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Postal Stationaries



José Carlos Vasconcellos





The eminent Portuguese philatelist Hernâni Matos rightly states that postal insets are the mother of all philatelic classes (Cf. “Postal Insets: the Mother of All Classes.” In: Philatelic Convention, nº 2, Póvoa de Varzim, March 2002; “Slowly if it goes a long way.” In: A Filatelia Brasileira, nº 11. Belo Horizonte: FEFIBRA, July 2009, p. 66-72).

In fact, even from a chronological point of view, they were born before the seal itself. Its origins go back many years before the creation of the "Penny Black", in England, as true postcards were already the famous "Sardinian Horses", from 1818, and the "Mulready Envelopes", from England itself, which preceded the issue of the world's first stamp, in 1840 (Cf. VASCONCELLOS, José Carlos. “The First Letter-Tickets of Brazil: 130 Years of History.” In: A Filatelia Brasileira, nº 20. Belo Horizonte: FEFIBRA, Dec. 2013, p .25-26).


More than this purely chronological fact, postcards are the “mother of all classes” due to the enormous wealth and multiple possibilities that their collection offers: thanks to their “completeness”, these pieces – which carry, in the same body, the printed stamp, the address space and the message sent – ​​can be, for example, relevant sources of study and research in Postal History. When circulated, an entire postcard can provide a wealth of information about routes, locations, agencies and postal services, as well as perpetuating the record of a historical fact.


Furthermore, this type of piece offers all the possibilities for study and research that are required in the most traditional sectors of philately. How many varieties and curiosities can be found in the entire postcards! They manifest themselves in a multitude of defects and printing flaws, for example, as well as in thought-provoking research into variations in paper size and weight. And that is not to mention the truly “detective” work that can be the search for essays, proofs and “specimens” of entire postcards, which, in many cases, are great rarities.


And what is, in short, an entire postcard?


The traditionally accepted concept to define postal integers is as follows: “postal material that bears both the pre-printed official stamp and a design or inscription indicating that a specific face value corresponding to a postal rate has been previously paid”. On the Internet page of the FIP Postal Service Commission, you can find the definition in English: “Postal stationery comprises postal matter which either bears an officially authorized pre-printed stamp or device or inscription indicating that a specific rate of postage or related service has been prepaid” (Cf. “Stationery is…”, in: ).

The formula remains in use today, for example, in Christmas aerograms.



Postal integers come in many different shapes, each with its own characteristics. This is how it is around the world, and the same is repeated in Brazil.


a) Envelopes


The first form of postal integer that we issued were envelopes containing the fixed stamp that had already been printed, indicating the amount of postage, so that there was no need, in principle, to affix the stamp, except to supplement the rate applicable to the shipment. These envelopes were authorized by art. 30 of Decree No. 3,443, dated 04.12.1865, and put into circulation on 07.03.1867 (Cf. MEYER, Peter. Encyclopedic Catalog of Stamps and Postal History of Brazil. São Paulo: Ed. RHM, 1999, p. 238-239 ).


There were three issues during the Empire: in 1867, 1872 and 1889, always in the values ​​of 100 (with a green fixed stamp), 200 (black fixed stamp) and 300 réis (red fixed stamp), with variations in the format and type of role employed. All were printed by the American Bank Note Co., of New York. After the proclamation of the Republic, Brazil continued to issue this type of postcard.


b) Postal Tickets


Next came the postcards. According to an important study by José Francisco de Paula Sobrinho and Roberto João Eissler, “the Postal Ticket was created by Decree No. 7695, dated 4.28.1880, with the values ​​of 50 and 80 réis; Decree No. 7841, dated 10.06.1880, created the 20 réis, which was, however, abolished by Decree No. 9.912-A, dated" (SOBRINHO, José Francisco de Paula, EISSLER, Roberto João. "Brazil: Postal Rates from 1888 to 1946 – Part II.” In: Mosaico, nº 24. Belo Horizonte: Câmara Brasileira de Filatelia, December 1998, p.


The postcard is "a card 12 to 14 cm wide by 8 to 9 cm high, 2 to 5 grams in weight, with the label - Postal Ticket - stamped on the face for the address, and the fixed stamp being stamped. reverse side for the text of the correspondence”.


Also according to Decree No. 9912-A, dated 3/26/888, “post cards were charged at a rate of 40 réis for singles and 80 réis for doubles, or with a paid reply; they should be laid bare and not rolled up or stuffed in envelopes or wrapped in such a way as to hide part of their surface or to modify the overt nature of this kind of correspondence”.


The ostentation and brevity of the message are what characterize correspondence through postcards, and it is exactly these characteristics that have always justified the cheaper postage in relation to regular letters. Also according to the study by José Francisco de Paula Sobrinho and Roberto João Eissler, “except for adhesive stamps and a label printed or manufactured by any other mechanical process, stamp or seal indicating the sender's name, residence, social name , quality and profession, it is not allowed to attach paper or any other substance to postcards in order to increase the space for the text, nor to add samples of any kind to them. Postcards that do not meet the above conditions are taxed as unfranchised letters and subject to this treatment”.


Since the imperial period, postcards could be presented in two forms: (a) simple tickets, which only allowed the sending of the message; (b) double tickets, which already carried a prepaid ticket for the reply (so that the sender himself paid both fees, for his own message sending and for the postage of his recipient's reply). Thus, in the case of double postcards, there were two cards together, coupled, one for the “question” – the sender's original message – and the other for the recipient's “answer”.



Double postcards, when they have actually circulated, without being “highlighted” by their recipients, are special pieces, much more rare compared to new pieces and even in relation to simple circulated tickets.


Even rarer are the double tickets, which kept the “question” and the “answer” cards, both attached after the play was circulated. In other words: the sender sent the double note to the recipient, with its “question” message; the recipient, in turn, wrote his “answer” in the same piece, sending it back to the sender without highlighting the “question” side, thus keeping the double note intact and with both sides correctly circled. It is, thus, “two-way” pieces: they “went” and “returned”. And this happened very few times (since the recipient's natural behavior was to highlight the side of the “question” and send his “answer”, loose, back to the sender).


Double ticket, also issued in 1889, Dom Pedro II “White Beard”, with both sides (“question” and “answer”) circled. The piece was initially sent from Rio de Janeiro (April 13, 1893, see stamp on the lower card) to São Paulo, where the message was answered on the upper card and sent back to Rio on April 14, 1893, without separating. if the cards.

As can be seen, the sector of postcards can represent a great and instigating challenge for the philatelist, in terms of variety, curiosities and even rarity, as there are real jewels of Brazilian philately among the integers.


With this name, the postcard had a relatively short life: as of 06.01.1934, it was replaced by the “postcard”, which survives to this day. The “urban postcard” was also created, with a rate of 100 réis for the single and 200 réis for the double. However, during the period of its existence, the production of postcards in Brazil was fertile, with several issues (in the Empire and in the Republic) that allowed the philatelist to study very rich and varied.


c) Ticket letters


The letter-ticket was created in Brazil by Notice No. 28, dated 2.13.1883, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce and Public Works. It is "a card, the dimensions of which cannot exceed 12 to 14 cm in width over 18 to 20 cm in height, with a fixed postage stamp, so that it can be folded in half and closed by the margins, intended to receive in the internal side the text of the correspondence and on one of the external side the name of the recipient and the place of destination; its weight will not exceed 15 grams”. Here, it is important to register the pioneering spirit of Brazil, which was the second country in the world to adopt letters-tickets, preceded only by Belgium (which issued its “Carte-Lettre” in 1882).


It is in the letter-ticket chapter that some of the great rarities of this sector of Brazilian philately can be found, such as the pieces illustrated below.



Precursor letter-ticket sent to Belgium, in 1883. The only known piece of this issue, circulated abroad, addressed to philatelist JB Moens, the first publisher of stamp catalogs in the world.























Note-letter for private use by the Director General of Posts (1883). In place of the fixed seal, the inscription

"Directorate General of Posts - Office of the Director".


The letter-tickets were issued in Brazil from 1883 to the end of the 1930s, forming a true “closed” collection, with little more than one hundred basic types.


d) Straps


The fourth and last form of entire postcard introduced in Brazil at the time of the Empire were straps. As well as the envelopes, they had already been created by art. 30 of Decree No. 3,443, dated 04.12.1865, but only came to be regulated by the edict of 12.15.188, entering into circulation in 1889.

Printed by the American Bank Note Co., of New York, they were intended for sending newspapers, periodicals and printed matter in general – which were literally “tied up” by the straps, which surrounded them. The face values ​​of the straps were 20, 40 and 60 reis, expressed in fixed stamps similar to those on the envelopes, with the profile of Dom Pedro II.

A first series was issued on 01.02.1889, with the values ​​written – certainly by ABN's mistake – in Spanish: “veinte”, “cuarenta” and “sesenta” réis. Despite this language error, there are copies circulated. Shortly after, in May of the same year, 1889, the ribbons with the correct text, in Portuguese, came into circulation.


40 réis strap, from 1889, with the text of the stamp fixed in Portuguese.


The straps were used in Brazil from the Empire to the republican period, dating the last issues to 1934.


e) Other formulas


In addition to the above modalities – and sometimes as variants or derivatives of them – other forms of postal integers were issued in Brazil.

Letter-tickets, for example, had “pneumatic” modalities, that is, for specific use in the so-called pneumatic mail that operated in Rio de Janeiro, for express mail, from 1911 to the end of the 1930s. They are very special pieces in this sector. of philately, and rare when circulated.

In 1925, envelopes, letter-tickets and ribbons were employed at the so-called Rowland Hill Services, which were an advertising service authorized by the Brandão, Goulart & Cia. company, which could print advertisements on entire postcards. These are very interesting pieces – and some are especially rare – and which are even of undeniable historical value: they perpetuated the memory of countless companies, brands, hotels, commercial and industrial establishments of all kinds, some of which still exist today, but modernized, of course (such as Chrysler cars), others already vanished in the dust of time.

The historical aspect also comes to light when we talk about the entire postcards that were issued during the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, by the Revolutionary Government based in São Paulo. These are postcards and envelopes intended for the use of soldiers on campaign, which remain an important and inexhaustible source of research on that historical fact. Even new, these pieces are interesting to demonstrate, through the illustrations and texts printed on them, the spirit of that revolution. When used, then, they are true primary sources, because they help to reconstruct the history of the constitutionalist movement in São Paulo and Mato Grosso.

Noteworthy are also the envelopes for remittance of values, created by art. 44 of Law 2,841, of 12.31.1913. They were issued from 1914 to 1951, on a wide range of paper types.



One of the most important goals of FEBRAF's Postal Service Commission is to promote this philatelic class in Brazil, guiding, as much as possible, the formation of new collections, as well as the development and improvement of existing collections.


From the outset, it is necessary to clarify that the purpose is not only to “arrange exhibitors”, but to help encourage philatelists to dedicate themselves to this form of collecting, even if they have no intention of exhibiting. As in all sectors of philately, the decision to start exhibiting a collection of entire postcards should be a natural consequence of previous research, study, collection and selection of pieces, etc. The life of philately, of course, is not restricted to the exhibition environment.

In fact, it is possible to develop a collection of integers in a very similar way to other types of philatelic collecting: by country, historical period, type of issue, etc. During Brasiliana 2013, for example, two collections of postcards from Brazil were exhibited, organized according to different criteria: Postcards from Empire Brazil (including envelopes, postcards, letter-tickets and ribbons issued in the country in that period, prior to the proclamation of the Republic) and Belts of Brazil (specialized in this form of postal letter, covering all belts issued in the country, from the Empire to the Republic).

The collector's creativity and taste have a wide spectrum of freedom to choose the type of collection.


And, of course, the collector's “pocket” will also be important to guide the collection. Here, as with the other philatelic classes, it is perfectly possible to build a good collection with modest resources. Sometimes, a certain not so “expensive” issue can lead to a beautiful and fascinating research work! See, for example, how passionate the collection of different types of framing can be in certain postcards of the Empire (such as the BP-12, of 50 réis). And they have a relatively modest catalog value...


Once the choice is made for the type of collection, and a significant amount of pieces has been compiled and organized, the philatelist can think about putting it together for exhibition purposes. Currently, the class of postcards is quite developed, and practically all the great exhibitions of stamps in the world (national and international) have a wing dedicated to them, almost always assorted with important and very interesting collections.


And in the assembly of the entire pieces aimed at the exhibitions, creativity must play a part. Today there is a relative consensus in the sense that excessively “orthodox”, “hard” or “static” assemblies should be avoided. For example, on a sheet on which you intend to display three postcards, it would in principle not be recommended to place the three pieces aligned vertically, one exactly above the other (which would be tiring for the viewer, especially when there are several sheets with similar elements on dimensions and colors). More pleasing to the eye is to “unfind them”, lining up one to the left, another one below more to the right and then the last one going back to the left.


This will not always be possible. In the whole sector, there are large pieces that will often occupy an entire exhibition sheet by themselves (when in A4 format). The collector must then develop their creativity to make a creative, attractive, harmonious assembly that does not fall into monotony. And this can be an exciting challenge.

Explanatory texts – in fact, as in all philatelic classes – should be as concise, clear and direct as possible.

To guide the philatelist, there are today on the Internet several “sites” with veritable “virtual exhibitions”, which present the digitized sheets of important collections. Some are real lessons for the collector. The excellent official FIAF postcard page, in charge of Mr. Arturo Ferrer Zavala, is a must-visit for anyone dedicated to this philatelic class: the website, in addition to numerous texts of great interest on the subject, it still has many “on line” collections, which can be an excellent source of research and inspiration for collectors.

Among other valuable examples, the FEFIBRA – Federation of Philatelists of Brazil page also has a very useful “on line” exhibition, displaying the collection of a frame (16 sheets) of Disney aerograms, assembled by philatelist Reinaldo Estêvão de Macedo, a of the greatest authorities on entire postcards in Brazil. Just visit the “link” to view the collection and see that a serious work of philatelic research can be developed with pieces from all eras, including modern ones.

Finally, it is hoped that this modest text has been able to present, in general lines, the fantastic world of entire postcards, stimulating the emergence and development of new collections and studies in this sector. Emphasis was given to emissions from Brazil, but, of course, all countries in the world can offer a rich and varied research work.

Little by little, more subsidies will be made available on the FEBRAF website to support research on entire postcards, and we remain open to receiving suggestions and contributions in this regard.

Get to work!

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