Nicaragua Collectors' Stamps
Throughout its tumultuous history, Nicaragua has continued to produce attractive stamps, many of which, though difficult to find, don't tend to fetch high prices at auction. For this reason, it's a great country to specialize in if you are a tenacious collector with a strong appreciation for aesthetics, or if you have a more generalized interest in Central or Latin America.
While it's impossible to predict the future market for collectors' Nicaragua stamps, an increasingly strong tourism industry has brought renewed global attention to the country. Whether this translates to more interest in the country's philatelic history or stronger economic indicators in a more general sense remains to be seen. At present, however, Nicaragua makes an interesting study for stamp collectors.
Nicaragua: History and Context
For a long time, Nicaragua had stood as a kind of shorthand for the ill effects of corruption, political unrest and U.S. intervention in Central America. Though it has maintained its independence since 1821, instability has been almost a constant, from the American "Banana War" occupation between 1909 and 1933 to the extended civil war in the ’70s and ’80s between the Sandinistas and the U.S.-backed Contra forces.
Today, Nicaragua enjoys relative stability, though it remains one of the poorest countries in Central America, with low development and little economic mobility. A lack of infrastructure — largely the result of decades of internal conflict — further hampers economic growth.
Nicaragua's Philatelic History
Nicaragua has been issuing its own postage stamps since 1862. Early on, the country entered into a controversial agreement with Nicholas Frederick Seebeck of the Hamilton Bank Note Company, under which stamps were printed for free, provided that, among other conditions, unsold or invalid stamps would be returned to Seeback for sale on the collectors' market. In Nicaragua and other Central American countries, stamps were reissued each year, often in denominations that didn't correspond to actual postage rates.
Needless to say, this arrangement engendered a lot of criticism from the philatelic community and, in 1899 (the year of Seebeck's death), the country ceased producing its annual issues. This effectively stopped the artificial flooding of the market for Nicaraguan collectors' stamps.
Rare Nicaragua Stamps
Putting aside all early controversies, we can appreciate Nicaragua's stamps for their rare beauty and unique designs, many of which forgo portraiture in favor of scenes from the country. Some of the more notable collectors' stamps from Nicaragua include:
- 1898 "Coat of Arms of Republic of Central America": One of the Seebeck issues, this stamp features the coat of arms of the short-lived Republic of Central America, a formal union between Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua that lasted from 1896 to 1898. Testifying to the general quality of the Seebeck era, these stamps are notable for their inconsistent watermarking and paper thickness. Ultimately, your level of interest in these and other Seebeck stamps will be contingent on how deeply you want to delve into the rare stamps of Nicaragua's early period.
- Air post issues: Air mail service was introduced in Nicaragua in 1914. Until 1928, regular issues, overprinted in red, were used in place of a dedicated stamp. From 1929 to 1937, a unique design from the American Bank Note Company was employed, featuring a pair of mail planes flying over Mt. Momotombo.
- 1933 "Banda Raza" issue: This striking design, depicting the raising of the "Flag of the Race," was first issued as a set of 11 in 1933. It was used for both regular and air service.
Start Your Collection at Apfelbaum, Inc.
Apfelbaum, Inc. frequently has Nicaragua collectors' stamps for sale. We can help you find what you need to take your collection to the next level. For more information, keep browsing our website or contact our office directly.