Costa Rica Stamps: Official Cover Sent To Mauritania In 1919

There are moments in the philatelic life where an amazing and unique item arrives. This happened to me yesterday when i went to the post office to get an envelope containing this awesome official cover sent to Mauritania in 1919.

Yes, an official cover sent to Mauritania in 1919!

sobre oficial enviado a Mauritania
sobre oficial enviado a Mauritania

But, What was the route this cover traveled to get to its destination?

As i mentioned before, this is an official cover. In this case from the Departamento de Paquetes Postales. It departed San Jose in June 9th 1919. Its destination: Kaiffa, located in the South of Mauritania (French civil territory from 1904 to 1920 when it was declared a french colony), located in Northeast part of Africa.

Just to have an idea on how rare this destination is, the latest census performed in Mauritania in 2013, threw that Kaiffa had 45.000 inhabitants. So imagine in 1919 -almost 100 years ago- the number of inhabitants was way smaller.

According to this cover’s cancelations, it was on transit for almost 2 months. This because it departed San Jose on June 9th and there was no other cancels until it arrived to Senegal on August 5th! According to my investigation even after 1904, when France recognized its separation from Senegal, all correspondence sent to Mauritania, had to go through Senegal first.

What caught my attention is that this cover doesn’t have a received cancel at Mauritania. what comes to my mind is that when it arrived to Senegal, the post office workers -that knew- the person this letter was sent to, knew in advance he was no longer in Mauritania and forwarded the cover to his new location. This saved the cover some time. The new destination was Fougerolles, Haute Saone, France. A town located near the birders with Germany and Switzerland.

The cover arrived to Paris on August 21st to finally find its final destination on August 22nd in Fougerolles, after almost two months and a half in transit.

Another interesting thing about this cover is that the overprint on first stamp is thicker than the others. It seems like a hint of a double overprint.

For this kind of Costa Rica stamps’ studies, we recommend the following tools:

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

The best way to store and handle full stamp panes

If you’re a stamp collector like me, it doesn’t matter if they’re FDCs, single stamps, errors, postal history or postcards, you want them all! But there are some items that are a little harder to manage: full panes -or sheets if you prefer-. And the same question always pops up: What’s the best way to store and handle full stamp panes nowadays?

store and handle full stamp panes

Since there are several shapes of stamps, the full panes vary in size, but fortunately most of them are similar size, so there’s a range to play with. Also depending on the paper, gum and exposure to the elements -even though if we try to avoid it- some full panes are more delicate and fragile than others.

Believe me, I have tried several options and methods store and handle full stamp panes so far, and these clear protective storage bags are the best ones, not only for storage the full panes, but to protect and handle them as well.

store and handle full stamp panes

So, why do I recommend these clear protective storage bags? Easy, let me just explain it:

  • The size is big enough to storage the most common full pane sizes. The size is 24 2/5 inch (61 cm) L x 18 1/2 inch (47 cm) W.
  • They are acid Free & Durable. these are designed for keeping photos, document, paper (stamps) or other important items from dust and moisture for large periods of time.
  • Real crystal clear material. These thin and transparent plastic bags will let you fully appreciate your full panes while protecting them.
  • You can reuse them. These protective bags have a re-sealable and easy to manage adhesive strip on the flap that lets you take out your full stamp panes, put another in and re seal the bag without loosing any adhesive on the back.
  • Easy to clean. If there are marks and or strokes on the outside, just wipe with a tissue or towel to remove them.
  • You won’t believe the price for 25 of these bags!

What are you waiting for? It’s time to store and handle full stamp panes!

Make sure to visit Philasupplies’ ultimate stamp collecting supplies list here.

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

Costa Rica Stamps – Central America independence issue gorgeous die proof

In 1921, the Costa Rican government decided to Issue a stamp celebrating the 100th anniversary of Central America’s independence. This by the decree #13 of March 2nd, 1920 and #26 of September 7th, 1921. This stamp started circulating in September 15th, 1921. G. Prudhomme was hired to design the stamp.

Until now, the only proof known was an imperforated plate proof…until now!

A couple weeks ago, from nowhere, appeared the most gorgeous die proof I have ever seen in the history of Costa Rica stamps. It is sunk in cardboard and printed in black. It’s the die proof for the Central American independence issue. And if this wasn’t enough, the die proof was signed by Prudhomme himself…absolutely AMAZING!

gorgeous die proof

After studying it and examining the issued stamp, I can deduct the die proof is the final one.

gorgeous die proof

The only difference between the die proof and the issued stamp is in the lower left corner. On the die proof, there is a sign, like a J and a P together. On the issued stamp, does not appear.

gorgeous die proof

In December 31st, 1921 the issue was demonetized.

For this kind of studies, we recommend the following tools:

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

Costa Rica Stamps – Scott 136, surcharged stamps with shifted perforations

In late 1925 there was a shortage of 3 céntimos stamps to comply with the local open letter rate. That’s why in November 24th, 1925 the Costa Rica government emitted the decree #24 in which authorized to surcharge 100,000 5 céntimos stamps from the 1923 definitive issue. Those Costa Rica stamps started being valid in November 28th, 1825. And as you may already know, as in any other old Costa Rican issue…there were errors. This time we’re talking about base stamps with shifted perforations.

The Scott catalog doesn’t mention this error neither on the base stamp (#120) nor the surcharge.

stamps with shifted perforationsstamps with shifted perforations

As you may think, most of these errors were spotted by collectors and kept without being used…almost all of them.

I’ve have been collecting Costa Rica stamps and this issue in particular for over 10 years and there’s only 1 cover reported to have these stamps with shifted perforations. It’s sent from Alajuela to Guatemala in 1926. It departed Alajuela on February 26th. It also has a San Jose tránsito cancel on the same date. Unlike to the usual time of a letter to arrive from a country to another in Central America, this cover lasted almost a month. It arrived on March 5th. It has two cancels: one that reads “RECIBIDA EN GUATEMALA” and the other one that reads “CARTERO 14 GUATEMALA.

stamps with shifted perforations

The most interesting thing about this, is that this error is that the stamps passed the quality control of the American Bank Note Co. and passed the quality control in Costa Rica…if any two times! One for the base stamp and one for the surcharge.

To keep your stamps and covers safe from stains and getting damaged we recommend Lighthouse stock books.

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

Costa Rica Stamps – Soccer championship ink stain variety

It’s interesting how a somehow clear variety remains hidden for more than 70 years. Believe it or not it’s common in Costa Rica stamps. This time we’re talking about the soccer championship ink stain variety (yes, we named it, we know we’re not that creative when it comes to name varieties) that appears in several values of the 1941 soccer championship stamps. But an ink stain isn’t anything special…isn’t it?

Probably it isn’t anything special, but we love varieties and errors, so here we go!

As we’ve commented before, this issued was printed using two methods: engraving and lithography. How come? The frame was engraved and the flags were lithographed.

In the position number 90 there’s a blue ink stain of considerable size next to the flags at the right side of the stamp.

Soccer championship ink stain variety Soccer championship ink stain variety

Now to make it even more interesting in other panes there were two ink stains: positions 90 with the biggest stain and position 80 with a smaller stain.

Soccer championship ink stain variety Soccer championship ink stain variety Soccer championship ink stain variety

This variety is not constant since there are some values that doesn’t have it. The important thing here is that the Soccer championship ink stain variety can be found in several panes from several values.

For this kind of studies, we recommend the following tools:

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.