World Stamps

Stamp Market Tips: This overprinted Panama stamp is a good buy

Apr 28, 2021, 10 AM

Panama — The histories of Panama and the United States are closely linked.

Until 1903, Panama was a department of Colombia. But American desire to dig a canal connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Gulf of Mexico gave the impetus needed for Panamanian independence. Once the canal was built, American strategic interests ensured a continuing U.S. presence in Panamanian affairs.

Americans and Panamanians worked side-by-side in the Canal Zone during the period of U.S. administration. In 1989, the United States intervened and deposed Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Noriega after he lost the presidential election but refused to step down.

The Canal Zone reverted to Panamanian control on Jan. 1, 2000.

Given the close connections between the two countries, Panama is a popular country with many American collectors.

In 1934, Panama created airmail stamps by overprinting existing stocks of the 20-centavo dark brown Bicycle Messenger special delivery stamps (Scott E4) issued in 1929. The stamps were overprinted “Correo Aereo” in red (C17) or black (C17A).

The 2015 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values the stamp overprinted in black at $100 in unused hinged condition, and $55 in used condition.
This is a difficult stamp to find, and it is a good buy at 80 percent to 90 percent of Scott catalog value if you see it offered.

A Linn’s editor did not find this week’s recommended stamps on

Tip of the week

United States — Paid postal reply cards were created to enable a postal patron to send a postcard with a reply card attached, so that the recipient didn’t have to pay for postage to respond.

The cards were sold unsevered. The user addressed the sender’s card and mailed the unsevered pair to the recipient. The recipient could then sever the cards and use the reply card to respond. The first U.S. paid postal reply card was issued in 1892.

On March 6, 1985, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 14¢+14¢ Charles Carroll paid postal reply card inscribed “USA.” An error exists with one of the cards blank (Scott UY36a).

The 2015 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the mint unsevered error pair at $425 with the value in italics. The United Postal Stationery Society notes that only one example is known.

Daniel F. Kelleher offered one of these unsevered mint error paid postal reply cards in the Jan. 28-30 auction. It was hammered down for a whopping $5,310.

This postal stationery item is well worth searching for.

As they were not printed one at a time, other examples of this error must exist. There are discoveries out there waiting to be made by collectors who know what to look for. — H.G. & R.M.