World Stamps

Brazil’s 1931 semiofficial airmails offer collecting opportunities

Aug 12, 2021, 8 AM
Brazil’s Varig semiofficial airmail stamps are an interesting collecting area for collectors looking to expand their interests.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Brazilian semiofficial airmail stamps are a collecting area ripe for expansion for those looking for something new and interesting to collect.

Four different airlines in Brazil issued semiofficial airmail stamps for prepayment of postage. The first and longest lasting of these airlines, as well as the one that issued the most stamps, is Varig. Varig is an acronym for Viacao Aerea Rio Grandense (Rio Grandean Airways). Founded in 1927, it still exists in an altered form to this day.

The Brazilian government contracted with Varig to establish domestic airmail service, as well as airmail service to Europe and the United States. The airline’s stamps only paid for the airmail service. Brazilian postage stamps were required to pay for the nonairmail portion of the delivery.

Varig issued its first semiofficial airmail stamps in 1927 and continued to issue them through 1934.

A good place to begin a Varig collection is with the set of 10 Varig Logo (Icarus) semiofficial airmail stamps (Scott 3CL13-3CL22) issued April 22, 1931.

The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840 to 1940 values the set at $137.75 in unused, hinged condition and $119.25 in used condition.

The set in very fine grade is a good buy at or near Scott catalog value in both unused, hinged condition and in used condition.

Sets in mint, never-hinged condition bring a premium, but beware of sets that have been regummed.

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