filatelia, Cuba, sello

Philately in Cuba: The first stamp circulated in 1855

MADRID, Spain.- May 6th marks World Philately (and Philatelist) Day, since on that date in 1840 the first postage stamp in history circulated in England for sending correspondence; Revolutionary change for written communication.

That first stamp was called Penny Black (Penny Black). Its inventor was Professor of Mathematics Rowland Hill (1795-1879), whose report arguing his idea was approved in 1839 in the Postal Reform Act. The stamp had an image of Queen Victoria in profile, the word Postage at the top and One Penny at the bottom.

Philately, the art of collecting stamps, envelopes and other postal documents, comes from the Greek words philos –hobby, lover– and atelia –paid in advance–; It was proposed by the French collector Georges Herpin, in 1864.

In Cuba, the first postage stamp was put into circulation in April 1855, with the effigy of Queen Isabella II of Spain, printed at the Real Fábrica del Sello y Timbre in Madrid. It coincided with the establishment of the first local post office in Havana, based on the one that had been established in Madrid in 1853.

It was proposed to the Captain General of the Island by the Postmaster Narciso de Torre Marín, according to documents from the National Archive of Cuba, cited by JL (José Luis) Guerra Aguiar in the brochure The local post office of Havana and its provisional issuespublished in 1977, where it is also stated that in 1860 there was another provisional issue of stamps and a third in 1866.

A large number of panels in three exhibition rooms show part of the philatelic history of Cuba and other countries in the José Luis Guerra Aguiar Cuban Postal Museum, inaugurated in January 1965 on the ground floor of the Ministry of Communications, in Havana, and called by its first director and one of its founders, author of the aforementioned book.

After those first issues, philately in Cuba continued to develop and numerous stamp cancellations have been made for significant dates and figures, such as the many dedicated to José Martí; among many that of 1953 for the centenary of his birth. Others have been dedicated to political and cultural personalities such as the allegorical to the poetess Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda in 2014 or the one that in 2015 recalled the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba.

In addition, events such as national philately championships are held and other international ones have been Cuban winners for consecutive years, such as the World Philately Exhibition in Australia. CUBAFIL’22, the previous year, became the largest virtual philatelic exhibition at the national and regional level in the last five years, with more than 134 collections of various themes.

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