Spanish Traditional Costume on Stamps

In the 1960’s, Spain issued two long series of stamps – one was devoted to coats of arms, the second one to traditional costume. What strikes as very unusual in these two collections is the fact that stamps were issued in singles – to the extent to which we can think of the coats of arms series as 57 single stamps and the traditional costume one as a 53 single stamps). Needless to say, the stamps are reunited by common design and a common title. However, being singles, they are harder to assemble now – almost 50 years later, because of the risk of getting too many doubles and not filling out the actual collection.

The traditional costumes we are talking about are all women’s traditional costume and they were issued almost alphabetically (with a few exceptions).

As an instance of imagery, the stamps are telling a story unlike the one of the Spain we know today. It is still here and there colonial(ist) and therefore to the continental design of costume you can also see glimpses of colonial costume (Fernando Poo, Sahara, IFNI). At the same time, the costumes are minutely designed, probably in order to build up local differences, even where they did not exist. It is hard to see the resemblance between instances of attire even from the same region (for instance from Barcelona and Tarragona), and this is because the notion of diversity hijacked the one of authenticity.

However, the entire set is a pleasure to look at. Below you can find the 53 stamps from the series in their order of issue. They were issued between 1967 and 1971.


Row one, left to right: Alavia, Albacete, Alicante, Almeria, Badajoz, Avila, Baleares.


Row two, left to right: Barcelona, Burgos, Caceres, Cadiz, Castellon de la Plana, Ciudad Real, Cordoba.


Row three, left to right: Coruña, Cuenca, Fernando Poo, Gerona, Las Palmas, Granada, Guadalajara.


Row four, left to right: Guipuzcoa, Huelva, Huesca, IFNI, Jaen, Leon, Lerida.


Row five, left to right: Logroño, Lugo, Madrid, Malaga, Murcia, Navarra, Orense.


Row six, left to right: Oviedo, Palencia, Pontevedra, Sahara, Salamanca, Sta. Cruz de Tenerife, Santander.


Row seven, left to right: Segovia, Sevilla, Soria, Tarragona, Teruel, Toledo, Valencia.


Row eight, left to right: Valladolid, Vizcaya, Zamora, Zaragoza.

Stamps featured in post: 53; Period: modern (1967-1971); Pricing: low; Availability: available, rather – but harder to assemble in one lot.

Michel Catalog Numbers: 1662, 1663, 1664, 1681, 1689, 1690, 1691, 1707, 1709, 1719, 1723, 1733, 1734, 1738, 1739, 1754, 1758, 1759, 1764, 1775, 1776, 1781, 1787, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1806, 1811, 1815, 1821, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1839, 1843, 1844, 1845, 1848, 1859, 1862, 1865, 1871, 1878, 1881, 1888, 1901, 1902, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1920, 1927.

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