Paper Heritage - Colombia: Issues for Santander and Cucuta

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The only major catalogue which currently lists all the railway-related issues of Santander and Cucuta is Yvert et Tellier. Michel and Scott list some of them, SG none at all. The stamps were for use locally in the province/state of Santander and in the city of Cucuta in the very early years of the 20th century. Used copies are much scarcer than mint, whilst very few mint copies have gum. I would recommend that collectors settle for mint without gum, unless they intend to spend several lifetimes looking for gummed examples!

General Note: All the stamps were printed in sheets of 28 (7 x 4); I have also seen a few of the Cucuta stamps without surcharge in sheets of 18 (6 x 3). The sheets/28 are clearly the standard format and I can shed no light on the sheets/18. In this article, I have not given the surcharge colour, except where this is necessary to distinguish different issues.

Both Yvert and Domfil treat Santander and Cucuta, correctly, as separate issuing authorities. So, for example, there is a Domfil 907.1 in Santander and a Domfil 907.1 in Cucuta - and they are quite different stamps. Easy to make a mistake!

I have decided to provide my own numbering for these issues, prefixed PH , in the list below. In my retail list, elsewhere on this website, I have used these PH numbers and Yvert, rather than Domfil and Yvert.

I shall first describe the simpler Santander issues, then the Cucuta. The download time with a fast modem for this article is about three minutes, by the way, but I decided you would probably prefer scans you could view to fast, blurred images!

1. SANTANDER The 1904 set of 8 values includes one with a train, the 50c. Later the same year, the set was re-issued in new colours.
Santander originals

There is a wide range of shades for both issues and I have illustrated the two extremes (darkest and lightest) which I have so far encountered.

First Issue: PH81 1904 Yv. 25 (Domfil 904.4) Orange to Yellow (shades)
Second issue: PH821904 Yv.32 Grey-purple to Lilac (shades). (Domfil has a numbering error, should probably be 904.11)

Both issues were surcharged Medio Cvo. ( centavo) in five different styles as shown.

Santander & Cucuta Medio opts

Identifying features of the Five types:
Type I : Small 'C' in Cvo, thin tall 'd' in Medio (13 per sheet)
Type II : Small 'C' in Cvo, thicker shorter 'd' in Medio (7 per sheet)
Type III : Large 'C' in Cvo, thiicker shorter 'd' in Medio (1 per sheet, position 6)
Type IV : Large 'C' in Cvo, 'd' of Medio with top serif (6 per sheet)
Type V : Large 'C' in Cvo, thin tall 'd' in Medio (1 per sheet, position 13, i.e. Row 2,6)

Sheet Format of the Medio Cvo surcharges for Santander and Cucuta:

Type I I I I II III IV
Type I I I II II V IV
Type I I I II II IV IV
Type I I I II II IV IV
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1907 Half Centavo surcharges on the 50c of Santander:

PH83 Yv. 42 Medio Cvo/50c Yellow-orange Type I (Domfil 907.1)
PH84 Yv. 42a ditto Type II
PH85 Yv. 42b ditto Type III
PH86Yv. 42c ditto Type IV
PH87 Yv. 42d ditto Type V
Domfil lists only the basic surcharge.

PH88 Yv. 43 Medio Cvo/50c Grey-purple to Lilac Type I (Domfil 907.2)
PH89 Yv. 43a ditto Type II
PH90 Yv. 43b ditto Type III
PH91 Yv. 43c ditto Type IV
PH92 Yv. 43d ditto Type V
Domfil lists only the basic surcharge.

2. CUCUTA

Cucuta issued a set of eight stamps in 1904 in seven different designs, all showing steam trains. The same designs were re-issued in new colours in 1905.

First Cucuta set .

Although I have produced a high quality scan, the original printing of these stamps is always a little blurred. On the 1c, the train is immediately above the word 'CENTAVO', on the 2c, it is under the word CENTAVOS. In the 50c, the train runs through the coat-of-arms at the top and in the 1 Peso, it is at top right, above the word COLOMBIA. The other designs should be clear enough in the scan to find the loco!
Catalogue numbering: Yvert 14-21; Domfil 904.1-7 (excluding the 20c brown, which is 904.5 DCS)

PH1 Yv. 14 1c Black
PH2 Yv.15 2c Yellow-Green
PH3 Yv.16 5c Red
PH4 Yv.17 10c Blue
PH5 Yv.18 20c Red
PH6 Yv.19 20c Chestnut-brown
PH7 Yv.20 50c Violet
PH8 Yv.21 1 Peso Yellow

The 1905 set only has one 20c and is shown in the new colours below:

Cucuta - 1905 Set

Catalogue numbering: Yvert 22-28; Domfil 905.1-7

PH9 Yv.22 Green ( on yellow )
PH10 Yv.23 Red ( on yellow )
PH11 Yv.24 Blue ( on yellow )
PH12 Yv.25 Brown ( on yellow )
PH13 Yv.26 Green ( on yellow )
PH14 Yv.27 Red ( on yellow )
PH15 Yv.28 1 Peso Violet

Yvert also lists two more stamps, also shown in Domfil), a 50c red - Yv.27A - on WHITE paper (Yv.27 is on yellow paper) and a 1 Peso Black - Yv. 28A. I only know of one collector who claims to have the 50c red/white and I only know of two copies of the 1 Peso in Black. The only one of these, which I have seen, is used. Both these stamps, listed below, should be considered as major railway rarities.

PH16 Yv.27A 50c Red ( on white )
PH17 Yv.28A 1 Peso Black

1907 Medio Cvo surcharges:
These are exactly the same setting as for the Santander issue, but I have repeated the Santander scan and descriptions below for ease of reference:

Santander & Cucuta Medio opts

Identifying features of the Five types:
Type I : Small 'C' in Cvo, thin tall 'd' in Medio (13 per sheet)
Type II : Small 'C' in Cvo, thicker shorter 'd' in Medio (7 per sheet)
Type III : Large 'C' in Cvo, thiicker shorter 'd' in Medio (1 per sheet, position 6)
Type IV : Large 'C' in Cvo, 'd' of Medio with top serif (6 per sheet)
Type V : Large 'C' in Cvo, thin tall 'd' in Medio (1 per sheet, position 13, i.e. Row 2,6)

1907 Half Centavo surcharges IN RED on the 1904 50c Pale Violet of Cucuta:

PH18 Yv. 29 Medio Cvo/50c Pale Violet Type I (Domfil 907.1)
PH19 Yv. 29a ditto Type II
PH20 Yv. 29b ditto Type III
PH21 Yv. 29c ditto Type IV
PH22 Yv. 29d ditto Type V
Domfil lists only the basic surcharge.

1907 As above but now surcharged IN BLUE (very scarce):
PH23 Yv. 29A Medio Centavo/50c Grey-purple to Lilac Type I (Domfil 907.1DCS)
PH24 Yv. 29Aa ditto Type II
PH25 Yv. 29Ab ditto Type III
PH26 Yv. 29Ac ditto Type IV
PH27 Yv. 29Ad ditto Type V
Domfil lists only the basic surcharge.
Note that there is both a 29a and a 29A in Yvert, different stamps!

1907 Half Centavo surcharges IN RED on the 1904 50c Red/yellow of Cucuta:
PH28 Yv. 30 Medio Centavo/50c Red(on yellow) Type I (Domfil 907.2)
PH29 Yv. 30a ditto Type II
PH30 Yv. 30b ditto Type III
PH31 Yv. 30c ditto Type IV
PH32 Yv. 30d ditto Type V
Domfil lists only the basic surcharge.

1907: The UN Cvo surcharges. There are Three Types of surcharge which were applied to Four 1904/05 stamps:

Cucuta UN Cvo surcharges

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Identifying features of the Three types:
Type I : Small 'C' in Cvo. This stamp also shows the constant, but unlisted, variety, break in left downstroke of ' N '. (20 per sheet)
Type II : Large 'C' in Cvo. and thick left downstroke to 'U' of UN (4 per sheet)
Type III: Large 'C' in Cvo. and equal thickness in downstrokes to 'U' of UN (4 per sheet)

Sheet Format of the UN Cvo surcharges (Cucuta):

Type I I I I I II III
Type I I I I I II III
Type I I I I I II III
Type I I I I I II III
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PH33 Yv. 31 UN Cvo/1c Black Type I (Domfil 907.3)
PH34 Yv. 31a ditto Type II
PH35 Yv. 31b ditto Type III
PH36 Yv. 31c ditto Error 'NU' for 'UN' (Type I in position 18, perhaps only in part of the printing)

PH37 Yv. 32 UN Cvo/1c Green Type I (Domfil 907.4)
PH38 Yv. 32a ditto Type II
PH39 Yv. 32b ditto Type III

PH40 Yv. 33 UN Cvo/1 Peso Yellow Type I (Domfil 907.5)
PH41 Yv. 33a ditto Type II
PH42 Yv. 33b ditto Type III
PH43 Yv. 33c ditto Error 'NU' for 'UN' (Type I in position 18, perhaps only in part of the printing)

PH44 Yv. 34 UN Cvo/1 Peso Lilac Type I (Domfil 907.6)
PH45 Yv. 34a ditto Type II
PH46 Yv. 34b ditto Type III
PH47 Yv. 34c ditto Error 'NU' for 'UN' (Type I in position 18, definitely only in part of the printing)

Unlisted varieties on the UN Cvo surcharges (all four values):
* Break near the top of the left downstroke of the 'N' of UN (position 1). Illustrated in the scan of the three 1 c / 1 Peso Yellow above ( Type I )PH33a PH37a PH40a PH44a
* Two breaks in the left downstroke of the 'N' of UN (position 12)(Type I) PH33b PH 37b PH40b PH44b
* Damaged left side to 'C' in Cvo - it is straight rather than curved (position 5) PH33c PH37c PH40c PH44c

Unlisted variety occuring only on the 1c/1c Black (Yv.31 var):
PH33d Surcharged '1 UN' instead of 'UN' (position 16, often hard to see with a black surcharge on a black stamp!)

At this point, I shall move away from the conventional order of listing these issues and list them by surcharge type. The simplest of the surcharges is the '2 Centavos' surcharge with its two varieties, shown below:

Cucuta 2 centavos surcharges

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PH48 Yv. 35 2 Centavos/2c Green (Domfil 907.7)
PH49 Yv. 35aII Error 'Cantavos' for Centavos (position 9)
PH50 Yv. 35aIII Error 'Centavas' for Centavos (position 20)

PH51 Yv. 36 2 Centavos/2c Red (Domfil 907.8)
PH52 Yv. 36aII Error 'Cantavos' for Centavos (position 9)
PH53 Yv. 36aIII Error 'Centavas' for Centavos (position 20)

PH54 Yv. 39 2 Centavos/5c Red (Domfil 907.11)
PH55 Yv. 39aII Error 'Cantavos' for Centavos (position 9)
PH56 Yv. 39aIII Error 'Centavas' for Centavos (position 20)

PH57 Yv. 41 2 Centavos/10c Brown (Domfil 907.13)
PH58 Yv. 41aII Error 'Cantavos' for Centavos (position 9)
PH59 Yv. 41aIII Error 'Centavas' for Centavos (position 20)

PH60 Yv. 43 2 Centavos/20c yellow-brown (Domfil 907.15)
PH61 Yv. 43aII Error 'Cantavos' for Centavos (position 9)
PH62 Yv. 43aIII Error 'Centavas' for Centavos (position 20)

PH63 Yv. 44 2 Centavos/20c Red (Domfil 907.16)
PH64 Yv. 44aII Error 'Cantavos' for Centavos (position 9)
PH65 Yv. 44aIII Error 'Centavas' for Centavos (position 20)

Unlisted varieties of the '2 Centavos' surcharge:
Several stamps in each sheet with this surcharge have a variety of damage to the top of the letter 'C'

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There are four types of '2 Cvs.' surcharge but the sheet format varies from value to value. The format for the 2c/5c stamps only uses three types (II III & IV) whilst the format of the 2c/10c and 2c/20c uses all four types (II III IV & V). All four types are shown below, in order II III IV V:

Cucuta 2 Cvs surcharges

Description of the four types:
Type II : Small 'C' in Cvs
Type III : Large 'C' in Cvs, figure 2 at the top ends in a ball
Type IV : Large 'C' in Cvs, figure 2 at the top has a straight serif
Type V : Large 'C' in Cvs, figure 2 at the top ends in a thin hook

Sheet Format for the 2c/5c:

Type II II II II II III III
Type II II II II II III IV
Type II II II II II III IV
Type II II II II II III IV
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PH66 Yv. 37.. 2 Cvs/5c with BLUE SURCHARGE Type II (Domfil 907.9)
PH67 Yv. 37a. ditto Type III
PH68 Yv. 37b. ditto Type IV

PH69 Yv. 38.. 2 Cvs/5c with RED SURCHARGE Type II (Domfil 907.10)
PH70 Yv. 38a. ditto Type III
PH71 Yv. 38b. ditto Type IV

Unlisted Varieties on the 2 Cvs/5c:
Gap between the bottom of the downstroke of the '2' and its horizontal bar (position 22) PH66a PH69a

Finally, the 2c/10c and the 2c/20c, surcharged with the types above. The scan below shows a full pane of 28 of the 2 Cvs/10c, including the Error 'Cv .' for Cvs. in position 7. This scarce error only occurs in the early part of the printing (and only on the 2c/10c)

Cucuta 2 Cvs surcharges

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Sheet Format for the 2c/10c and 2c/20c:

Type II II II II II V V
Type II II II II II III IV
Type II II II II II III IV
Type II II II II II III IV
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PH72 Yv. 40.. 2 Cvs/10c Type II (Domfil 907.12)
PH73 Yv. 40a. ditto Type III
PH74 Yv. 40b. ditto Type IV
PH75 Yv. 40c. ditto Type V
Yv. 40d. ditto Surcharge Inverted (see footnote) PH72a PH73a PH74a PH75a
PH76 Yv. 40e. ditto Error 'Cv .' for Cvs (part printing only, position 7, Type V)

I have seen examples of the inverted surcharge in both Type II and Type III and would therefore conclude that the entire pane of 28 had the surcharge applied inverted, and that, consequently, all four Types ( II, III, IV, V ) exist with inverted surcharge. I think it unlikely that Yv.40e exists inverted.

PH77 Yv. 42.. 2 Cvs/20c Type II (Domfil 907.14)
PH89 Yv. 42a. ditto Type III
PH79 Yv. 42b. ditto Type IV
PH80 Yv. 42c. ditto Type V

Unlisted Varieties on the 2 Cvs/10c and 2Cvs/20c: Large break in the top of the figure '2' (position 9)
PH72b 2Cvs / 10c
PH77a 2Cvs / 20c

That concludes Santander and Cucuta.
We usually have some Santander and Cucuta available for sale. They are listed under Colombia in our Full Railway List on this website. There is an extra link to that page, the last link in the left sidebar ( please scroll up this page to access it ).
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