Until now, the nature of this PS, identified as H&G16, has always been a mystery.
Many thought it was an error, not sure if it was from the previous series or the next. I particularly thought, mistakenly, that it was an error of the next issue, the 1911 with the indicia of Miranda. After all, it would have been impossible for them, in 1909, to know that by January 1911 they were going to be making another series.
As I’ve only recently discovered, this whole postcard is actually a series in its own right, not an error of another. And its existence was due to the fact that the 1909 PS were sold out before the new issue of stamps (authorized on November 23, 1910) where ready (these stamps was going to be used as the indicia of this new issue of PS).
The Report and Account of the Ministry of Development of 1911, printed in Caracas by the Guttenberg Company, was the key reference to unveil all this mystery. Let’s see what happened.
Everything begins on November 23, 1910, the document numbered 311, when the Executive authorized a new series of stamps “to make an emission with the necessary modifications that avoid in the future the defrauding of the rent with the laundering of the species”. Stamp laundering fraud, by this date, was more than ten years old (late 1898). Obviously it was not easy for them to fight it.
Another reason given in the decree is that postage stamps of different types were about to run out.
On January 5, 1911, according to document 320 of the mentioned memory, the Ministry of Development issued a resolution ordering the issue of 20,000 postcards. It goes like this:
while the new issue of postage stamps is put into circulation, as provided by Executive Decree dated November 23rd of last year, whose cards must bear the corresponding type, an issue of twenty thousand (20,000) postcards is made by Litografía del Comercio, equal to those previously issued by said establishment, but with the modification that now has the National Coat of Arms.
This document is extremely important because it not only mentions the amount authorized for this new issue (20,000), but also makes it clear which was the cliché to be used in the indicia (“the same one used previously”, I.e.- the bust of Sucre used in the November 1909 issue). It also introduces the new Coat of Arms.
A little more than a month later, on February 11, 1911, according to document 321, a record is made of the delivery of the issue to the Banco de Venezuela for its immediate circulation. It reads:
The undersigned, Director of the Treasury, Director of Post and Telegraphs, National Treasurer and President of the Court of Accounts, meeting on the 30th of January last, at 8:00 a.m. in the Lithography of Commerce of this city, in accordance with the Executive Resolution of the 5th of January last, issued by the Ministry of Development, proceeded to issue the quantity of twenty thousand official cards of the value of ten cents of bolivar each, strictly observing the formalities foreseen in these cases to safeguard the fiscal interests. Once the printing work was finished on the same date, and the plates that were used for the printing were destroyed, the commission of officials decided to leave the referred issue deposited in the said establishment, until the lithography ink was dry, to then meet again and witness the cutting of the postcards, whose work was carried out on this date, and the issue was then delivered to the Banco de Venezuela.
As we can see, the printing of the 20,000 new cards was done in a single day, January 30, 1911. They were cut and delivered to Banco de Venezuela on February 11 of the same year, in order to make them available to the public. That same day, according to document 322, the Ministry of Development ordered to pay Pius Schlageter, owner of the Litografía del Comercio, the amount of Bs. 1240 for the work done.
That is to say, the existence of this series was only due to the urgency of having PS ready for the public while the new issue ordered on November 23, 1910 was ready.
Since this issue only came to cover a temporary shortage, I estimate that after the new postcards with Miranda’s indicia came into force on July 24, 1911, an issue that must have had a high publicity since they were created to commemorate the first hundred years of the country’s independence, the distribution and use of those “normal” ones with Sucre’s indicia was reduced considerably.
Years later, on July 20, 1914, the Executive issued a decree demonetizing as of July 1, 1914, in its article 3, “.B. 0.10 PS bearing stamps of this value and issued by virtue of the Decree of 23 November 1910 and the resolutions of 18 January and 20 February 1911 and 12 March 1912 executed by the Ministry of Development.“.
If we only look at the form of that article, we will see that this issue with the Sucre indicia was not, in fact, nullified by this decree. However, it is easy to deduce that it was included in the spirit of the decree since, after all, its creation was also “by virtue of the Decree of 23 November 1910“.
From 1 July, Development began to collect the stock of cancelled postcards, as recorded in its reports of later years. Unfortunately, they do not distinguish between particular issues, only between overall amounts of cards collected.
Thus we have the following conclusions:
- The January 1911 issue with the Sucre indicia was authorized on January 5, 1911.
- It was issued on February 11 of the same year.
- It was repealed as of July 1, 1914.
- The remnant of existence was collected and, perhaps, incinerated.
- Its use was overshadowed from July 24, 1911, with the issuance of postcards with Miranda’s indicia.
With this we can now affirm that this issue was not an error of any kind. And even though its use may have been overshadowed by the next issue, the number of pieces of this issue that are available today is tremendously small, particularly in uncirculated pieces. Why? An unsolved mystery.
In the gallery below I will try to keep a visual record of the pieces known so far. If you have in your collection any piece not shown here, please let me know so I can add it!
The 18 pieces that I have been able to register
In addition to the ones shown below, there is the new one at the top of this article, and three of which I did not get permission to reproduce.
I have a visual record of three other pieces, also in used condition, but I can’t show them because I don’t have permission from their current owner.
With these, my record of pieces in this series is complete. If you own more pieces from this series, please feel free to share them in this public registry.