The Eva Peron Stamp: To Mark Or Not To Mark!

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A look at the conundrum faced by the Post Office in Argentina on whether or not to add a postmark to a stamp featuring Eva Peron.

It was in the year of 1946 that Argentina's President, Juan Peron, nationalised the then British-owned postal service in his country (British style red mail boxes are still in evidence in Argentina). President Peron's Ministry Of Public Services created the National Postal and Telegraph Entity, which was responsible for the production of all the country's stamps, on behalf of the Post Office!

Six years later, in 1952, Eva Peron, the wife of President Peron of Argentina, sadly died of cancer. Her husband, as a mark of respect, ordered the National Postal and Telegraph Entity to create, and for the Post Office to, issue a series of stamps in her memory. Each stamp in the series was to have a portrait of Eva Peron on them. It was a gesture of genuine warmth from President Peron, but he then went and spoiled it somewhat!

President Peron, perhaps with the best of intentions, issued orders that when the stamps were stamped with the postmark at any Post Office that the postmark must not in any way disfigure the face of his late wife's face. This raised an issue almost immediately as the whole reason for a postmark is to make sure the stamp is not taken off an envelope and used again - with the stamp bearing the profile of Eva Peron, it would be near enough impossible to stamp the stamps with a postmark and avoid the profile.

The Argentinian Post Office were faced with a dillema. They could chose to postmark the stamps as they would do normally but that could anger President Peron, or they could adhere to the President's wishes but run the risk of losing money from people who, because of no postmark, used the stamps again (and again, and again). They were stuck between a rock and a hard place!

The solution for the Argentinian Post Office was something of a compromise. They decided to postmark the stamps, not over the profile of Eva Peron, but just enough to still mark the stamp so it couldn't be used. As can be evidenced by the following image:

(Image Source)

However, there are plenty of Eva Peron stamps still in existence that have a postmark bang smack in the middle of Eva Peron's profile. Perhaps the people who stamped those stamps suffered from a bad aim, but maybe, just maybe, it was their own little way of making some kind of political statement!

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Posted on Nov 17, 2011