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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Argentina Bolivia Chile Columbia Costa Rica Cuba Dominican Rep. Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala
Argentina Bolivia Chile Colombia Costa Rica Cuba Dominican Rep. Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala
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Honduras Mexico Morocco Nicaraguao Panama Paraguay Peru Philippines Puerto Rico Uruguay Venezuela
Honduras Mexico Morocco Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Philippines Puerto Rico Uruguay Venezuela


They appear to have got off to a rather unfortunate start.
About 1876, THE WEST COAST OF AMERICA TELEGRAPH COMPANY had a cable laid between Valparaiso (Chile) and Lima with landings at La Serena, Caldera, Antofogasta, Iquique, Arica and Mollendo.
At the time Antofogasta was Bolivian, while Iquique and Arica belonged to Peru.
According to Historia-de-Las-Telecomunicaciones-en-Bolivia Liger de Libessart who, on behalf of the Telegraph Society, made the first proposal to the Government to build a telegraph line at their own risk to join the main cities of the country. Later, the first telegraphic lines were from Antofagasta to Caracoles, property of the mining industrialist D. Marco Antonio Andrade.

The War of the Pacific (1879-83) changed all that. Antofogasta has since belonged to Chile, along with all the rest of its coastal territory. The first public telegraph offices opened in 1881 in La Paz, Desaguadero and Puerto Pérez, La Paz. Humberto Villanue invented communication systems called Duplex and Triplex, with which traffic was streamlined, since three operators could simultaneously transmit on the same line. Víllanue entered as a telegraph messenger in Cochabamba, at the age of 11.

A 1917 telegram of All America Cables lists their stations in Bolivia as being in Corocoro, La Paz and Oruro.

In 1920 there was a successful strike by telegraphists the city of Sucre demanding payment of their salaries, delayed by more than 6 months. June 19 has since been celebrated as the "Telegraph Day".
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Bolivia Map

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1906 Printed by the American Bank Note Co. White wove paper. No watermark. Perf 12


Bolivian set - first 4
Bolivian set - last 3
#1 showing the known stamps of the set as specimens.


Hisc. Type. Description Mint Used
H1 1 1c yellow 25.00 -
H2 1 2c scarlet 25.00 -
H3 1 5c indigo 25.00 -
H4 1 10c blue 25.00 -
H5 1 20c orange 25.00 -
H6 1 50c rose-carmine 25.00 -
H7 1 1B green 25.00 -
H8 1 2B ? - -
H9 1 5B ? - -

Prices for punctured specimens as illustrated. Normal mint are unknown.
Some of these appear to have ended up overprinted for Tobacco Tax purposes as shown below, however I have
seen no trace of H8 or H9 in any form. Not even the colours are known.

Hiscocks wrote 'I have provisionally assumed that the set followed the general pattern of Bolivian postage stamp values of the time and that Forbin was correct in
refering to them as "Telegraph Stamps of 1906" although I suspect they may have been earlier.'
There is therefore no evidence that the 2B and 5B values ever existed.

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Collectors may wish to include copies overprinted for fiscal purposes in their collections, as I
                do myself, for want of copies without overprint. In my experience even these are quite rare.


Fisc-1 Fisc-2 Fisc-3 Fisc-6 Fisc-7
1906 - The set up to the 10c, plus 50c are known overprinted 'Tabacos' in red or blue. Forbin lists only the 1c and 2c as numbers 15 and 16   -   Images courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.


Fisc-4 Fisc-5
1908 - The 10c and 50c are known additionally overprinted
'Transacciones / 2 Centavos' in black (Forbin 30 and 31).
Images courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

As I understand it, these were never issued without overprints, and none above 50c were issued at all.


Telegraph Seals.

There is currently (June 2014) on Delcampe, an Exhibition collection of telegrams sent (primarily) during the Chaco war.
Communications were very important at this time and a number of different telegraph seals were used.
Some examples are shown below, courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe).

Simple red seal  Simple red seal - reconstruction
Simple red seal, courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe) and my reconstruction.


Block of 4 seals.

Block of 4 x Uruguay seals
Image courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe).


Perforated dark green seal  Perforated dark green seal - reconstruction
Perforated dark green and red seal (1935) with La Paz imprint, courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe) and my reconstruction.


Perforated light green seal  Perforated light green seal - reconstruction
Imperf. green seal (1934-7), courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe) and my reconstruction.


Part-perforated red seal   Part-perforated red seal  Part-perforated red seal - reconstruction
Part-perf. red seal (1934), no apparent imprint, courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe) and my (attempted) reconstruction.


Radiogram with seal  Part-perforated seal - reconstruction
Radiogram with part-perf seal (1937), courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe) and my reconstruction.


Radiogram with seal
Radiogram with half a seal used as a seal (1934), courtesy of Marcelo Trejomovich (Corpmet on Delcampe).

Steve Hiscocks made a start on cataloguing seals of the world in a book he published in 2007.
It was his hope to update it later, but unfortunately that was not to be.
His original book can be viewed at Telegraph Seals: A World Catalogue. There are links from the pages to my updates.

Alternatively you can view the latest page for Bolivia.




Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.

Contact:     Emale

Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


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Last updated 1st. Aug. 2018

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16/17/18 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.


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