Official Stamps of Paraguay

 

1885 Special Issues

 

In 1885 the "Junta del Credito Publico" (Office of Public Debt) made use of the 1884 regular issue by handstamping a special cachet on this issue. The handstamp covers 4 stamps and is illustrated here.

It appears that only the first printings of the 1c, 2c, & 5c values were used.

I have found copies of this issue to be quite elusive.

I am not aware of any essays or proofs of the handstamp.

 

1c green with oval handstamp in magenta.

I have found very little information on this stamp. I am not aware of the quantity printed or of the date of issue. I have recorded only one multiple - a block of 56 and no covers.

 

2c rose with oval handstamp in blue.

 

I have no information on this stamp other than the chronicle of it existing. I have no record of any multiples or covers.

 

5c blue with oval handstamp in magenta.

 

Again, little is known about this stamp. I have no record of any multiple, but I do show a use on cover dated

 

1886 PROVISIONAL ISSUE

 

A decree appeared in "El Orden" stating that a provisional issue of official stamps would be issued on 20 August 1886. This issue was to be, and was, replaced by a regular issue on 1 September 1886 thus having a period of validity of only 10 days!!!

It has been claimed that the "Provisional Issue" stamps were sent from the printer, Guillermo Kraft, in Buenos Aires to Asuncion in the same box along with the regular issue. If this is true, what was the need of the Provisional Issue?

 

Leaving aside the so-called reprints (i.e. counterfeits) for the moment; there is a plethora of varieties on this Provisional issue, which is not found on the regular issue. I submit that this Provisional Issue, which was ordered and managed by the Paraguayan Counsel in Buenos Aires, Don Frederico Alonso, a stamp collector, is in fact an issue made for him and only "authorized" by the government because of his influence. I even wonder if the stamps were ever sent to Paraguay. I know of the "covers" bearing this issue, but A. Krassa in his 1922 article in the Collectors Club Philatelist presented strong evidence that all these covers were fabricated after the fact. That is, genuine official covers, which had gone through the mail, had this issue applied to them after they had been delivered.

 

I therefore classify these stamps as "Authorized for use but not sent to the country or ever officially used." These items are certainly of interest to a specialist, but can be ignored by any general collector.

 

This conclusion is based on not only the article by Krassa, but on my own study of the material in my collection.

 

Ergo, for the specialist, let me chronicle what information I have on these issues. I am going to cover the so-called reprints in the section dealing with counterfeits so these notes apply only to the "originals" or as some call them, the "First Printing."

 

The "original" printing of the "Provisionals" and the "Regular" issue of Officials were both printed from the same stone. Thus, any plate varieties" of the basic stamp will appear on both issues. However, most of the varieties of this issue are due to the back prints and not the basic stamp design. All values were printed in sheets of 25 (5 x 5) by lithography. The back prints were done by typography, a fact not known by the counterfeiters (reprinters) and one of the pieces of evidence that shows that the "reprints" are in fact counterfeits.

 

1c Orange

 

Printed on a wove paper with a "moire" pattern on back. The word "Oficial" is printed on the front and on the back there is an oval in blue, 1886 in black, and an "A" in black. There are two types of the numeral "1". The first has a short serif and the second has a long serif. Of type I, the following varieties are known: Design only, that is, no moire pattern on back and all overprints missing; complete with additional overprint "SPECIMEN". Of the second type, the following are known: missing oval, 1886 and "A"; missing Oficial, oval, 1886 and A.

Several multiple essays are known. One shows the 2, 5, 7, 10 and 20c as well as the 15c of 1889 and two types of Oficial. There is another showing only one type of Oficial. Another shows the 5c Type I & II, the 7c, 10c 15c Type II as well as a variety of "Oficial" and cancellation types as well as an unknown Provisional/1/Centavo" marking. Still another shows a variety of the control backprints as well as some cancellation types and this is printed on the unissued 6c double postcard of 1883.

 

The following proofs of the 1c are known (all are type I)-

On thick, surface coated paper - black, orange

On thin card - brown-lilac

On thin paper with moire on back, and ANULADO - black

On thin paper - bluish green

On thin paper, perf 11 1/2 - bluish green

 

Also the following Die Proofs:

Multiple die on card - 5 colors

Multiple die on chalky surfaced paper - 10 colors

Multiple die on medium paper - 8 colors

Multiple die on transparent paper - 4 colors

2c violet

 

I have recorded the following varieties of this value:

"Oficial", Asuncion-1886, Star, & B missing

"Oficial", moire pattern, Asuncion-1886, Star, & B missing

As above, and perf 11 1/2

Overprinted "Specimen" in red

 

I record the following proofs:

On thick surface coated paper - black, violet, ultramarine, pale green red.

On thin card - violet

On thin paper without moire - blue, green, brown-lilac, and yellow.

On thin paper - rose red

On thin paper, perf 11 1/2 - rose red

I also record a composite die of the 2c to 20c.

 

5c red

 

There are two types of the 5c - Type I shows the double frame line at Upper Left to be broken. Type II shows a single frame line at Upper Left either complete or broken.

I record the following varieties (all are on the Type I stamps):

"Oficial" omitted

"1886" omitted

"Wreath & Star" omitted, "1886" omitted, "A" omitted, "C" omitted

"Oficial" omitted, "Wreath & Star" omitted, "1886" omitted,

"A" omitted, "C" omitted

All overprints omitted

Overprinted "Specimen" in black

The following proofs are known:

5c, Type I, on thick chalky paper - black, red

5c, Type I, on thin card - red

5c, Type I, on thin paper without "moire" - blue, brown-lilac

5c, Type II, on thin paper without "moire" -black, green, yellow- brown, violet, yellow

On thin paper - grayish blue

On thin paper, perf 11 1/2 - grayish blue

The combination Die Proofs are as noted above.

 

7c Green

 

Not many varieties of the 7c are known. In fact, I record only two: All overprints omitted and with "Specimen" overprint.

At least one sheet of 25 exists.

The following proofs are known:

On thick chalky paper - black, green, ultramarine, red, violet, yellow

On thin card - green

On thin paper without "moire" - blue, red, violet, and yellow.

On thin paper - Orange

On thin paper, perf 11 1/2 - Orange

10c Brown

 

Like the 7c, there are not a great number of varieties of this stamp. I record only the following:

"E" inverted

"Oficial", "Oval", "1886" and "E" omitted

Overprinted "Specimen" (This is always and only found inverted)

 

I record the following covers:

Single

Single

Three

 

I record the following proofs:

On thick chalky paper - black

On thin paper without "moire" - blue, green, yellow-brown, brown lilac, yellow, violet

On thick chalky paper with numbers omitted - black

On thick chalky paper with numbers and background lines omitted - black

On thin paper - claret

On thin paper, perf 11 1/2 - claret

 

15c steel blue

 

There are two main varieties of the 15c - moire pattern on back (normal) and moire pattern on front.

 

Of the normal I note the following varieties:

"Lion", "1886" and "F" omitted

"Oficial", "Lion", "1886" and "F" omitted

All overprints omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

"Oficial" inverted, overprinted "Specimen"

 

"Moire" on front:

The normal has the "Lion", "1886" and "F" inverted

"Oficial" inverted

"Oficial", "Lion", "1886", and "F" inverted

"Oficial", "Lion", "1886" inverted, "F" omitted

"Lion" inverted, "Oficial", "1886" and "F" omitted

"Oficial", "Lion", "1886" and "F" omitted

 

I record the following covers:

1c, 2c (pair), & 15c to BA

5c, 10c, & 15c on large piece to BA

On thin paper - brown

On thin paper, perf 11 1/2 - brown

 

20c Brown Carmine

 

In addition to the brown-carmine shade, I record the following as well: Rose lilac and claret

 

As with the 15c this value is known with the moire pattern on front as well as back.

These are the varieties:

Moire on back:

"Oval", "1886" "G" inverted

"Oval", "1886" inverted

"G" inverted

"Oficial" & "1886" omitted

"Oficial", "Oval", "1886" and "G" omitted

All overprints omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

Moire on Front:

"Oficial", "Oval", "1886" and "G" inverted

 

I record the following proofs:

On thick chalky paper - black

On thin card - rose lilac

On thin paper without "moire" - blue, green, yellow green, brown, yellow brown, violet

On thin paper, perf 11 1/2

 

Regular Official Issue of 1886

 

On September 1, 1886 the first Regular Issue of Official Stamps took place. These were lithographed by Guillermo Kraft of Buenos Aires and printed in sheets of 25. The designs are the same as the so-called Provisionals and are on a thick paper without a moire pattern or back-prints. They are overprinted with the work, "Oficial", which on the 1c thu 15c is at an angle of 43o.

The so-called reprints (counterfeits) of this issue are quite scarce and will be covered in the section on counterfeits.

 

1c bluish green

 

I am not aware of the quantity issued for this value. Varieties are:

"Oficial" omitted

Imperf pair with "Oficial" omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

The only multiple I record is a block of 4 with the "Oficial" overprint inverted. Also I record a strip of 3 with the "Specimen" overprint.

The sheet has the printer’s name 8 times in the margin.

The only essay I know is a script "Oficial" on the 1c of 1884.

 

2c Scarlet

 

The quantity issued is unknown. The following varieties are known:

Imperf pair with "Oficial" inverted

"Oficial" omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

 

The only multiple I record is a block of 4 with the "Oficial" overprint inverted. and a strip of 3 with the "Specimen" ovpt.

 

I am not aware of any proofs.

The only essay is a script "Oficial" on the 2c of 1884.

The printer’s name appears twice: at bottom left and top right.

5c blue

Also known in a grayish-blue shade. Issued in an unknown quantity.

Varieties are:

"Oficial" omitted

Imperf pair with "Oficial" omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

 

As with the 1c and 2c the only multiples I record are a block of 4 with inverted overprint and a strip of 3 with "Specimen" overprint.

 

The only essay is a script "Oficial" on the 5c of 1884.

No proofs are known to me.

The sheet has the printer’s name on it 8 times.

A sheet of 25 is known

I record the following covers:

Asuncion to BA with 5c and 12c Argentine stamps

Asuncion to BA with 5c with Asuncion double circle cachet

Asuncion in 1892 with 5c and 15c regular of 1889.

 

7c Orange

 

The following varieties are known to me:

"Oficial" ovpt omitted

Imperf pair, "Oficial" ovpt omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

Overprint Inverted

As with the previous values the only multiples I am aware of are a block of 4 with ovpt inverted and a strip of 3 with "Specimen" ovpt.

The sheet has the printer’s name on it twice - at top right and bottom left.

 

10c Brown-carmine

 

Also known is claret. Unknown quantity issued with the following varieties:

Overprint Inverted

Overprint Omitted

Imperf pair, overprint omitted

Overprinted "Specimen" (Always and only known inverted)

 

I do not know of any essays or proofs for the value.

The only recorded multiple is a block of 4 with inverted ovpt.

The printer’s name appears once at bottom left of sheet.

The following covers are known:

Asuncion to BA with 10c and 15c regular of 1889

Asuncion in 1886 with 10c

 

15c Brown

 

Issued in an unknown quantity with the following varieties:

Inverted overprint

Overprint Omitted

Imperf pair with overprint omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

The sheet has the printer’s name once at top right.

The only multiple I show is a block of 4 with inverted overprint.

I know of no essays or proofs for this value.

 

 

20c Blue

Also known in gray-blue. Quantity is unknown with the following varieties:

Overprint omitted

Imperf pair with overprint omitted

Overprinted "Specimen"

 

I do not record any multiples, proofs or essays.

The sheet has the printer’s name on it once at top right.

 

December 1c "Provisional"

 

All catalogs and books report this 1c pale green of 1885 with a thick "Oficial" overprint of which little is known. It has been speculated that the overprint is one used on the Argentine Official Issue of 1884 -87. However, a comparison with these issues of Argentina will show that the "Oficial" overprint on the Paraguay stamp does not match any known on the Argentine stamps.

In the 6 June 1906 issue of the Illustriertes Briefmarken Journal it is stated that this stamp is a fake!! I infer from this article and a later report that it may well be the work of Theodore Champion who was found to possess such a fake overprinting device when he was charged and fined for producing fakes. Thus, I consider this stamp VERY QUESTIONABLE.

 

No essays, proofs or covers are known with this issue and all canceled copies I have seen have very questionable cancels.

 

1889 Provisionals

 

On October 5, 1889 a Decree was published authorizing a new issue of Official Stamps to be used exclusively for franking official correspondence to foreign countries. The stamps apparently were issued on this date. The stamps were a 1c, 2c, 3c, & 5c on 15c. In the Decree all are listed as being inperf, but the 1c and 2c always are perforated.

This set with a genuine handstamp is very, very scarce. Kneitschel states that 90% of these stamps in collections are fakes, and my experience would confirm this. Many of the counterfeit overprints are found on the reprints, but not all. These will be covered in the chapter on counterfeits.

All of the handstamping was done on the 15c Issue of 1889, which was issued in sheets of 25 (5 x 5).

I am not aware of any Essays or Proofs of these provisional stamps.

The quantities issued of these Provisionals are not known.

 

1c on 15c Brown-lilac

This stamp is perforated 11½. An inverted overprint may be the only variety. I have seen a reference to a "missing numeral 1" but as the handstamp was all of one piece the only way this variety could exist would be if a piece of paper or other foreign matter covered the bottom of the overprint. Thus, I consider this variety most probably to be a counterfeit.

A sheet of 25 is known to exist.

I do not record any covers bearing this stamp.

 

2c on 15c Brown-lilac

Like the 1c, this value is perforated 11½. The only legitimate variety is a double ovpt.

A sheet of 25 is known to exit.

The only recorded example I have is a copy on a full newspaper to Buenos Aires.

 

3c on 15c Violet

In accordance with the Decree, this stamp exists imperforate.

The following varieties are known to me. Overprint Inverted, Overprint Double, and Overprint double, one inverted.

A sheet of 25 is known to exist as well as sheets of 25 of each of the above mentioned varieties.

I do not record any usage on cover of this value.

 

5c on 15c Reddish Brown-lilac

 

Like the 3c, this value also was issued imperforate. I show the following varieties: Overprint Inverted, Overprint Vertical, Overprint Double, and Overprint Double, one inverted. I also record the following multiples: Sheet of 25, sheet of 25 with overprint doubled, sheet of 25 with overprint inverted, sheet of 25 with overprint double, one inverted.

I record the following covers:

7 May 1890 Vertical strip of 5 on Registered cover from Asuncion to Buenos Aires

1890 Pair, cut into Asuncion to BA

Strip of 4 Asuncion to BA

Strip of 3 Asuncion to BA

Pair, Asuncion to BA

Pair, one with double ovpt Asuncion to BA

 

1890 Issue

 

This handstamped set of Official Stamps is also quite scarce with a genuine handstamp and the varieties are truly rare items. Most copies of the varieties offered are counterfeits. Again, I suspect the influence of Don Frederick Alonso is responsible for the numerous varieties and "errors."

This issue has always been reported as having appeared in October 1890 although one reference states that the 1c was issued on September 29, 1890. I have seen a cover (to Alonso) bearing 3 copies of the 1c and a 2c dated 18 June 1890.

With this issue one can find covers so I shall list only those I consider interesting or unusual.

The handstamp usually is in violet, but also is known in bluish-violet. The "blue" handstamps are either a "trial color" or counterfeits. I have not examined sufficient examples to reach a conclusion.

 

1c Green

Issued in a sheet of 50 (5 x 10) in an unknown quantity. The following varieties are known to me:

Overprint Inverted, Overprint Double, Pair – one with and one without overprint, Overprinted "J. de C. Publico".

The largest multiple I have seen is a block of 4.

In addition to the cover noted above with an 18 June 1890 date, I record a strip of 4 on a newspaper dated 9/29/90 from Asuncion to BA.

 

2c Carmine

The quantity issued is unknown. The sheet size is 50 (5 x 10). I record the following varieties: Overprint Inverted, Overprint Double, Pair – one with and one without overprint, with overprint "J. de C. Publico."

The largest multiple I show is a block of 4.

 

5c Bright blue

 

The sheet size is 50 (5 x 10) and the quantity is unknown. The varieties are: Overprint Inverted, Overprint Doubled, Pair – one with overprint and one without, Overprinted "J. de C. Publico."

The largest multiple I have seen is a block of 4.

The 5c with double overprint is known on cover to Alonso in BA.

 

7c Brown

Like the other values this also is in a sheet of 50 and the quantity is unknown. Also, like the other values the varieties are: Overprint Inverted, Overprint Doubled, Pair – one with and one without overprint, Overprinted "J. de C. Publico."

I have never seen this value on cover.

 

10c Lilac

Sheet size – 50. Quantity – Unknown.

The following varieties are known: Overprint Inverted, Overprint Doubled, Overprint Triple, Pair – one with and one without overprint, Overprinted "J. de C. Publico."

This appears to be the most common value on cover.

 

15c Orange

 

This was the first value mentioned with the blue overprint. It was noted in the February 1891 issue of the Philatelic Record.

The quantity issued is unknown but the sheet size was 50.

I know of the following varieties: Overprint Doubled, Overprint Inverted, Pair – one with and one without overprint, Overprinted "J. de C. Publico."

 

20c Rose

 

Issued in an unknown quantity in sheet of 50.

I record the following varieties: Overprint Inverted, Overprint Doubled, Overprint Triple, Pair – one with and one without overprint, Overprinted "J. de C. Publico."

Cover from Asuncion with 2 copies of 20c plus 3 copies of the 1892 50c.

Cover with 1878 reprinted surcharges plus the 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c (with double ovpt), 15c and 20c on Registered to BA. This is a "made" cover for Alonso.

 

 

 

1892 Issue

 

Probably issued in March 1892, but this is just a guess. This issue has a printed overprint instead of the handstamped one of the previous issues and the size is smaller. Since the overprinting was done on the 1887 issues, all sheets are 50 (5 x 10). The quantity issued of these stamps has not been reported and so is presently unknown to me. An additional value – 50c – appears in this set and this value is known only with the "Oficial" overprint.

This issue appears to be devoid of varieties, as I have no record of any.

The largest multiples I record for any value is a block of 4 except for the 50c where I note a strip of 10.

Some of the unusual covers are:

1c – 10 copies on cover to BA

2c – on Immigration Information sheet in French to France, 3 Nov 1891

10c – Pair on cover to BA with a return cachet of "Presidente de la Republica"

20c – Pair on cover to BA with return cachet of "Presidente de la Republica"

50c – Strip of 10 and singe on large fragment to BA.

50c – single + 20c and 5c on Registered, AR to BA

The values in the set are:

1c green 2c carmine 5c pale blue

7c brown 10c lilac 15c orange

20c rose 50c gray

 

 

1893 ? Issue

 

This stamp is an enigma. Phillips in his book, notes that some authorities list it as being issued in 1892 while others state 1894, so Gibbons picked the mid-ground and says 1893!

This is an elusive stamp and I’ve only seen a few copies of it, to wit, 2 used copies and one mint copy. I suspect it may be an essay that has been listed as an issued stamp.

In the Ackerman collection there were two blocks of 4 and 2 with inverted overprint, the only variety recorded. As with many other official stamps, this one has been counterfeited and most I’ve seen are not genuine.

With so little information I classify this stamp as "doubtful if issued."

 

 

1901 Issue

 

Seven values printed by the South American Bank Note Company of Buenos Aires were issued in February 1901. These are a 1c slate blue, 2c rose red, 4c chocolate, 5c bright green, 8c reddish brown, 10c rose carmine, and 20c pale blue.

I record the following proofs:

1c – Die on surfaced paper in dark blue

10c – Die on surfaced paper in bright blue

20c – Die on surfaced paper in dark blue

I know of the following essays:

2c in rose red

5c in bright green

20c in pale blue

All values exist in perf 11½ and perf 12. The 4c also exists in a perf 12 x 11½.

The largest multiple I have recorded on any value is a block of 4.

 

1902 Issue

 

The 1 Peso of the 1892 issue was overprinted in black "Oficial" and issued on September 12, 1902. The basic stamp was printed by Giesecke and Devrient of Germany while the overprinting was probably done by H. Krause in Asuncion. The quantity issued is unknown.

The sheet size was 50 but the overprinting was done in a block of 25. The only variety I record of this stamp is an inverted overprint. The largest multiple I record is a block of 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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