L.A.R. means Libyan Arab Republic. This historical period started in 1969 after the First of September Revolution. Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, was the king of the United Kingdom of Libya from 24.12.1951 until 01.09.1969. The revolutionary officers, led by the 27-year-old Muammar Ghadafi, abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic.
Some collectors asked why some L.A.R. philatelic items are so expensive (especially FDC) compared to the previous Kingdom items, even if catalogues quotations for MNH stamps are more or less "normal".
During the Kingdom period many philatelists were active in Libya: local Libyan philatelists of course, but also local "foreign" philatelists (e.g. Italians and Jewish). In this period we have a wide range, and quite a large quantity, of FDC issued by the Libyan Posts but also by private philatelic agencies, sometime in business with philatelic companies abroad. We have to consider that the philately of Libya was collected in some Countries (e.g. Italy, Great Britain and France) as a continuation of the colonial period. Some catalogues and albums included the Kingdom of Libya as a part of the "colonial section" (e.g. Sassone in Italy).
After the Revolution, two things happaned:
- The most part of local "foreign" citizens (including the above mentioned philatelists) were evacuated from Libya by the revolutionary government
- World's philatelic catalogues and albums, and consequently philatelic collectors, stopped considering L.A.R. as a continuation of the colonial period. Since that moment Libya was considered just as an african country. Furthermore almost all L.A.R. stamps had inscriptions in Arabic characters only.
As a result, we have a strongly reduced number of FDC (types and quantities) for each new issue.
We have "standard/generic" covers used for all issues (realized by the Libyan Posts themselves) and we have "special" covers (realized by local passionate philatelists) printed in very limited quantities and dedicated to each single issue. SEE IMAGES BELOW
After more than 30 years, we can have a confirmation of that having a look in Internet (e.g. eBay and Delcampe websites). We can note quite a good offer of Kingdom FDC but very low offer of L.A.R. FDC. If we consider "generic" issues (e.g. political subjects, etc.), we have low offer and low demand; that's true. But if we consider "topical" issues, we have low offer and high demand, and this is the explanation for some "unusual" high quotations.
1974, February 1st: "Libyan Scouts" standard FDC ("black/white" type)
1974, June 8th: "Automobile and Touring Club of Libya" special FDC
1976, March 10th: "Centenary of Telephone - Bell" special FDCs ("LIBYAPHIL" type)
1976, May 1st: "Birds" standard FDC
1976, April 7th: "World Health Day - Blind" special FDC ("LIBYAPHIL" type)
1976, October 6th: "Arab Games" special FDC
1976, October 24th: "Chess" special FDC
1976, November 1st: "Flowers" standard FDC ("gold eagle" type)
1976, November 15th: "Postage Due - Mosaics" special FDC
1977, March 1st: "Tripoli Fair" special FDC
In 1977 (March 2nd) the Libyan Arab Republic became the Libyan Jamahiriya (SPLAJ Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), according to the thought of Colonel Ghadafi expressed in his "Green Book" (part 1, 2 and 3).
We are going to dedicate a special guide to the interesting philatelic aspects of the change from L.A.R. to S.P.L.A.J. (1977-1978).