Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guinea-Bissau (1997)

Date of issue: August 31st, 1997
Name of issue: Animais Venenosos (Venomous animals)
Number of arachnid related stamps in issue: 2/8

At last! This is it, the Holy Grail of arachnid stamps. This is by far the most difficult to find arachnid stamp series. I think it has to do with civil unrest leading to civil war in this period (1997-1999).

I have been looking for this series for at least three years, almost every day on different auction sites. I used to think it was impossible to find, and every stamp dealers I had contacted pretty much told me it was next to impossible. So a word of advice, if you are serious about collecting arachnid stamps and you ever see this series for sale, do not pass on it, as you might never see it again!

I first discovered this series because there was an enveloppe for sale on e-bay with two out of the four stamps of the "Venomous Animals" series. Because I do not normally collect used stamps and mostly because the series was not complete, I passed on it. I thought it should not be long before I find it again. Little did I know that this would be a mistake I would regret for several years!

I had the idea to contact a Portuguese stamps dealer since Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony. The problem is that I could not find any, until recently. And sure enough, he had the stamps for sale. Because I like to collect full sheets as well, I almost not dared ask him if he had complete sheets. I could not believe that he did actually have a complete sheet of each sub-series (venomous animals and endangered animals).

As a bonus, the series also contains a centipede. So here it is, not the most amazing artwork, but they are sure nice, specially when you have waited so long to get a glimpse of them!

Michel #: 1252
Scott #: 996a
order: Scorpiones
family: Scorpionidae
Pandinus imperator (C. L. Koch, 1841)

Michel #: 1255
Scott #: 996d
order: Araneae
family: Lycosidae
Lycosa tarantula (Linnaeus, 1758)
*Lycosa tarentula (spelling mistake on stamp)

Complete sheets:

Other stamps of this series:

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