Thursday, January 19, 2006

Brazil stamp booklets

Brazil has issued stamp booklets only sporadically, and Scott catalog listings do not identify them all in a clear and consistent way. The most interesting ones to me are the earlier ones, the 22 different booklets issued from 1908 through 1990, so I'll comment mostly on those in this note. Only the first three of these first 22 booklets have panes that can be identified when separated from the booklet; the other 19 were made up by hand from sheet margin blocks of ordinary stamps, and can be distinguished only as entire booklets. Booklet panes of the first three, issued in 1908, are listed by Scott as Brazil numbers 176a, 177b and 178a. Both the booklet panes and the intact booklets are scarce and seldom come on the market, because only 25,000 of each of these three booklets was produced. However, a complete set of these three booklets was sold on eBay on Dec. 26, 2005; not surprisingly, the three wound up being sold for a healthy price of slightly more than US$600.00

The 4th and 5th booklets were issued in 1928; one of them is noted in the most recent editions of Scott catalog in a footnote after Brazil number 257, made up of one pane each from Scott Brazil numbers 241, 243, 247, 249 and 251; the other is very similar, but includes a pane of 278 instead of 247. These booklets are very scarce in any condition, and copies that have survived without getting battered or acquiring tropical staining are rare. I can only speculate about what the market price of these would be, but I doubt that even a copy with significant tropical staining would cost much less than US$1000.00. (Quantity issued is unknown.)

No further booklets were issued until 1971-1972; during these two years 15 different booklets were issued, made up variously from the definitives with Scott numbers 1039, 1063, 1064, 1065, 1216 and 1251. These were not a success with the public, but although they are quite scarce, they are readily available at retail from dealers in Brazil for what I consider to be rather fancy prices -- roughly US$80.00 apiece to $400.00 apiece, depending on which booklet it is. (Quatities issued unknown.)

In 1989 and 1990 Brazil's postal service tried again, with two slightly different booklets made up from Scott # 2218. (Quantities issued unknown.) These also flopped with the public, but can be bought at retail from dealers in Brazil for maybe US$400.00 apiece.

After these various attempts, Brazil's postal authorities finally, in the 1990s, found subjects and formats for booklets that the public liked, and an increasing number of increasingly popular boolets have been issued. Two changes accounted for the increasing popularity of booklets. First, starting in 1991, was the introduction of booklets with more interesting stamps; the first of these was made up with 6 se-tenant pairs of the "Rock in Rio" commemoratives Scott # 2298-99. Second, starting in 1997, was the introduction of self-adhesive definitives in minisheets designed specifically to be folded into booklet form; these include Scott 2655-59, 2698-2702 and 2826 (all noted in Scott as being issued in booklet form), as well as Scott 2772 (not specifically noted by Scott as being a booklet). All the booklets issued from 1991 on are readily available and not expensive. However, although Scott prices the booklet 2772 at the same catalog value used as mint, finding the intact booklet postally used, although possible, is a major challenge.

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