Ajman COA 1Ajman Flag

Ajman (1964-1972)

LOCATION: Oman Peninsula, Arabia, on Persian Gulf
AREA:  100 sq. mi. (260 sq. km)
Population:  4,400 (est. 1970)
GOVERNMENT:  Sheikdom under British protection

LAST STAMPS ISSUED:  1972 [those issued after 18 December 1965 are unlisted in Scott]

100 Naiye Paise = 1 Rupee (1964-1966); 100 Fils = 1 Dinar (1966-1972)

Ajman is the smallest of seven emirates, centrally located on the western coast of the present-day United Arab Emirates in eastern Arabia.  It is the smallest of the emirates by area and had an estimated population of 4,400 in 1970.  Today, the population is more than 360,000.  Ajman City is the capital and the port is situated down a short creek.  The emirate is bordered by Sharjah and is only 10km away from Dubai in the south and Umm al Quwain in the north.


British influence in the region increased in the early nineteenth century.  Following the capture of Ras al Khaimah by a British force, the sultan of Sharjah sighed the General Maritime Treaty with Great Britain on 8 January 1820, surrendering the towers, guns and vessels of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Quwain and their dependencies.  Ajman initially refused the primacy of the sultan of Sharjah but capitulated in 1823.  A British maritime survey in 1822 had noted that Ajman had one of the best backwaters on the coast and was a small town with a single fortified building, the ruler’s house.

Postcard from Ajman

Ajman town and its date groves were attacked by the Bani Yas tribe in 1831.  Forces from Ajman subsequently attacked Sohar and Muscat which prompted a British naval force being sent to curb the raids in 1832.  Ending conflicts between Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Ajman, a Maritime Treaty was signed in 1835.  Forces from Al Heera invaded Ajman in 1840 which prompted further reprisals and another Maritime Treaty between the Trucial sheiks and the British in 1843.  A “Perpetual Treaty of Peace” was entered into by the coastal sheiks on 4 May 1853; a further treaty bound the Trucial States to Britain in 1892.

Ajman as seen from the air

In 1948, the British Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia were set up to provide postal services to countries in the region with mail processed in Dubai using stamps issued for the Trucial States.  The first post office in Ajman was opened on 29 November 1963 by the Agencies.  The first stamps inscribed with the individual emirate name of Ajman were issued on 20 June 1964.  The sheikdom released 64 stamps – 46 general issue, nine airmail, four airmail official, and five official stamps – in 1964 and 1965.

On 5 July 1966, Ajman opened a post office in its small dependency of Manama.  The first Manama issue appeared soon afterwards and the two postal agencies released thousands of stamps designed solely with the worldwide collector in mind.  As these had little to no postal validity, the Scott catalogue does not list any Ajman stamps released after December 1965, nor any of the Manama issues.  To identify these unlisted stamps, the Oh My Gosh website is useful.  I believe that the Michel and Stanley Gibbons catalogues list some of these disputed issues, but I don’t have the pertinent volumes available to check.

Ajman - Scott #C3 - 1965-11-15

Ajman agreed to join the independent United Arab Emirates on 2 December 1971 and the UAE took over postal operations on 1 August 1972.   Ajman stamps were allowed to be used for postage until the following April. Numerous Ajman-inscribed stamps continued to be released throughout 1972 and beyond but these weren’t recognized as valid by the government.  In addition to the sixty-four listed in Scott, it has been estimated that an additional six to seven thousand different Ajman stamps came onto the philatelic market between 1964 and 1972.  It’s been reported that the Ajman postmaster, without consulting the government, sold “exclusive” stamp-printing contracts to at least two separate agencies during this time.

Ajman - Scott #C9 - 1965-12-18

The majority of the Scott-listed stamps are valued at less than US $1 with the most expensive being Scott #18, priced at US $4.30 in my 2009 edition of the catalogue.  Most of the postally-disputed unlisted stamps are considered to be practically worthless but can offer nice additions to certain topical collections.  It is probably impossible to aim for completeness, however…

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I currently have twenty-nine stamps from Ajman in my general worldwide collection, one of which will be earmarked for my A Stamp From Everywhere album.  I own all nine of the Scott-listed airmail stamps, C1-C9.  The first six values were released on 15 November 1965 and the remaining three high-value stamps appeared on 18 December 1965, about two weeks after my birth.  I also have twenty tiny unlisted airmail stamps picturing various countries’ military uniforms and carrying the date 1972, along with the inscription “Ajman State and its Dependencies.”

Aden - Qu'aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla

Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla (1942-1954)

Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut (1955-1963)

LOCATION: Hadhramaut region of Eastern Aden Protectorate
GOVERNMENT:  Sultanate
CAPITAL: Al Mukalla

FIRST STAMPS: Aden, 1937-1942
LAST STAMPS ISSUED: 20 October 1963

12 fils = 1 anna, 16 annas = 1 rupee (1937-1951)
100 cents = 1 shilling (1951-1965)
1000 fils = 1 dinar (1965-1968)

The al-Qu’aitis in the Hadhramaut region of the southern Arabian peninsula took the town of Shibam from the rival al-Kathiris in 1858, later conquering Ash Shihr (in 1866) and Al Mukalla (1881) and thus largely replacing the Kathiris to control most of the Hadhramaut coast along the Gulf of Aden.  The Kathiris were confined to an inland region centered around the wadis of Seiyun and Tarim. A treaty was signed with Great Britain in 1888 and a unified sultanate was created in 1902 that would become the Eastern Province of Aden Protectorate.

Aden Map 1938

The capital of Mukalla on the Gulf of Aden has been a fishing village since the eleventh century.  The walled city of Shibam dates from the third century and features mud brick tower houses rising some five to eleven stories high.    The flag was adopted in 1939 with three stripes of red, yellow and blue plus three castle towers in circles on the center stripe.  The towers in the blue circles represent the port cities of Shihr and Mukalla while the center tower in the green circle symbolized the city of Shibam in the northern wadi.

Aerial View of Mukalla, 1932

The Qu’aiti State first postal services saw mails passed through forwarding agents in Aden as early as 1891.  At the request of the sultan, a post office dependent on Aden was opened at Mukalla on 22 April 1937.   A postal union between Aden and the protected states was signed in 1939 which stated that any stamps issued would be valid throughout the Protectorate and Colony.  Slightly delayed by the start of World War II, the first stamps inscribed “Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla” were released in 1942. 

Mukalla, Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut

Twenty-eight general issue stamps were released between 1942 and 1953.  Beginning with the set of definitives released on 1 September 1955, the inscription read “Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut.”  A total of twenty-four additional stamps are listed in the Scott catalogue under that name, the last set appearing on 20 October 1963 using the same designs as the 1955 set but with the portrait of Sultan Awadh bin Saleh al-Qu’aiti replacing that of the previous Sultan Sir Saleh bin Ghalib al-Qu’aiti and adding one additional denomination.  There were also two aerogrammes issued, one in March 1956 and the other in October 1963, which are not listed in Scott.  Scott also does not list the numerous stamps issued under the name of Qu’aiti State in Hadhamaut that appeared from 1964 onwards due to their bogus nature, designed solely to dupe collectors.

Shibam, Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut

In the early 1960’s, the Qu’aiti State declined to join the British-sponsored Federation of South Arabia, remaining under British protection as part of the Protectorate of South Arabia.  Communist forces overran the Hadhramaut region on 17 September 1967 and the Qu’aiti State was forcibly integrated into Communist South Yemen without a referendum.  South Yemen united with North Yemen in 1990, again without a referendum, to become the current Republic of Yemen.


I currently have two Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla stamps in my collection – Scott #12 and 13 issued on 15 October 1946 to commemorate the victory by the Allied nations in World War II.  Although it is the same place, I am treating the Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut as a separate stamp issuer in my A Stamp From Everywhere collection; I have yet to obtain one thusly inscribed.


Aden - Kathiri State of Seiyun

Kathiri State Of Seiyun

LOCATION:  Hadhramaut region of Eastern Aden Protectorate
GOVERNMENT:  Sultanate

FIRST STAMPS: Aden, 1937-1942

12 fils = 1 anna, 16 annas = 1 rupee (1937-1951)
100 cents = 1 shilling (1951-1965)
1000 fils = 1 dinar (1965-1968)

The stamps of Aden Colony, as previously detailed, were valid throughout the Western and Eastern Protectorates and their various sultanates from their initial release in April 1937.  Two of the emirates in the eastern region of Hadhramaut objected to the portrait of King George VI on the stamps and began to release their own stamps in 1942.

The al-Kathiri dynasty once ruled much of the Hadhramaut region of the southern Arabian peninsula but their power was truncated by the rival Qu’aitis in the 19th century.  The Kathiris were eventually restricted to a small inland portion of Hadhramaut with their capital at Seiyun.  The sultanate entered into treaty relations with the British in 1882 and became a part of the Aden Protectorate

The post office at Seiyun was opened on 25 May 1937 and several smaller postal agencies soon followed.  Due to Sultan Ja’far bin Mansur al-Kathiri’s irritation over the royal monarch’s image on the Aden postage stamps, a set of eleven stamps inscribed “Kathiri State of Seiyun” were released in August 1942.  The three lowest values of these stamps – ½-anna, ¾a and 1a – featured a large portrait of the sultan while the remaining stamps pictured the mosques at Seiyun and Tarim, the large palace of the sultan built in the 1920s, and other local views all with a small portrait of the sultan located in the upper corner just as the British monarch had been.  The stamps of the Kathiri State of Seiyun were valid for use throughout Aden. 

Aden Map 1938

Al Husayn ibn Ali al-Kathiri became sultan in 1949, although his portrait didn’t appear on stamps until 1954.  In 1951, the currency on the stamps changed from Indian rupees to East African shillings. That year saw a number of the earlier stamps surcharged with the new currency values. 

The Kathiri State of Seiyun participated in three British Commonwealth omnibus issues – a pair of stamps marking the 25th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI, four commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union in 1949, and a single stamp honoring the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  The Silver Wedding and Coronation issues, of course, all featured images of the British monarchs.

The Kathiri State declined to join the Federation of South Arabia but remained under British protection as part of the Protectorate of South Arabia.  The final stamps of the Kathiri State of Seiyun were released on 1 July 1964.  In all, the sultanate had issued 42 stamps since 1942.  Starting in 1967, stamps inscribed “Kathiri State In Hadhramaut” began flooding the collector market, along with others from nearby individual emirates.  These aren’t listed in the Scott catalogue due to their lack of postal validity.

Sultan Husayn was overthrown on 2 October 1967, and the following month the former sultanate became part of newly independent South Yemen.

South Yemen united with North Yemen in 1990 to become the Republic of Yemen, but local sheiks in Yemen are reported to still wield large de facto authority.


I currently have two stamps in my collection from the Kathiri State in Seiyun.  Scott #12 and 13 were released on 15 October 1946 to mark the Allied victory in World War II.  They are both overprints of earlier issues – the 1½ anna in dark carmine rose (Scott #4) received a black overprint while the 2½a deep blue (Scott #6) was overprinted in red.  They, like most Kathiri stamps, are reasonably valued.  Only four high denominations are valued at US $10 or above with the most expensive being Scott #11, US $29 mint in my 2009 edition of Scott.  Used copies of Kathiri stamps generally bear Aden GPO or Aden Camp cancels.  Examples with cancellations from offices in the Eastern Protectorate command a premium.


Aden Colony COA

Aden Colony Flag

LOCATION: Southern Arabia

GOVERNMENT: British colony and protectorate

POPULATION: 220,000 (est. 1964)






1 Rupee = 16 Annas; 1 Anna = 12 Fils (1937-1951)

1 Shilling = 100 Cents (1951-1965)

1 Dinar = 1000 Fils (1965-1968)

On 19 January 1839, the British East India Company landed Royal Marines at Aden – a city in southwestern Arabia – as it was considered an important place due to its location where attacks by pirates against British shipping could be stopped. Upon the opening of the Suez Canal it was used as a coaling station for the steamship route from Suez to India. The British governed Aden as part of British India, originally as the Aden Settlement under the Bombay Presidency. British influence then began to extend inland, both west and east, with the establishment of Aden Protectorate.

A residency post office was opened under Indian administration in 1839 and it became the exchange point for mail through the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean and Far East. Indian stamps were used in the protectorate starting in 1854. The city of Aden itself became a separate Crown Colony on 1 April 1937 and began to issue its own stamps.  These were also used in the Protectorate of Aden.

A several of the individual emirates objected to the usage of the British monarch on the stamps.  In 1942, the Kathiri State of Seiyun and the Qu’aiti State of Shirh and Mukalla (renamed Qu’aiti State in Hadramaut in 1955) began issuing their own stamps which were valid for postage throughout Aden, portraying local sultans.  Although  they are listed after Aden in the Scott catalogue, I will deal with the individual emirates when they come up alphabetically.  Neither Scott nor Stanley Gibbons list the post-1963 emirates issues as these are in some dispute (as are later issues by Mahra State and the State of Yaffa).

On 18 January 1963, the Colony of Aden (the port) and the sheikdoms and emirates of the Western Aden Protectorate formed the Federation of South Arabia. South Arabian stamps replaced the stamps of Aden on 1 April 1965. In 1967, Aden became part of the People’s Republic of Yemen.

Aden issued a total of 81 General Issue stamps between 1937 and 1965 (no Air Mails or Postage Dues, etc.).  The majority are relatively inexpensive with the exception of definitive high values scattered throughout its stamp-issuing period.  The most expensive stamp is Scott #12, the 10-rupee olive green picturing the ubiquitous dhow.  It’s valued at USD $450 mint and $475 used in my 2009 edition of the catalogue.

Aden Colony Map 01


I currently have ten stamps from Aden – the three stamps marking the 1937 coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Scott #13-15); the 1946 Peace issue pair (#28 and 29); the four issued in 1949 commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union, surcharged with new values in Annas and Rupees (#32-35); and the 1-anna value of the 1939-1948 definitive set (#16-27a).  I aim to add more of these beautifully engraved stamps, such as the low values of the 1937 Dhow set.

The stamp I chose to represent Aden in my A Stamp From Everywhere collection is Scott #18, the 1a bright light blue released in 1939, part of a set of thirteen definitive stamps.  Perforated 12½ and engraved, the stamp features the ancient natural harbor at Aden which lies in the crater of a dormant volcano forming a peninsula joined to the mainland by a low isthmus. The original port city is called Crater while the modern port is known as Ma’alla. The area of Tawahi was called “Steamer Point” during the colonial period. The same design is also featured on the 2 rupee value, issued in 1944.

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Abu Dhabi COAAbu Dhabi Flag

LOCATION: Arabia, on Persian Gulf
GOVERNMENT: Sheikdom under British protection
POPULATION: 25,000 (est. 1971)
CAPITAL: Abu Dhabi

FIRST STAMPS USED: British PAs in Eastern Arabia 1963

100 Naye Paise = 1 Rupee (1964-1966)
100 Fils = 1 Dinar (1966-1972)

The town of Abu Dhabi, on an offshore island, was first settled in 1761 and signed its first treaty with the British in 1820. The sheikdom became a British protectorate in 1892 as did several other emirates in the area which collectively became known as the Trucial States. After lapsing into obscurity, Abu Dhabi’s fortunes soared with the successful prospecting of oil off Das Island in 1956-60.

Postal services were established in 1960 to service oil workers on Das Island and were run by the British Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia through the Bahrain office. The first British Agency post office in Abu Dhabi itself opened on 30 March 1963. British “value only” stamps were used rather than the stamps issued specifically for use in the Trucial States; these were British stamps overprinted in local currency and are usually listed in catalogs under “Oman”. On 30 March 1964, Abu Dhabi began issuing its own stamps and took full control of its postal services on 1 January 1967.

The British treaty of protection ended when the sheikdom joined with the other Trucial States to form the independent United Arab Emirates on 2 December 1971. Abu Dhabi continued issuing its own stamps in 1972 with the first United Arab Emirates stamps appearing the following year. Today, Abu Dhabi is a major oil exporter and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.

Abu Dhabi issued a total of eighty-four different General Issue stamps between 1964 and 1972, many of which are relatively expensive.  The sheikdom didn’t issue any stamps specifically marked for Airmail, Postage Due, or other services.  The final four stamps – a surcharge released on 8 December 1971 and a set of three picturing the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem released on 3 June 1972 – were issued after Abu Dhabi joined the United Arab Emirates.  Stamps of the UAE replaced those of Abu Dhabi in January 1973 with UAE Scott #1-12 used only in the sheikdom, except for the 10f and 25f values which were issued later in Dubai and Sharjah.

 Abu Dhabi Map 03

I only have one stamp from Abu Dhabi, which matches my goal of “A Stamp From Everywhere.”  Scott #40 was released on 6 August 1967, part of a short set of four (Scott #38-41) issued to supplement a set of 12 released at the beginning of April.  The 60f blue is perforated 14½x14 and printed by the photogravure method.  It pictures Sheik Zaid bin Sultan al-Nahyan who was the emir of Abu Dhabi starting on 6 August 1966 and was the principal driving force behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates. He was the first Ra’is (President) of the UAE, holding the post for over 33 years until his death on 2 November 2004.