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:

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.

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:

The importance of measuring perforations in stamps

It is true that when we all started collecting stamps, perforations were not part of our main concerns. As we evolved as philatelists -and learned more- we realized that perforations do are important. But not only that they are not damaged, but the importance of measuring perforations and understanding the different posible combinations in a stamp.

So, what is the importance of measuring perforations in stamps?

I will respond to that question using 2 different Costa Rica stamps as an example.

the importance of measuring perforations

Let’s use the 1907 issue first. Specifically, the 4 céntimos stamp. The regular issued stamp has 11×14 perforation with a catalog value of $12. This same stamp with 14×14 perforation has a catalog value of $500. Do you get my point?

Another example is Scott 94 with a catalog value of $100 for the regular 11×14 stamp and $300 for the 14×14 one. the impotance of measuring perforations

Since this is a surcharge, errors exist. The 11×14 stamp with the “correos” inverted error has a value of $2.000. The importance of measuring perforations

Guess what? That same error with 14×14 perforation doesn’t even have an estimated price! Only 2 are rumored to exist!!!

You may have a very expensive stamp without knowing it. It is just a matter of understanding the possible perforation variations that your stamps can have and start measuring them.

Do you know the importance of measuring perforations in stamps now?

In order to measure stamps you can use any of the following tools:

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Costa Rica Stamps – Emergency Surcharge Over The 1946 Soccer Issue

Because of the lack of 15 céntimos stamps during the first months of 1947, the government decided to issue an emergency surcharge on 45.000 stamps of each value from the 1946 Central America & the Caribbean Soccer Championship issue.

The surcharge reads “Habilitado para ₡0.15 Decreto No. 16 de 28 de abril de 1947” in 4 lines. It comes in panes of 50.

This beautiful surcharge, despite of being over 70 years old, has not being studied as much as it deserves.

So, trying to honor these Costa Rica stamps, I decided to make a study of this emergency surcharge which I share with you now.

Emergency Surcharge

Pos. Comments
4 ₡ symbol line broken
5 ₡ symbol line broken
6 ₡ symbol line broken. Thin “H”.
7 ₡ symbol line broken
8 ₡ symbol line broken
9 Broken “l” in “abril”
10 ₡ symbol line broken
11 Broken “8” in “28”
13 ₡ both symbol broken
18 ₡ symbol line broken
19 ₡ symbol line broken
22 ₡ symbol line broken
23 ₡ symbol line broken
27 ₡ symbol line broken
28 ₡ symbol line broken
30 ₡ symbol line broken
31 Ink stain diagonal to “1” in “1947”
32 ₡ symbol line broken
33 ₡ both symbol broken
37 ₡ symbol line broken
38 Ink dot under “o” in “Habilitado”
39 ₡ both symbol broken
41 ₡ symbol line broken
42 ink dot inside “6” in “16”
45 Line over “Habilitado”
48 ₡ symbol line broken

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

Costa Rica Stamps – Scott 148 surcharge proof – complete pane study

As I have said many times before, as a Costa Rica stamps enthusiast, I have always liked surcharges and overprints. Every time I have the chance of studying a pane, I try to get the most of it.

Some time ago, I had the chance of buying a complete pane (of the proof and the issued stamp) of Scott’s 148 surcharge. I looked in all the available publications articles regarding this stamp and found one recently written by Fred O’Neil in the Repertorio Filatélico Costarricense.

In that article, Mr. O’Neil mentions the following varieties: positions 80, 86, and 88 with broken 5 and position 83 with the 5 full of ink. I took such data to study the complete pane of the proof which is easier than studying it over the base stamp. It was a big surprise that the varieties mentioned by Mr. O’Neill were not there. This made me reach to the most obvious and important deduction: those varieties are not constant and appeared when the process was advanced and due to the printing pane being worn. Which makes those varieties even harder to find and get.

After an exhaustive revision of the pane, I was able to find another variety. Usually the number “5” ends with a “tail”, but in position 52 it doesn’t. It ends straight. One interesting thing is that this variety appears in the pane over the base stamp too. Making it more likely to be a constant variety. Below you can click on the image to see a full size scan of the complete pane of the proof.

Scott 148 surcharge proof - complete pane

Also, you can see variations -Almost minimal- in the upper line of the number “5” in several positions, but I consider (for now) that it’s not worth it detailing them because they don’t represent an important difference in their original shape.

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

Costa Rica Stamps – Lindbergh surcharge study

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.

Estudio de la sobrecarga de Lindbergh

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.
Estudio de la sobrecarga de Lindbergh
  • 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.
Estudio de la sobrecarga de Lindbergh
  • Lower right corner in the right value box broken: position 72.
  • Upper rear part of the plane broken: position 90.

Estudio de la sobrecarga de Lindbergh

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:

Stamp collecting accessories and where to buy them

Find below the best way to handle your stamps with stamp collecting accessories.

All stamp collectors -beginner and professional- want to treat their stamps as real jewels. And they are! It makes no difference what type of stamps you collect, stamps have a way of accumulating unless you come up with ways to organize and preserve your stamp collection with the proper stamp collecting accessories.


Stamp collecting accesoriesStockbooks are simple bound stamp albums made of extra heavy card stock with strips to hold the stamps or other contents and interleaves to separate the pages. They are available in many sizes and colors. With hard or padded covers and either white or black card stock as the background. Strips and interleaves can either be clear or glassine. Clear strips and clear interleaves are typically found in higher end leather stockbooks. Stockbooks are an indispensible tool for every collector. They are useful for storing stamps before adding them to pre-printed albums as well as for keeping duplicates and extra stamps for trading. They are also recommended for starting topical collections or for storing your most valuable stamps in safe deposit boxes. Lighthouse stamp stockbooks are unmatched for consistently high quality.

Magnifying glasses

Stamp collecting accesoriesMost collectors like to have a magnifying glass so they can look at their stamps more closely. Again, they come in a wide range, from the fairly basic, offering 2 or 3× magnification. Another option are pocket microscopes giving 30× magnification. Also digital microscopes that offer a really detailed examination of your stamps. Probably this is the most common of the stamp collecting accessories.


One of the stamp collecting accessories every stamp collector must have is a pair of tweezers. All stamps should be handled with tweezers; they ensure that the natural oils in our fingers do not get on to the stamps and, after a bit of practice, they are easier to use than fingers as well. They come in different lengths, with different points and made from different materials (generally stainless steel or gold-plated).

Stamp collecting accessories

Perforation Gauge

Perforations or “perfs” in a stamp was an innovation introduced in 1854 to allow postage stamps to be easily separated and removed for use, rather than individually cutting them by hand from imperforate sheets. The standard for measuring is the number of perforations found in 2 centimeters (20 mm).
Stamp collecting accessories
Different perforations can greatly affect the value of a stamp. A stamp with 10 holes in 2 centimeters is called a “Perf 10”. Some stamps also have different horizontal and vertical perforations, called compound perfs. Compound perforations are listed first horizontally, and then vertically, for example, a stamp with Perf 11 on the top and Perf 10 on the sides would be Perf 11×10.

stamp perforation gauge is an affordable devise that illustrates a range of perforations. The stamp is moved down the gauge until the perforations on the stamp visually match that on the gauge.

Collection Binders

Binders are great to store your collections mounted on blank pages. It’s Stamp collection binderimportant to to choose the right ones. I recommend Lighthouse. The Lighthouse Grande Classic Binder will hold sheets up to 9-1/2″ x 12″ in size. Leatherette cover in book binder’s quality makes it classy. It includes a slip case for added protection, extra-large rectangular 3-ring mechanism. It can hold up to 60 sheets depending on contents. This elegant binder will hold your valuable collection without drawing unwanted attention.

Blank Album Pages

These are great when you want to mount your collections your way. They will give you the freedom of arranging your collections with your unique technique. You can buy them here.

Hinges and Mounts

There are two main ways in which collectors can mount their stamps to album pages. The original method involves using hinges, small pieces of special gummed paper which allow the collector to attach stamps directly to an album page.

Plastic mounts meanwhile enable collectors tStamp collecting accessorieso present their stamps in albums without physically attaching the stamps themselves to pages. Stamps are placed inside protective plastic mounts and the mount is then attached to the page, meaning unmounted mint stamps can remain in pristine condition whilst still appearing in an album. Mounts are available already ‘cut to size’ or in strips that can then be cut to the correct size depending upon the size of stamp.

Glassine envelopes

Stamp collecting accessoriesOne of the most practical stamp collecting accessories is the glassine envelope. This handy item is a popular seller and has many uses, especially for storage. Glassine envelopes are what we use to store all of our bulk stock. What makes them so ideal?

Firstly, they are made of high quality #30 semi-transparent acid free glassine. You can easily store hundreds of stamps per envelope, depending on their size and the size of the envelope. We have 11 different sizes of envelopes for you to choose from, in packs of 100 or boxes of 1000. Glassine is a paper product which is grease, air, and water resistant, so you can also label your envelopes with a marker and not worry about leakage through the paper. For water resistance, make sure your envelope is well sealed shut.

The fact that glassine envelopes are acid free is an important point. Some papers and cardboards contain chemicals which, if they come into contact with your stamps, could actually damage them. No such worries with glassine envelopes. You can use them to store your stamps for a long period if necessary.

Glassine envelopes are useful for other hobbies or occupations also, such as photography. The acid-free glassine is perfect for storing film and prints. Other markets where glassines have become popular are marketing, food packaging and fashion, either in envelope or sheet form.

Ultra-violet lamps

Finally and especially if you are collecting stamps  at a more specialised level, you will probably want an ultraviolet lamp to identify different papers and phosphor types. These come in a range of designs at different prices, so it is useful to seek the advice of an experienced collector before deciding on the one to buy. Depending on the stamps you collect you really need a “short wave” lamp to identify different phosphors, but some lamps incorporate both “long” and “short” wave bulbs, which give them wider potential use.

Stamp collecting accessories

For more detailed reviews, please visit

Costa Rica Stamps – Air Mail Cover with cuban postal censor and 5 colones from Legislacion Social

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

Air mail cover from Esso Standard Oil with double WWII censor. Sent via air mail in May 18th, 1945 (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.