Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A new cover from Argentina

For today's post, I have selected a cover that I received recently from Argentina. I want to share it with you because it was franked with a stamp that triggered my curiosity.
Here is the cover.

The red stamps are part of the definitive series. They were issued in 2000 and picture element of the Mapuche culture.
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They are composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage.
The 2$ stamp pictures a Kultrún, a tribal drum. It can be used in two ways: held in the hand and played with a drum stick or resting on the floor and played with two sticks. In the Mapuche world, the Kultrún represents half of the universe or the world as a semi spherical shape, in the patch are represented the four cardinal points.

The 50c stamp pictures a vertical loom used by women to make clothes. The stamp that triggered my interest is the one located on the far right. It was issued on the 24th of September 2008 in a set picturing sceneries of Argentina. The stamp pictures Mina Clavero a touristic place loacted in the province of Cordoba.

When I saw the stamp I immediatly wondered why there was a large UP in the bottom left corner. After some research I found out that this stamp was part of a category called "Sellos de Unidades Postale" (hence the UP) meaning stamps of postal units. I found out that those stamps are not sold directly by the post of Argentina but by outsourced postal units. I guess it means that you can not find them in post offices, but you can buy them in some shops or boothes.
What I did not understand is why these stamps need to be marked in such a way to be differentiated from the others? Do they have a different postal usage? It does not seem so as they can be mixed with other normal stamps. Anybody knows?

Also to be noticed is the very large circular cancel!

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