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
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.
Detail of Stamp and Overprint