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 (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.

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