Sellos Postales - Guatemala - Stamps: Railway Thematics
Radio Station & Railway Bridge design Issues: 1919-1932

Contents (with internal links to these sections in the left panel) :
1. 1919 - 1921 (also the 1922 12½c surcharge).
2. 1922 (May) : Small figures '1922' surcharges on Radio Station & Train on Bridge designs.
3. 1922 (Aug) : Large figures '1922' surcharges on the above.
4. 1924-32 : Train-on-Bridge further issues and surcharges.
5. c.1924- : Perforated 'OFICIAL & handstamped 'OFICIAL' on 15 Pesos.
6. Other (including fiscal)

Introduction:
In the half century between 1881 and 1932, Guatemala issued a remarkable number of surcharges, many with railway interest. This articles concentrates on just two designs, the 1919 Radio Station & Steam Train and the 1921 (and later) Train-on-Bridge.

Guatemala Stamps 1919 Radio Station & Steam Train

There are two superb specialized handbooks on the country's stamps, Guatemala 1 (1871-1902) & Guatemala 2 (1902-), edited by Roland Goodman and produced by The International Society of Guatemala Collectors (ISGC). Much of the literature that we have read elsewhere on Guatemala appears to lean very heavily on these two superb volumes and, inevitably, despite having conducted our own studies on these stamps, many comments we make are the fruits of Goodman's studies. Sheet formats and positions of varieties fall into this category as does information on stamps perforated OFICIAL.

Availability : In general Guatemala stamps were quite widely used. However, when Guatemala surcharged a large number of its current stamps to meet the demand for 25c stamps in 1922, it created many 'types', some of which occurred only rarely in each sheet of stamps. A number of dealers and collectors became aware at the time of the numerous varieties created by the 1922 surcharges and the scarcer ones were quickly snapped up. This explains why it is possible, usually with some difficulty, to find the scarcest types mint but it also explains why those same stamps are scarce, or even genuinely rare, in used condition.

Perforations: Waterlow used at least six perforating machines on the stamps of Guatemala in the first three decades of the 20th century. At the extremes, they measure anywhere between about Perf 12 and Perf 15.5, but the two designs examined in this article are limited to the range of about Perf 13½-15 in, at times, complex combinations. Exceptionally, the 15 Pesos issue of 1926 is reported to be a regular Perf 14. We have chosen not to extend the study of any of the stamps in this article to the perforation varieties.
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Section 1. 1919 - 1921 (also the 1922 12½c surcharge).

Guatemala Stamps 1919 Radio Station & Steam Train

1919 30c : Mi.152; Scott 162; SG 159
Most examples of this stamp that we have seen, including all the surcharges, are on slightly toned paper in a brownish-scarlet shade. Occasionally examples are found on white paper in a bright scarlet. We do not think this difference is due to age.

1919 : 30c : Radio Station & Steam Train : Brownish-Scarlet [ . ]
- ditto - on White Paper in Bright Scarlet [ . ]

Quantity Printed : 1,500,000 of which 500,000 were surcharged for postal use and an unknown number surcharged for fiscal use. The number of unsurcharged stamps put into circulation is therefore unknown.
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Waterlow Samples :
Waterlow & Sons Ltd of London, the printers, produced sample stamps for their salesmen's booklets, which contained numerous examples of their work. The stamps in these booklets are usually imperforate and without punch hole. Samples are also found perforated and with punch hole, typically from later printings in the early 1950s, many of which were aimed at the philatelic market rather than as specimen promotional material to show to prospective customers. These philatelically-inspired samples, timed to coincide with the Company's centenary, were most often printed in small sheetlets, commonly of 9 stamps, and it is often from these sheetlets that single perforated stamps emanate.

The full story around sample stamps is quite complex but they are attractive and collectable stamps and in some cases very rare. They are always printed in unissued colours and overprinted with the company name. Perforated samples are almost always without gum. Although many imperforate samples would have had gum, many are found either affixed to a small piece of card from the salesmen's sample books or have been soaked off. The presence of gum on these stamps is, though, of little consequence to most collectors.

Guatemala Stamps Waterlow Sample Proof Color Trial Specimen 1919 Radio Station & Steam Train
Guatemala Stamps Waterlow Sample Proof Color Trial Specimen 1919 Radio Station & Steam Train Guatemala Stamps Waterlow Sample Proof Color Trial Specimen 1919 Radio Station & Steam Train

The final stamp shown above is a poor quality scan but shows the file reference number used in the salesmen's booklets. S.T.973 is the only reported archive reference employed with this stamp.

30c Radio Station and Steam Train in Dull Carmine & Brown, perf, with punch hole [ . ]
- ditto - Sheetlet of 9 [ . ]

- ditto - IMPERFORATE, without punch (S.T. 973) [ . ]

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1920 2c / 30c : Mi.157; Scott 166; SG 163
There are numerous varieties on this surcharged stamp, most of which are hardly ever encountered and much scarcer than catalogue prices might suggest. Note that the surcharge required two operations, as the date is in light or dark blue but the new value in black, sometimes rather weakly applied or under-inked.

Guatemala Stamps 1920 2c/30c Radio Station & Steam Train
Guatemala Stamps 1920 2c/30c Radio Station & Steam Train Guatemala Stamps 1920 2c/30c Radio Station & Steam Train
The final scan is a detail from the stamp on its immediate left.

2c/30c Radio Station : '1920' in Light Blue [ . ]
- ditto - '1920' in Dark Blue [ . ]
- Imperf Pair (Scott only) [ . ]
- Pair, Imperforate Between (horizontal pair) [ . ]

2c/30c Radio Station : Surcharge (both date and value) Inverted [ . ]

2c/30c Radio Station : '1920' Double [ . ]

2c/30c Radio Station : '1920' Omitted [ . ]

2c/30c Radio Station : '2 centavos' Omitted [ . ]

2c/30c Radio Station : '2 centavos' Double [ . ]

Font Varieties:
Guatemala Stamps 1920 2c/30c Radio Station & Steam Train

Unlike the 1922 printings, the font varieties on this surcharge are not particularly striking and are mainly confined to missing and short serifs on numerals, such as on the '2' of '2 centavos' on the top left stamp and the stamp to its right. We do not think the level of interest in these minor varieties merits scans, nor are we certain that all varieties are constant, but we have provided a list below of varieties we have seen (no check-boxes provided).

Minor varieties on the 2c/30c (unlisted in Goodman):
-- '1' of '1920' with very short top serif (Row 2,4; R.5,1; R.6,2 . . . R.6,2 also with no serif to '2' in '1920')
-- '1' of '1920' with completely straight top serif (R.3,3)
-- '1' of '1920' with no serif at bottom left (R.6,4)
-- '2' of '1920' with no serif (R.8,5) (Also: '2' of '1920' with very short serif in R.2,5 and R.6,2)
-- '2' of '2 centavos' with no serif (R.2,3; R.9,2 ; R.9,3)
-- 't' of '2 centavos' without hook to the foot (R.10,2 - bottom left stamp in scan above)

Quantity Issued of the 2c/30c : 300,000

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1921 15 Pesos (bi-colour) Train-on-Bridge : Mi.165; Scott 174; SG 171

Guatemala Stamps 1921 15 Pesos Train on Bridge

15 Pesos Train-on-Bridge : Black & Vermilion [ . ]
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Quantity Printed : 250,000 of which 240,000 were surcharged, leaving only 10,000 unsurcharged examples. As often, Guatemala ordered too many high value stamps, such as this one, and insufficient stamps for regular postage.
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Waterlow Samples :
Guatemala Stamps Waterlow Sample 1921 15 Pesos Train on Bridge

Guatemala Waterlow Color Trial Stamp 1921 15 Pesos Train on Bridge Guatemala Stamps Waterlow Salesmen's Sample Specimen 1921 15 Pesos Train on Bridge

The Guatemala handbook lists three different Waterlow samples in Black & Blue on the 1921 design, varying in overprint colour and the angle of the overprint.

15p Railway Bridge Waterlow Printed in Black & Blue, dated 1921, (number of sheetlets of 9 printed in brackets):

Perforated (with punch hole) : Overprint at top in RED at 14-degree angle [ . ] (28 sheetlets/9)
- ditto - Sheetlet/9 [ . ]

Perforated (with punch hole) : Overprint at foot in RED but at 17 degree angle ** [ . ]
(1 sheetlet/9)
- ditto - Sheetlet/9 [ . ]

Perforated (with punch hole) : Overprint now in BLACK at 33-degree angle [ . ]
(1 sheetlet/9)
- ditto - Sheetlet/9 [ . ]

IMPERFORATE (without punch) : Overprint in BLUE (S.T. 971) [ . ]

** In the only sheetlet with the 17-degree angle overprint, 8 of the 9 stamps had a Red overprint, but the 3rd stamp (Row 1,3) had a Black overprint, making it unique (source: Volume 2 of the Guatemala handbook). We consider it likely that this sheetlet is probably still intact - somewhere.

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1922 12½c / 15 Pesos (bi-colour) Train-on-Bridge : Mi.165; Scott 187; SG 181

Guatemala Stamps 1920 2c/30c Radio Station & Steam Train

12½c / 15 Pesos Train-on-Bridge : Black & Vermilion [ . ]

Quantity Surcharged : 75,000

We have chosen to show the 12½c surcharge here as the following section can then be devoted solely to the complex 25c surcharges issued in the same year.
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Introduction to Section 2 & 3 : 1922 SMALL & LARGE Surcharges.

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
Left : Small Surcharge : Small figures '1922' and thin letters 'CENTAVOS'
Centre & Right : Large Surcharge : Large figures '1922 and thicker 'CENTAVOS'.

General Notes applicable to both the Small and Large Surcharges:
The 25c surcharges fall into two distinct groups. Only three different definitives (including the 15P train) were surcharged 25c in the 'small' format, whilst ten different definitives (including both the 30c Radio Station and 15P train) received the larger surcharge. All of these stamps were revalued to meet a single postage rate, 25 centavos. Unusually for Guatemala, these surcharges were made by a private company who, due to a shortage of figures '2' and '5', were given permission to use NINE different fonts, there being 4 Types used for the Small Surcharge and a different 5 Types for the Large Surcharge.

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Section 2 : May / June 1922 : The SMALL Surcharges.

Continuing with the distinctions between the two groups, in the small surcharges the figures '1922' are only 2½ mms tall, compared to the 3 mms of the large surcharges, whilst the curved base to the figure '9' is a further very obvious difference as shown below :
Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
Small figures 1922 & Large figures 1922

The four types of the small 1922 surcharge may be collected in vertical strips of four stamps, the surcharge being found in Red (scarce) or the much commoner Deep Blue. The Red surcharges were printed first, this print-run usually thought to number just ten sheets (1000 stamps) but they were considered unsatisfactory, probably due to the lack of contrast, and the remainder of the print run, probably 74,000 stamps but maybe 75,000, received a surcharge in Deep Blue. In common with most catalogues, however, we feature the much more numerous second print-run, in the Dark Blue, first.

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
Vertical strips with all four fonts of the figures '25', surcharges in Dark Blue & in Red, showing Types A, B, C, D vertically from the top.
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1922 Small Surcharge in Dark Blue: 25c / 15 Pesos : Mi.178 Ia-IVa; Scott 190/a/b/c; SG 184A-D

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
Figures (left to right) : Types A B C D as per ISGC handbook (and also SG)

Surcharge in BLUE:
25c / 15P Bridge : Type A [ . ]
25c / 15P Bridge : Type B [ . ]
25c / 15P Bridge : Type C [ . ]
25c / 15P Bridge : Type D [ . ]

25c / 15P Bridge : Vertical Strip/4 Types [ . ]

Sheet Format of the Small 1922 surcharges (Types A-D as per Guatemala 2 Handbook):
A A A A A A A A A A
A A A A A A A A A A
A A A A A A A A A A
A A A A A A A A A A
A A A A A A A A A A
B B B B B B B B B B
C C C C C C C C C C
D D D D D D D D D D
D D D D D D D D D D
D D D D D D D D D D

A quick glance will show that the percentages of the print run in each type are:
Type A : 50%
Type B : 10%
Type C : 10%
Type D : 30%

Small Surcharge 25c/15P in BLUE : Varieties :
The ISGG handbook notes varieties on this issue as listed by Joseph Mandos, all on the figures '25'

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Small Surcharge 25c/15P varieties Guatemala Stamps 1922 Small Surcharge 25c/15P varieties Guatemala Stamps 1922 Small Surcharge 25c/15P varieties Guatemala Stamps 1922 Small Surcharge 25c/15P varieties

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Small Surcharge 25c/15P varieties Guatemala Stamps 1922 Small Surcharge 25c/15P varieties Guatemala Stamps 1922 Small Surcharge 25c/15P varieties
The listing below is in the same order as the scans above (no scan available for the last item listed below).

25c/15P Small Surcharge in BLUE :
No serif at top of '5' (posn. 9, Type A) [ . ]
'2' with thin bottom bar (posn. 26, Type A) [ . ]
Head of '2' split (posn. 34, Type A) [ . ] (confirmation required that the scan shows this variety)
White patches in both figures of value (posn. 36, Type A) [ . ]
Figure '2' damaged at bottom right (and a split in its lower bar) (posn. 49, Type A) [ . ]
Top left corner of '5' chipped off (posn. 66, Type C) [ . ]
Figure '2' split (posn. 77, Type D) [ . ]
Figure '2' in '25' chipped at top and its lower bar slanted at right, plus blob of colour (posn. 93, Type D) [ . ] No scan

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1922 Small Surcharge in Red: 25c / 15 Pesos : Mi.178 Ib-IVb; Scott 191/a/b/c; SG 184Aa-Da

The Red surcharges have the same sheet format as the Blue surcharges above and the generally-accepted print quantity for the Red surcharge of just 1000 stamps would therefore have produced only 100 each of Types B and C. It is thought likely that every stamp of this issue was bought up by dealers and collectors which has resulted in used copies being exceptionally rare. The ISGC handbook states that (quote) 'the only reported covers with copies of stamps in Type A look like philatelic productions and that the only two known covers with strips of all four types bear postmarks much later than 1922. Apart from these two covers, we have no report of cancelled copies of stamps in Types B or C and it is very difficult to find cancelled copies of types A and D' (end of quote).

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
Figures (left to right) : Types A B C D as per ISGC handbook (and also SG)

Surcharge in RED:
25c / 15P Bridge : Type A [ . ]
25c / 15P Bridge : Type B [ . ]
25c / 15P Bridge : Type C [ . ]
25c / 15P Bridge : Type D [ . ]

25c / 15P Bridge : Vertical Strip/4 Types [ . ]

We have no firm evidence that all the varieties shown for the Blue surcharges are also found on the Red surcharges, although the majority probably are. However, given the scarcity of these stamps, we have decided not to list them.

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Section 3 : August 1922 : The LARGE Surcharges.

The August 1922 surcharges, all in BLUE (usually dark blue with a violet tinge) have a larger '1922' with the figure '9' having no 'ball' at the end of its foot, which ends in a gentle curve rather than a loop. The figures of value are very thick are all different to those in the small surcharges. The workmanship on these surcharges and especially the inking is, in gerneral, inferior to those made in May/June, resulting in a larger number of varieties, many of which are much more visually striking. All ten values have the same setting of the surcharge, including the two railway values 25c/30c and 25c/15P.

Catalogue Numbers: Stanley Gibbons originally used the same letters (E, F, G, H and I) to number the large format 1922 varieties as the ISGC catalogue, but, unfortunately, in 2007 they altered their numbering which, whilst standardising their presentation, created confusion as many collectors are unaware of the changes in the SG numbering. For example, their new 185E and 194E are the scarcest 'types', whilst their old 185E and 194E were the commonest 'types'. Our tables in this article use the letters from the ISGC handbook and are therefore no longer the same as in the SG Central America catalogue.

1922 Large Surcharge (in Blue) 25c / 30c : Mi.179 I-V; Scott 195/a/b/c/d; SG 185A-E

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
The smallest block (nine stamps) that can show all five Types of the figures of surcharge. This block/9 shows stamps 8-10 of Rows 3, 4 & 5 (Positions 28-30, 38-40 & 48-50).

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
Left-to-Right : ISGC Types E-F-G-H-I . . . . Michel 179 I,II,III,IV,V . . . . Scott 195/95a/b/c/d . . . . SG 185A/B/C/D/E

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharges on 30c Radio Station and Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos
Shown above are three examples of the surcharge in shades of Greenish-Blue, the left stamp in a particularly scarce shade of this surcharge. The two centre stamps are also in a variation of this shade, encountered a little more frequently. Michel, Scott and SG do not list any shade for the surcharges on this stamp but it is listed in the Guatemala 2 handbook. The right-hand stamp shows the normal surcharge colour for comparison.

1922 (Aug) : 25c/30c Radio Station : Large Surcharge (Type identified using ISGC letters, listed below scan)
25c/30c : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type E [ . ]
- ditto - in Pale to Greyish Greenish-Blue (scarce) [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type F [ . ]
- ditto - in Pale to Greyish Greenish-Blue (scarce) [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type G [ . ]
- ditto - in Pale to Greyish Greenish-Blue (scarce) [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type H [ . ]
- ditto - in Pale to Greyish Greenish-Blue (scarce) [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type I [ . ]
- ditto - in Pale to Greyish Greenish-Blue (scarce) [ . ]

This stamp also exists with variety 'Surcharge Double, One Diagonal' and it is believed only one such sheet existed, although single diagonal surcharges are known on some values. Michel and Scott do not list any errors; SG lists 'surcharge double, one diagonal' for all five Types but we have access to five interesting scans (shown below) and the placement of the surcharges is so haphazard that we do not feel this variety should be listed according to surcharge Type but, instead, by more generalised descriptions for surcharge errors.

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharged 25c on 30c Radio Station Error Surcharge Double One Diagonal Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharged 25c on 30c Radio Station Error Surcharge Double One Diagonal

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharged 25c on 30c Radio Station Error Surcharge Double One Diagonal Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharged 25c on 30c Radio Station Error Surcharge Double One Diagonal Guatemala Stamps 1922 Surcharged 25c on 30c Radio Station Error Surcharge Double One Diagonal

Our listing below is based on the scans above, whilst recognizing that there must be further unusual varieties created when the 'surcharge double, one diagonal' sheet was produced. Judging by the fact the scans show stamps with surcharge diagonally downwards and diagonally upwards, there may also have been at least one sheet with a single diagonal surcharge. Even that combination of sheets would not appear completely to explain the curious mixture of errors upon closer analysis of the scans. Can anyone provide more?

1922 (Aug) : 25c/30c Radio Station : Large Surcharge : Varieties :
25c/30c : Surcharge Diagonal [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge Diagonal cheval [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge Double, One Diagonal [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge Double in Pair with Normal (vertical pair) [ . ]
25c/30c : Surcharge Double in Pair with Normal (horizontal pair) [ . ]

25c/30c : Pair, one without surcharge ** [ . ]

** The only surcharge shown above on a vertical pair, showing one stamp without surcharge (sufficiently without surcharge to be so described) could well be from Row 9,1 and 10,1. If so, this pair, one without surcharge, could possibly be unique, although there could have been one similar in the opposite corner, except that the unsurcharged stamp would be the top stamp of the pair.

Font varieties on the 25c/30c (Large Surcharge).
The font varieties are the same on all values in the set and therefore will be mirrored by the 25c/15P train-on-bridge design. As we have yet to examine the 25c/15P, we have chosen to describe the font varieties common to both values lower down alongside those on the 25c/15P.

Quantity Printed (of the 25c/30c) : 200,000 but, due to the limited use of two of the fonts, only a maximum of 4000 and 6000 stamps can exist for the two scarcest Types, but many of these will have been lost.
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Sheet layout for the 25c Large Surcharges on both the Radio Staion and Train-on-Bridge designs., ISGC 'Type' letters used:
E E E E E E E E E E
E E E E E E E E E F
F F F F F F F F F H
G G G G G G G G I I
E E E E E E E E E E
E E E E E E E E E F
F F F F F F F F F H
E E E E E E E E E E
E E E E E E E E E F
F F F F F F F F F H

For the large surcharges, there is an even less balanced distribution of Types than for the small surcharges:
Type E : 57%
Type F : 30%
Type G : 8%
Type H : 3%
Type I : 2%
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1922 Large Surcharge (in Dark Blue) 25c / 15 Pesos : Mi.188 I-V; Scott 201/a/b/c/d; SG 194A-E

The smallest possible block showing all five Types of the Large surcharge will naturally again be nine stamps, as for the Radio Station.

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Large Surcharge 25c/15P Types
Left-to-Right : ISGC Types E-F-G-H-I . . . . Michel 188 I,II,III,IV,V . . . . Scott 201/01a/b/c/d . . . . SG 194A/B/C/D/E

1922 (Aug) : 25c/15 Pesos Train-on-Bridge : Large Surcharge (Type identified using ISGC letters)
25c/15P : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type E [ . ]
25c/15P : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type F [ . ]
25c/15P : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type G [ . ]
25c/15P : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type H [ . ]
25c/15P : Surcharge in Dark Blue: Type I [ . ]

Total Printed of the 25c/15P was lower than for the Radio Station at just 90,000, resulting in a maximum of only 1800 and 2700 stamps for the two scarcest Types, of which, again, quite a number will presumably not have survived.
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Font Varieties on the Large Surcharge 25c/30c and 25c/15P

Guatemala Stamps 1922 Large  Surcharge 25c/15P varieties
Guatemala Stamps 1922 Large  Surcharge 25c/15P varieties

All 100 positions can be plated through the flaws in the surcharge and the ISGC handbook highlights twenty of them. We have reduced this to nine, as some of the varieties are similar but less pronounced, such as the size of the white spots in the numbers or the length of the underlining of some letters in the surcharge.

We have printed the sheet position for each variety in Magenta on the stamps in the scan above.

Large Surcharge : 25c/30c Radio Station : Font Varieties :
Figure '2' of '25' is split at two points (position 11) [ . ]
Break in lower section of 'C' of 'CENTAVOS' (position 13) [ . ]
Figure '5' badly damaged (position 19) [ . ]
Loss of Inking in the right of the '2' of '25' (position 38) * [ . ]
Spot in upstroke of '5' of '25' (position 40) [ . ]
Fleck of colour inside upper curve of second '2' in '1922' (position 44) ** [ . ]
Extensive Underlining of the word 'CENTAVOS' (position 61 and others) [ . ]
Badly damaged '9' in '1922' and other flaws (position 78) *** [ . ]
Flat Bottoms to the letters 'OS' of 'CENTAVOS' (position 100) [ . ]

* Not shown here but can be seen on the middle left stamp in the block of 9 of the 25c/30c which displays all 5 Types se-tenant higher up the page.
** There is a more pronounced version of this flaw reported in Position 54 but we have not seen it.
*** We have seen a stamp from this position in the sheet with the '9' repaired.

Large Surcharge : 25c/15P Train-on-Bridge : Font Varieties :
Figure '2' of '25' is split at two points (position 11) [ . ]
Break in lower section of 'C' of 'CENTAVOS' (position 13) [ . ]
Figure '5' badly damaged (position 19) [ . ]
Loss of Inking in the right of the '2' of '25' (position 38) * [ . ]
Spot in upstroke of '5' of '25' (position 40) [ . ]
Fleck of colour inside upper curve of second '2' in '1922' (position 44) ** [ . ]
Extensive Underlining of the word 'CENTAVOS' (position 61 and others) [ . ]
Badly damaged '9' in '1922' and other flaws (position 78) *** [ . ]
Flat Bottoms to the letters 'OS' of 'CENTAVOS' (position 100) [ . ]

* / ** / *** : See notes below previous listing.
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Section 4 : 1924-1932 Issues.

Stocks of the 30c Radio Station and the bi-colour 15 Pesos Train-on-Bridge design were exhausted by around 1922/23 and the Radio Station design does not reappear. However, the 15 Pesos put in two further appearances but printed now in Black only, and these new printings were also subject to surcharges.

1924 (Aug) : 15 Pesos in Black : Perkins Bacon Printing. Mi. 205; Scott 216; SG 210

Guatemala Stamps 1924 Perkins Bacon Printing 15 Pesos Train

On the left is the 1924 printing of this design, easily identified by the Perkins Bacon imprint. We have shown the 1921 Waterlow stamp alongside for comparison. Careful inspection reveals several differences between the two stamps, affecting details in both the frame and the centre, as a result of the new printers having to engrave new dies and make new plates. Although these new dies were prepared in 1924, the date '1921' has been retained. The urgency with which these stamps were needed may have precluded taking up time with transatlantic discussions, if this anomaly had not been foreseen when the order was placed.

Sheet Format: Whereas all the Waterlow stamps that feature in this article were printed in sheets/100 (10x10), the Perkins Bacon 15 Pesos was printed in sheets/50 (10x5).

Guatemala Stamps 1924 Die Proof Perkins Bacon Printing 15 Pesos Train
Die Proof of the Perkins Bacon printing.

1924 : 15 Pesos Black :
15 Pesos : Black : Perkins Bacon Ptg. [ . ]

15 Pesos : Black : Die Proof of above [ . ]

The ISGC handbook reports that progressive proofs exist of this design: the centre only in blue-green and incomplete designs in grey-green, red, orange or black.

Quantity Printed : 150,000 of which 55,000 were surcharged (in 1929).

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1926 (July/Aug) : 15 Pesos in Black : Waterlow Printing : Mi.216; Scott 229; SG 222

Two years later, Guatemala reverted to placing their order with Waterlow, again with stamps printed in one colour, no doubt in an attempt to reduce costs. Whether the placement of the 1924 order with Perkins Bacon was a cost-related or deadline-related decision we do not know, but showing a supplier that you are not a captive customer usually provides a financial benefit.

Guatemala Stamps 1926 Waterlow Printing 15 Pesos Train
The 1926 Waterlow issue (left), alongside the 1921 bi-colour Waterlow printing, for comparison.

The Waterlow imprint distinguishes this stamp easily from the Perkins Bacon Printing (also printed in black) as does the date, with '1926' replacing '1921'. It would seem that at least the frame of the orginal 1921 die was re-used by Waterlow; we can see no significant difference (other than the date) when comparing the frames of the two issues.

There are, though, many differences in the centre of the 1926 stamp, compared to the 1921 issue. The first impression, due to the number of changes, is that the die was completely re-engraved. However, there are enough small features that are common to both stamps, features which would not normally be present if the die were completely re-engraved, to lead us to believe that we could possibly be looking here at a heavily-retouched and amended centre, rather than at a new die.

Some differences made to the central vignette on the 1926 stamp (in black):
Locomotive Funnel and dome are thicker.
Locomotive smoke is completely re-drawn.
Background of hills through the middle arch completely re-drawn.
Under the right-hand arch, the indistinct detail between the two men, a bullock-cart, has gone.
PUENTE DE LA PENITENCIARA redrawn; it now has slightly broader letters, measuring 13 mms against the old 12.75 mms.
Lines of shading in the foreground and the sky are much stronger.
The design no longer passes through the inner frame-lines at left and right, because the space left for the central vignette is about 1mm wider - as is the 1926 stamp as a whole.

1926 (July/Aug) : 15 Pesos : Waterlow :
1926 15 Pesos : Black : Waterlow Printing : Train-on-Bridge [ . ]

1926 15 Pesos : Progress Proof in Black with '19 ' for '1926', PUENTE DE LA PENITECIARIA omitted. [ . ]

We are unclear how many examples of this progress proof are known, possibly only one.

Printing Quantity : 1,000,000 of which 845,000 were surcharged.

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Waterlow Samples (1926 design) :
Guatemala Stamps 1926 Waterlow Salesman's Sample Color Proof 15 Pesos Train in Orange

Waterlow Sample (in the revised design with date 1926 and Imprint):
1926 15 Pesos in Orange (perforated, with punch hole) [ . ]

One sheet of 100 stamps of the above sample stamp was produced. The Guatemala 2 handbook also mentions a single imperforate example of this stamp, defaced.
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No new printings were made of the 15 Pesos train-on-bridge stamp after this, but the quantities ordered of this stamp, and of many others in the set, suggest that the Guatemala Post Office was looking for the economies that accrue from long print-runs and that they had perhaps accustomed themselves to maintaining the necessary supplies for postal needs by means of surcharging.

Currency Change :
There was a change of currency, initiated in 1925, from the Peso to the Quetzal, which was worth 60 Pesos. This had not been reflected in the face values of the stamps issued in 1926, which were all still denominated in the old currency. The regular stamps were not replaced until a new issue in 1929 and the 1926 stamps were presumably sold in the new currency at the official conversion rate until 1929, with older stamps that the public used on mail being assessed in the same way. However, any surcharges made on the 1926 stamps were always in the new currency.

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1929 : Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train : Mi.232-36; Scott C.1-5; SG 239-42

Although the surcharge is dated 1928, the stamps were not issued until 1929 to coincide with the inaugural Pan-Am Flight from Guatemala to Mexico.

Guatemala Stamps 1928 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train

Guatemala Stamps 1928 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train Variety : Surcharge Cheval (ISGC #359a)
Guatemala Stamps 1928 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train Guatemala Stamps 1928 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train
The final scan shows a detail from the 20c/15P with surcharge double. On many stamps from the sheet/100 with double surcharge, the doubling is less prominent than on the one shown here.

Although this issue was produced primarily by surcharging the 1926 Waterlow issue, later printings of the 5c value were produced from a supply of Perkins Bacon stamps which had been sent for surcharging, apparently in error. The fact that they were in sheets/50, rather than 100, seems to have gone un-noticed.

1929 (May 20) : Airmail surcharges in Red, on Waterlow issue of 1926 except where shown :
3c / 15P [ . ]
5c / 15p [ . ]
5c / 15P (on 1924 Perkins Bacon Ptg.) [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Cheval (ISGC #359a) [ . ]
15c / 15P [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double, in Green and Red [ . ]
- ditto - Red Surcharge Double (ISGC 360a) (Rare) [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double, in Red and Yellow (Unique) (ISGC #360c) [ . ]
20c / 15P [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]

Quantities Printed (where known) :
3c : 50,000 (all sold)

5c Waterlow : 245,000 (all sold)

5c Perkins Bacon : 55,000 (46.162 destroyed!)
- ditto - Surcharge Cheval (ISGC #359a) : 40

15c : 200,000 (all sold)
- ditto - Double Surcharge in Green and Red : 100
- ditto - Double Surcharge in Red and Yellow : Unique, only one reported (in a block/4 with 3 normal stamps)

20c : 200,000 (151,988 destroyed) [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted : 100
- ditto - Surcharge Double : 100

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1930 (March 30) : Opening of Los Altos Railway : Mi.240-44; Scott 247-51; SG 246-50

Although the surcharge is dated 1929, work on the railway was delayed and the line did not open until March 30th, on which date the stamps were released, still with 1929 in the surcharge. No varieties are reported. There was a further pictorial set/3 issued on the same day for the opening of this railway, but it is outside the scope of this artcile. Geological faults caused the closure of the railway in 1932 and it never reopened.

Guatemala Stamps 1928 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train

1930 : Los Altos Railway surcharges in RED on Waterlow 15 Pesos of 1926.
1c / 15P [ . ]
2c / 15P [ . ]
3c / 15P [ . ]
5c / 15P [ . ]
15c / 15P [ . ]

Quantity Printed : 20,000 of each value, sold out on the first day. Used examples are scarce, used on cover very scarce.

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1930 (Dec 30) : Airmail Surcharge dated 1930 on Waterlow 15 Pesos : Mi.253; Scott C.12; SG 259

The December 1930 set/5 included one value where the 15 Pesos received the surcharge, which was, nominally at least, for the Internal Airmail Service. It seems unlikley that their usage was ever restricted to this.

Guatemala Stamps 1930 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train
Scan showing Normal and Double Surcharge. As with the previous issue, the second surcharge is often more superimposed even than in the example here. Catalogues do not mention differences in the shades of the surcharge that occur on these stamps.

1930 : Airmail Surcharge in Red on Waterlow 15 Pesos Black
10c / 15P Black [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]

Quantities Surcharged :
50,000 (of which 30,056 were destroyed).
Surcharge Double: 100 (One sheet) .

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1932 (Feb 11) : Airmail Surcharge dated 1932 on 15 Pesos : Mi. 263/64; Scott C.23/24; SG 270/71

This issue, a set/5, was also ordered for the Internal Airmail Service, the top two values being surcharges on the 15 Pesos train design. The 10c surcharge was in Red and the 15c surcharge in Blue.

Guatemala Stamps 1928 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train
Guatemala Stamps 1928 Airmail Surcharges on 15 Pesos Train

Each scan shows : 1. Normal . . . . . . . . 2. 'I' of 'INTERIOR' defective . . . . . 3. 'I' of 'INTERIOR' missing.

The missing 'I' is stated to come from Position 3 and is variously described as 'omitted' or 'missing'. The fact that it is appears always to be accompanied by a partially-missing 'S' on 'SERVICIO' in the line of surcharge above, whilst the same damaged 'S' is not known to us independently of the missing 'I' below, leads us to believe that the 'I' is very probably absent on all sheets of both the 10c and 15c in Position 3. We therefore list the variety as 'I' omitted, rather than 'missing'.

Catalogues do not list a variety 'weak and damaged I' which seems always to be accompanied by a weak left downstroke on the adjacent letter 'N'. There is nothing to suggest that this an early stage of the 'I' omitted variety, but rather that it emanates from a different position in the sheet. We therefore list it as a separate variety.

1932 : Airmail Surcharges on Waterlow 15 Pesos Black
10c / 15P : Surcharge in Red [ . ]
- ditto - Damaged / Weak 'IN' in 'INTERIOR' [ . ]
- ditto - 'I' of 'INTERIOR' omitted and 'S' of 'SERVICIO' missing at left (Posn.3) [ . ]

15c / 15P : Surcharge in Blue [ . ]
- ditto - Damaged / Weak 'IN' in 'INTERIOR' [ . ]
- ditto - 'I' of 'INTERIOR' omitted and 'S' of 'SERVICIO' missing at left (Posn.3) [ . ]

Quantities Surcharged :
10c / 15P : 25,000 (of which 100 were destroyed).
15c / 15P : 25,000 (of which 17,459 were destroyed)
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Section 5 : 15 Pesos Train Overprinted or Perforated OFICIAL.

The earliest stamps printed specifically for use by government departments were simple typographed designs which were released in late 1902 but supplies of these ran out after about a decade. Thereafter, until new (triangular) official stamps appeared in January 1929, the principal method of providing protection against the fraudulent private use of stamps supplied to government departments was to perforate them with the word OFICIAL. The use of stamps on official mail was only required for foreign destinations. Mail from government departments for destination inside the country appear never to have been franked with postage stamps.

A less frequently encountered protection against misuse was handstamping adhesives with the word OFICIAL in various colours, most frequently in Violet, followed in popularity by Red. Other colours of handstamp only appear on a limited number of values. The 15 Pesos with such handstamps are described after the listing of stamps punched 'OFICIAL'. We then conclude the section with a brief look at stamps punched with a five-pointed star.

Stamps perforated OFICIAL
A special perforating machine for the production of official stamps was ordered from Waterlow. It appears to have been delivered around 1912 and it could perforate four stamps at a time in a style known as Type 1, having large holes with the 'C' formed of 7 holes only. However, it was damaged in an earthquake in 1918 and returned to Waterlow for repairs and did not return to Guatemala until the end of 1924. There had been substantial modifications. The new perforating head, known as Type II, still perforated four stamps at a time, producing three stamps with the 'C' formed by 9 holes but one, in the top left position, with the 'C' formed of 8 holes. (All information from the Guatemala handbook).

Due to the perforator being out of the country for six years, only the 15 Pesos of 1924 and 1926 of our study stamps are found punched OFICIAL and all, of course, in Type II only.
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1924 15 Pesos : Perforated OFICIAL : ISGC #301

Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Perforated OFICIAL Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Perforated OFICIAL
The two scans show the same block/4 (with genuine punch), the scan of the backs enlarged for closer examination. Viewing the scan of the back of the stamps, the top right stamp has the 8-hole 'C', the rest a 9-hole 'C'.

Forgeries exist of these stamps and some of them are quite deceptive. The scan shows that there are small differences between genuine types, in addition to one stamp having an 8-hole 'C'. We shall break with convention by viewing and describing some of the features when the stamps are viewed from the back.

Features to examine, with stamps viewed from the back :
In genuine stamps (of Type II as here), the holes are SMALL.
In genuine stamps, the two holes at the base of the 'C' are level with each other.
In 3 of the 4 genuine stamps, on the top stroke of the 'F', the right-hand hole is lower.
In 3 of the 4 stamps, the downstroke of the 'L' is curved slightly outwards.
In 3 of the 4 stamps, on the top of the 'O', the left hole is higher than the right.
Nearly all forgeries have clean holes, whereas the genuine stamps frequently do not.
We have never seen a forgery with an 8-hole 'C'.

We show below some forgeries, all on the 1924 15 Pesos:
Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Perforated OFICIAL

All three punches above are on the black stamps inscribed 1921, the 1924 issue. The 1st and 2nd stamps have a 7-hole 'C', which is never found on the 15 Pesos. The 3rd stamp is a forgery with a 9-hole 'C': The top right hole of the 'F' is higher than the rest of the top line. On three-quarters of the genuine stamps, this hole is lower and on the fourth genuine type, it is level. In most other respects, though, it is a very convincing forgery, except that the holes are too large (and unusually clean-cut).

Orientation of the OFICIAL punch.
We now revert to describing conventionally, i.e. as seen from the front. The 15 Pesos train-on-bridge stamps with genuine punch may be found in three orientations of the punch: Normal, Inverted, Reversed & Inverted.

Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Perforated OFICIAL Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Perforated OFICIAL
View of front and back of a stamp with OFICIAL punch inverted.

1924 15 Pesos Train-on-Bridge : Perforated OFICIAL
15 Pesos of 1924 (Perkins Bacon Ptg.) with 8-hole punch [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Reversed and Inverted [ . ]

15 Pesos of 1924 (Perkins Bacon Ptg.) with 9-hole punch [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Reversed and Inverted [ . ]

15 Pesos of 1924 : Block/4 with 1x8-hole and 3x9-hole [ . ]

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1926 15 Pesos : Perforated OFICIAL : ISGC #332

Guatemala Stamps 1926 15 Pesos Perforated OFICIAL
Guatemala Stamps 1926 15 Pesos Perforated OFICIAL
The scan above shows a genuine 8-hole, a genuine 9-hole and a forged 7-hole, which cannot exist.

Although we have not seen the orientation varieties for the 1926 stamp, the Guatemala handbook reports the existence of the same three punch arrangements as are found on the 1924 issue.

1926 15 Pesos Train-on-Bridge : Perforated OFICIAL
15 Pesos of 1926 (Waterlow Ptg.) with 8-hole punch [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Reversed and Inverted [ . ]

15 Pesos of 1926 (Waterlow Ptg.) with 9-hole punch [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Punch Reversed and Inverted [ . ]

15 Pesos of 1926 : Block/4 with 1x8-hole and 3x9-hole [ . ]

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1926 15 Pesos : Handstamped OFICIAL : ISGC #310

These handstamps were applied between 1923 and 1925 and, amongst the stamps in this article, are only found on the 1924 Perkins Bacon 15 Pesos. On this particular value, only handstamps in Violet or Red are listed in the ISGC handbook. Forgeries exist but we have not attempted to describe these; the stamps shown in the scan below are not all guaranteed to be genuine.

Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Train Stamp Handstamped OFICIAL
The 2nd stamp is handstamped 'SPECIMEN' in black in addition to OFICIAL. The 4th stamp has a TRIPLE handstamp, one of them very pale and hard to see. It is inverted immediately below the clear handstamp towards the top left of the stamp and its inverted 'L' (of 'OFICIAL') in a 'watery' violet colour can just be discerned in the centre of the left margin. On the right there is a further, moderately weak, handstamp with OFICIAL reading vertically downwards.

1924 15 Pesos handstamped 'OFICIAL'.
1924 15P (Perkins Bacon Ptg.) handstamped in VIOLET [ . ]
- ditto - Triple Handstamp [ . ]

1924 15P (Perkins Bacon Ptg.) handstamped in RED [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamped additionally SPECIMEN [ . ]

1924 15P (Perkins Bacon Ptg.) handstamped in Red-Violet (mixed use of ink-pads?) [ . ]

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c.1930 : Punched with 5-Pointed Star.

We have no information on these star punches. Similar punches can be seen, for example, on stamps of Uruguay, where they are found uniquely on used official stamps. All the stamps perforated OFICIAL, which we described a little higher up, are reported only to have been delivered to government departments in Guatemala City. The single 10c stamp shown below has a part Quetzaltenango cancel, an administrative centre north-west of the capital. As with official mail in the capital, one would imagine that only international official mail from Quetzaltenango would have required stamps and the stamps may have served that purpose. Alternative explanations for the 5-point star punch could be security measures against theft by a private company - or maybe usage on revenue or telegraphic documents. We have simply shown those that we know to exist.

Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Train Stamp punched with 5-point star Guatemala Stamps 1924 15 Pesos Train Stamp punched with 5-point star

Five-Point Star Punch, possibly for Official Mail outside the capital city :
1930 Los Altos Railway : 2c / 15 Pesos with a 5-Point Star Punch [ . ]

1930 Airmail 10c / 15 Pesos with 5-Point Star Punch [ . ]

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Section 6 : Other.

This final section is quite sparse, looking at one revenue use of the Radio Station stamp, some source material and a few additional images from Guatemala.
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1920 : Radio Station design used as Revenue Stamp (fiscal).

Guatemala Stamps Sellos Timbre Fiscal 1920 30c Radio Station stamp - Revenue use
We know of no other revenue use of this stamp and of no fiscal surcharge on any of the 15 Pesos train-on-bridge issues.

1920 Revenue (Timbre Fiscal)
25c / 30c Radio Station : Vermilion & Black : ISGC #R.201 [ . ]
- ditto - Stop omitted after 'centavos' [ . ]

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Source Material for Stamp Designs.

We have been unable to find any image that provided the source for the Radio Station stamp, but we have found a splendid postcard which is clearly the source material for the 15 Pesos design :

Guatemala Stamps Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos - Original Source of Image
Guatemala Stamps Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos - Original Source of Image

The 1926 re-drawn Waterlow stamp is on the left, displayed alongside the original (1921) Waterlow design on the right.

The postcard above was sent to France in November 1908; see small scan below for the 'postal side' of this card. Whether the photograph itself dates from 1908 or perhaps up to 4 or 5 years earlier is not known to us.
The engraver's artistic choices in copying the scene are interesting, as are the cosmetic changes made for the 1926 issue.

Guatemala Stamps Train-on-Bridge 15 Pesos - Original Source of Image Guatemala Stamps Train-on-Bridge Postcard Puente de la Penetenciaria

The card (at right) above is an early example of a maximum card, unaddressed and apparently cancelled by favour in 1935.

To see a virtual modern street view of this railway bridge in a very different world Click here (opens in a new tab) . . Note : At the time of writing this article, there were no working railways in Guatemala.

Guatemala Stamps Train-on-Bridge Ferrocarril Central Postcard Puente de la Penetenciaria

The postcard above was sent in 1913 and has a divided back, but the front is provided with a small blank space as used to be provided when messages could not be written on the address side. This applied in most countries until about 1905. This increases the probability that the postcard was not new in 1913 and that the image may be from many years earlier. The card shows what appear to be tram tracks (and a tramway siding?). We believe a horse tramway operated in Guatemala City until about 1917 but have little information on it.

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Other :

Guatemala Stamps Radio Station Guatemala City Guatemala Stamps Radio Station Guatemala City

This photograph is of the Radio Station, we think near Guatemala City, and shows railway tracks in the foreground. The picture dates from perhaps the 1930s. It is certainly a view from a much later date than the image on the 30c stamp, an image which may already have been somewhat out-of-date when the stamp appeared in 1919.
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