Bolivia Obligatory Tax Stamps :
1940s Train & Posthorn : A Study

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1944 SG 430+432, Mi. Z.3/4, Scott RA 3/4, Yvert B.3/4
1947/48 SG 469-72, Mi. Z.5-8, Scott RA 5-8, Yvert B.5-8

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It has always been less fashionable to study stamps printed by lithography and little interest is usually shown in Obligatory Tax stamps. Add to that the fact that Bolivia is not a country blessed with ample philatelic literature and an article on these stamps would rather appear to be ' bucking the trend '.

These stamps are not at all common in multiples, which would normally make any study of them extremely difficult. Having had the good fortune to acquire at least two complete mint sheets of each value, and such things must be most uncommon now, it seemed a good moment to study them.

The first two values, issued in 1944, differ in design from the 1947 issue in several respects. The most obvious is the much larger posthorn on the two 1944 values and that the return address on the back of the envelope is in three lines ( as opposed to two lines in the 1947/48 values ). 1944/45 design on the left below, 1947/48 on the right.

T4 v1 T4 v1 .

All six were issued to provide support for workers in the communications industries, which, to judge from the design of the stamps, included workers on the railways and in telecommunications. I do not have any information on the use of these particular stamps, but Obligatory Tax stamps are typically required to be used in addition to the normal postage rates, perhaps for a short continuous period, or on one day of each week or on a particular class of mail.

All values were printed in sheets of 100 ( 10 x 10 ) with no marginal markings at all. All are denominated 10c and each stamp had a different issue date, not one of which, it seems, has ever been properly recorded. ( If you know better, please let me know! ). In listing the varieties below, I have allocated my own numbers T 3-8 for the basic Tax stamps and then numbered any varieties in the order in which they appear in the sheet. To give an example, Position 18 is the eighth stamp in the second row.

General note about varieties : Over-inking and poor printing led to many examples on the 1947/48 values having joined letters in the top inscription in the words REPUBLICA and BOLIVIA, particularly affecting the base of the letter 'I'. No attempt has been made to list these.

Illustrations: Illustrations have been provided for all the listed varieties in each value, even where similar, since, in some cases, greater wear of the printing plate is evident in later printings. I have not identified the individual images below; they are above the descriptions and in exactly the same order as the text.

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The 1944/45 ' Large Posthorn ' values ( 2 ): SG 430+432, Mi. Z.3/4, Scott RA 3/4, Yvert B.3/4

The 10c rose-red ( issued : SG, Michel and Scott 1944, Yvert imprecise ) Line Perf 10, large holes. .

T3 v1 .

T 3 [ . . . ] 10c Rose-red (no illustration)
T 3 v1 [ . . . ] Cab door of locomotive displays the letter ' S ' ( Position 18 )

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The 10c blue ( issued : SG December 1944, Michel and Scott 1945, Yvert imprecise ) Line Perf 10, large holes. .

T4 v1 T4 v2 T4 v3 T4 v4 .

T 4 [ . . . ] 10c Blue (no illustration)
T 4 v1 [ . . . ] Pipe leading up from first driving wheel ( fourth wheel of locomotive ) ( Position 11 )
T 4 v2 [ . . . ] Second ' O ' of ' COMUNICACIONES ' with thin tail, thus resembling a ' Q ' ( Posn. 41 )
T 4 v3 [ . . . ] Telegraph lines to the right of telegraph pole vertically linked ( Posn. 53 )
T 4 v4 [ . . . ] Distinct break in smoke above the locomotive tender ( Posn. 68 )

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The 1947/48 ' Small Posthorn ' values ( 4 ): SG 469-72, Mi. Z.5-8, Scott RA 5-8, Yvert B.5-8
General note about varieties on the 1947/48 isues : Over-inking and poor printing led to many examples on the 1947/48 values having joined letters in the top inscription in the words REPUBLICA and BOLIVIA, particularly affecting the base of the letter ' I '. No attempt has been made to list these.

The 10c carmine-red ( issued : SG, Michel and Scott 1947, Yvert imprecise ) Line Perf 10, large holes.

T5 v1 T5 v1a T5 v2 T4 v3 .

T 5 [ . . . ] 10c Carmine-red (no illustration)
T 5 v1 [ . . . ] Door in the van on the train (Posns. 1, 21, 41 ,61, 81, 6, 26, 46 , 66 , 86 )
T 5 v1a [ . . . ] Door in van + second ' I ' in ' JUBILACIONES ' extended upwards to frame ( Posn. 81 ) Only found on part of the printing.
T 5 v2 [ . . . ] Fractured first driving wheel on locomotive ( fourth wheel of loco ) ( Posn. 30 )
T 5 v3 [ . . . ] Red spot on first hill above the back of the locomotive tender ( Posn 57 )

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The 10c Orange-yellow ( issued : SG, Michel and Scott 1948, Yvert imprecise ) Line Perf 10, large holes. .

T6 v1 T6 v2 T6 v3 T6 v4 T6 v5 .

T 6 [ . . . ] 10c Orange-yellow (no illustration)
T 6 v1 [ . . . ] White line above 1st and 2nd driving wheels of locomotive ( 4th and 5th wheels of loco ) ( Posn. 9 )
T 6 v2 [ . . . ] Pipe hanging in front of 2nd driving wheel ( 5th wheel of the locomotive ) ( Posn. 20 )
T 6 v3 [ . . . ] ' N ' of ' JUBILACIONES ' joined to frame line above ( Posn. 24 ). Only found on part of the printing.
T 6 v4 [ . . . ] Defective printing ( ink marks ) on ' A DE J ' in bottom inscription. ( Posn. 69* )
T 6 v5 [ . . . ] Centre bar of ' E ' of ' DE ' extended towards the head of ' J ' of 'JUBILACIONES ' ( Posn. 99 )
* Such ink run is common on the carmine-red stamps but this is the only stamp in the yellow sheet so affected.

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The 10c Green ( issued : SG, Michel and Scott 1948, Yvert imprecise ) Line Perf 10, large holes. .

T7 v1 T7 v2 T7 v3 T7 v4 T7 v5 T7 v6 .

T 7 [ . . . ] 10c Green (no illustration)
T 7 v1 [ . . . ] Door in the van on the train ( Posns. 6, 26, 41, 61 )
T 7 v2 [ . . . ] ' A ' of ' CASA ' joined to first ' O ' of ' COMUNICACIONES ' ( Posn. 13 )
T 7 v3 [ . . . ] Railway van with break in roof ( Posn. 40 ).
T 7 v4 [ . . . ] Very short first downstroke of ' N ' of ' UNIDAS ' in printer's imprint ( Posn. 51 )
T 7 v5 [ . . . ] ' I ' of ' LITO ' in printer's imprint heavily defective. ( Posn 79 )
T 7 v6 [ . . . ] Line of shading at top left of locomotive tender defective / missing ( Posn. 98 )

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The 10c Yellow-brown ( issued : SG November 1948, Michel and Scott 1948, Yvert imprecise ) Line Perf 10, medium sized holes. .

T8 v1 T8 v2 T8 v3 T8 v4 T8 v5 .

T8 v6 T8 v6 T8 v7 T8 v8 T8 v9 .

T8 v10 T8 v11 T8 v12 T8 v13 .

(Note: There is a variety numbered 5a, when you are counting across the scans to look for a particular variety.)
T 8 [ . . . ] 10c Yellowish-brown (no illustration)
T 8 v1 [ . . . ] Door in the van on the train ( Posns. 6, 26, 41, 61 )
T 8 v2 [ . . . ] Two small windows in van to the right of the telegraph pole ( Posn. 10 )
T 8 v3 [ . . . ] ' A ' of ' CASA ' joined to first ' O ' of ' COMUNICACIONES ' ( Posn. 13 )
T 8 v4 [ . . . ] Second wheel on locomotive missing ( Posn. 35 )
T 8 v5 [ . . . ] Railway van with break in roof ( Posn. 40 ).
T 7 v5a [ . . . ] Very short first downstroke of ' N ' of ' UNIDAS ' in printer's imprint ( Posn. 51 )
T 8 v6 [ . . . ] Large round window in the cab of the locomotive ( sunburst ) ( Posn. 67 )
T 8 v7 [ . . . ] Three dots at bottom right after ' COMUNICACIONES ' very weak ( Posn. 71 ) Only found on part of the printing.
T 8 v8 [ . . . ] Tender almost solid colour ( Posn. 73, almost as significant in Posns. 43 and 49 )
T 8 v9 [ . . . ] Three dots at bottom left, before ' DE ', are very faint ( Posn. 76 )
T 8 v10 [ . . . ] ' I ' of ' LITO ' in printer's imprint heavily defective. ( Posn 79 )
T 8 v11 [ . . . ] Break in frame-line above ' L ' of ' LA ' in printer's imprint. ( Posn 81)
T 8 v12 [ . . . ] Damaged telegraph pole ( Posn. 85 )
T 8 v13 [ . . . ] Line of shading at top left of locomotive tender defective / missing ( Posn. 98 )

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Summary of the 1947 / 48 values.
Based on the sheets studied, the pattern of varieties would suggest that the plate used for the 10c Orange-yellow was unique to that value, whilst the 10c yellow-brown was produced from the same plate as the 10c Green, with the plate becoming progressively worn.
The 10c carmine-red has a certain mystery about it. It shares the ' Door in the van of the train ' variety with the green and yellow-brown stamps, and in the same sheet positions, yet it has ADDITIONAL examples of this variety. The Green and Yellow-brown sheets, which were almost certainly printed later, do not appear to have been ' retouched ', so how were their plates constructed? .

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