The Republic of Cuba (1)
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
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
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.
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.