Notes from the Past

Cuba - First Republic Issue

The first stamp issued by the then new Republic of Cuba was the 1¢ surcharge on the U. S. Bureau-printed 3¢ purple with the allegorical figure representative of "Cuba," Scott's No. 232.  This surcharge was done in Cuba.  The last U. S. issue for Cuba was the set of five stamps designs issued in 1899 under the U. S. Military administration.

U. S. Military rule ceased May 20, 1902, when American occupation came to an end.  The surcharged stamp, you will note, carries its own date, "Octubre 1902," and that was five months after the U. S. had turned over the government of the island to the newly formed Republic.  Thus the stamp itself seems to provide sufficient evidence of its status.

Counterfeits.  The Scott U. S. Catalog, in a footnote, warns of excellent forgeries of this surcharge, particularly the errors, such as inverted, double, sideways, etc.  They are very dangerous.  According to information I gathered some years ago, the actual overprinting plate used for the surcharge was stolen, and later put to press to make all kinds of "errors."  The surcharge of the originals is in a carmine but the fakes generally are in an orange red.  Since the original overprinting plate was used for the fakes other differences would be difficult to find.  Faked overprints also were printed over genuine overprints to create inverts and doubles.  The genuine errors are really very scarce stamps.  A cruder counterfeit seen shows a markedly thinner number "1," and no doubt there are other forgeries.  (Note: Please do not submit stamps for checking.)

- George B. Sloane
Sloan's Column
 January 26, 1957
Posted July 25, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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