Colombia Stamps

What Can Be Done: Colombian philately is the jewel of Latin American philately. The nineteenth century stamps have an allure like few others. They combine both primitiveness and beauty, and almost all are scarce and hard to find yet fairly modest in price. The classic imperfs are highly prized, but it is the later nineteenth century with its many printing varieties, shades, and perforation varieties that attracts many collectors. The twentieth century has many beautiful and interesting sets. The airmails are a world unto themselves. Colombia’s mountainous terrain made airmails extremely popular at the very earliest period in Colombia. The officially listed airmails are wonderful, and the privately issued SCADTA airmails are a rich  specialty unto themselves.

Colombia’s rugged topography made for more interesting philately than just its airmails.  During the nineteenth century, communication across the country was difficult, and Colombia’s various Departments (what we would call States) had considerable autonomy. Many even went so far as to issue postage stamps of their own. There are hundreds of different States issues, and they are a fascinating area to collect.

Specialty Catalogs Scott is very good for Colombia and States. People who are new to the hobby aren’t aware of what a wonderful boon to philately it was when Scott began issuing its Classic catalog about twenty years ago. The Classic lists worldwide stamps from 1840-1940, and it does so, for many countries, in a much more specialized way than does the general catalog. Further, the Classic Catalog is a work in progress—rather than just change the prices each year, the editors of Scott add new sections and further flesh out their specialty listings. The SCADTA (the private airmails of Colombia) were added ten or fifteen years ago. These stamps were issued in the 1930s and are overprints on the airmail issues of the time. There are hundreds of varieties and have become a very popular subspecialty of Colombia. The popularity and appeal of specialized Colombia is an example of the importance of good catalogs to our hobby. Accurate and expansive catalogs are what make this hobby great.

Specialty Albums: The Scott Specialty series is very good.

Expense: One of the best reasons to collect Colombian stamps is because of their price point. I don’t know of any other country that has so many scarce and interesting stamps that are so modest in price. Many $50 Colombia stamps are not found from year to year. The issues of the late nineteenth century are profoundly underpriced. And the Colombian States has many seldom seen rarities that sell for comparatively little.

Availability of material: Most of the scarcer stamps of Colombia are very hard to find even though they don’t cost very much. My recommendation is to add a specialized Colombia collection to your general collection or to a US or British collection. You’ll seldom find enough Colombian stamps to make much of a dent in your stamp budget. But when you do, those stamps are your entrée to a wonderful world of interesting philately.

Overall grade: A

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