Cuba First Issue 1855-63

The Cuba First Issue of 1855-63 saw usage during what must have been "interesting" times. The letters from this period tell stories of an era that seems far removed from ours. Most of the issues I study are from the 1980s to date. This issue is an exception. I acquired some of these stamps as far back as 1982. To the right is the back of a block of nine of the 1855 1 Real on blue paper showing the loops watermark of 1855. The first row below shows the three values on blue paper. The second row below this one shows the three values on white paper. I have authored a representative sample of articles, and all are lined at the bottom of this page. Below each stamp, I link only to some representative pages. In a separate page, I show examples of the watermarks.
The 1856 issue is shown in the row above for the early printings, and in this row for printings with the plate very dirty. Notice that both the 1/2 Real and the 1 Real have completely different colors for the clean and dirty printings.
The 1857 issue is shown in the row above for the early printings, in this row for transitional printings, and in the row below for the acid-cleaned plate printings. Notice that the 1/2 Real to the left is a very worn out printing. Some of these dies where replace with the new die, shown to the right of the worn out example. The new die has a pearl missing in the upper left field in the third row.
Information about the stamps in this issue may be found in the following articles (including the present one):
1: The Color Varieties of the Cuba 1855 1/2 Real: A brief look at the bluish and white paper color varieties.
36 (Postal History Part 1): Some of these stamps were also used in other Spanish Colonies; only the Cuban usages are discussed here, with the exception of one cover used in Puerto Rico. This article is divided into three major sections:
1. Covers with the 1855 and 1856 Baeza postmarks.
2. Covers with smaller postmarks of varying design.
3. Covers from the 1860s with the small, and final postmarks.
A very interesting characteristic of postal history before the invention of the envelope is that the letter is almost always preserved with the cover. I find no better way to place these stamps in their times than to include a family letter from 1856 with a poignant and interesting tale.
136: Cuba 1855-1863 Half Real I have previously shown the color varieties of the 1855 half real. I expand here by adding some larger images for the 1855 printings, and many more from the later printings, including many plate varieties. Quick links: main page / 1855 Blue Paper / 1855 White Paper / 1856 / 1857-61 Dirty Plate / Postal Forgeries / Plate Varieties main page : CORRFOS / CORRFOS detailed image / Early line breaks / Late line breaks / Plate Wear / 1862 Cleaned Plate
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