Paraguay Postal Stationery



A) Postal cards



Issue of 1882



Sometime in late 1881 or 1882 (the earliest reference I have found is in the January 1882 issue of Le Timbre Post quoting a Mr. Daws) Paraguay issued a 2 centavos and 3 centavos postal card. According to the "Handbuch amtlischer Postkarten, Kartenbriefe, Postumschlage und Packet-Begleitadressen" by Theodor Haas it was in January 1882.



The 2c card is printed in violet on white card stock 0.0125 inches in thickness.  It is lithographed and was produced by Roberto Lange of Buenos Aires.  It measures 135mm x 76mm.  I do not know the quantity issued but suspect it was rather small.  Used cards are quite scarce, as I have recorded only 5.  These are:


15 November 1882 to Buenos Aires (received on 21 Nov)


30 August 1883 to Germany


5 July 1883 to Buenos Aires


26 January 1883 to France with an additional 1-centavo stamps of the 1881 issue.


Unknown date & destination with additional 1 centavo on 1 Real of 1881 provisional






An incomplete indicia in black on thin card is the only essay I am aware of.



A composite proof on cream-colored card, in black, of the 2c, 3c, and double 4c and 6c measuring 236mm x 460mm is known and was offered in a Guillermo Jalil sale.




Plate proofs in brown as well as in green on a thin card (0.0065) are known. Also, a proof in black is known.



3 centavos




As with the 2c card, this was issued, probably, in 1882.  It is in blue, lithographed by Lange and the card stock is 0.0125 inches thick.


As with the 2c, plate proofs in green and brown on thin card are known.



Used copies of this card are scarce but not nearly as scarce as the 2 centavos.


The earliest use of this card I have recorded is 28 June of 1883. An interesting item is a copy to Germany with an "Estafeta Ambulante" cancel.



At the same time Paraguay received two Message and Reply cards, a 4c + 4c and 6c + 6c.  Apparently this was due to a misunderstanding that they were to be a 2c + 2c (4c total) and 3c + 3c (6c total).





These incorrectly denominated cards were never issued since they were of the wrong rate.  To correct this error without ordering a new set of cards, the postal officials handstamped the cards with the correct rate.



2c + 2c on 4c + 4c




The earliest report I have of this card is in the April 1882 issue of "The Philatelic Record" stating that a Mr. Castle (a prominent collector of the time) had provided copies to the magazine.


The surcharge is 33mm long and 4 mm high and can be found neatly printed and poorly printed.  I do not know the quantity issued, nor am I aware of any proofs or essays.


To date a used copy of this card has not been reported.



3c + 3c on 6c + 6c





Also issued, apparently in 1882, per the above-mentioned notice in the Philatelic Record.  Again, exact date and quantity are unknown.


On this card the surcharge measures 37mm long by 4mm high. And again, the printing can be neat or poor.



It has been reported that a numeral "5" was used in error for a "3" but this is not true.  Inspection under a good glass will show that these are just unclear 3's.  The handstamp is know with broken and mangled letter and there is also a partial

double hand stamping.


One used copy from Asuncion to Germany is known although in very tatty condition.



Counterfeits -


In the March 15, 1892 issue of the American Journal of Philately it was noted that counterfeits of the 2c, 3c, and 4c + 4c as well as the 6c +6c cards exist. These are also described in the 1898 Scott Standard Catalog of Postal Cards and Letter Cards.


The genuine card has a footnote "DE ESTE LADO...REVERSO" that measures 103Ό mm and has a period after the word "REVERSO" while the counterfeits measures 105 mm on white or 104Ό mm on buff.


The divider at top quickly identifies the message and reply cards.  See illustrations for the different designs.


Genuine divider on 3c card


Counterfeit divider on 3c card on white.


Counterfeit divider on 3c card on buff.


Genuine divider on 4c+4c message card and on counterfeit 4c+4c message card



Genuine divider on 4c+4c reply card on white.



Counterfeit divider on 4c+4c reply card on white.



Counterfeit divider on both message & reply card on buff.



1884 Issue


2c red on buff





The earliest report I have of this card is in the 20 November 1884 issue of the Illustriertes Briefmarken Journal.  It states that a 2c red on buff postal card has been issued, measuring 135mm x 76mm.



I do not know the exact date of issue and quantity. The earliest reported date of use I have is 2 October 1884.



There are composite proofs of the 1c, 2c, and 4c adhesives for this period and as the 2c card design is the same as the adhesive it may be considered as a proof for this item as well.



I am not aware of any varieties of this card.



3 centavos blue on buff





Probably issued at the same time as the 2c card but date and quantity are unknown.


On the composite proof of the 1c, 2, and 4c adhesive there is a 3c which would have been for this card as no adhesive in that denomination was issued.


The only variety I know is misplaced stamp indicia.


The earliest reported use is 4 June 1886 and I do record a usage from Asuncion on 11 December 1889 to Russia.




1896 Issue



The 3 September 1896 issue of Mekeels noted the issuance of a 2c green on white, a 4c brownish red on white postal cards as well as a 2c + 2c green on white and 4c + 4c brownish red on white message and reply cards.









These probably appeared about mid-year although the exact date is unknown. The earliest reported use for the 2c is 27 October 1896; for the 4c it is 22 July 1896; and for the 2c + 2c unknown day in August 1896.  Likewise, the quantity issued is unknown.



I am not aware of any proofs.  However, in the April 1966 "van den Berg offers list", there is a listing of an 1896 5c brown Urairte postal card cut square.  This was not an issued value so I can only conclude it must be an essay.



1928 Issue






It was about 32 years before the next and final issue of postal cards appeared.  These are a 70 centavos carmine on yellow (earliest reported use - 14 June 1930) and a 70 centavos carmine on blue (earliest reported date of use - 19 January 1931) card. They are lithographed and measure 137mm x 89mm.  They probably were produced by the Government Printing Office but this is not known for certain. The quantity issued and the date of issue are also unknown.



I am not aware of any proofs or essays for these cards.



The only variety I am aware of is the 70c on yellow with the back printed showing a copy of the 1 Peso adhesive issued for the 50th Anniversary of the founding of San Bernardino on 24 August 1931.  These probably were done by the Imprenta Oficial. The stamp illustrated, according to the Michel catalog, is based on a photo by Hans von Bose.



B) Letter Cards




1891 Issue








On 15 August 1891, according to the work by Haas, Paraguay issued a 2c red on white and a 3c blue on white letter card.  However, the earliest record I find for these letter cards appeared in the 14 October 1891 issue of the Illustriertes Briefmarken Journal.



Both letter cards are comb perforated and measure 142 mm x 85mm. The earliest reported use for the 2c is 28 September 1891, while for the 4c it is 27 November 1891.



I am not aware of any proofs or essays of these cards, nor do I know the quantity issued.



Both of these letter cards are known the "oficial" overprint in violet.  The status of these overprinted cards is not presently known.  It is my opinion that these were made for Don Federico Alonso, the Consul General of Paraguay in Argentina who was a stamp collector and for whom other philatelic favors were produced.  They are scarce, however.



1896 Issue






In the 1 September 1896 issue of the Illustriertes Briefmarken Journal there is mention of a 2c green on white letter card being issued.  Although the exact date is not known it may well have been concurrent with the postal card. The earliest reported use is unknown day in December 1896.  Although all catalogs note this as being a 2c green on white the 3 September 1896 issue of Mekeels notes it as being on buff.  I have not seen it on buff.



Like the 1891 letter card it is comb perforated but I do not know the quantity issued.



I am not aware of any proofs or essays.



These cards can be found with the "VAPOR" markings, but are scarce thus.







1900 Issue.



Sometime in December 1900 the final letter cards were issued. They measure 140mm x 85mm.



It is most likely that they were produced to celebrate the new century as they are inscribed "SIGLO XIX - XX PARAGUAY - ENERO 1901" on the front and "FELIZ ANO NUEVO" on the reverse.


It is almost certain they were produced by the South American Bank Not Company in Buenos Aires.




There are two values, a 2c brownish carmine (earliest reported date of use - 29 December 1900)and 4c deep green (earliest reported date of use - 1 January 1901.) Both cards exist with a line perforation as well as a comb perforation. They are said to exist on cream, buff, straw, and deep yellow stock although it is not known if both perforation varieties exist on all colors.


According to the 10 July 1901 issue of the Illustriertes Briefmarken Journal they list the 2c on "rotlich-sδmisch"(reddish-buff) and "rahmfarbig" (cream) and the 4c on "rahmfarbig" (cream), "grόnlich-gelb" (greenish-yellow), "gelb" (yellow), and "sδmisch" (buff). The Weekly Philatelic Era of March 16, 1901 listed them as being on cream, yellow and buff for the 2c, and on pale yellow, yellow and buff for the 4c.



Die proofs in six colors are listed in the 1947 Kneitschel catalog although in error as being essays for the 1888-91 adhesive issues.



A major variety recently found by Brian Moorhouse is the 2c with the design of the 4c in blue with a background frame and text in orange on the reverse.




C) Envelopes



It is known that in 1853/54 when Francisco Solano Lopez was in France he had some essays produced for postage stamps.  Although they were never used for postage stamps the design was utilized on the paper money of the 1860's.




This design is also known on envelopes although I doubt they were ever issued.  I have examples in green on white wove paper and white laid paper.  I understand they also exist in blue and orange.


It is not known if these were produced in the 1850's-60's or at a later date, i.e., after the War of the Triple Alliance.



In 1879 Roberto Lange produce an adhesive issue for Paraguay. The original printing was denominated in Reales instead of Centavos and was thus rejected by the government.  A new printing in the correct values was then produced.



Apparently a request for postal stationery was made with the original request as the 1879 10 Reales, in black, is known on an envelope.  It is on white wove paper and the envelope measures 110mm x 87mm.  It, like the adhesives, probably was never issued.





Also known is a 5 centavos rose pink on white envelope, 112mm x 73mm.  Although in the corrected currency it does not appear to have been issued.



1887 Issue



Paraguay issued its first postal stationery envelopes in March 1887 according to a notice in the September issue of Le Timbre-Poste. The earliest reported date of use is 19 February 1888.




It is a 5c light blue on cream laid paper, 152mm x 83xx.  The quantity issued is not known.


I am not aware of any proofs or essays.



The envelope is known with the "oficial" handstamp in violet and the comments in the letter card section apply here also.



1892 Issue



On 12 October 1892 Paraguay issued its first commemorative postal item in honor of the 400th Anniversary of the Discovery of America by Columbus.




The 5c envelope of 1887 was used and a special 15c indicia was handstamped on it in black.


The government found 3642 copies of the 5c envelope in the General Post Office and another 7000 in safe keeping at the Banco Agricola, so 8000 were printed and they all sold.


The envelope was valid only one day - 12 October 1892 - and most were cancelled to order.  A wild speculation took place and according to C. J. Phillips the following prices were paid for the item till the bubble burst.



October 12………………$0.50

October 14………………$3.00

October 16……...……….$4.50

October 18………...…….$5.00

October 22………………$6.00

October 24………………$7.00

October 26………..……$12.00

October 28………….….$25.00

October 30……….…….$35.00

November 1……………$45.00


Prices dropped rapidly after November 1st.




In the December 31, 1892 issue of the American Journal of Philately there appeared a translation of the decree for the envelope and so I am reproducing it here.


"General Director of Posts and Telegraphs


In order to celebrate fittingly the fourth Centenary of the discover of America on the 12th of October of this year, a discovery which the American people commemorate as a

Transcendental feat, and in accordance with the resolution of the Government, arrived yesterday, the Director General of Posts and Telegraphs HAS RESOLVED:


Article 1.  On the above-mentioned day there shall be placed in circulation a special stamp and a special envelope of 5 centavos, surcharged, of the value of 20 centavos.


Article II.  The stamps spoken of in Article I are printed on white paper with blue ink and bear the expressed value of 10 centavos in white with the bust of Candido Bareiro, the ex-president of the Republic, and the following inscription in brown ink "1492-12 de Octubre-1892".


Article III.  The envelopes shall be those which are now in circulation, of the value of 5 centavos, and shall bear another stamp in black ink, which shall express by means of the surcharge, the 15 centavos additional and shall bear the bust of Columbus and the following inscription:  "Republica del Paraguay-Colon-15 centavos-12 de Octubre-1492-1892".


Article IV.  Those who desire to purchase some of these stamps, whether for collections or for prepaying their correspondence, can obtain them only on that one day at the postoffice, which, for this purpose, will remain open from 5a.m. until 7 p.m.


Article V.  No more than 10 envelopes shall be sold to any one person.


Article VI.  The stamps of 10 centavos may be sold in any quantity asked for.


Article VII.  For the convenience of the public a special office shall be at its disposal to cancel the stamps with cancellation marks of the day, which gives complete authenticity to those who desire it.


Article VIII.  The stamps and envelopes of the issue of Octover 12th shall circulate for postage only on that day.


Article IX.  The remainder of this extraordinary issue shall be destroyed on the 13th of October at the General Postoffice, at 9 a.m. in the presence of the Director General and General Accountant of the Nation and the President of the Banco Agricola.


This shall be communicated to all who may inquire in regard to it.


Asuncion, Oct. 11th, 1892


        Angel de Pena

        Director General of Posts and Telegraphs

        Blas Garay, Secretary



Regarding the issue of postal values of October 12th, we are requested to publish the following:


On October 13th, 1892:  at 7 a.m. I presented myself at the Banco Agrocola for the purpose of carrying into effect the regulations made for the distribution of the postage stamps of 10 centavos, with the bust of President Bareiro, which were placed in circulation yesterday, according to the Government Decree of the 10th inst.  The President and Director General of said bank being present, they proceeded to the case which contained the stamps equal to $34,500.00 which, with the sum of $5,500.00 the equivalent of 55,000 stamps as certified to as having been sold by the General Direction of Posts, making a total of 400,000 stamps or $40,000.00 which was the quantity sent to the post office in accordance with receipt No. 4, of the 29th of September, 1892. I also received for inspection the stamp which was used for the above mentioned issues, with the inscription "1492 12 de Octubre 1892." At the request of the President of said bank, I issue this certificate under above date at the office of the Auditor General of the Nation.


     (signed) M. Viveros

     General Accountant and Auditor, pro-tem.

Copied in the corresponding book.

      (signed) I. Ocampos, Bookeeper."



This envelope postally used is extremely rare as most copies were cancelled to order and never went through the postal service. Beware of these CTO items later filled in with an address and offered as postally used.



All items of Paraguay postal Stationery are much scarcer postally used than mint.  This envelope is the only exception, as only one unused copy is known to me.




1896 Issue





Sometime in 1896 a 5 c dull violet on cream laid paper envelope, 148mm x 82mm, was issued.  The earliest reference I have found is the 3 September 1896 issue of Mekeel's which notes it as being on buff laid paper.  The 19 September 1896 issue of the Illustriertes Briefmarken Journal notes it as being on cream laid paper. The earliest reported date of use is 28 January 1897.


I do not know the quantity issued.


Essays and Proofs are known for the adhesive issue of this design and may well apply to the envelopes.


I am not aware of any varieties.




Probably at the same time the 10c blue on cream laid, 148mm x 82mm, was issued in an unknown quantity.  Again Mekeels notes this as being on a white laid paper in their 10 September 1896 issue. The earliest reported use is unknown day in September 1896.


Supposedly in September 1900 a Prussian blue shade of this envelope appeared.  I have never seen this.



1929 Issue.




Sometime in 1929 a 1.50Peso dull violet on white wove envelope, 154mm x 126mm, was issued.  It was issued without (ERU - 22 February 1929) and with a "c" (for rural)(ERU - 24 July 1928!) [Issue date of 1929 may be in error] overprint.  I do not know the quantities issued for either.


Without "c"




The envelope is a white wove with a gray network pattern printed on the inside.


It MAY exist with gray crossed wavy lines, or a black network pattern on the inside, but I have not seen either of these.


With "c"




This envelope is known with gray crossed wavy lines or a black network pattern printed on the inside and MAY also exist with the gray network pattern on the inside.


Proofs of the 1.50P indicia are known for the adhesive of this value and may apply to the envelope.



1931 Issue


In 1931, exact date unknown, the 1929 issue without a "c" was reissued in an unknown quantity. However, I have seen a commercial usage on 3 March 1928! The distinguishing difference is a four-word footnote in lower left "Talleres de Valores Oficiales."  The inside has the gray network pattern.



D) Air Letter Envelope



According to the "World Catalog of Air Letter Sheets", an air letter envelope for ministerial Services was issued in 1960.


It is said to be on white paper, tinted blue inside, and has a border of red and blue lozenges.  At left are the "National Coat of Arms", "Sender" and a blue legend in English, French and German.


At present I do no know anything else about this item.




E) Wrapper






In March 1887 according to the September 1887 issue of Le Timbre Poste, Paraguay issued a 2c carmine on buff wrapper, 236mm x 160mm. The earliest reported date of use is 5 June 1887.


I do not know the quantity issued, nor am I aware of any varieties.



Like the letter cards and envelope, this item is known with the violet "oficial" handstamp.  The comments in the letter card section apply here as well.





I would like to hear from other Collectors of Paraguay who could add or correct any information presented here.

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