By the mid-1940s, Paraguay was printing a lot of stamps. Many of them were very attractive, engraved by renowned British printers such as Thomas de la Rue.
Among them is a set of 10 stamps — five regular issues (Scott 442-446) and five airmails (C163-C167) — with a portrait of Mariscal (marshal) Francisco Solano Lopez, president of Paraguay from 1862 until his death in 1870.
The 10 stamps were all issued May 15, 1947.
Solano Lopez is widely regarded as being responsible for the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (in which he was killed), which pitted Paraguay against the combined might of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
The stamps were printed by Thomas de la Rue and issued both imperforate and perf 12, though the imperforate stamps were not regularly issued.
The designs of the regular and airmail stamps differ in some details. Most obviously, the denominations are placed in each of the bottom corners on the regular stamps, and in the upper corners in a white field on the airmails.
The regular stamps were issued in denominations of 1 centavo (purple), 2c (orange red), 5c (green), 15c (ultramarine) and 50c (dark green).
The airmail stamps are 32c (carmine lake), 64c (orange brown), 1 guarani (Prussian green), 5g (Prussian green frame with brown violet portrait) and 10g (dark carmine rose frame with dark yellow green portrait).
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Except for the lowest denominations, the stamps are not as easy to find as you might suppose.
The 1c, 2c and 5c stamps are readily available in mint condition. They must have been packet material. Anything above the 5c stamp is much scarcer, mint or used.
Used examples of the airmail issues are not so easily available, either. The airmail stamps were printed in quantities of 300,000 of the 32c; 100,000 of the 64c; 50,000 of the 1g; 30,000 of the 5g; and 20,000 of the 10g.
A recent review of three popular online auction sites revealed no full sets on offer, and none at all of the 10g airmail stamps. A major retail stamp website came up empty for either single stamps or complete sets, surely a measure of limited demand.
There is little call for the Solano Lopez issues, so they should not be that expensive — if you can find them at all.
Similarly, these stamps are not common on cover. They were used from 1947 to 1950, usually in conjunction with other stamps. Any denomination above 32c on cover is unusual, and solo usages are quite scarce.
Mark this down as another set of low-value common stamps that is actually difficult to find.
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