World Stamps

Ken Lawrence

Revenue stamps paid postage on 1986 Guyana letter

September 29, 2017 07:00 PM

  • Five 5¢ Guyana revenue stamps prepaid domestic postage on this July 24, 1986, airmail cover from Mabaruma to Georgetown. Though this is technically an improper use, the nation’s economic crisis forced post offices to improvise.

Covering the World — By Ken Lawrence

A shortage of foreign exchange and soaring domestic inflation in the 1980s left Guyana short of postage stamps that traditionally had been purchased from security printers in Europe and North America.

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The postal administration met the emergency as best it could, often by surcharging overstocked supplies of seldom-used postage stamps and revenue stamps, sometimes adding new surcharges to previously surcharged stamps.

Catalog publishers have not been able to verify the full range of issues, so standard Scott, Stanley Gibbons, Michel, and Yvert & Tellier catalogs are less congruent in their listings for Guyana during that era than for any other country. 

One doubts that they will ever achieve uniformity, or that specialists will ever be confident that they have recorded all the stamp varieties actually used.

Even considering those points, the illustrated July 24, 1986, domestic airmail cover from Mabaruma to Georgetown is unusual, being franked with a strip of revenue stamps that had not been surcharged as postage, but nevertheless prepaid the correct letter rate. n