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 Articulo Puripex 2008 - THE COAMO SHEET OF TEN

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Fecha de inscripción : 16/09/2010
Localización : Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

MensajeTema: Articulo Puripex 2008 - THE COAMO SHEET OF TEN   Dom Oct 10, 2010 11:37 pm

By: Ronald H. González, MD

The American forces landed in Puerto Rico, on July 25, 1898 through the town of Guánica. Shortly after many towns in the south of the island were occupied. Two days later, on July 27th , they reach la “Playa de Ponce” (Ponce wharf). The next day, on July 28, the town of Ponce was occupied. It was not until August third, that a post office was established on the second floor of the customs building, at la “Playa de Ponce”. As the American forces were advancing and occupying more towns, the Spanish military forces were retreating. At the same time, the postal employees were abandoning their posts and taking or destroying the postal equipment. Since there was no organized postal system, the need for a local mail service arouses.

The town of Coamo was occupied on August 9, 1898 and a military postal station, number 5, was not established until September 9, 1898. In order to start local mail delivery between the towns of Coamo and Juana Díaz and from there, to other towns, the Mayor Mr. Florencio Santiago petitioned General James H. Wilson to create a provisional stamp. The stamp was to pay the rate of 5¢ per letter. The permission was granted and the stamp was printed in a hand press at a local print shop called “El Alba”, owned by Mr. Hermnio W. Santaella. Fifty sheets of ten stamps were typeset printed in black color ink, on an unwatermarked yellowish paper. The stamps were imperforated and an uneven brownish gum was applied. There were two horizontal rows of five stamps. Since there were not enough number “5” characters, four different fonts were used. In essence each stamp is different due to the rudimentary printing process. It reads “CORREOS” on the top, “5 CTS.“ in the center and “COAMO” on the bottom, using a “grotesque” font for the letters “C” and “S” of “CORREOS” and the “sans serif” font for all the other letters. A control mark “F. Santiago” was applied in violet to avoid counterfeits. The stamp was first used on August 13th or 15th until about September 3rd or 4th. It was only used for about 18 days. Since there are no official records, the dates are debated.

The stamp was known to exist by American stamp dealers and speculators because CPT. R. D. Potts, an ARMY officer, had purchased and used some of the stamps to mail his letters to his wife in Presidio, San Francisco. One of his covers was obtained by a dealer who published it in a philatelic journal of the period. On October 26, 1898 about 30-33 of the remaining sheets were purchased by Mr. Alfred Otto Titman, a stamp collector who knew of the stamps existence by way of ARMY Private Eldredge whom he met previously in Ponce. Private Eldredge had obtained a stamp from a war correspondent in the town of Coamo. Mr. Tittman brought the sheets to the United States where he showed them to Charles H. Meekel, a prominent stamp dealer, who cut and sold most of the sheets in singles. Some sheets were kept intact. A total of about 10 covers with the Coamo stamp still exist; three are the ones mailed by CPT. Potts. The Coamo stamp used on cover is extremely rare; some of the covers are not canceled, probably due to the lack of canceling devices in the town of Coamo. Only a few covers were charged Postage Due and no one knows if it was ever collected.

No one really knows how many of the Coamo sheets of ten still exist. Many experts and dealers estimate that about 9 or 10 still exist. They sporadically appear on stamp auctions. For the past few years, I have collected the images of the sheets from philatelic articles, stamp and auction catalogs, Internet sites and private collections. Also, I have obtained many images from the Philatelic Foundation’s photo files. So far I am able to identify about 20 different sheets. They are easy to identify by the location of the “F. Santiago” mark and the uneven cuts around the sheet. Also, I have followed the provenance (pedigree) of many of them through the years. Since no one really knows how many genuine sheets exist, some sheets certified as genuine may be forgeries and vice versa. There are several constant differences, for example in the genuine sheet the stamp in position 5 exhibits a break on the base of the letter “S” of “CTS.” but in the counterfeit it is solid. Also the counterfeit sheet paper is whiter.

At the end of the article I also include a bibliography related to the stamp. If any of you have any of the sheets or have any different ones, pleas let me know through the editor. Thanks.







9- Original Gum PFC #36548
Carl E. Pelander, Cuba & Puerto Rico, The Ferrars H. Tows Collection. Part III, January 8, 1949 Realized ?/$700
Lot #1088 Robson Lowe & Nestor Jacob Auction, Hobby: Madrid, Spain , May 1970
Lot #236 Realized ?
Ex: Ferrars H. Tows (Pelander Auction), Roger B. Preston (R. Lowe Auction)

10- Genuine PFC #56085 Purchased for $5,000.00 Private collection. Ex:Raul Gandara
11- Genuine, Some oily gum stains. PFC #27451
Harmer auctions January 1964 Lot #1304 Realized $310.00/800.00
January 24, 1968. Lot #1499 Realized $450.00/900.00
Ex: No provenance.
12- Small thins on first stamp. PFC #18235
Stanley Gibbons May 1971 Realized $850.00
Ex: No provenance.

13- Original gum, first stamp tiny thin. No certificate
H R Harmer February 23, 1971 Lot #656 Realized$825.00/$900.00 (Solid “S” On the stamp on position 5.)
Ex: No provenance

14- Slightly thinned, thin spot on left, control markings retraced in black ink. PFC #39651
Kelleher Realized $1300 May 1973, Lot #2119
This is probably the sheet that AO Tittman gave Mr. Smith for the “The Metropolitan Philatelist” article.
Ex: No provenance.

15- Regumed, faded purple control mark. Age stains. PF Cert. #99445
San Juan Stamp Auction May 1976 Realized ?
Kaufman Auction , Realized $2,400.00 /2,600.00 May 1981
Ex: No provenance.

16- Seven Santiago control marks. Almost full streaky gum. No certificate
Harmer Realized $2,400.00 June 1978 Lot #512
Ex: No provenance. Signed CHM on reverse (CH Meekel), see also sheet #5.

17- Genuine, Small thin spot in position 3 stamp.
Image from the Philatelic Foundation archive PF Certificate #151986
Ex: No provenance.

18- Genuine, no description. Image from the Philatelic Foundation archive PF Certificate #21803
Ex: No provenance. (Solid “S” On the stamp on position 5.)

19- Genuine, no description. Image from the Philatelic Foundation archive PF Certificate 22072
Ex: No provenance (Solid “S” On the stamp on position 5.)

20- Genuine, no description. Image from the Philatelic Foundation archive PF Certificate #69079
Ex: No provenance.

21- Genuine, P. H. A small thin in lower right stamp. Original gum.
Image from the Philatelic Foundation archive PF Certificate #228195
Ex: No provenance.


Bibliography:

1– Alvarez, Fermín, “Los Provisionales o Emisiones de los Alcaldes de Puerto Rico”; PURIPEX XVII book, 1971, Sociedad Filatélica de Puerto Rico, p 19-20.

2- Brewster, Geoffrey, Plating the Coamo Stamp; Possessions 2003, Third Quarter, Vol. 24, #3, Whole 89, p 24-28.

3- Davila, Ovidio, First Philatelic Reference to Ponce, Coamo and Yauco Provisionals; Possessions 1987, Third Quarter, Vol. 4, #3, Whole 37, p 13-14.

4- Davila, Ovidio, The Official Municipal Documents Pertaining To The Coamo Provisional Issue; Possessions 1988, Fourth Quarter, Vol. 11, #4, Whole 42.

5- Dávila, Ovidio, The Coamo Provisional Covers; Possessions 1988, First Quarter, Vol. 11, #1, Whole 39, p 3-6.

6- Gandara, Raúl; “Estudio del sello de Coamo”; Boletín Oficial Sociedad Filatélica de Puerto Rico ,PURIPEX XVII book, September 12-19, 1971, p 39-43.

7- Hill, George S.; History of the American Postal Service in Puerto Rico; Collectors Club Philatelist, October 1937, Vol. XVI #4, p 256-279.

8- Ingraham, Irving I., “Coamo” Discovery; The American Philatelist, May 1946, Vol. 59, #8, p 690-693.

9- Palmer, Mervin G., The Coamo Provisional; Gibbons’ Stamp Monthly, London, August 1, 1929, Vol. II, #11, p 210.

10- Preston, Roger B.; Puerto Rico, The Postmaster Provisionals of 1898; The Stamp Specialist 1948, Chartreuse Book, H. L. Lindquist , Vol. 19, p 65-81.

11- Preston, Roger B.; The Provisional Stamps of Puerto Rico-1898 Part II, The Coamo Provisional Stamps; The American Philatelist, July 1937, Vol. 50, p 512.

12– Storer, Hougo D., “Catalogo Filatélico de Puerto Rico”, Sociedad Filatélica de Puerto Rico 1977, p 78

13- Ward, Philip H. Jr., United States Notes and Comments, Coamo Issue; Mekeel’s Weekly, March 19, 1945, p 181.

Acknowledgement: I want to thank the Philatelic Foundation for allowing me to use the images of many of the sheets depicted on this article.

A similar article will be publishe in the journal Possessions later in 2008.

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