A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Monday, July 16, 2018

Bolivia 1867-1916 - a closer look

1897 Scott 51 20c lake & black
"General Jose Ballivian 1804-1852"
Into the Deep Blue
Bolivia is one of my favorite classical era countries, but more because of personal relationships. Twenty five years ago, we hosted a high school aged girl from Bolivia through the American Field Service intercultural program.  She was justifiably proud of Bolivia and its natural beauty. She became a member of our family, and we still see each other not infrequently.

The 2017 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has 361 major numbers for 1867-1940 Bolivia. Of those, 234  are CV <$1-$2+, or 65%. Clearly, Bolivia is one of the less expensive countries to collect for a representative assortment. That is not to say the there aren't rarities: The 1911 Villa Bella provisional handstamped Scott 97 20c on 2c green & black is CV $2,500; the 1917 Revenue stamp surcharged Scott 102 10c on 1c blue is $1,750.

One fly in the ointment is there can be forgeries of the earlier stamps, especially the higher values.

The original blog post is here: Bolivia Blog Post and BB Checklist

As is true for many of the A-E countries when I began the blog in 2011, there was not enough about the stamp issues themselves in the original blog post. This post and the next one will rectify that for Bolivia.

This post will survey the issues of 1867-1910, and also take a look at the 1916 pictorial issue.

A closer look at the stamps and issues 1867-1910 & 1916
100 Centavos = 1 Boliviano
1867 Scott 1 5c yellow green "Condor"
The first eight stamp issue with Scott numbers is the 1867-68 "Condor". These imperforate engraved unwatermarked stamps exist in many varieties: 72 for the 5 centavos. The plate of the 5c was reengraved four times, and retouched at least six times. There are thick and thin paper varieties. There are types and reprints. There are forgeries. Scott recognizes ten major/minor numbers for the 5 centavos. Michel (2017 Klassik Ubersee bis 1900) lists five colors for the 5 centavos. I haven't done the necessary investigation - which would require serious study- to comment further.

The stamp design and presentation appears crude, so there is always a suspicion of forgery. A quick test  to determine engraved (genuine) vs lithographed (forgery) is the aluminum foil test. I have two copies of the 5 centavos, and both showed the raised ridges of an engraved stamp. Whew!

CV is $10+-$500 for the stamps in the issue.

Andean Condor in Bolivia
The Andean Condor is found up and down the Andes, and is on the national crest of Bolivia. For the indigenous people especially, it has been a source of deep spiritual and cultural significance. It is today on the threatened list throughout much of its continental range.

1868 Scott 10 5c green "Coat of Arms"
Nine Stars; Perf 12
In 1868, five engraved stamps with the above "Coat of Arms" design were issued, all with nine stars and Perf 12. The "nine star" design was again used in 1890 for five stamps, but fortunately can be distinguished by different colors.

The "Coat of Arms" design (with various number of stars in the design for issues) was used fairly extensively in Bolivia until 1894.

This five stamp "nine stars" issue varies in CV from the 5c green ($10+) to the 500c black ($1,000).

Coat of Arms close-up
The stars in the coat of arms represent the nine Departamentos. The number of stars vary between eleven and nine during the classical era. One of the extra stars (the tenth) probably represents Litoral, which actually was taken over by Chile in 1879 (War of the Pacific) - and Bolivia, losing their access to the Pacific, is still upset about those events even today.

The silver mountain Cerro Potosi (Cerro Rico) is shown - it supplied most of the silver during the New World Spanish Empire. Inti, the Incan sun god, is depicted by the sun. An alpaca is on the plain in front of the mountain.

There are Bolivian flags around the shield. The condor perched on the shield represents the willingness to defend liberty and the nation.

1869 ( or 1871?) Scott 18 100c deep orange
"Coat of Arms"; Eleven Stars; Perf 12
A five stamp engraved set (same colors, same denomination) as the 1868 issue issue, but with eleven stars, was released in 1869 (Scott) or 1871 (Michel), depending on which catalogue one believes. Two stamps with eleven stars in them was also issued in 1887, but in different colors and rouletted, not perforated.

CV varies from $10+ (5c green) to $50 ( 100c deep orange) for four stamps. The 500c black is CV $3,500!

1878 Scott 23 50c dull carmine
Arms and "The Law"
The 1878 four stamp engraved issue breaks up the "Coat of Arms" monopoly with the design addition of "The Law" added.

CV for the stamps vary from $7 to $30.

1887 Scott 26 5c blue "Coat of Arms"
The 1887 engraved issue is easy to distinguish, because it is rouletted, rather than perforated.

The four stamps have a CV of $3-$8.

1890 Scott 33 50c red "Coat of Arms"
Nine Stars; Perf 12
In 1890, a seven engraved stamp "Coat of Arms" issue was released, all with nine stars.

The 5 centavos to 100 centavos (five stamps) are identical in design to the 1868 issue, but in different colors.

1890 Scott 28 1c rose - upright numerals
The 1 & 2 centavo(s) stamps of the 1890 issue have upright numerals, and so constitute a different design.

CV is between $2 and $25. 

1893 Scott 37 5c blue "Coat of Arms"
Lithographed; Perf 11
This definitely looks different, doesn't it? That is because the 1893 five stamp issue is lithographed, while all the other "Coat of Arms" issues were engraved. The issue also has a perforation 11.

CV ranges from $4 to $45.

1894 Scott 45 50c claret "Coat of Arms"
Thin paper; Perf 14, 14 1/2
In 1894, a seven stamp "Coat of Arms" but a new design, was issued. The issue was on thin paper.

CV is $1+-$40.

But many collectors will find that the majority of their stamps are on thick paper. Why?

"1894 Bolivia 42 5c green"
Thick paper - Fraudulently cancelled (heavy bar oval)
I will quote from the Scott catalogue here...

"Stamps of 1894 type on thick paper were surreptitiously printed in Paris on the order of an official and without government authorization. Some of these stamps were substituted for part of the shipment of stamps on thin paper, which had been printed in London on government order. When the thick paper stamps reached Bolivia, they were first repudiated, but then allowed to do postal duty. A large quantity of the thick paper stamps were fraudulently cancelled in Paris with a cancellation of heavy bars forming an oval. Value of unused set: $5."

To collect legitimate 1894 issue stamps, look for those with thin paper. If one accepts a thick paper stamp (except as a space filler), it should have a genuine Bolivian cancel.

1897 Scott 52 50c orange
"General Antonio Jose de Sucre 1795-1830"
Lithographed; Perf 12
On March 15, 1897, an eight stamp lithographic issue in a large tall format was released. The issue featured Bolivian history with various portraits of presidents, generals, and patriots. Michel has a note that forgeries are plentiful, although no specifics are given. I imagine the fact that the originals were printed lithographically would make it easier for forgers to imitate.

CV is $2-$60.
Antonio Jose de Sucre 
From an aristocratic background, Antonio Jose de Sucre y Alcala (1795-1830) was a leader of Venezuelan independence, the fourth President of Peru, and the first elected president of Bolivia. He was Simon Bolivar's chief lieutenant, and the capital of Bolivia, the city of Sucre, was named after him. He was assassinated on June 4, 1830.

1899 Scott 67 50c bister brown
"Antonio Jose de Sucre 1875-1830"
Engraved; Thin paper; Perf 11 1/2, 12, 12 1/2
On January 15, 1899, seven stamps, and on January 1, 1901, one stamp (5c dark red) was issued, all with the same design portrait of "Antonio Jose de Sucre". (There is some confusion between Scott and Michel catalogues about release dates.)

Scott states the issue can be found perforated 11 1/2 & 12, but Michel adds the 12 1/2 perforation. (Exception: the 5c dark red is @ 11. 11/2,12.) Michel also states the 12 perf is valued @ 75% more, and the 12 1/2 perf @ 100% more.

I checked my stamps, and all of them in the set were Perf 11 1/2, except my 2c brownish red and my 50c bister brown (shown above) were Perf 12.

Scott states the issue is on thin paper. But my 1b violet is on very thick paper. Michel has a note that the 50c bister brown and the 1b violet can be found on thick paper, issued in 1908.

CV  (Perf 11 1/2) is $2-$5.

1901-02 Scott 74 10c blue "Jose Ballivian"
Between 1901-02, a new six stamp engraved issue was produced, with various portraits, and the "coat of arms" for the highest 2b denomination.

The engraved 1c claret was reissued in 1904 as a lithographic printing.

Jose Ballivian (1805-1852)
Jose Ballivian was a general in the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation War (1836-39), and became president of Bolivia in 1841. A civil war erupted, and Ballivian had to flee in 1847. He is honored even today as one of Bolivia's greatest presidents.

1901-02 Scott 75 20c violet & black
"General Andres Santa Cruz"
The only bi-color stamp for the engraved 1901-02 issue is the 20c violet & black "General Andres Santa Cruz".

CV for the 1901-02 engraved issue and the 1904 lithographic 1c claret is <$1-$5.

Andres de Santa Cruz
Andres de Santa Cruz y Calahumana (1792-1865) was the President of Peru during 1827, the President of Bolivia between 1829-1839, and the interim President of Peru between 1836-1838.

1909 Scott 79 10c green & black
"Murillo"; Lithographed; Perf 11
For the Centenary of the Revolution of July, 1809, a four stamp lithographic issue was produced.

Patriots are shown in portrait, and in bi-color.

CV is $10+.
Painting representing the execution of Murillo
Pedro Domingo Murillo (1757-1810), a patriot, played a key role in the quest for Bolivia's independence. When he was hanged by royalist troops on January 29, 1810 in La Paz, he made this statement:

"Compatriots, I die, but tyrants won't be able to extinguish the torch I ignited. Long live freedom!"

1909 Scott 89 2b chocolate & black
"Manuel Belgrano"; Lithographed
Dated 1809-1825; Perf 11 1/2
To commemorate the War of Independence 1809-1825, an eight stamp lithographic bi-color portrait issue was released. These stamps are dated "1809....1825".

The stamps honor the patriots of the era.

CV is <$1-$2.
Manuel Belgrano
Manuel Jose Joaquin del Corazon de Jesus Belgrano (1770-1820) was well educated, having studied in Europe and absorbing the thought of the Age of Enlightenment. He was capable of understanding Spanish, English, French, Italian, and indigenous languages. He designed the flag of Argentina. He was a military leader in the War of Independence, and was involved in the campaigns of Upper Peru (Bolivia). He is considered one of the main Libertadores of Argentina.

1910 Scott 93 10c claret & indigo
"Miguel Betanzos"; Lithographed
Dated 1910-1925; Perf 13 X 13 1/2
In 1910, a similar three stamp set was issued, but dated "1910....1825". Three more patriots were honored.

CV is <$1.
1916-17 Scott 113 2c carmine & black
"Lake Titicaca"; Lithographed
I'm going to jump to the lithographic 1916-17 five stamp pictorial issue.

The 2c carmine & black shows the largest lake (118 mi X 50 mi) in South America, Lake Titicaca, at 12.500 ft (3,800 m)! Both my daughters have been there.

1916-17 Bolivia Scott 114 5c dark blue, Type I "Mt. Illimani"
Scott 115 5c dark blue, Type II
The 5c dark blue comes in two types. Both are CV <$1. Try to collect both!

Type I: Numerals have background of vertical lines. Clouds formed of dots.
Type II: Numerals on white background. Clouds near the mountain formed of wavy lines.

1916-17 Bolivia Scott 116 10c orange & blue "Legislature Building"
Scott 116b -No period after "Legislativo"
The 10c orange & blue has a minor number variation: No period after "Legislativo" - CV for both - <$1. Check to see if you have this minor number variation in your collection.

Deep Blue
1909 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner), for Bolivia 1867-1940, has 23 pages. All of the major Scott numbers have a space. I needed to insert an extra quadrilled page to hold all the (bogus) thick paper 1894 issue stamps.

1907 Scott 53 1b Prussian blue
"Bolivar"; Lithographed
Out of the Blue
Bolivia is mostly inexpensive to collect for the WW enthusiast. Take advantage and perhaps dive a little deeper into the issues!

Note: Quote regarding the bogus thick paper 1894 issue stamps is from the 2017 Scott catalogue, and is used for educational purposes. The portrait scans appear to be in the public domain.

Comments appreciated!