Col. Hans Lagerloef Specialized Collection of The Aguinaldo Revolutionary Stamps

Finding Guide
refer to caption

Essay of the “Katipunan” or “First Republic” issues of General Aguinaldo

Prepared by Thomas Lera, Winton M. Blount Research Chair, with the assistance of Don Peterson and Douglas Lehmann, International Philippine Philatelic Society.


The Col. Hans Lagerloef Specialized Collection of the Aguinaldo Revolutionary Stamps consists of one album of stamps, essay and covers on 45 pages and one cream box with six folders of stamped documentary paper (papel sellos) from 1898-1900.


Col. Hans Lagerloef donated this specialized collection to the Smithsonian’s national philatelic collection on October 22, 1943 and accepted into the Smithsonian Institution United States National Museum on November 8 and December 15, 1943 (Accession Number 165659).


From the time Manila was opened to foreign trade in 1837, there was a slow but steady increase in its prosperity into the 1890s. The attitude of some Spanish officers stationed in the Philippine Islands, increased travel of young Filipinos to Europe, the growth of Masonic lodges in the Philippines, and the increasing oppressive authority of the friars contributed to a movement against the Spanish who opposed any change that lessened their authority.

As the movement gained momentum so did the idea of nationality. The campaign of Dr. Jose Rizal y Mercado, Marcelo del Pilar, Lopez Jaena and Apolinario Mabini, as leaders of the “Young Filipino Party” was a protest against the domination of the Friars and the abuses of the Spanish. About the time this party was founded, an organization called “Supreme (or Sovereign) Worshipful Association of the Sons of the People,” generally known as the Katipunan Society, was established.

The Katipunan Society, under the mystical letters “K.K.K.”, is reported to have numbered between 100,000 and 400,000 members. On August 26, 1896, the first major insurrection against Spain broke out, centered at Cavite, and Emilio Aguinaldo first came into prominence.

Aguinaldo was born near Cavite, Luzon, of Chinese and Tagalog parentage. He was educated at Cavite and the University of St. Thomas in Manila run by the Dominican Friars. At the outbreak of the insurrection, he was mayor of Cavite Viejon, displayed marked capacity for leadership and took a prominent part in assuming powers.

The revolutionary forces were defeated by the Spanish in less than two months, but upon the execution of Rizal on December 30, 1896, the conflict broke out again and spread to the provinces of Pangasinan, Zambales, Ilocos and others. A pact was later concluded between Aguinaldo and Spanish officials, and he departed for Hong Kong on December 27, 1897.

War broke out between Spain and the United States on February 15, 1898. Taking advantage of the situation, Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines and declared their independence on June 12, 1898. They proclaimed a provisional Republic with Aguinaldo as president and on September 9, 1898, established a capital at Malolos. The First Philippine Republic was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899, by General Aguinaldo. He ordered

“that it should be kept, complied with and executed in all its parts because it is the will of the Filipino people.”1

There was a battle between Aguinaldo’s troops and the American army. On February 4, 1899, he declared war on the United States. Two days later, the U.S. Senate ratified a peace treaty with Spain, and the Philippines Islands became a U.S. Territory. Aguinaldo was not a part to the treaty and for the next two years his forces continued to battle the U.S. troops.

On March 23, 1901, Aguinaldo was captured by General Fredrick Funston at his headquarters in Palawan on the northeast coast of Luzon. His capture ended the existence of the Revolutionary Government and the insurrection. On April 19, 1901, Aguinaldo took an oath of allegiance to the United States, formally ending the First Republic and recognizing the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines.2

During the Aguinaldo period, regular postage, registration, revenue, newspaper and telegraph stamps were printed and issued. They were often referred to as the “Katipunan” or “First Republic” issues. These provisional stamps were prepared for use in the central part of the island of Luzon at Malolos, were in use in Luzon as early as November 10, 1898, and continued in use through early 1901.

Appendix 1 shows the decree establishing the postal system and is reproduced for the benefit of the reader to analyze postal rates and usages.3

The Smithsonian Institution received donations (Accession No. 165659) from Col. Hans Lagerloef on November 8 and December 15, 1943, which were a complete collection of postage stamps and stamped revenue paper from the Aguinaldo Revolutionary Period (Scott Y1-Y3, YF1, YP1 and Warren-336-343). The collection has over 2200 objects which include singles, pairs, blocks and full sheets. A number of unique and rare items from the collection will be highlighted.

Malcom, Geoege A. 1921. “The Malolos Constitution.” Political Science Quarterly. Vol. 36, No. 1: 95.

  1. Zaide, Sonia M (1999). The Philippines: A Unique Nation. All-Nations Publishing. 2nd edition: 274- 275.
  2. Harradine, Peter W. A. 1987. Philippine Postage Stamp Handbook, 1854-1982. McFarland and Company, Inc. Jefferson, North Carolina. 86-87.