Friday, April 25, 2008

Argentina's Stunning Polar Year Stamp

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The years 2007 through 2009 were declared as the fourth International Polar Year (IPY), a time of vigorous scientific study of the polar regions. The first IPY was held in 1882-1883, and the second was held 50 years later in 1932-1933. In 1957-1958, the International Geophysical Year was held, which expanded upon the IPY's goals. The 125th anniversary of the first IPY was in 2007, when the fourth IPY was started.

There have been many countries honoring the 2007 International Polar Year with commemorative stamps and miniature sheets. Many of those stamps recognize the Arctic regions, but Argentina has produced a beautiful souvenir sheet recognizing Antarctica and their claimed land.

Argentina has claimed a triangular segment of Antarctica from 25° West and 74° West and extending to 60° South latitude. Parts of this area is counter-claimed by Chile and the United Kingdom. At present, there are no efforts underway to settle or enforce the claims.

This Argentine souvenir sheet offers a beautiful map of the Antarctic continent. The sheet contains one triangular stamp, highlighting the segment of Antarctica that Argentina claims, and a triangular label that is not valid for postage. The stamp is denominated as 4 Argentinian pesos ($4 ARS) which is equivalent to about $1.25 in U.S. dollars.

This souvenir sheet is a must-have for cartophilatelists, those who collect maps on stamps.

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