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 (9)

The map of Cuba (“Mapita”) issue of 1914 was the first postage stamp issue printed entirely in Cuba. The map design was prepared by Prof. Jaime Vals Henares, a member of the Academy of Science and Art in Havana, and given to the Security Bank Note Company of Philadelphia in order for them to engrave steel printing plates. The finished printing plates were returned to “La Moderna Poesía” printing works in Havana for production of the stamps. The set of eight different denominations were placed on sale on February 24, 1914.

Vol II, p.65: Camagüey to Philadelphia. 4 February, 1914.
MagnifierClick for a detail of the “mapita” stamp and postmark.

This registered cover, posted at Camagüey on February 4, 1915, addressed to Philadelphia, illustrates the use of two of the map stamps. Two centavos paid postage for a letter weighing up to one ounce, and 10 centavos paid for the registration fee. Both stamps are tied to the cover and each other by an ancient, oval “Certif.” (Certificado/Registered) postmark. This style of “Certif.” postmark was introduced during the Baeza reform of 1842!

Because registered mail had to be recorded at every stop, we can trace the route of this cover. At Havana, the letter was backstamped “Havana, Cuba/ R., February 5, 1915.” The next backstamp is “Fort Pierce & Key West R.P.O./C.O. Melzer, Tr. 86, February 6, 1915.” An “R.P.O.” is a Railway Post Office aboard a moving train. “C.O. Melzer” is the clerk who processed this mail, and “Tr. 86” is the train that carried this mail.

The last backstamp is that of “Philadelphia, Pa./ Registered/ February 9, 1915.” The extra large “REG” on the face of the cover was probably applied on the R.P.O., to reaffirm that this was a registered letter.

Postal History
Early History
Domestic Mail
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The North American
The Republic
of Cuba

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