Friday, July 9, 2010

1851 Isabella II Spain 6c

Today I am showing you two letters I collected of one of the earliest stamps of Spain.

On October 24, 1849 a royal decree, signed by the Count of San Luis, ordered the creation of adhesive postage stamps to be used as prepayment for delivery of mail in Spain. Only two months later, on January 1, 1850 the first set of five stamps was ready and in use. They all show the portrait of Queen Isabella II. The stamps on the above letters are of 1851 and of a different design then the very first stamps.

Mark the 'Araña', or Spider, cancel often seen on first issues. This cancel was first used in Madrid on February 22, 1850. It was introduced in the rest of the country a few days later. The idea with the design of this cancel was to prevent the Queen from being 'de-faced'. Most often the cancellation ink is black, though red, blue and green are known to have been used early on. In 1851 the officially prescribed colour was black. This cancel was mainly used between 1850 and 1851, meaning only on the first issue. It seems to have been used occasionally in 1869 and 1870.

The 'Araña' cancels could sometimes be removed and the stamps could be reused. The 'Araña' was therefore replaced by a heavier cancel, the 'Parilla', an oval with horizontal lines. When some people managed to remove this cancel it was prescribed to use oily ink.

Isabella II (1830-1904) was queen of Spain from 1833 to 1868. She was Spain's first true constitutional monarch during a period of growing social and political conflicts.

The 1851 stamp is shown also on this "stamp on stamp", on the left.