Tuesday, May 20, 2008

First cover from Bolivia

Today I’m glad to show you the first cover I received from Bolivia. I must admit that I have a big number of stamps and covers in my collection, but so far I never got any from this country. I was thrilled when I got it, as you can imagine.The cover is franked with two large stamps that are related to very different subjects. But let’s show first the picture of the cover.

The stamp located on the right side has been issued on the 28th of August 2007. It belong to a set of two stamps, itself belonging to a series of eighteen stamps, all issued in 2007. The subject of this series is “Birds from Bolivia”. The series is made of nine set of two stamps : on set per department. Effectively Bolivia is divided into nine departments : Santa Cruz, La Paz, Tarija, Cochabamba, Pando, Beni, Potosi, Chuquisaca and Oruro. Each set of two stamps has been issued at a different date from the 20th of July until the 28th of August.
The stamp on the cover belongs to the set of stamps issued for the department of Oruro. It pictures a Roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja). This is a bird that can be found in South America, and in the Caribbean area. This pink bird sometimes mixed up with pink flamingo (even though they really look different) is 80cm tall has a wingspan of 120cm. It eats fishes, frogs :-( and all sort of water creatures.The second stamp that was issued in the set of Oruro is the following one.

It pictures a Black necked stilt. Interestingly the stamp mentions the scientific name as Hymantopus mexicanus but it seems it should be Himantopus. I don’t know if this is really an error on the stamp, or if both ways are accepted. I will not show you the complete series of eighteen stamps, don’t worry ;-). If you are interested you can see those stamps on a very interesting website Birds of the world on postage stamps.

Let’s come back to the cover. The stamp located on the left side belongs to a set of three stamps issued on the 21st of September 2006. Here is the complete set.

The subject of this set is the evolution of the flag of Bolivia. The first stamp in the set (the one on the left) pictures the flag at its creation on the 17th of August 1825, shortly after the creation of the republic of Bolivia. At this time the flag was green and dark red, with five ovals formed by laurel and tree branches with a star in the middle. Each star representing a department (at this time there were only five of them). The flag is pictured on the façade of the “Casa de la libertad” located in Sucre.
At this time, people (including government) thought the aspect of this flag did not really reflect what the country was. The laurel branches looked too “European” and not “South American” enough. So on the 25th of July 1826 (less than one year after) a new flag was introduced. This is the subject of the second stamp of the set. This new flag was yellow, red and green and contained the coat of arms in the middle. The flag is again pictured on the façade of the “Casa de la libertad”.

Finally, on the 5th of November 1851 a new version of the flag was chosen : same colour but in a different order : red, yellow and green, with still the coat of arms in the middle (but they had changed in the mean time). Here is a picture of the current coat of arms that is pictured in the centre of the state flag of Bolivia.

This new flag is pictured on the last stamp of the set which is the one on the cover. This time the flag is pictured on the façade of the “Palacio legislativo” located in La Paz and where the senate and the chamber of deputes regularly meet.
To be noted that we often see the flag of Bolivia without the coat of arms included in the middle.

One last remark about the cover : see the large cancel which seems very characteristic of cover from a South American country.

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