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.

Costa Rica Stamps – 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.

Costa Rica Stamps – 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

 

Costa Rica Stamps – 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

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