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Post Office Postal Stationery Wrappers of Chile


Post Office Postal Stationery Wrappers of Chile
by : Dr John K. Courtis, acapjajc@friends.cityu.edu.hk

Two post office postal stationery newspaper wrappers were issued in 1900: 2 cent carmine and 20 cent black "La república" facing left and these are shown as Illustration 1.  They were printed by Waterlow & Sons with three-lined text to meet both domestic and international needs.

The author’s computer-based image library comprises about 26,500 different worldwide used post office postal stationery wrappers.  These images have been collected on a daily basis since September 2003 mostly from eBay listings.  There are 101 images of Chile wrappers out of this total, or a survival rate approaching 1:263 of extant worldwide wrappers.  Expressed another way, the wrappers of Chile have appeared for sale on eBay at a listing rate of ten per year.  The purpose of the paper is to review features of the extant wrappers that have appeared in the last decade on eBay as well as sales transactions.

Illustration 1a: Post Office Postal Stationery Wrappers of Chile
Illustration 1b: Ultramar Marking on E2 of Chile

The reader is reminded that this is an eBay study.  Other wrappers of Chile would have appeared for sale on other Internet sites as well as sold by the traditional auction houses, bourses and dealers.  Collectors with information about listings and sales from these other sources are invited to share their knowledge to develop more robust information about this area of postal stationery.

Extant Wrappers
There were 73 examples of E1 and 28 examples of E2 recorded in the database.  Perhaps the most remarkable observation was the diversity of country destinations covering 21 countries.  There were ten domestic Chilean addresses for E1 and 15 for E2.  For E1, the non-Chilean addresses were: Germany (15), Argentina (12), USA and Belgium (4 each), Paraguay, Switzerland and France (3 each), Holland and England (2 each), and Italy, Brazil, Singapore, Austria, Uruguay, Panama, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Egypt, Japan and Russia (1 each).  The addresses of three wrappers could not be read.  For E2, the non-Chilean destinations were Germany (7) and Argentina, USA and France (2 each).  There was one registered wrapper for E1 and 19 for E2.  There were 13 uprated wrappers of E1 but only one of E2.

For the postal historian, postal stationery and country collector there were a number of wrappers bearing private printing or merchant or other marks and these are shown as Illustration 2.  The Casa de Novedads private printing wrapper is tȇte-bȇche to the imprint.

Illustration 2: Private Printing on Wrappers of Chile


Wrappers bearing private printing are sought after by collectors for their exhibit appeal and there were five types recorded, the most frequently listed being the newspaper masthead “El Mercurio” with eight examples, and one example each of La Lei; Memorial del Estado Mayor Jeneral; La Casa de Novedades and Casa Muzard.  (There were two other examples of La Lei handstamps in purple).  Another category of postal history usage is registered.  For E1 there was one wrapper bearing the etiquette: Santiago Certificado Ciudad 47293 and another with the registration etiquette Valparaiso 12779.  For E2 there were 14 examples of registration pre-addressed to Ernesto Parade, Casilla 1664, Santiago and three examples to others.  For the record the registration details are: Valparaiso 2 – 2942, 2947, 2977, 3007, 3011, 3023, 4011, 4017, 4024, 4076 and one unreadable; Valparaiso 3 – 246 and 247; and Santiago – 04650, 10813, 10827 and 22223.

Via Markings
From time-to-time manuscript direction will be offered to the Post Office by the sender as to the desired routing and some examples of this appear as Illustration 3.  Four different Via routing instructions were seen: Via Andes to Argentina, Via Magàllanes to Argentina (also to Germany), Via Cordillera to Germany and Via Panama to Germany.  There is no evidence to suggest that these directional routes were not followed, but likewise there is no corroborating evidence that these routes were in fact adopted.  Unlike letters with transit markings, it is very unusual to find wrappers bearing transit markings that verify the manuscript directional routing.  Postal historians have not yet documented the proven routing of bulky newspapers which were likely sent by the cheapest and not inevitably fastest route.  Nevertheless the collectability of wrappers so marked provides scope for interesting research and write-up.

Illustration 3: Via Routings Annotated on Wrapper

Sales Transactions
The author’s database of eBay sales transactions collected daily from March 2006 until the present shows 35 sales transactions occurred during this period.  There were 20 sales of E1 and 15 of E2.  Table 1 summarizes the sales by post office type from low to high realized prices and the number of different bidders involved in each transaction.  For E1 the lowest price was USD1.31 with two different bidders while the highest price was $80.00 with four bidders for the sole example of the registered wrapper.  (Note that number of bidders is not the same as number of bids which is normally higher).  E2 prices range from $6.62 with three bidders to $79 with four bidders.  The average number of bidders is lower for E1 and marginally higher for E2 than for sales of wrappers of other countries which typically average around 2.5.  The price variability is interesting and reflects the scarcity of the different newspaper mastheads and other information printed on these wrappers as shown in Illustration 2.  There is no record in the author’s databases that the sole appearance of the Ultramar E2 wrapper was sold.
Table 1: eBay Sales Transactions of Chile Wrappers (2006-2013)


Sales Details (Ranked Low to High)
& Number of Bidders per Sale

# of Sales

Mean Sale Price

Mean # of Bidders

1 1.31 (2); 1.46 (2); 3.00 (1); 3.99 (1); 5.00 (1); 6.00 (1); 6.00 (2); 6.50 (1); 7.00 (1); 7.50 (1); 7.75 (1); 7.99 (1); 9.00 (1); 9.99 (1); 9.99 (1);  11.61 (3); 15.50 (3); 24.99 (1); 34.00 (2); 80.00 (4) 20 16.37 1.55
2 6.62 (3); 9.00 (1); 9.50 (1); 11.50 (5); 11.59 (3); 13.00 (4); 13.09 (2); 13.53 (4); 15.00 (1); 19.95 (1); 27.00 (4); 32.00 (4); 35.00 (2); 52.00 (2); 79.00 (4) 15 23.18 2.8
  Overall total/means 35 19.29 2.08

Over the past decade 101 different used copies of Chilean E1 (73) and E2 (28) wrappers have appeared for sale on the Internet auction site eBay.  Based on the overall size of the database this is a listing rate of 1:363 for E1 and 1:946 for E2.  Expressed another way, a copy of E1 appears on the market approximately every six weeks, and a copy of E2 about every four months or so.  However, the 12 examples of wrappers bearing private printing appear much less frequently, on average about every ten months.

In some ways the wrappers are unremarkable in that there are no examples of postage due, no airmail etiquettes, no Cinderella labels, no auxiliary marks, and no census or consulate handstamps.  However, apart from the 12 examples bearing private printing, there is a rich trove of registered wrappers, probably more on a “per capita” basis than any other postal entity studied by the author.  There are also diverse destinations with 21 countries noted, enough scope for the postal historian to compile interesting route maps.

The sales database does not coincide exactly with the full time period of the image database, but still covers more than seven years of transactions.  There were 20 sales recorded of E1 at an average realized price of $16.37 but with an astonishing range of $1.31 to $80 due to differences in condition, desirability and features.  There were 15 sales of E2 at an average realized price of $23.18 and a range of $6.62 to $79.00.  Collector interest in the wrappers of Chile averages at 1.55 bidders for E1 and 2.8 bidders for E2.
My sincere thanks to Allan Gory for reading and commenting on an earlier draft.


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