World Stamps

1934 Italian Somaliland airmail set was staple of stamp approval houses

Jul 12, 2023, 8 AM
Italy and area collectors and fauna topical collectors are interested in the Italian Somaliland set of six large pictorial airmail stamps (Somalia Scott C1-C6) issued in October 1934.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Italian Somaliland was an Italian protectorate and later a colony on the Horn of Africa. In the 19th century, Italian Somaliland, which was controlled by various sultanates, came under Italian protection in the 1880s.

Italy governed the interior of the colony through the sultans. Italian interest in the colony was piqued by the prestige of owning colonies and by the ports and strategic location of the colony for ocean navigation.

By 1930, there were 22,000 Italians living in the colony, most in the capital, Mogadishu. By 1935, that number had risen to 50,000. From 1936 to 1941, the colony was temporarily expanded to become Italian East Africa by conquering Ethiopia and British Somaliland.

In 1941, British forces liberated Ethiopia and British Somaliland and occupied Italian Somaliland.

From 1950 to 1960, Somalia was administered by the British as a trust territory of the United Nations. Independence followed in 1960.

Somalia’s central government collapsed in 1991. Since that time, it has existed in a state of anarchy, being warred over continuously by various feuding factions.

In October 1934, Italian Somaliland issued a set of six large pictorial airmail stamps (Somalia Scott C1-C6).

The two designs of the set show a Somali native at the coast with a wing-above-fuselage monoplane passing overhead, and a pair of cheetahs perched on a hill while the same or similar monoplane passes overhead.

The set is of interest to Italy and area collectors, as well as fauna topical collectors.

The set was widely distributed through philatelic approval houses in the United States in the 1930s and is often found in old collections built from approvals.

The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values the set at $31.50 in unused, hinged condition and $80 in mint, never-hinged condition.

The set is a good buy at around 50 percent of Scott catalog value.

Because not many of the stamps were actually used for postage, a used set is valued at $151 with the value in Italics. Expertization is recommended if you are buying used stamps.

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