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.