By decree number 37, on December 27th it was ordered to surcharge 20.000 10 céntimos stamps from the 1923 definitive issue. This, to commemorate the visit of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh -The first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean- to Costa Rica. In this article I will carry on the Lindbergh surcharge – one of the most beautiful Costa Rica stamps – study.
Said surcharge consist in 4 quadrants: the first one, an allusive drawing to the Spirit of St Louis (Lindbergh’s airplane used for his endeavour). The second quadrant has “Lindbergh” and “1928”. The third and forth quadrants consist in the value of the surcharge (10 céntimos) placed over the original stamp’s values.
Since the surcharge was used over an engraved stamp, sometimes it has flaws that look like imperfections, but are not constant. There are mayor -and constant- varieties which will be described below.
The two biggest (and best known) varieties are: the “antenna” variety, on the plane’s tail and the dots below the values which can be found under one and/or the two values. These are often mistakenly considered fakes, because all fake surcharges have dots under the values.
There are 2 major differences to highlight that will help to differentiate the authentic surcharges from the fake ones: 1- The authentic surcharges were transferred in panes of 100 and the fake ones were transferred in panes of 25. 2- The ink on the authentic surcharges is brighter while on the fake ones is opaque.
Returning to the pane’s varieties, in the image below all the known constant varieties are identified and marked. You can click on the file to have a better understanding of all varieties.
Now, it’s time to describe the “less known” varieties found on the pane of 100:
- Line at the right side of the value’s box: it seems like a fallen bar. It can be found on positions 49, 57 and 97.
- Line at the left side of the left value box: positions 50, 61, 62, 73 and 74.
- Left flap full of ink: until know it hasn’t been demonstrated if this is a constant variety because of a flaw in the pane. Position 1.
- Rear part of the airplane broken: position 4.
- Broken line under the “L” of Lindbergh: position 4.
- Right wheel broken: position 5.
- Left flap broken: position 15.
- “X” outside the left value box. This is the most important constant variety found during this study. in the lower left corner two lines cross forming an “X”. Position 49. In this same position the right flap is broken. his is not a constant variety.
- Lower right corner in the right value box broken: position 72.
- Upper rear part of the plane broken: position 90.
With exception of the “X” variety we I can’t confirm all mentioned varieties are constant.
For this kind of studies, we recommend the following tools: