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Argentinian interference with mail

from the Falkland Islands


by Ralph Riddell-Carre



Argentina has never recognised British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and the 1933 centenary stamps issued to commemorate one hundred years of unbroken occupation of the Falkland Islands provoked a storm of protest in Argentina. Following on from this, the Argentine authorities resolved that correspondence entering Argentina bearing centenary stamps was to be viewed as not stamped and postage due should be collected equal to double the postage payable on such a letter in Argentina plus a fine which at that time amounted to $0.20.


The legislation dictating the amount of the fine is updated regularly and at that time was contained in the Boletin de Correos y Telegraphos dated 21 February 1931. A rough translation of the relevant article from this twenty page long bulletin reads as follows:-


By decree of 14 February 1931 on postal rates a fine for insufficient postage will be;

Article 10 - For letters and other postal items posted unpaid or with insufficient postage, a uniform fine of $0.30 (thirty centavos) will be charged, without prejudice to the surcharges established by Article 11 of the Law of Rates in force.


Any letter from the Falkland Islands after 1933 could be viewed as not stamped even though under international rules the correct postage had been paid. In these circumstances it would be treated as unpaid and double the postage due and the $0.30 fine would be charged. Collection of this surcharge was the responsibility of the delivery postman.


As Argentina argued that ‘the Malvinas’ were a part (province) of Argentina the postage due was arrived at using the domestic letter rates which were: -

              $0.10 for the first 20 grammes

              $0.05 for every additional 10 grammes or part thereof

              $0.20 for a certificado (registered) letter


The surcharges most frequently seen are $0.50 on ordinary mail and $0.90 on registered mail. So for ordinary mail double the $0.10 postage ($0.20) plus a $0.30 fine, a total of $0.50 and for registered mail double the $0.10 postage and the $0.20 certificado charge ($0.60) plus a $0.30 fine, a total of $0.90.


Although this non recognition of Falkland Islands stamps by Argentina was brought about by the centenary issue it continued, off and on, for many years thereafter and one of the covers in my collection is a 1935 example franked by a 1935 Silver Jubilee 2½d stamp.

This cover is interesting because it has a multitude of Argentinean markings on the reverse of the envelope it having journeyed from Buenos Aires to Bahia Blanca, a city on the coast some three hundred miles south west of Buenos Aires.  The letter is addressed to the Brazilian consulate in Bahia Blanca. It is franked by a 1935 Silver Jubilee 2½d stamp, the correct rate for a foreign letter in 1935, cancelled by a PS.1B ?? AU 35 date stamp.

Looking at the reverse there is a hand written note in Spanish ’50. Recibido con timbres sin valor’ initialled and with an arrow pointing to the rectangular boxed to pay instructional cachet.

In English this note reads ’50. Received with stamps without value’. The 50 identifies the charge that is to be collected.


There are a succession of arrival and instructional date stamps, many of which are timed. They start with Buenos Aires 7. 9. 935. 10 (am) Argentina which has been applied twice, then Bahia Blanca Sep 8 11.30 (am) 1935, next Bahia Blanca - C - 9 SEP 1935 and finally Cargo - Dto 21º B.A. - R. ARGENTINA 9 SET 11AM 1935.


There is rectangular boxed ‘Á COBRAR $050 M/N DISTRITO XXI’ which is likely to have been applied in Bahia Blanca and a diamond boxed 792 being the identification number of the post office delivery man who would have been responsible for collecting the $0.50 postage due.


Finally there is a machine cancellation which appears to be promoting public libraries. It reads ‘Las bibliotecas populares continuan la obra de la escuela primaria’ which translates to ‘The public libraries continue the work of the primary school.’


The centenary issue examples are relatively common and likely to be philatelic but later examples are scarcer and often commercial mail.


RR-C – October 2017

Some previous articles are available as PDF's by clicking their titles below:



    “Ceylon Circuit" - Some postmarks of Ceylon

    "Variety Values" - Bruce Davies's campaign to secure values for used examples of varieties

    "Fragmented Fiji" - Some postmarks of Fiji

    "Absentee Rupee" - The Mauritius 1 rupee as a stranger to postal rates

    "Postal Usage of the Egypt Seal" - Nick Levinge looks at the Crowned Circles of the forces bases

    "Over Fifty Shades" - Something wrong with the colour?

    "Ghana Guide" - Some postmarks of Gold Coast

    "Vanuatu Voyage?- A look at Hong Kong used in New Hebrides

    Surfing the Solomon Sea” - The few operating post offices in the Solomon Islands

    “Security Punch” - A look at the Jubilee’s perfins by Jeff Turnbull

    “Morocco Now and Then” - A tour of the British post offices in Morocco

    “Fault lines of the Falklands” - Part two of Ralph Riddell-Carre’s analysis

    “Straddling the Straits” - Some postmarks of the Straits Settlements

    “Set and Match” - Can full set covers be non-philatelic?

    “Boating around The Bahamas” - Some postmarks of The Bahamas

    “Serial Salutes” - Some of the Silver Jubilee’s own anniversaries

    “Mauritius Meanderings” - Some postmarks of Mauritius

    “A Cat among the Penguins” - A suspect Falklands cancel

    “Cycling Cyprus” - Some postmarks of Cyprus

    “Scars of Conflict” - How the Jubilees were affected by war

    “Bech Trek” - Some postmarks of Bechuanaland Protectorate

    “Specimen Specifics” - A look at the various uses of the word SPECIMEN

    “Hong Kong Hike” - Some postmarks of Hong Kong

    “Aden Funnel” - Covers from and through Aden

    “Grenada Guide” - Some postmarks of Grenada

    “In The Frame” - A look at some frame plate flaws

    “Basuto Byways” - Some postmarks of Basutoland

    “Cyprus Cypher” - Chris Georgallis examines the colony’s Madame Joseph forged postmarks

    “Trinidad Tour” - Some postmarks of Trinidad & Tobago

    “Commercial Ceylon” - A look at the perfins of the colony

    “Guiana Panorama” - Some less common British Guiana postmarks

    “Where were they then?” - From the more recent stamp-issuing territories

    “Cautious Mauritius” - A variety of Mauritius perfins

    “Madame Joseph’s Masquerades” - Some examples of forged first day covers

    “Tag Wrestling” - A look at the higher postal rates through parcel labels

    “AR” - An article on Avis de Reception by David Handelman

    “The Fleury Flair” - Hugo Fleury’s designs for the Jubilee

    “Split the Difference” - Some occurrences of bisects among the Jubilees

    “Specimen Fundamentals” - Notes on U.P.U. requirements & some forged examples

    “Windsor Spoofs” - Gerald King’s alternative Jubilees

    “Puncturing Oz” - Some speculations about Australian perfins

    “Perforating the Silver Jubilee Stamps”- An article on GB by Harvey Russell

    “Nauru’s Split Personality”  - Split “B” variety on the 2d value?

    “In Camel’s Clothing” - The Egyptian seal’s booklet

    “Rural Disservice” - The Cyprus low value forgeries

    “Canadian Precancels” - The only precancel involvement with the Jubilee

    “Phoenix-like Sphinx” - Some notes about the Egyptian seal

    “Fag Tax” - Observations on South West Africa’s cigarette duty overprints

    “From the collection of...” - Jubilee items from some illustrious collectors

    “Prize-less Specimens” - Beware of forged specimen stamps

    “Dubious Jubilees” - Spoofs, parodies and bogus overprints