Notes from the Past

Columbus and Cabot

It was lately noted here that Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria, shown on the 3¢ of the Columbian issue of 1893, was used again by the American Bank Note Co. on the 10¢ of the Cabot issue of Newfoundland, 1897, and designated the Mathew.  A reader states that the boats were originally one and the same, that the Santa Maria was refitted and sold to the company who backed Cabot in his voyage which resulted in the discovery of Newfoundland.

This would be an interesting story, but it fails to check with historical references.  Columbus' own story says that while he was still cruising the West Indies, In December, 1492, the Santa Maria was wrecked off the coast of Haiti and had to be abandoned.  Columbus returned to Europe on the Nina, while some of the crew remained behind to establish a colony and build a fort on the island.  The ship, Mathew, used by Cabot must have been, and undoubtedly was, another ship, even though it may have resembled the Santa Maria in appearance.  It is of interest to the collector that the American Bank Note Co. used the same old engraving of the Santa Maria on the Newfoundland stamp.
 
 

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
Stamps
May 29, 1937
  Posted December 24, 1999 

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