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
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The Republic of Cuba (8)

Posted at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 2, 1913, with 2-cents in U.S. postage prepaid, this cover was addressed to Manzanillo, Cuba. At the Cuban exchange office, a 10 centavos stamp was applied and canceled with a “T,” indicating “postage due of 10 centavos.”

Vol. II, p.61: Philadelphia to Manzanillo. 2 April, 1913.

The Universal Postal Union international rate of postage was 5 cents for one half ounce weight, however, the United States had a special postal arrangement concerning mail to and from Cuba, dating back to 1901.

The arrangement indicated that Cuban mail would be exchanged at domestic postage rates. Therefore, if this letter was one ounce or less, under U.S. domestic regulations, 2-cents would be sufficient postage to take it to its destination. The domestic rate of postage in Cuba at this time was 2 centavos per ounce as well. Either the Cuban exchange clerk found this letter to be 5 times overweight and charged it accordingly, or they found it insufficiently prepaid and charged the 5 centavo U.P.U. International rate plus 5 centavos penalty, totally ignoring the 2-cents stamp. At this late date, it is difficult to say exactly what happened.

The letter is backstamped “Manzanillo, Oriente, April 7, 1913.”

Postal History
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Domestic Mail
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The North American
The Republic
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