The scope of this section is to give those who access from abroad a brief description of Brazilian post office organization and a summary of the main terms used in this site.

Post Offices in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Foreword about Brazil

Brazilian Federation is presently organized in 26 States and the Federal District. Each state has its own capital and political / geographic subdivisions called “municipios” (counties or boroughs). Rio de Janeiro is one of these states and its capital and municipio are also named Rio de Janeiro (popularly known as “Rio”). The State has 92 municipios.

The Rio municipio has a long history. During the Brazilian Empire (1822-1889) it was the capital of Brazil, then named Municipio Neutro (something like Neutral District). In the Republican era (1889-1961) it was renamed Distrito Federal, what can be seen in many cancel legends as well as its initials DF. After the capital being transferred to Brasilia in 1961, the Distrito Federal was turned in a new state, the Estado da Guanabara, mantaining the same boundaries. It didn’t last very long, though. In 1974 it was merged with the former State of Rio de Janeiro, and Rio was appointed as the capital of the merged states, succeeding the old state capital Niteroi (Nictheroy). During Guanabara time cancel legends mentioned DR-GB (Regional Directory – Guabanara).

An historic city founded in 1565, Rio was the place where the first Brazilian stamps circulated. It is known that Brazil was the second country in the world to issue postal stamps, just after UK, being the first “Olho-de-boi” (Bull’s Eye) stamps issued in 1843. It was also the place where the first railways were implemented and the first to implement railway postal service.


The first goal of this work is to map all the Post Offices (in Portuguese called Agencias Postais), that are in operation today or operated sometime along the postal history of the State of Rio de Janeiro (*). This catalog will be organized by the municipios of the Rio de Janeiro state. Each agency will be described with the following information:

  • Official name
  • Period they operated
  • Geographic location
  • History, curiositites and local pictures when available

The second goal, derived from the previous, is the study and classification of the postal cancels. We may imagine that at any moment each of those agencies used an specific obliteration cancel that carried its name – therefore being possible to collect and catalogue them.

It is also important to mention that this work is basically dedicated to the circular dated postal cancels that started being used in the fourth quarter of XIX century. Therefore, I will not cover pre-philatelic story and most of the Empire – material covered previously by many Brazilian colleagues. However, late Empire cancels can be seen in the “Municipio Neutro” menu.

(*) the neighbor state of Espirito Santo was added recently 


This work with the “agencias postais” – and respective cancels – is divided in four main sections for Rio de Janeiro (plus a fifth for Espirito Santo), as you may see in the structure of the main menu at the top of the site:

CORREIO CENTRAL DO RIO (Rio Central Office) was located in the 1º de Março Street, downtown Rio, being the headquarters of both the national (while Rio was the Brazilian Capital) and the regional Post Offices. Being the oldest postal organization in the country, it centralized most of the postal traffic, including the railway services and later the international airway operations.

MUNICIPIO DO RIO, as described in the Foreword, and organized by its neighborhoods (“Bairros”).

ESTADO DO RIO, organized by its 92 Municipios.

CARIMBOLOGIA (Marcophily) section, where all the postal cancels used in the Rio State are classified according its shapes and layouts.

ESPIRITO SANTO: includes all the municipios and railway services in that state.

INDICE GERAL: a general index built in excel spreadsheet, organized alphabetically by the cancel top legend. It indicates the menu where that specific cancel is classified. Very useful as this work is organized by political division, not by names. Note that you can also use the search engine tool provided by the editorial system, the “Pesquisa” button at the top.


Follows a brief translation and description of the sub-menus of each 5 divisions presented above in the main menu:


Agencia Central: the Central Post Office exists in Rio as the country’s headquarters since 1798. In the submenus I mention the 1º de Março Post office, the first “urban” agency officially since 1865. The following submenu is a study of the Urban Service, when about 20 agencies were created in the urban limits of Rio. Then follows Central do Rio de Janeiro that after almost 100 years in 1962 again centralized all the services in a post office, still operating. Last, I mention the Mechanical Franking Machines that started in 1925 and operated in the central office with Rio de Janeiro in the cancel.

1ª Secção to 9ª Secção: a new regulation in 1865 created an organization structure divided in “sections”. Initially 4, further regulations increased them to 9, each responsible for specific services. All of them issued cancels with their name for some time. The site describes each one of them.

Correio Ferroviário: here I made a distinction in two types:

Agências Ferroviárias:  the post offices located inside a railway station. They operated like a regular agencia, similar to the ones in metropolitan areas. Here I present the line map, its location and also the images of the cancels they used.  Next subdivision is “Tabela Agencias”, an excel spreadsheet summarizing all agencias in the state of Rio, organized by Railway line;

Correio Ambulante: text from Wikipedia: In US, a railway post office (RPO), was a railroad car that was normally operated in passenger service as a means to sort mail en route, in order to speed delivery. In the UK, the equivalent term was Travelling Post Office (TPO). It operated similarly in Brazil, having their own organization, independent from the regular agencies. The following “Tabela Ambulante” is an spreadsheet summarizing all types of cancels used in any Railway line.

Correio Aéreo (Airmail Services): here I briefly present the story of the first airway companies that operate in Brasil. First postal cancels are known by mid-twenties. The first I have is from 1925. It is known the first airmail cancel in the world to be issued in Italy in 1918.

Estudos diversos (miscellaneous studies). Here I present some similar cancel types used by several different agencies that I grouped here to allow a general vision. Note that all of them are also included in each agency described below in the menu Municipio do Rio. “Capital Federal” and “Barras Duplas”

Also included here are some short stories like “Sucursais no DF”: in the Republic era, the central post office decided to create a decentralized network of community branches in the metropolitan area of the Municipio do Rio. Each had several local agencies under their supervision. Finally, “Temporary Agencies” describe some special post offices that operated for some time during special events.



  • Unidades Operacionais: a new logistic structure in the Municipio that was put in place in the beginning of the 1980s. They consist in Processing Units, Distribution Centers, Parcel Services, etc. They do not operate as Postal Offices, but some use their own cancels. That’s why they are included here.
  • Agencias dos Bairros: community or local post offices. They are ordered here alphabetically by the official 162 neighborhoods (!) officially recognized in the Municipio.
  • Agencias do Centro: same, with all the agencias located downtown Rio.

ESTADO DO RIO: organized alphabetically by its 91 Municipios.

© 2016 www.agenciaspostais.com.br

Images from Paulo Novaes collection; contact: prnovaes@gmail.com

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