Smithsonian National Postal MuseumTitle: The Pichs CollectionSan Carlos Institute
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Smithsonian National Postal Museum The Pichs Collection, Exploring Cuba's History Through Postage Stamps
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Postal History
Aviation History

Domestic Mail (10): “Havana”

Prior to November 1855, the inhabitants of Havana had to pick up their mail at the post office. The steady growth in population and commerce of the city, however, induced Don José de la Concha, Captain General of Cuba, to approve a system of home delivery within the city of Havana, to begin on November 19, 1855, in honor of the Queen’s saint’s day.

The postal charge of 1/4 real plata fuerte was established for this service, but there were no 1/4 real stamps available. A local printer, J. Toribio de Arazoza, was given the job of overprinting the least used of the current denominations of stamps on hand, the 2 reales plata stamps, with an overprint “Y 1/4.”The overprint stood for “Interior - One Quarter real plata fuerte.”

Tome I, number 32: Havana, 10 April 1863.

A second overprint was made in slightly different type font in 1858, and again another lot of 2 reales stamps was overprinted with the same type font in April 1860. The cover illustrated here is from this third overprint.

The letter is addressed to a business within the city of Havana with the designation of “Presente,” meaning “within the city.” While faint, the postmark is that of Havana and is dated April 10, 1863.

.Postage stamp and overprint
Detail of Stamp and Overprint

Postal History
Early History
Domestic Mail
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