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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nicaragua [1st Post]

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Today I have some stamps from Central America and from a country that it is not yet represented in the Collection...After looking to the stamps I had , and after a brief look at the Catalogs I immediately chose Nicaragua for this post...a more correct title for this post should be "The Man and his Company", but I will continue to name the posts like I have been doing recently...I don't have many stamps from Nicaragua , but , once again, I managed to buy a lot of Central American stamps with a small group of values of each one of the most representative series of a particular period of time ... this last lot I bought is more dedicated to the earlier days of Central American Countries ; in Nicaragua's case I have stamps of all the series of "postage" stamps from 1869 to 1905...this is for me a very interesting fact , because in that first and brief look to the catalogs I found that all the Nicaragua's stamps from 1890 to 1899 are part of what Philatelists call the "SEEBECK ISSUES" ... well, I rapidly decided to take a small tour through the Seebeck stamps from Nicaragua... but , let us start from the beginning...

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Nicaragua was part of the first region to became under Spanish Control in 1524...this region , The Spanish Captaincy of Guatemala declared it's Independence in 1821 and from 1823 to 1838 was part of the United Provinces of Central America.. Many revolts and  Wars plagued the Country in it's early days..
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We could say that from 1862 to 1880, all the stamps present a similar vignette , with differences in some of the labels and perforations... the main vignette's theme is the liberty Cap at the top of high mountains (or volcanoes??), and it is presented in all but one series until 1898... ...There are 5 different series sharing this same vignette... The first  3 ones are perforated (12) and the last two are rouletted (8.05) series.. all my stamps with this design are from this last group...
We can distinguish at least 3 types of these stamps:
1) with the label "Porte" at the left and "Porte" at right...
2) with the label "Correos" at left and "Porte" at right
3) Type 2 with different value frames (other then circular)
This particular group of rouletted stamps has two series depending on the qualities of the paper (soft, porous, thin,hard,etc).. each of these series could have stamps of the 3 types described above...


1st rouletted series (1877/1878) : I have just this stamp ; the series has two stamps of soft and porous paper... this distinction , in this case is easy to do, because the "hardness" of papers used in the two series is very different...as you can see , this 1c stamp is a type 2.. the other, a 5c is also a type 2..


2nd Rouletted series (1878/1880) : these stamps present a hard paper...I ask you now to look in particular for the 10c stamp, and for the postmark, that present us a good example of a numeral/Letters Postmark, where the letters (District ) appear under the numerals (Year).. the numerals are difficult to read , but  they are from the 8?'s and the letters are clearly CH from the district of Chinandega...these postmarks appear after 1869 (if you find it in your stamps you know that they are from this series (perforated or rouletted)...You have , for now, already noticed that the 2c is a type 1, the 5c a type 2 and the 10c a type 3 stamp...Finally and to end this brief passage through this Group of series, I need to tell that the stamps are [Recess] printed by ABNC,NY.


Another ABNC work, representing again the Central theme of the Country Arms...A curious thing is that from this series on, and until 1890  , the designs will always include the Year label...
1882 "Seal of Nicaragua" (7) [Recess (ABNC)] Sc(13,...,17)

I think that it is now time for a brief introduction to the Seebeck Issues.. 
Nicholas Frederick Seebeck was born in 1857 and died in 1899... From German origin , he soon emigrated to the US where he rapidly established himself as Stamp Dealer and collector...in 1884 he purchased a significant part of the company Hamilton Bank Note Engraving and Printing , New York...he soon established contracts with the duration of 10 years with 4 countries of Central and South America, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua... ; All the stamps would be dated , and at the end of the year. they were . invalidated... before the beginning of the next year new stamps would arrive to replace the previous issue...all the stock of unsold stamps was then back to Seebeck's hands for selling activities...his company had also the right to reprint and invalid stamps as needed for sell to collectors...
There are many opinions about these issues.. some collectors refused to collect these stamps, and in the end the name Seebeck ended related to bad practices in the promotion of Philately...
In Nicaragua all the postage , Official and Postage due stamps from 1890 to 1899 are part of the Seebeck Issues...


To start we have a first series for Postal and Telegraphic use...the design show us a nice exterior frame, the liberty cap at the top, above a train and below the country label, a telegraphic machine...all the stamps are well finished, designed , engraved and printed by Seebeck's Company....You will see that the beautiful frames are common to all these issues...
it is now time to say that for each one of the Year original series, there is an Official Series , with the overprinting of the originals...both the series, postage and official are issued at the same time (01/01'189?)...I will show a group of this Official stamps , in the end (I don't have an exemplar of each series, so it will be an incomplete presentation)..
1890 "Train & Telegraph" (10) [Recess (Hamilton Bank note Co., NY)] Sc(20,...,22)


The 1891 issue present us the Goddess of Plenty... it is a very nice work with a very beautiful, easy to follow and simple engraving , elaborated frames , a few simple ornaments.. A nice work! I may even agree with those who say that  Seebeck never should have made series with values not connected to reality, with almost no possible postal utilization , but I think we all agree that many , many series were done in the past only for benefit of the collectors..In the end of the XIX Century and until the 30's , stamp production was a very profitable industry and was engaged in many Top governmental negotiations between Powerful and Poor Countries... if the stamps are good, well designed and with good technical quality , why not collecting them?? 
1891 "Goddess of Plenty" (10) [Recess (Hamilton Bank note Co.,NY)] Sc(30,31)


 another above average quality stamp , where even the faces of the personalities are reasonable well designed, thing that was not common in those days (faces better designed then in several stamps of the US 1892 Columbian Exposition, Chicago, for example)...once again we have a very ornamented frame...  
1892 "400th Anniversary of the Discovery of America" (10) [Recess (Hamilton Bank Note Co, NY)] Sc(40,41)


For me , this is a great stamp... a very elaborated frame, where the final result has a certain Pre-Spanish Flavor...very beautiful..!
1893 "Liberty Cap & Rising Sun" (10) [Recess (Hamilton Bank Note Co, NY)] Sc(51,52,58)

We can say that until now, a certain lack of imagination in the vignettes (with the omnipresence of the Central element of the Country Arms)  was fully compensated by Rich and Imaginative Frames...


a design representing Victory , with nothing to add to the previous ones... by the contrary, this time the frame is very simple , and the vignette is common.. we are beginning to feel some decrease in the quality of the printings... A poor stamp!..
1894 "Victory" (10) [Recess (Hamilton Bank Note Co, NY)] Sc(61,62)

 The [Left] stamp is the original and the [Right] stamp must be a reprint... the problem is that catalogs say that most of the times, it is very difficult to distinguish them, but in this case the supposed reprint has several clear differences from the original.. Below , the two stamps are presented side by side for a better view of these differences...in the 2c stamp, the printing is also of  low quality...


1895 "Coat of Arms" (10) [Recess (Hamilton Bank Note Co, NY)] Sc(71,72)


again that Pré-Columbian look in the frame of this Postage due stamp...very nice engraving , with a very ABNC type of vignette...
1896 "Postage due stamp" (7) [Recess (Hamilton Bank Note Co, NY)] Sc(J1)


One more very good stamp, with some differences in the designs and engraving... As I said before , I don't know if these differences are due to reprints or if these differences are part of the original issue...catalogs talk about several reprints of this issue.. this series could have or not a wmk...reprints with wmk have it sideways....what I like the most in this stamp is the absence of refined and elaborated frames, with the design made as one single element.. we can say that , in this case, the vignette includes the labels, with just a small "pop up" exterior frame...very nice design , very innovative..! [ I don't know if I expressed well my opinion... in most cases , there is a main theme of the stamp, and the Artist imagine and draw's  an illustration about that theme and after that he draw again the frames and the labels , leaving the main illustration as the central vignette... in this case , this is the work of the Artist, the frames and labels are profoundly joined with the vignette , creating in the end a single element...] 
1896 "Map of Nicaragua" (9) [Recess (Hamilton Bank Note Co., NY)] Sc(81,82)


After the broke up of the Federation of Central American countries in 1838, Nicaragua turned out to be a defender of that solution to the region, always making efforts to rebuild it...I really don't understand the context of this stamp...You can see in this wikipedia link, some of the Political environment of those days and nothing justify this stamp... I think that , in the end it is just a commemorative stamp of the 60th Anniversary of the Federation Broke up.... there are original stamps with and without wmk, and the existence of reprints with the wmk sideways is also a fact...
1898 "Central America Federation Arms" (11) [Recess (Hamilton Bank Note Co., NY)] Sc(99,100,109,109G,109L)


this is the only Seebeck's issue that was not [Recess] printed... in fact, this is a [Litho] printing, with a design representing justice...it is a normal stamp and I don't have nothing more to say about it...
1899 "Justice" (11) [Litho (Hamilton Bank note Co, NY)] Sc(110)




In the beginning of the post, I said that  each one of the Seebeck series had it's own "Official" replica , so here they are some of these stamps, from four of those series...

As a final commentary to these "Seebeck Issues" I must say that they are much more appealing then I was expecting, because they have in some cases very beautiful and innovative designs , with good engravings , and in the end the stamps are of  above average quality...in the negative side , we could expect more imaginative themes for these stamps, but in other countries this could be different...I'll be waiting to see the Seebeck Issues of another countries , to watch for similarities and differences between them...future posts about Central and South America could bring news about "The Man and His Company"...


SeeYou




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