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

The Republic of Cuba (1)

Cuban Arms

At noon on May 20, 1902, the United States Military Governor of Cuba, General Leonard Wood, personally read President Theodore Roosevelt’s letter declaring that the U.S. Occupation was at an end. At the same time, Mr. M.C. Fosnes, Director General of Posts for the US Administration turned over all postal affairs to Colonel Fernando Figueredo Socarrás, first postmaster general of Cuba. The US flag was lowered in Havana, and the Cuban flag was raised.

By agreement, Cuba was permitted to continue ordering supplies of Cuban postage stamps, postal stationery and postal cards from the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., through the US Third Assistant Postmaster General, until Cuba made other arrangements.

In September, 1902, the Havana newspaper El Fígaro ran a picture postcard contest. It was so popular that the demand for available one cent postage stamps was exhausting the stock on hand. There was not enough time to order new supplies from Washington, so Postmaster General Figueredo decided to re-value the least used denomination of the current stamps on hand. The 3 centavo value was overprinted “Un Centavo/ Habilitado/ Octubre 1902,” with a large numeral “1” in the center. The work was hurriedly done on September 30, 1902, in the printing works of Ruiz y Hermano of Havana. As a result, many errors occurred in the printing. Two hundred thousand stamps were revalued.

Detail of the 3 centavos stamp
Detail of the 3 centavos stamp on the cover mentioned below.

The revalued stamps were placed on sale on the same day in Havana, and on October 1 in Cienfuegos and Matanzas. By the next day, the entire issue was sold out! Fortunately, a new supply of 1 centavo stamps, previously ordered from Washington, had just arrived.

Envelope
Tome 2, number 18: Guanabacoa to Havana. 3 October 1902.

This cover was prepared by a philatelist as a souvenir, but bears two examples of the re-valued 3 centavo stamp. The one on the right is a normal overprint, but the one on the left has the overprint sideways on the stamp. It was mailed at Guanabacoa (Havana Province) to a local address on October 3, 1902.

Postal History
Introduction
Early History
Domestic Mail
International Mail
The North American
Intervention
The Republic
of Cuba

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