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 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.



First issue, medio real (Scott 1) double perforations

It is true that the stamp Scott 1 (medio real stamp)doesn’t have an error like the vertical pair imperforated horizontaly (Scott 1b), but we can find other interesting errors. For example double perforations. They’re not as difficult as the Scott 1b, but they’re very elusive.

What’s really interesting about this errors is that they’re human made -the first issue perforations were made manually- that (in my opinion) gives more authenticity to the piece.

 

medio realmedio real



Incredible cover!

This is a really quick post.

I wanted to share with you a really nice cover with hard to find stamps.

It was sent registered from Villa Colon to Switzerland  in 1922, bearing 8 stamps Scott 111, 5 of Scott 111E and 2 of Scott 69 for a total franking of 62 centimos.

Incredible cover



Scott 83: block of 25 with several varieties and errors

I will never get tired of saying that surcharges and overprints are my favorite. Why? Because there’s more chance there will be varieties and errors…and the 1911 issues are the living proof of it.

Here we have a block of 25 of Scott 83 consisting of positions 56-60, 66-70, 76-80, 86-90 and 96-100 of the base stamp pane and 6-10, 16-20, 26-30, 36-40 and 46-50 of the overprint plate.

The error/variety list is the following:

  1. First roman 1 (position 56 of the base stamp pane and position 6 of the overprint plate).
  2. Double transfer at bse stamp (position 58).
  3. Third roman 1 (position 69 of the base stamp pane and position 19 of the overprint plate).
  4. Second roman 1 (position 100 of the base stamp pane and position 50 of the overprint plate).

varieties and errors



Scott 1b, the rarest Costa Rica stamp from the XIX century!

Let’s head back to 1875. By this time -and after several printings- the plate of the medio real cracked to the point that it wasn’t able to be used anymore. So, another plate was made to continue printing, but there were some differences in the plate -really easy to see- from the previous one…Scott 1a was born! For Unknown reasons -and thank God- the quality inspection process wasn’t that good and we’re fortunate to have one of the top 3 rarest stamps in Costa Rica’s philatelic history.

Yes, Scott 1b which consists in a vertical pair imperforated horizontaly. Only 36 of these have been reported to exist. And guess what? here you have it!



Scott 47 Horizontal Marginal Pair Imperforated in Between

Once again a very rare piece of Costa Rica Philately appeared.

This time an horizontal marginal pair of Scott’s #47 (1901 Issue’s 5 cents stamp). The catalog only reports an used vertical pair. This one is a mint, NG horizontal pair -positions 41 and 42- out of a 100 stamp pane. How do i know the positions? Look a the bottom of the first stamp, you can see the perforation guides that are located between the 40’s and 50’s rows.

IMG_20160401_0001

After reviewing the pair, a blue line becomes very clear on the lower right corner of the second stamp.

IMG_20160401_0001 copy



Philatelic Literature – El Filatelista #11: Cabotaje

It’s our pleasure to present you this extremely interesting publication about oxcart and ship mail in Costa Rica.

This 44 pages study presented by Jorge Beeche in the “El Filatelista” magazine from the Centro Filatelico de Moravia is filled with amazing images and facts about oxcart and ship mail that most of us didn’t know!

A must have, even if you are not a Costa Rica collector.

You can download it in .pdf format by clicking on the below image.

elfilatelistaportada

 



Double transfer on the first issue’s 4 reales

Every country’s first issue always attracts lots of attention from collectors. Well, Costa Rica’s first issue is not the exception. A really nice design and engraving makes this issue a real gem. It’s try that it’s easy -and relatively cheap – to get it, but the postal history is another story.

Also, there is the most known error in this issue: the double transfer on the 4 reales.

It’s easy to identify: located on the “Republica de Costa Rica” legend on the top. There are some traces of a double transfer on the stars and the “cuatro reales” legend.

If this jewel comes across your way…grab it while you can before someone else does it!

IMG_20150406_0006



Costa Rica cover from Barra del Colorado 1924

Nowadays, Barra del Colorado is a pretty hard place to live in. Insects, snakes and who knows what other animals trying to eat you alive.

Now, imagine how it was 90 years ago.

Here’s a nice cover sent from Barra del Colorado to USA in 1924. IMG_20150223_0001   IMG_20150223_0003