International Mail (14)
On January 1, 1864, a new series of stamps appeared depicting
Queen Isabela facing left. Widespread falsification, and
extensive wear to the printing plates of the earlier issue,
induced the Spanish government to prepare a new series of
stamps for Spain and the colonies.
Using a pair of the new 1 real plata fuerte stamps, this
letter was posted from Havana to Santander, Spain, on October
30, 1865. The Royal Decree of May 20, 1859, reaffirmed the
earlier postage rates of 1854. The rate for mail from Cuba
and Puerto Rico to Spain was 1 real plata fuerte for a single
letter (up to 1/2 ounce). Since this letter is franked with
2 reales in stamps, it must have been two times weight,
or weighed between 1/2 and 1 ounce.
Tome I, p.36: Havana to Santander,
Spain. 30 October, 1865.
Marked to go “por I. Isabel” (by the Infanta
Isabel), one of the vessels operated by Antonio López
and Company of Alicante, Spain. In 1861, this shipping
company had been awarded a contract to operate vessels
between Cadiz and Havana twice a month, calling at the
Canary Islands, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo. After August
1865, departures from Havana were made on the 15th and
30th of each month. This letter left Havana on the day
it was postmarked, October 30, 1865.
No postmark is recorded on the reverse for the arrival
at Cádiz, but Santander did apply its receiving postmark
on November 19, 1865. The oval “J. Demestre y Ca/
Habana,” is the cachet of the merchant house from
where this letter originated.