British India Queen Victoria postage stamps were the first to be used in Aden between 1854 and 1937 under the control of the Indian Post Office. Although the earliest of these were cancelled by the Aden numeral “124” and “125” postmarks there were many different types which are sought by collectors.
Aden was a far flung outpost of the British Empire that grew in importance as an integral link in sea trade between Europe, India and British East Africa. It developed into a large port, located at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean on the Arabian Peninsula and consequently the postal history emanating from this area is highly desirable with many interesting covers being postmarked and handled through the ports post offices.
The first printed stamps of Aden are the iconic pictorial and symbolic ‘Dhow’ issue of 1937. These were issued when Aden became a British Crown Colony, having formerly been a Protectorate. De La Rue & Co. printed the stamps that depict a small sailing boat, that were a common sight within the harbour. Later KGVI & earlier QEII issues include many lovely recess- printed pictorial issues.
Certain local emirates objected to the image of a British sovereign on the stamps, consequently State stamps that bear their own Sultan’s image were printed. These States included Kathiri, Qu’aiti, Mayra and Upper Yafa.
In 1967 Aden became part of the People's Republic of Yemen. Collectors may also enjoy reading the many specialist books written on the subject, including ‘Postal History of Aden 1839 - 1967’ by R.W. Pratt 1985.