Spanish separatist stamps
From late 19th Century, separatist tensions in several regions of Spain arose, having their peak during the Spanish civil war. These ideas were very strong in Catalonia and Euskadi, but also Valencia, Aragón, Galicia, Balearic Islands and Navarra saw their own separatist or, at least, regionalist movements. The mail, which was the cheapest and most used way of communication among individuals, was a right place to spread political ideas, and separatist movements saw a chance for their propaganda there. This is why, as early as 1899, Catalan separatist organizations like Unió Catalanista printed several sets of propaganda labels, the last series being printed during the civil war, in 1937.
Valencia, Aragón, Balearic Islands, Galicia, Euskadi and Navarra were not so prolific in their separatist label issues, and their stamp adventure lasted only one year, as in most cases, their first and last issues are from 1900. Navarra, Galicia and Euskadi stamps were printed in Barcelona, so it is dubious if they were ever used in those regions.
But undoubtedly, this kind of political propaganda labels are the precursor of the well known Spanish civil war political labels. During the war both sides used local labels as war tax stamps, mandatory as a surcharge for outcoming correspondence from the towns that issued those war tax stamps. Also, many political organizations, trade unions, military units, charities and other organized groups issued their own stamps, intended to rise funds for their organizations. These labels were not mandatory on correpondence and their use was voluntary. None of the previous types was ever intended to be postage stamps.
We include the Spanish separatist stamps in our sale catalogue and auctions because it is commonly accepted that they are collateral to the civil war issues. While the war issues have up to date catalogs by Julio Allepuz and published by Edifil, there is only a listing of Spanish separatist stamps written in 1976 by S. Nathan and published by the Spanish Philatelic Bookclub (No 8). Since then no other work has been published studying these stamps, but Mr. Allepuz has included those separatist issues printed during the civil war in his Spanish civil war stamp catalogs.
S. Nathan states in the introducton of his catalogue: "It is not pretended that this listing is complete. Omissions, there are certain to be of types and assuredly of colours. It is hoped that the omissions will be minimal, the author having waited many years to finalise this listing". And he was right. Practically no new types have been discovered since he published his work, and only some varieties should be added to his list.
He finished his introduction with these words: "Undeniably, the Iberian peninsula has never failed to present the world with a backcloth of history that could be described only as passionate. It will be fascinating exercise to watch future events in this astonishing country". And he was right, amost visionary, since separatist tensions arose again in 2010, specialy in Catalonia, including its 2017 failed declaration of independence.