The philately of Spain breaks down into three main phases. The Nineteenth Century stamps are more of a distinct specialty than they are in most countries stamps because there are so many of them and so many are rare. There are nearly 300 face and denomination different stamps to 1900 not counting varieties and while many are easy to find, nearly twenty sell for $1000 or more. No other European country has anywhere near the number of different nineteenth century postage stamps that Spain does and the reason is forgeries. Unlike other European countries, throughout the Nineteenth Century, Spain had an inefficient central government and postal forgeries were a problem. The vast majority of forgeries that collectors worry about from most countries were actually produced long after the stamps themselves were issued, and were created to satisfy collector demand. This is not the case with Spain, whose officials felt it necessary to change their postage stamps every year or so to prevent forgeries defrauding the government of revenue. Twentieth Century Spanish philately is an entire field of its own with many rarities especially among airmails and souvenir sheets. But perhaps the world’s most interesting twentieth century philately is the period of the Spanish Civil War. Comprising thousands of issues, these stamps are divided between the stamps that Scott list as regular Spanish issues, the stamps that Scott lists as Regional issues, and the vast majority that Scott doesn’t list at all. Despite its brutality, the Spanish Civil War has been romanticized by modern culture (perhaps because Hemingway wrote about it). Years ago, Spanish philately was a neglected corner to which philatelists seeking lots of study and bang for their buck would gravitate but in the last twenty years while becoming mainstream, it has lost none of its interest.

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