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CAUTION: Bengt Bengtsson, a philatelic judge from Sweden, has prepared an "undesirable list" -- including stamps which should be avoided because they are from countries that have issued stamps in too large quantities or with overly high values. Stamps of Comoros since 1975, appear on that list.


50th Anniversary of the death of

Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes

Scott #502, Feb. 25, 1980, perf. 12½,
1981, #513 (#502 overprinted with 15fr surcharge)

imperforate proof block

illustrating misdating: 22 Janvier, 1980 (released Feb. 25)

"Deluxe Souvenir Sheet"
Deluxe Souvenir Sheets are ungummed paper on which the stamp is printed in the final colors, using the hardened die.
Fundamentals of Philately, by L.N. Williams, 1990 Revised Edition. (The French Marianne Issues)


The Comoro Islands

Arabic: JUMHURIYAT AL-QUMUR AL-ITTIHADIYAH AL-ISLAMIYAH, French: RÉPUBLIQUE FÉDÉRALE ISLAMIQUE DES COMORES, independent state comprising a group of islands at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean, between Madagascar and the southeast African mainland. The islands from northwest to southeast include Grande Comore (also called Njazidja), Mohéli (also called Mwali), and Anjouan (also called Nzwani) but exclude the French-allied island of Mayotte to the southeast. The capital, Moroni, is located on Grande Comore. Area 719 square miles (1,862 square km). Pop. (1993 est.) 516,000.

Comoros was shown on the world map (1527) of the Portuguese cartographer Diego Ribero, but the first European known to visit them was the Englishman James Lancaster about 1591. The dominant influence in the islands was then and for long afterward Arab. In 1843 France officially took possession of Mayotte and, in 1886, placed the other three islands under protection. Subordinated to the governor-general of Madagascar in 1914, the Comoros became an overseas territory of France in 1947, a status confirmed by a referendum held in 1958. In 1961, the year after Madagascar became independent, the islands were granted internal autonomy. In 1974 majorities on three of the islands voted for independence, but most of the inhabitants of Mayotte favoured continuation of French rule. When the National Assembly of France held that each island should decide its own status, President Ahmed Abdallah (who was deposed later in the year) of the Comorian government declared the whole archipelago independent on July 6, 1975. France, in December 1975, recognized the sovereignty of the three islands but upheld the autonomy of Mayotte, which in 1976 was temporarily designated a "special collectivity" (neither a territory nor a département) of France. As relations deteriorated, France withdrew all development and technical aid from the Comoros. A coup by a group of European mercenaries in May 1978 brought the exiled former president, Abdallah, back into power. Diplomatic relations were resumed with France, a new constitution was drawn up, and Abdallah was reelected president in the latter part of 1978 and ran unopposed in 1984. He survived three coup attempts but was assassinated in November 1989. French intervention in the Comoros permitted multiparty presidential elections to be held in 1990, but the country remained in a state of chronic political instability thereafter.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

The Philatelic Sherlock Holmes