World Stamps

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Stamp market tip of the week: Colombia Red Cross local postal tax stamp

September 15, 2015 11:49 AM

  • It pays to keep your eyes open while sorting through lots and collections. This unprepossessing Medellin, Colombia, nondenominated (5-centavo) Red Cross local postal tax stamp recently sold for more than $200 in an online auction.

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Postal tax stamps are similar to semipostal stamps in that some or all of the proceeds from their sale goes to a charitable cause.

They differ from semipostals stamps in that their use is mandatory for stated classes of mail for a set period. All mail in the class posted during that time period must carry the prescribed postal tax stamp.

The Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue lists and values postal tax stamps issued and required nationally. It does not generally list local postal tax stamps, which were only required for mailing in a specific city, region or state.

A large number of local postal tax stamps have been issued by Spain, several Latin American countries, several Balkan nations, and others. Specialized catalogs for specific countries often list and value them.

Many local postal tax stamps can clearly be identified as such from the designs and inscriptions. Others may look like nondescript cinderella labels or seals.

Recently, a nondenominated (5-centavo) Medellin, Colombia, Red Cross local postal tax stamp, which looks like a nonpostal cinderella label, sold for more than $200 in an online auction.

The stamp is listed in the specialized Catalogo Leo Temprano: Estampillas de Colombia as No. CR1a.

We doubt that more than one collector in 10,000 has ever seen or heard of this local postal tax stamp. It pays to keep your eyes open when you sort through odd lots and old collections. Amazing discoveries are waiting to be made.