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

International Mail (7)

This folded letter was written at Havana on October 16, 1847. Placed aboard a vessel, it was carried to Cadíz, on the southwestern coast of Spain.

Upon arrival at Cadíz, the receiving clerk stamped on the face of the letter, “Islas de/Barlovento” (meaning Windward Islands) and rated the letter at 7 “reales de vellón” postage due. Seven reales de vellón was the postage rate for a letter weighing between 6 and 7 “adarmes,” according to the Spanish Postal Tariff Law of 1807. Between 6 and 7 adarmes was 10.762 to 12.556 grams, or somewhat less than 1/2 ounce.

Vol I, p1: Havana to San Sebastien, Spain. 16 October 1847.

The letter was then sent on to San Sebastian, on the north coast of Spain, where the receiving clerk backstamped it, “S. Sebastian/ Vizcaya, 21 Dec, 1847.” The letter took over two months to arrive at its destination.

This “Islas de/ Barlovento” marking, inaugurated under Spanish Postal Regulations effective September 1, 1779, was applied to indicate to the rating clerk at the incoming post office the origin of the letter in order that he might calculate the correct amount of postage due. It is known as a “demarcation” or “origin” postmark. Several different types of this postmark are known, however, this particular type was struck in red, from 1814 to 1849.

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