Cover with cuban postal censor and 5 colones from Legislacion Social

Rare use of a cuban postal censor in Costa Rica mail.

Cover from Esso Standard Oil with double WWII censor. Sent via air mail in May 18th, 19945 (11 days after Germany surrended). As mentioned before, this cover has two censors. One “defensa continental” censorship tape, which is really common in Costa Rica mail. The other one is a cuban postal censor in hand stamp, that being honest, is the first time i see it.

It´s true that the cuban censor is pretty rare, it isn’t the most attractive characteristic of this cover. The most attractive thing is its franking. Why, well, just because 5 colones and 74 céntimos is way to high. A 5 colones stamp from the Legislación Social Issue. A 50 céntimos revenue surcharged for air mail use in 1945. A 15 céntimos Francisco Morazán surface mail stamp. And finally a 10 céntimos San Ramón issue stamp for surface mail. According to the postal rate decree from November 15th, 1942, the 5 colones and 75 centimos franking can be broken down as follows: 85 centimos for the regular franking + 7 times the rate every additional 5 grams (70 centimos x7).

cuban postal censor

The cover doesn’t have a receiving mark from La Habana. This is not an inconvenient since the censorship demonstrates it arrived at the island.

Costa Rica: pics of stamps – lots of pictures


pics of stamps

Are you that kind of philatelic enthusiast that likes to surf the web looking for pics of stamps from time to time?

Well, here I am to help you! I know that looking at stamps can be hypnotizing. I know that once you start, you’ll leave your computer until you saw the last one.

I’ve been a Costa Rica stamp collector for over 20 years. And i’m pretty sure I never get tired of looking at stamps.

That’s why Estampillascr’s Facebook page has more than 1,500 pics of stamps…Costa Rica stamps. It doesn’t matter what you are looking for, we have plenty! We divided them in several sections, so it would be easier for you to browse them.

You can browse our albums of surface mail stamps, air mail stamps, semi postal stamps, Christmas stamps and proofs. If you like cancellations on stamps, there’s an album too. Also we have albums for postal history and postcards. At last but not least the “errors” albums will take your breath away.

If by any chance you don’t find the stamp you were looking for, don’t panic! Just let me know and I will help you finding it.

Also, you can view the rarest and most expensive Costa Rica stamps from the Frederick R. Mayer collection auction.



Bernardo Soto and Tomas Guardia’s Correspondence Embossing Die

It was common during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that important people from the government embossed their stationery. This was usually made using an embossing die made of either iron, copper or bronze.

I was lucky enough to find 2 fantastic pieces of history: the embossing dies for Bernardo Soto and Tomás Guardia. Both of them presidents of Costa Rica during the 1800’s.

The first embossing die belonged to Bernardo Soto. Born in 1854. President in 2 terms from 1885 to 1888. In which decreed the creation of the Asilo Chapuí, the national lotery, the national museum and the national library.

It consists in a round iron die (with a screw on the back). On the front it has Costa Rica’s coat of arms and it reads: Bernardo Soto below it. On the back there’s a legend that reads: “STERN 47. Passage Panoramas”. All this point that this was made by Stern Graveur in Paris. Also it has an engraved number “1141” on the back pin.

embossing die 1aembosing die 1bembossing die 2c

The other embossing die belonged to Tomas Guardia, president in 2 terms. From 1870 to 1876 and from 1877 to 1882. During his terms approved a new constitution, abolished death penalty and started the railway to the Atlantic.

The die consists of a rectangular iron piece that on the front has Costa Rica’s coat of arms and it reads: General Tomas Guardia below it. Also it’s numbered “9296” on one side.

embossing die 2a

embossing die 2b

Embossing die 2c



World’s rarest postage stamps. Greatest Costa Rica items from the Frederick R. Mayer Collection

It’s the dream of every stamp collector to own the world’s rarest postage stamps. For most of us it is indeed just a dream. 9 years ago, the philatelic world had the chance to witness the auction of the biggest Costa Rica stamp collection.

In October 22nd, 2008 Spink Shreves Galleries sold at an unreserved  auction, one of the greatest single country collections ever formed. There is no question that the collection of postage stamps and postal history of Costa Rica is the most comprehensive and valuable ever formed. This collection was assembled over a lifetime by the renowned philatelist Frederick R. Mayer. Its scope and depth are simply remarkable. Replete with virtually every recorded major rarity in all categories. Often with multiple examples of each.

Costa Rican philately were extensively covered in Mayer Collection in all areas. It included stampless covers, stamp issues both on and off cover. It also included the finest and most comprehensive selection of 1863 First Issue covers ever offered at auction. Essays and proofs, air mail related material, postal stationery and revenues and much more. The appearance of this spectacular collection was truly a once-in-a-life opportunity for collectors of Latin American stamps.

I’m excited to present you the rarest and most expensive items sold in this auction.

Start gallery


Stamp test, design and production process

There is a common question that beginner philatelist ask: what is the stamp’s printing or production process? We’ll take on this subject from a different angle: Stamp test as a design and production process.

The stamp test process starts when there’s an agreement or government decree. The selected provider starts to design the stamp(s). Below are a few examples.

Stamp test: artist design1863 First Issue hand-drawn watercolor essay of the basic design with blank value tablets. Stamp size on India mounted on card measuring 39x44mm. The color being the shade chosen for the 1/2r value. Extraordinary detail in the drawing, very fine. Certainly unique and absolutely gorgeous.

 

Stamp test: artist designCocos Island, production file. Containing an enlarged original model of vignette on thick card measuring 320x177mm. 10c model with hand painted frame. Most initialed and approved, plus a few notes, fine-very fine; ex-American Bank Note Company archives.

Stamp test: artist design

National Exhibition, production file. Hand painted model; ex-American Bank Note Company archives.

The design is approved and the printer starts with die proofs. They can be of either centers, frames or complete stamps and sends them to be approved.

Stamp test: center die proofLarge die vignette essay with retouched state with with inscriptions at bottom.

Stamp test: die proof with correction notesHealth Day air post, production file. With enlarged photographic and hand painted model for 10c with alternative 1.35Col value tablet adjacent.

When the die proof is approved by the respective government, the printer starts printing complete sheets (plate proofs). Usually in different colors to determine which one will be the final one.

Stamp test: color plate proofTrial color plate proof sheetlet of nine. This impression was taken from the original die at a later date. It was prepared for Waterlow & Sons sample books. Very few intact sets of sheetlet remain today.

After these are approved, the stamps are printed for circulation.

 



Postage stamp machine: Costa Rica’s ATM

In July 12th, 1993 Costa Rica started implementing selling stamps through a postage stamp machine. Known in Costa Rica simply as ATM, they faced several complications, but led the way for the postage labels we use nowadays.

The ATMs were dispensed by the Klussendorf postage stamp machine. They were printed by Enschede in Netherlands in phosphorescent paper. Their size is 43 x 25.5 mm. The value was printed in black. The design was quite simple. It consisted in an oxcart on a light blue background.

Correos de Costa Rica installed one postage stamp machine in 4 locations. They were: in the Main Post Office, Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Hotel Alameda and Restaurant Soda Palace.

When the ATMs came out, the demand was very slow…and kept like that through the time. The postage stamp machines constantly got damaged by the stamp resellers since they represented a huge threat.

Their demand was mostly from tourists since this kind of postage was usual in their countries. Besides this, we must take into consideration that the postage stamp machines didn’t last long.

Even though it’s a fact that the ATM machines didn’t last long, the dates in which the distributors were out of service are not known. Possibly they only worked during a few months. According to Joseph J Jove, the equipment installed in the Main Post Office was in discontinuous use until 1995.

Postage stamp machine, Costa Rica ATMThere are very few covers known with these stamps. Mostly are FDCs.



Scott 98 Perf. 14×14, block of 6 with inverted surcharge and “Correos” inverted

Have you ever watched the movie Inception? A dream inside a dream…

We’ll, here you can see an inverted surcharge inception: an inverted “Correos” in a block of 6 with inverted surcharge. Sounds weird, I know, but let me explain it:
In this issue there are stamps with inverted surcharge because the pane was upside down when the plate came down. Also there are stamps with only the “Correos” inverted because it happened in just one position in the plate (position 46).
This block of 6 has 3 characteristics that make it special and fairly rare:

  1. It has the less common perforation for this stamp (14×14).
  2. The surcharges in this block are inverted.
  3. And last and most important is that the inverted “Correos” error is present. As you can see in the position 3 of this block, the inverted “Correos” error inside the inverted surcharge looks as if it wasn’t inverted.

Is it genuine? Yes, of course!
Just look at the stain between the “o” and the “r” of the inverted “Correos”.
Beautiful!



Roman 1: Scott 84a overprint on red ink

Once again the beautiful 1911 issue. Overprints fully loaded of errors and varieties, so interesting, so nice. This time we’ll talk about the roman 1, but on the red ink (Scott 84a).

It’s true that these can be found on stamps Scott 82 and 83 (black ink), the most interesting are the ones that can be found on red ink because they are harder to get. There is not an exact number of printed stamps for each one (Scott 82, 83 and 84), but there’s no doubt that the ones with red ink are more scarce.

The roman 1 can be found in 3 the 3 positions of “1911”:

  • “I911” in positions 6 and 21.
  • “19I1” in position 50
  • “191I” in position 19

Scott 84a pair with first roman 1

Scott 84a pair with second roman 1



1910’s 10 Cts with folded paper

The 1910 issue is known for being a very “clean” issue. There are not known design errors in the more than 40,000,000 stamps that were printed. Fortunately, errors like folded paper are known to happen in this issue.

But there were errors in the printing process -and not many-. Some imperforated stamps are known, but the highlights are the folded paper errors when the stamps were being printed.

Here we have an example of the 10 Cts. What happened is that the paper was folded when printing the stamps and when the paper was unfolded, a part of the stamp didn’t have ink on it.

10 Cts with folded paper



Scott 49a, imperforated pair: a real gem!

This is the first of a series of posts describing the imperforated pairs of the late XIX and early XX century.

This time, we have an incredible vertical pair imperforated in between of the 20 Cts from the 1901 issue.

It´s being said that this error happened between 2 rows only. So, this means that only 10 of these happened.

Scott 49a Imperforated Pair

Now, do you think that errors that only 10 exist are worth $1.000? Of course not! In my opinion the Scott catalog is under rating many Costa Rican stamps. A great example are the imperforated pairs from the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s. Fortunately, the market is taking action and setting the right prices.