A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Cuba 1899 & 1905 Issues: original & re-engraved differences

 

1905 Scott 237 10c brown "Cane Field"
Re-engraved
Into the Deep Blue

Bits and pieces of memory flood back when I look again at the original 1899 and re-engraved 1905 stamp issues of Cuba: There I was as a 12 year old in the living room of our old house, trying to make sense of the differences these stamps exhibited. I think I mostly succeeded, but not entirely, as I never would have had the 1905 5c blue "Ocean Liner", with the re-engraved secret mark - too expensive for my boyhood budget (Today CV $8).

So, with a tinge of nostalgia, and the realization, even now, that these issues can be confused, I thought a proper look at the differences would be in order.

As students of Cuban history know, the 1899 issue came into being while the U.S. had military rule and occupation of Cuba, due to the Spanish-American war in 1898.

There were five stamps for the 1899 issue (1c, 2c, 3c, 5c,10c), and four stamps for the 1905 re-engraved
issue (1c, 2c, 5c, 10c). Since I want to illustrate differences, the 1899 3c will not be discussed further.

One problem Scott presented to us collectors is that their illustration of the differences were in black & white until very recently, and particularly the "2c" illustration was confusing. Fortunately, my 2020 catalogue now shows the illustrations in color with better resolution.

So, let's take a closer look...

1899 Scott 227 1c yellow green 
"Statue of Columbus"; Original
The original 1c has a fairly obvious sign if you know where to look.  Also, the 1c's color was "yellow green", which might offer a clue compared to the 1c "green" or "light green" of the 1905 issue.

1899 Cuba Issue: Double-lined "C" (left) & "U" (right)
Wmk US-C (191C)
I should mention, for those familiar with the USA Wmk 191 (Double lined "USPS" in Capitals), that there was a special 191 variation watermark (191C) used on the 1899 Cuba issue: namely "US-C". 

1899 Scott 227 1c yellow green Close-up
Original: The ends of the "Centavo" tablet are square
Well, here is the difference that identifies the 1c original: Note that either end of the "Centavo" tablet is square.

1905 Scott 233 1c green 
"Statue of Columbus"; Re-engraved
OK, now the 1 centavo of 1905. Note the "green" color. Also, this issue is unwatermarked. Note also that both the 1899 & the 1905 issues are Perf 12.

1905 Scott 233 1c green Close-up
Re-engraved: The ends of the "Centavo" tablet are rounded
The close-up of the 1905 1c shows that either end of the "Centavo" tablet is rounded (or cut into top and bottom if you prefer).

1899 Scott 228 2c carmine "Royal Palms"
Original
The 2c is one of those stamps I clearly remember from my childhood. ;-) It can be found either as "carmine" (major number) or scarlet. 

1899 Scott 228 2c carmine Close-up
Original: Foliate ornaments inside "2" disk oval
The clue to identifying the 1899 2c is to look inside the oval surrounding the "2". There is a "9 o'clock" and a "3 o'clock" foliate ornament present inside the oval.

Cover 1899 Scott 228 2c carmine Original
Soldier's letter (Sperow): Co. F., with 10th U.S. Infantry based in Matanzas
Matanzas, Cuba 4-4-1900 to Boston, Mass
Backstamped Havana, Cuba 4-4-1900
Here is a soldier's letter posted 4-4-1900 from Cuba. Recall that the U.S. had occupation forces there after the 1898 Spanish-American war.

Cover: Matanzas, Cuba 4-4-1900 to Boston, Mass
Stamp: 1899 Scott 228 2c carmine 
Original: Foliate ornaments inside "2" disk oval
Sure enough, the stamp is the 1899 2c carmine with the foliate ornaments inside the "2" ovals.

1905 Scott 234b 2c carmine "Royal Palms"
Re-engraved
Let's look at the 1905 re-engraved 2c. Take a look inside the "2" ovals.

(BTW, I think the color here is minor number "carmine", rather than major number "rose". It turns out the carmine color has a lesser CV (<$1) than the rose color ($1+) The carmine color must be also more common?)

1905 Scott 234b 2c carmine Close-up
Re-engraved: No foliate ornaments inside "2" disk oval
A look inside the oval "2" shows no foliate ornaments.

Cover: 1905 Scott 234b 2c carmine Re-engraved
8-31-08 Caibarien, Santa Clara, Cuba to Decatur, Georgia via Havana
Arrived 9-4-08
I'm beginning to think that postal historians (those that like their stamps on covers) do not pay a lot of attention to the stamps themselves. The seller here listed the stamp as "228" - the 1899 2c stamp.

Cover: Caibarien, Santa Clara, Cuba 8-31-1908 to Decatur, Georgia
Stamp: 1905 Scott 234b  2c carmine 
Re-engraved: No foliate ornaments inside "2" disk oval
Do you see any foliate ornaments inside the oval 2s? No! This is clearly a 1905 2c issue, which is  appropriate for a 1908 cover.

1899 Scott 230 5c blue "Ocean Liner"
Original
The original 5c blue 1899 edition. 

1899 Scott 230 5c blue Close-up
Original: There are no right angle lines added 
in the upper corners of the "Cuba" tablet
For this stamp, the sign is subtle - there are no added right angle lines in the upper "Cuba" tablet.

1905 Scott 236 5c blue "Ocean Liner"
Re-engraved
The 1905 issue 5c blue is CV $40+/$8 (unused/used). I suspect this stamp is missing from many ordinary WW collections.

And the sign for the 1905 issue 5c is also subtle....

1905 Scott 236 5c blue Close-up
Re-engraved: There are right angle lines added 
in the upper corners of the "Cuba" tablet
Look carefully at the upper corners of the "Cuba" tablet: There are placed "right angle lines"...almost a secret sign!

1899 Scott 231 10c brown "Cane Field"
Original
Fortunately, the 1899 10c brown has a not so subtle sign...

1899 Scott 231 10c brown "Cane Field" Close-up
Original: Square ends either side of "Cuba" tablet
Look for square ends.

1905 Scott 237 10c brown "Cane Field"
Re-engraved
Now, the re-engraved 1905 10c brown....

1905 Scott 237 10c brown "Cane Field" Close-up
Re-engraved; Small "ball" added to the square ends
The square ends have a ball added. !!!

Ocean Liner Close-up
1899 Scott 5c blue
Out of the Blue
I hope you enjoyed the close examination of the differences between the 1899 and 1905 issues. Admittedly, most are fairly obvious if one knows where to look. !!

Comments appreciated!

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