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.