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Cuba and Puerto Rico shared postage stamps of the Antilles until 1876. From June 1873 and because of currency smuggling between the two countries, Puerto Rico began to counter-mark the stamps. By 1877 each colony had its own stamps, having joined the Post General Union, now called International Postal Union. In 1860 lithographic stamps were printed in Cuba for the first time, one with a picture of Queen Isabel II, the second with the Spanish official courier. These stamps circulated on the island together with others printed in Spain. In 1877 a stamp bearing an image of Alfonso XII shows the title "Cuba" instead of "Ultramar" (Overseas). In 1890 and with a picture of Alfonso XIII, the first postage stamp with the name "Island of Cuba" was printed. During the "Ten Year War" the mambises established their own mail system and printed two stamps, both with the Republic's coat of arms. After intervention by the United States, stamps were surcharged in strips of 5 and five reprints were made. A series with symbols and landscapes of the island was printed in 1899. During the neo colonial Republic period lots of stamps were printed paying tribute to prominent personages that excelled in culture or in the war of independence against Spain and to celebrate important political and social happenings. With the inauguration of the national airline in 1930, a 10c-value stamp was printed. On January 28th, 1959, a filigree stamp, D perforated, was printed to commemorate the triumph of the revolution. In 1960 a series named "Centenary of stamp" was sold at a price of two dimes. An important series was printed during the following years: 1967, five paintings from the National Museum, water-marked, F perforated with a print run of 125 000 were printed. The latest prints are: 1973, Cuban colonial cartography, 12 perforated; 1975, six postage stamps with the first series about endemic birds, 12 perforated, 786 000 printed; 1976 one stamp to commemorate the V National Philatelic Exhibit, 13 perforated, size 89 x 99 mm; 1978, flowers at the National Botanical Garden, 12 perforated, 666 000 printed; 1978, series Cuban Painters dedicated to Amelia Pelaez, 12 perforated, 635 000 printed. In recent years Cuban philately has won international prestige not only because of the meetings held on the island but also for the high value of private collections which reveal, in a coherent manner, the history of Cuban postage stamps. 1standard.jpg (4932 bytes)


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