Monday, December 26, 2005

Scarce Brazil stamps you might find

Many scarce Brazil stamps are not well known, so if you get an old collection or accumulation, look for them; you might find an unnoticed scarce variety, perhaps even a valuable one. This note provides a short partial list of these, selected because they require no special knowledge to recognize; with each description is an estimate of what a dealer in Brazil would charge for one at discounted retail if one was available to sell.

First, two recently discovered definitive rarities, one from the 1920s, one from the 1930s. The 80 reis greenish blue definitive of 1922, Scott design type A79, was only known unwatermarked until a few years ago. Then a few years ago copies were noticed watermarked with Scott Wmk. 100; these have been found both unused and used. It it almost a certainty that other watermarked copies exist out there somewhere, unrecognized. If a dealer in Brazil had one for sale, either unused or used, it would be priced at roughly US$3000.00. You just might find one lurking in a collection or accumulation you buy or already have; it's worth looking. The other, discovered even more recently, is a new major variety of the 10,000 reis of the same definitive series. This was first issued in 1928, with the country name spelled "Brasil", on paper with Scott Wmk. 101; then subsequent printings with the country name spelled "Brazil" were produced in about 1934 on paper with Scott Wmk. 236 and in 1938 with Scott wmk. 249. These three are Scott numbers 285, 404 and 460, respectively. In the early 1990s a stamp looking just like Scott 404, Wmk. 236, but with the country name spelled "Brasil" was discovered. I don't know of any used copies, although they may well exist, but both perforated and imperforate unused copies have been found. No imperforate copies have been sold that I know of, but a dealer in Brazil who had a perforated unused copy for sale would price it at about US$2500.00. Again, there are almost certain to be other copies unrecognized out there somewhere; keep your eyes peeled.

The typographed 100 reis of 1890 Scott 102, is fairly common, but it comes with three different perforations; the commonest is perf. 13 or close to that; almost as common are copies perf. a compound of 13 and 11. Copies perf. 11 are quite scarce, and sell in Brazil for about US$150.00 used, much more unused. Most collectors outside Brazil don't know this, so it's worth checking the perfs of every copy of Brazil Scott 102 you run across. Conversely, whenever you see a copy of Scott 155, 156, 157 or 158, check the perfs. These exist with perfs. a compound of 13 and 11, but are scarce with these compound perfs, and are priced at US$100.00 or more per copy by Brazilian dealers.

Unnoted by Scott, the 50 reis green of 1906, Scott #175, exists wth papermaker's watermark. It's rare with wmk., worth a few hundred dollars unused or used; exactly how much depends on which papermaker's watermark and how much of that shows on the stamp.

The 5000 reis of Scott type A89 with Wmk. 221 is not listed by Scott, because the editors of Scott's catalog decided some years ago that it wasn't "regularly issued." But it exists not only unused but postally used, and a lucky US collector found a postally used copy a few years ago. Keep your eyes open for this one; it retails for about US$2000.00 in Brazil. For the same reason, Scott doesn't list the 1941 airmail overprint C47 with wmk. 249, but that also exists both unused and postally used, and is worth perhaps US$1500.00 at retail in Brazil, either used or unused.

The definitive issues of 1941 to 1953 include many "sleeper" varieties; I'll just mention one group of these. Scott notes that this issue occurs with and without three vertical green lines on the back of the stamp. What Scott doesn't mention is that almost all copies of Scott 541-553, wmk. 245, have the three green lines on the back, except for the 20 reis, Scott 541, which is reasonably common without the lines. But at least the 100, 200, 5000, 10000 and 20000 reis with this wmk, Scott 543, 544 and 550-552, are also known to exist without the green lines on the back, and (depending on which of them it is) retail for US$100.00 to US$2500.00 in Brazil. These can show up even in "junk" mixtures because they're so little known, even though they are exceedingly scarce. It's worth looking for them.

There are literally hundreds of varieties of Brazil's stamps that are not listed in Scott (although if they were US stamps they would be listed), including a few that are face-different from any listed stamp. Most are not nearly as valuable as those mentioned above, athough some are worth significant money. Many are known to specialists, but new discoveries crop up fairly regularly. The more one learns about the stamps of Brazil, the more likely one is to spot something scarce that hadn't been recognized by previous owners, or something previously unknown. It's great fun. In a future note in this series, I'll offer a few anecdotes to make this point.

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