue
Types of Semi-Postal Stamps of Spain, 1926, Overprinted
The 1926 engraved semi-postal stamp issue of Spain was also printed in some different denominations and different colors, and overprinted for use in the various Spanish colonies ( Cape Juby, Spanish Guinea, Spanish Morocco, Spanish Guinea), also in 1926. The twelve stamp issue for Spanish Sahara has a CV ranging from <$1-$8+.

Of interest, the 20c violet brown color, intended to be overprinted for use in a Spanish colony (as the ordinary color for the Spain 20c is dull violet), has been found without overprint, and so is considered a color error, valued @ CV $375.

Deep Blue
1931 Issue of Spanish Sahara in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has three pages for the 1924-31 stamp issues of Spanish Sahara, and includes a space for all the Scott major number stamps.

1926 Scott B2 10c dark green "Prince of Asturias"
Red Cross Issue
Types of Semi-Postal Stamps of Spain, 1926, Overprinted
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages has 43 spaces for the stamps of 1924-1931 Spanish Sahara. Coverage is a remarkable 91%. !!

The coverage significantly increased, compared to the 40s editions, (Then labeled "Spanish Western Sahara"), where there were only 25 spaces on one page. 

The flip side to the generous coverage in the '69 ( and subsequent editions) is there are some expensive stamp spaces to fill. ;-)

Specifically...

"Tuareg and Camel" Issue
1929 Scott 11 4p chocolate ($30+)
1929 Scott 12 10p claret ($105) !!

I suspect these stamps may be a couple of the more difficult ones to find for those collectors who are attempting to complete a  Big Blue. To wit, a stamp buddy, who has less than 360 spaces to fill in BB, is looking for these stamps. !

Checklist

1924
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,
8,9,10,11,12,

1929
13,16,18,20,21,
14,15,17,19,

1931
24,25,26,27,28,29,
30,31,32,33,

Next Page

Semi-Postal
1926
B3,B1,B2,B6,
B4,B5,B7,B8,B9,

B10,B11,B12,

Comments
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1929 Scott 11 4p chocolate ($30+)
1929 Scott 12 10p claret ($105) !!

1926 Scott B5 25c deep carmine "Alfonso XIII"
Red Cross Issue
Types of Semi-Postal Stamps of Spain, 1926, Overprinted
Out of the Blue
The lands are some of the most inhospitable and arid of any on our earth. We should be grateful for any stamp from there so bright and tangible. ;-)

Note: Maps and pics appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?

Desert Coast of Morocco and Western Sahara from the International Space Station

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Selling a 94% Filled Big Blue: A Report

Great Britain 1840 Two Penny Blue 
From Bud's Big Blue Sale 
Into the Deep Blue
The reader is in for a special treat!

Bud was an earlier encourager of my fledgling stamp blog about Big Blue, and we have exchanged stamps with each other the past five years. Frankly, he has provided more for me than I have provided for him, as his collection is the more advanced. But I feel we have become good friends.

When he decided to sell an almost full Big Blue on eBay in late 2015, I asked and he graciously accepted to write a report about his experiences here.

Bud's Report  follows immediately in this section. The "Big Blue" section will list prices realized for all the country lots. In the "Out of the Blue" section, I will give some comments and opinions.

Enjoy!

Jim
French Guiana
Bud's Report

Jim's blog provides detailed and useful information for collectors trying to fill the 34,500+ spaces in Scott’s International Album, Volume 1 (aka Big Blue or simply BB). Plunging into BB is a daunting venture, but one made much more enjoyable by having at hand Jim’s insights and data.

Suppose the project succeeds, or nearly so, and BB gets filled up. What then? Give it to a grandchild? Sell it? Let it mold in the basement?
When I acquired an almost complete BB that closely matched my own, the question about what to do with a great many unwanted stamps quickly became less hypothetical. 
Ivory Coast
Here’s the story, a case study of how I disposed of a very big 1940s edition of BB (no USA pages, title page and publishing date missing). Stamps, some mint and some used, were neatly and accurately placed with easily peeled hinges. Almost no tuck-ins – stamps for which BB provides no spaces – were included. The album, I was told, had been assembled by several generations of collectors in a single family.

After a few stamps were transferred to my collection, the recently acquired volume remained 94 percent filled (about 32,900 stamps) with many countries complete. My grandkids are either too young or disinterested, and I’m allergic to mold. So, selling seemed the best option and, in addition, a way to recoup some of the purchase price.

Hatay
But the decision to sell such a horde presents its own set of puzzlements. Market it on-line or at a local auction? Find a knowledgeable (and affluent) dealer? Pack it off to a stamp specialty auction house? On-line sales, being noticeably robust in the spring and summer of 2015, seemed the best option from the financial point of view. I’m too lazy, though, to hassle through selling it myself, handling the shipping and building my own nest of followers. And I want someone else to deal with cranks. 

So I did a quick survey of eBay consignment sellers to learn their marketing strategies and fees. I chose eBay over other platforms (BidStart, Delcampe, Stamps2Go) because the latter serve principally collector/sellers who offer individual stamps. Craig’s List, another option, is at once too local and too generalized. EBay moves items faster and has greater access to customers than the others do.

Colombian States
Three consignment sellers, all well-established on eBay with 100 percent positive feedback ratings, offered three different marketing strategies and commission rates. Their percentage includes eBay fees as well as handling and shipping costs. All three provide excellent pics, too, a highly important consideration. Given the extensive service such sellers provide, their rates seem reasonable. The three options I chose from are:

1) Sell the whole collection at one time, one listing, at 18.5 percent commission. This option would quickly return proceeds, but wouldn’t allow extended promotion of sales. Moreover, most collectors might be less interested in buying so many stamps at one time.

2) Break the collection into country groups, as nearly as possible given that BB sometimes overlaps countries on the same pages, to be sold over several months, at 25 percent commission. Proceeds would come more slowly, but the total would likely be greater than Option 1. Promotion on various web sites and blogs would be possible.

3) Break the collection into sets and better individual stamps, the remaining less valuable stamps being marketed by pages, sold over the better part of a year, at 40 percent commission. Proceeds would come more slowly, but possibly in greater amounts than for Options 1 and 2. Collectors would be better able to pick and choose, making their bidding more aggressive. Internet promotion beyond eBay could be maximized.

Gold Coast
I chose Option 2, offered by a seller (ebay id: kenr2) with a great deal of experience and a sizeable bevy of followers. He broke the BB into 269 lots and, from September to December 2015, sold 15 or 20 lots each week. Payments came to me every week, two weeks after the sales closed.

From the outset, the large number of “watchers” on eBay portended a good result. The final total was $34,744.73, a little over $1.07 per stamp. Half of the total was paid by a single enthusiastic bidder. (I hope he, or the one he served as purchasing agent, enjoys his new collection.)

Great Britain
The most expensive lot ($1213.73) was Great Britain. It included a fine Scott #2 and had missing only a few of the British offices. 

Italy
Italy was strong at $1177.68, including BOB, Italian offices, and Aegean Islands. 

Canada
Canada came in at $1035.00 with an additional $493.88 for Newfoundland and $88.99 for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia combined. 

China
Competition was strong for all Asian countries, with China (significant gaps) realizing $649.33 and the Philippines (nearly complete) at $714.00. 

St. Christopher, Helena, Kitts, Lucia
Mariana and Marshall Islands together netted a surprising $517.78, while the saints (Christopher, Helena, Kitts, and Lucia) came marching in at $503.00.

Countries with all spaces filled sold at a premium.  (See full listing below in the “Big Blue section).

Korea
Korea provided an illustration of why it’s wise to retain an experienced seller. Initially the lot, a single page with some stamps missing, sold for a startling $1100. The high bidder then reported that it was all a mistake, a prank played on him by co-workers, he thought, when he left his computer unattended. When the seller relisted, it sold for $355.00, more in line with expectations.

Another kerfuffle arose when a bidder claimed he had accidentally bid too much on a lot and asked (demanded, even) the seller to reduce his cost by half. The seller relisted, blocked the malcontent from all further bidding, and laughed as the second sale price zoomed past the first.

The seller declined to offer Cuba, given eBay and PayPal prohibitions. PayPal recently was fined stiffly for Cuban transactions (not stamps).

The only other hiccup was eBay’s fault entirely. A few minutes before one week’s lots were ending, eBay’s system crashed, which means that those lots did not benefit from the final kick of snipe bidding. EBay apologized, but probably something over $1000 was lost.

Nevertheless, $34,744.73 for an almost full BB is impressive – more than I expected – thanks to my seller (kenr2). 

Will this result be duplicated when the next nearly full BB sells? Possibly, but mine definitely benefited from the enthusiasms of one very aggressive bidder. May his tribe increase!*

­­­­*Apologies to the 19th century English poet, Leigh Hunt.

Philippines
Big Blue

Results for the 269 BB lots

Abyssinia                                        $102.50

Aden, Afghanistan, 
Alexandretta, Armenia                    $142.50

Aitutaki & Alaouites                       $102.50

Albania & Azerbaijan                      $102.50

Algeria                                            $202.50

Allenstein, Angra, Andorra              $61.00

Angola                                             $42.00

Angola BOB and Antigua               $32.00

Argentina and some Antigua           $56.55

Ascension                                       $47.99

Australia                                         $34.33

Austria                                           $50.77

Austria BOB                                  $49.77

Austria Occupation                       $57.78

Azores and Lombardy                  $56.67

Baden Bremen and Bergdorf        $48.25

Bahamas Bahrain 
and Basutoland                            $56.55

Batum and Benin                         $32.00

Bavaria                                        $61.00

Bechuanaland and 
Belgian East Africa                      $21.50

Belgian Congo, Cook Island        $76.25

Belgium                                       $52.77

Belgium BOB                             $18.27

Belgium parcel post                    $27.99

Belgium Semipostals                  $63.51

Bermuda                                     $61.00

Bohemia and Moravia                $47.00

Bolivia                                        $76.55

Bosnia and Herz.                        $41.00

Brazil and Bosnia                      $129.50

Brit East Africa 
Solomon Islands                         $57.99

British Guiana, Br. Honduras 
and Brunei                                 $46.00

Bulgaria                                      $66.55 

Cameroon                                   $76.00

Canada                                  $1,035.00

Canal Zone                              $242.49

Cape Juby                                 $24.50

Cape Verde                               $57.53

Carinthia, Cape of Good Hope $87.00

Caroline and Castellorizo         $49.25

Cayman                                    $52.00

Central Lithuania                     $42.00

Ceylon                                   $175.84

Chad                                        $16.52

Chile                                        $83.43

China                                    $416.00

China BOB                           $233.33

Cilcilia, Crete                          $76.00

Colombia                                $89.88

Colombia Antioquia                $52.15

Colombia Cundinamarca
-Bolivar                                   $54.00

Colombia E1                            $29.28

Colombia Santander               $125.50

Cyprus, Dalmatia,
 Diego Suarez                       $102.50

Cyrenaica                                 $74.99

Czechoslovakia                        $56.55

Dahomey                                  $81.00

Danish W Indies, Danzig        $130.88

Denmark                                  $88.99

Dominica & Ethiopia               $39.50

Dominican Republic                $74.00

Dutch Indies                          $255.00

E. Africa, Elobey, Curacao     $66.99

Eastern Silesia & Epirius        $54.00

Ecuador                                  $86.50

Egypt                                    $129.49 

El Salvador                           $183.05

El Salvador BOB                 $102.50

Eritrea                                   $231.50

Estonia                                  $202.50

Fernando Po                           $17.50

Fiji & Falkland Islands          $88.84

Finland                                   $52.75

Fiume & Funchal                   $49.55

France                                   $226.01

France BOB                            $84.83

France China Canton 
Hoi Hao                                $103.50

France China 
Kwanochowan Crete             $228.50

France Egypt,
 Zanzibar, Morocco               $112.50

France Turkey, 
Congo, Colonies                      $58.87

French Equatorial                  $129.50

French Guiana                       $201.50

French Guinea                         $59.58

French India                             $66.65

French Oceania                        $69.58

French Sudan                           $73.32

Gabon                                    $125.49

Gambia, Turkish Germany,
 Georgia                                   $43.55

German East Africa, 
Thurn, Taxis                            $91.50

Germany                                $155.60

Germany BOB                      $152.50

Germany China offices          $128.50

Gibraltar and Greenland        $226.12

Gilbert & Ellis, Gold Coast   $418.21

Great Britain                      $1,213.73

Greece                                  $167.50

Greece bob                           $102.50

Grenada                               $223.83

Guadeloupe                         $128.50

Guatemala                            $202.50

Guinea (Portuguese)              $78.25

Guinea, 
German South West Africa    $73.87

Haiti                                     $103.01

Hamburg Hanover
 Heligoland                           $74.50

Hatay                                   $152.50

Hawaii                                 $107.50

Hejaz Horta Honduras        $202.50

Hong Kong                        $255.00

Hungary                               $72.00

Hungary BOB                    $126.00

Iceland                                $272.84

India                                      $82.00

India States                            $42.25

Indo China                          $190.42

Inhambane                             $73.00

Inini                                       $76.00

Ireland and Iraq                      $76.00

Italian Colonies                       $35.00

Italian East Africa                   $47.14

Italian Somaliland                   $95.00

Italy                                       $897.63

Italy Aegean Is. & Rhodes      $94.00

Italy BOB                             $188.06

Italy in China                          $88.00

Ivory Coast                           $693.68

Jamaica                                    $63.31

Japan                                      $173.50

Kenya-Uganda-Tanganyika   $105.82

Kiauchau                                 $37.87

Koinga                                    $52.00

Korea, Costa Rica                 $355.00

Kuwait & Leeward Islands     $57.00

Labuan & Lagos                     $82.00

Latvia & Latakia                    $231.38

Lebanon                                   $76.00

Liberia                                    $292.00

Libya                                       $122.50

Liechtenstein                           $510.00

Lithuania                                 $530.00 

Lourenco Marques & Lubeck   $73.00

Luxembourg                            $231.38

Macao 
& Luxembourg official           $179.00

Madagascar                             $231.38

Maldives                                   $27.00

Malta & Madeira                     $116.50

Manchukuo                             $162.50

Mariana & Marshall Island    $517.78

Marienwerder                          $33.25

Mauritania                             $241.38

Mauritius                              $116.50

Mayotte & Martinique            $91.00

Memel                                   $152.50

Mexico                                  $208.50

Mexico BOB                         $113.50

Middle Congo                          $89.88

Modena & Moheli                    $55.66

Monaco                                  $120.11

Mongolia & Mesopotamia       $29.50

Monserrat & Natal                   $44.00

Montenegro                            $141.38

Mozambique                           $241.38

Mozambique Company           $122.50

Nauru Nepal Nejd                     $73.00

Netherlands                                $33.00

Netherlands BOB                     $110.25

New Brunswick 
& Nova Scotia                           $89.99

New Caledonia                        $192.01

New Guinea                              $78.77

New Hebrides                           $80.25

New South Wales                     $32.88

New Zealand                          $172.50

Newfoundland                       $493.88

Nicaragua                               $152.50

Nicaragua BOB                        $22.50

Niger                                        $32.00

Nigeria 
& Nicaragua Provinces            $62.00

Niue                                         $10.50

North Borneo                          $92.00

North Nigeria 
Rhodesia Ingermanland          $38.00

Norway                                  $62.00

Nossi Be                                 $26.77

Nyassa and Nyasaland Prot.   $34.00

Obock                                     $19.00

Oltre Giuba                             $17.50

Orange River                          $15.50

Palestine                                  $11.50

Panama                                  $109.23

Papua                                      $86.77

Paraguay                              $177.00

Paraguay BOB                       $68.50

Persia                                   $124.50

Persia BOB                            $53.00

Peru                                      $215.38

Peru BOB                               $49.00

Philippines                            $714.00

Poland                                   $265.00

Poland BOB                          $100.00

Portugal                                 $207.50

Portugal BOB
 & Port. Africa & Congo         $48.00

Portuguese India 
& Pont Delgada                     $104.00

Prussia 
& Price Edward Island           $24.29

Puerto Rico                          $221.50

Queensland                            $66.00

Quelimane & Rio de Oro       $91.00

Reunion                               $152.50

Rhodesia                                $33.00

Romania                               $208.50

Romania BOB                      $148.00

Rouad & Roman States          $38.89

Russia                                  $438.00

Russia BOB                         $165.00

Saar & Russia in China       $212.50

Samoa                                 $159.63

San Marino                         $104.00

Sarawak                                $81.00

Senegal                                 $75.00

Senegambia & Niger             $46.50

Serbia                                    $55.58

Shanghai                              $127.50

 Siam                                    $160.00

Siberia & Seychelles              $51.00

Sierra Leone & Somaliland    $28.72

Somali Coast                          $87.00

Southern Nigeria 
& South Australia                   $26.55

Southern Rhodesia 
and South West Africa            $45.44

Spain                                     $147.75

Spain Airmail                          $76.99

Spain in Morocco                    $68.55

Spain Semi Postal                    $48.03

Spanish Guinea                     $132.50

St. Helena Kitts Lucia            $503.00

St. Pierre & Miquelon            $333.88

St. Thomas & Prince               $87.00

St. Vincent                              $38.00

Straits Settlements                $204.00

Surinam                                  $82.00

Swaziland                               $29.00

Sweden                                   $63.00

Switzerland                             $57.00

Switzerland BOB                    $66.00

Syria                                      $165.27

Tannu Tuva & Tasmania         $26.00

Thrace, Tibet, Tete +               $61.00

Timor                                     $142.50

Togo                                        $55.00

Tonga & Trans-Jordan            $46.25

Transvaal & Tanganyika         $46.25

Trinidad, Turks & Caicos     $166.50

Tripolitania                             $75.60

Tunisia                                   $76.29

Turkey                                  $160.00

Turkey BOB                         $123.05

Tuscany & Two Sicilies         $18.00

Ubangi                                 $150.00

Ukraine and 
Un. South Africa                    $16.01

Upper Senegal                       $16.50

Upper Silesia                          $68.25

Upper Volta                         $135.50

Uruguay                               $223.50

Vatican City                          $308.62

Venezuela                              $112.75

Victoria                                   $26.00

Virgin Islands                          $29.10

Wallis & Futuna Islands        $210.26

Western Australia                    $30.00

Wurttemberg                          $130.00

Yugoslavia                             $511.00

Yugoslavia BOB                      $92.25

Zambesi & Zululand               $135.50

(Apologies to those who are bothered by wavy columns ;-)

Canal Zone
Out of the Blue
Thanks Bud- absolutely wonderful report!

Bud had the good fortune to purchase an almost completely filled Big Blue.  He removed some stamps for his own collection, and then sold the 94% Big Blue (~32,900 stamps) on eBay through a hosting dealer. 

As noted, he achieved a $34,000 gross yield by selling the album by country.

That $34,000 figure puts his BB virtually at the top of recent sales.

(The following is extracted from information about recent BB sales from Bob Skinner's excellent "Filling Spaces" web site.)

- An estimated 97% completed Big Blue (with 15,000 more stamps in the album) was offered for $30,000 by Dr. Robert Friedman & Son's for the 102nd sale- Lot 337- May 27, 2013.

- Kelleher Auction Sale 628 Jan 25-27, 2012, 1840-1940 3 volume International (many duplicates and additions) BB sold for $21,240.

- The Harmer-Schau auction of Jan 11-13, 2013 offered a "nearly complete" BB- sold for $18,100.

Bud’s collection is more comprehensive than mine, so I was quite interested in bidding on these BB country lots. Consequently, I followed every lot, and bid on some of them.

Here are my observations and opinions about the sale.....

     Bud’s  BB country lots on eBay were wildly popular, and he received many bids. This certainly is good news, as it appears that WW classical era collecting is alive and well.

     The lots attracted a few bidders that bid on many of the lots- and seemed to be not afraid to bid high. In fact, my impression is some of the bids exhibited “irrational exuberance” with little regard for actual CV.  As I had put together a BB checklist- which is available here-, I generally was aware which/how many stamps in a lot had a CV over $10. And, I was aware that BB tends to provide spaces for inexpensive stamps, while not providing many spaces for more expensive stamps. But, it appears, that some bidders were unaware of this, or perhaps, that didn’t matter to them.

      One should not underestimate the psychological power on a stamp collector when viewing a full page of stamps in a BB album!
I suspect a more comprehensive album, but with more empty spaces might not have done as well.  This is a clear argument to house a WW collection in a "filled" BB album, as the financial yield, I believe, will be higher. (I may need to rethink my Steiner album approach. ;-)

     Selling by country lots is a good strategy. It permits many more bidders to get in on the action at an acceptable price for them. Selling a full BB in total would allow only the well- financed (dealers?) to purchase, and the overall price yield, in my view, would have been less. Selling individual stamps or small issue lots would have been more labor intensive, and, as BB tends to not have many stamps (1%?) above CV $35, not all that useful.

 * As I have some 28,000+ stamps in my virtual BB. I couldn't bid on country lots with the same level of  vigor as someone who could use more of the stamps for their own collection. 

     Because of the generally high prices the country lots were yielding, I found I bid on fewer lots than I would have preferred. But bid I did…and aggressively! With that strategy, I was successful about 1/3 of the time.


Colombia 1917 Scott E1
   What about the lots I did receive?  I was very pleased with the stamps, as they were as they appeared, with very few faults.
   
    I did pick up the 1917 Colombia Scott E1 Special Delivery stamp. It has a reputation of being difficult to acquire. There is a space for it in the BB 40s editions, but it was dropped in the '69 edition.

The "Filling Spaces" blog from (2009 post) discusses this stamp.

Congratulations to Bud on this outstanding sale!

   Note: All the scan images of BB country pages were originally posted on eBay, and were part of Bud's collection that he was marketing.

   Comments appreciated!

Reunion