Nicaragua Stamps : Momotombo Volcano & Train : 1900-1905

Regular Issues for Nicaragua : 1900-1905

The index on the left panel, with clickable links, displays the structure of this article.

This is an historic stamp design, often mentioned in philatelic literature in relation to the siting of the Panama Canal today. The degree to which this stamp had an influence will always be open to question but the smoking volcano on the stamps certainly provided ammunition against a trans-isthmus canal traversing Nicaragua for its opponents in the U.S. Congress. Several articles have appeared on this subject, amongst them one in Linn's Stamp News which may be accessed via this link (opens in new tab).

Catalogue Listings: The near unanimity that one usually associates with the world's major catalogues is not a feature of some of the issues of Nicaragua and its Province of Zelaya. This is partly due to the existence of stamps printed to private order, which receive very different treatments in the various catalogues, but even regular listings can vary markedly on occasions. Only Yvert et Tellier and the specialized Nicaragua catalogue, Maxwell, list the private order stamps, and they both number these stamps. We have sought to provide a fairly comprehensive coverage combining stamps in all catalogues and those that we have seen ourselves. Please note that we do not have the latest editions of all the catalogues but we do not think that this will have affected the article to any significant degree.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900 timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900

The postcard above is clearly the source image for the artist. The smoke from the volcano in the postcard comes from doctoring the image and this 'artistic' smoke was included in the stamp design.

Regular Issue : 1900 :
The 1900 first issue of the stamps were recess-printed to a very high standard by the American Bank Note Company and no varieties have been reported for this issue, other than a couple of imperforate pairs. The printing contract for these stamps was placed with Dr. Asenjo and the agreement was that he would provide the stamps free of charge but be provided immediately with 50,000 cancelled-to-order sets to sell in the stamp market. The contract was apparently sold on to an unknown third party who claimed not to have received the 50,000 sets from the Nicaragua Post Office. With the post office short of funds and the supplier unwilling to supply further stamps without pre-payment, the post office rapidly ran into shortages of certain values, especially the much used 5c and 10c.

This shortage was alleviated slightly by the fact that the postal stationery in the same design was sold at the face value of the stamps, which, being effectively more economical, made them a popular alternative choice for basic rate mailings. Distribution of stamps appears to have been haphazard especially in rural areas and some reports suggest that higher value stamps (1 Peso and above) were only available in a typical post office quite infrequently.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900

There are no shades of note in this issue. We have used detailed colour descriptions immediately below but, with the surcharges that follow, we have sometimes abbreviated the colour descriptions.

1900 : First Issue : Recess-Engraved with ABN Co. imprint at foot. Perf 12.
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange[ . ]
- ditto - Pair, Imperforate between [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
- ditto - Pair, Imperforate between [ . ]
5c Deep Bright Blue [ . ]
6c Rose-Carmine [ . ]
10c Deep Mauve [ . ]
15c Pale Grey-Blue [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown [ . ]
50c Lake [ . ]
1 Peso Deep Yellow [ . ]
2 Pesos Pale Reddish-Vermilion [ . ]
5 Pesos Black [ . ]

Note: New 5c and 10c values appeared in 1902, printed by lithography, easily identified by the absence of imprint at the foot of the stamps, as well as by colour in most cases.

The 6c and 1 Peso stamps are much the hardest two values of this set to find and were presumably of limited practical use, since they were widely used for surcharges in 1901. There are several unusual features about this definitive set of stamps. The postmarks could sometimes be washed off, resulting in an unusual number of 'mint no gum' stamps on the market, some of which will genuinely be unused, others washed. Most of the values still with their original gum are scarce. Mint multiples have only been reported for 5 of the 13 values, the 1c, 2c, 3c, 4c and 2P. We cannot recall seeing any of these stamps, or the surcharges, with sheet margin, even though they must have had margins when printed.

It seems probable that the American Bank Note Co. would have printed these stamps in sheets of 100 stamps, with margins. It seems clear that, in Nicaragua, they only had the ability to surcharge panes/25, perhaps because of the dimensions of their printing press. However, this would not explain the apparent lack of any of the original issue still attached to some selvedge. We conjecture that the cash-strapped Nicaragua Post Office might have had an alternative use for remnants of gummed paper and that they perhaps removed all margins from the recess-engraved stamps before issue but we have nothing to support this theory.

ABN Co. SPECIMEN stamps 1900 and 1902
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900 timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900

When the ABN Co. archive was sold, two sets of Specimen stamps of this design were found, a full set/13 dated 1900 and a second printing, we think of 9 stamps only, dated 1902. Only the 2 Pesos can perhaps be distinguished by shade from the 1900 issue, the 1902 stamp being a little darker, and we have therefore shown the 1900 and 1902 Specimen stamps above. Assuming only 9 stamps were re-printed in 1902, the values then excluded were the 4c, 5c, 6c and 10c. At this time, Nicaragua had acquired new stocks of the 5c and 10c, printed locally, and very poorly, by lithography, as described further down. The 6c was clearly of little practical use but we have no particular theory for the exclusion of the 4c.

1900 Specimens, overprint 17mms in length, with punch hole (overprint colour in brackets):
1c Claret (blue) [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange (blue) [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green (red) [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ] (red)
5c Deep Bright Blue (red) [ . ]
6c Rose-Carmine (red) [ . ]
10c Deep Mauve (red) [ . ]
15c Pale Grey-Blue (red) [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown (red) [ . ]
50c Lake (blue) [ . ]
1 Peso Deep Yellow (red) [ . ]
2 Pesos Pale Reddish-Vermilion (red) [ . ]
5 Pesos Black (red) [ . ]

1902 Specimens, italic overprint 14mms in length, with punch hole (overprint colour in brackets):
1c Claret (red) [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange (black) [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green (red) [ . ]
15c Pale Grey-Blue (red) [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown (red) [ . ]
50c Lake (black) [ . ]
1 Peso Deep Yellow (black) [ . ]
2 Pesos Reddish-Vermilion (black) [ . ]
5 Pesos Black (red) [ . ]

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ABN Co. PLATE PROOFS 1900
The sale of the archive material also unveiled a very small number of Momotombo plate proofs in three formats, individual stamps, sunken die-proofs and die-proofs affixed to large sheets. All stamps illustrated here are from the collection formed by Michael Birks.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Plate Proofs
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Plate Proofs

Plate proofs were only produced for five values and all are shown above. The 1c, 5c, 6c and 1 Peso are printed on thin ungummed paper and are in the issued colours, whereas the 3c is printed on ungummed thick card and in an unissued colour (the colour of the 1c). The stamps on thin paper are very rare whilst there are no other examples recorded of the 3c.

1c Plate Proof on thin paper [ . ]
5c Plate Proof on thin paper [ . ]
6c Plate Proof on thin paper [ . ]
1 Peso Plate Proof on thin paper [ . ]

3c Plate Proof in the colour of the 1c on thick card (one pair known) [ . ]

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There are only three recorded sunken die proofs, two in issued colours, one in an unissued colour. They are shown below:

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 6c Sunken Die Proof timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1 Peso Sunken Die Proof
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 10c Green Sunken Die Proof

6c Sunken Die Proof (numbered C-442) : UNIQUE [ . ]
1 Peso Sunken Die Proof (numbered C-447) : UNIQUE [ . ]

10c Sunken Die Proof (un-numbered) printed in unissued colour : Green : UNIQUE [ . ]

Although similar in colour to the issued 3c, this proof does not have a hue tending towards blue.
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Large format proofs also exist as shown below. We do not have details of which values exist or in what quantity. They are all rare. We illustrate and list the one of which we are aware. Please let us know about any others.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Sunken Die Proof

15c Die Proof (numbered C-444) [ . ]

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Bisects on Cover:
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1902 bisect on cover timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1902 bisect on envelope

We illustrate above both a 2c and a 5c bisected on cover. There was no 2c rate to our knowledge, so the intended value for this 5c bisect is unclear. Both covers have appropriate arrival marks on the back but we lack information about the authorisation for such usage and the authenticity of such covers.

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Before we can move on to the surcharges on these stamps, we should mention the Nicaragua Post Office's willingness to provide the stamp trade with a number of special printings of surcharged stamps between 1901 and c.1904. Such stamps are easily distinguished and are collectable, being variously listed by Yvert and Michel, whilst being footnoted by Scott and SG. They cannot, however, be considered as properly issued stamps for public use.

We have listed all these 'private order' / 'dealer order' stamps completely separately from the regular postage stamp issues. As a guide, the majority of stamps surcharged 'centavos' are private order stamps, whilst those surcharged 'Cent' or 'C' are mostly regular issues - but there are several exceptions to both those statements.

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Regular Issue : Surcharged 1901 / New Value in 'Cent.' (Note: 1901 above value) :
The first group of (March) 1901 surcharges are distinguished by the year being above the new value. There are four basic values, although the 1c/2c (left scans above) is a special case, usually viewed as being an unissued stamp intended for the regular post, rather than a stamp to fill a dealer's order.

The stamps were printed in panes/25, apparently again with no margins, the five stamps of the top line having a bar below the date, the other 20 stamps in the pane being without bar. This format allows for vertical pairs, with and without bar.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900

March 1901 : Surcharged 1901 / 2 Cent. : Unissued :
2c / 1c Claret (without bar) [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge Double [ . ]
2c / 1c Claret (with bar) [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge Double [ . ]
2c / 1c Claret : Vertical Pair, with and without bar [ . ]

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March 1901 : Surcharged 1901 / 2 Cent. with stars in corners :
2c / 1P Yellow (without bar) [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge inverted [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge Double [ . ]
2c / 1P Yellow (with bar) [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge inverted [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge Double [ . ]
2c / 1P Yellow : Vertical Pair, with and without bar [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge inverted [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge Double [ . ]

The first printing of the 2c/1P has a star in each corner, albeit often misplaced with all four stars appearing either at top or bottom. The 2c/1P with surcharge double has not, to our knowledge, been reported to exist in mint condition.
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timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900
REPRINT : Surcharged 1901 / 2 Cent. NO STARS in corners :
2c / 1P Yellow (without bar) [ . ]
2c / 1P Yellow (with bar) [ ? ]
We have not seen the reprint with a bar, but it may exist.
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March 1901 : Surcharged 1901 / 10 Cent. :
10c / 5P Black (without bar) [ . ]
10c / 5P Black (with bar) [ . ]
10c / 5P Black : Vertical Pair, with and without bar [ . ]

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March 1901 : Surcharged 1901 / 20 Cent. :
20c / 2P Vermilion (without bar) [ . ]
20c / 2P Vermilion (with bar) [ . ]
20c / 2P Vermilion : Vertical Pair, with and without bar [ . ]

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Regular Issue : Surcharged New Value in 'Cent.' / 1901 (Note: 1901 below value) :
These are slightly complex issues, the stamps again surcharged in panes/25, with varieties. Whilst we have not seen complete panes of all values, it seems that it is now the right-hand vertical row of stamps which have bars, producing horizontal pairs, with and without bar.

The 3c/6c, 4c/6c and 5c/1P exist surcharged in two colours and the 5c/1P also exists with two different ornaments (as well as with and without bar). Many values are also found with surcharge inverted and/or double, those with a second surcharge usually very poorly produced. Where available, we have provided scans of panes/25. In our listing, we have only provided one check box for 'pair, with and without bar', not for combinations of this feature with any of the other varieties. To assist the reader, for these October 1901 surcharges, we have changed the catalogue-style listing colour from the usual green to the colour of the surcharge.

Note: Stamps surcharged 1 Cent / 6c are font errors, listed below under the 4c/6c stamps.
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1901 (Oct) 3c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLACK :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 3c/6c 1901

1901 (Oct) 3c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLACK :
3c/6c WITHOUT BAR [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge inverted [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge double [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge double, one inverted [ . ]

3c/6c WITH BAR [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge inverted [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge double [ ? ]
- ditto - surcharge double, one inverted [ ? ]
3c/6c With Bar : '3' and 'C' of 'Cent' spaced 4 mms instead of the usual 2.5-3.0 mms [ . ]

3c/6c : Pair, with and without bar [ . ]

Items marked [ ? ] have not been reported, nor seen by us, but seem quite likely to exist when whole panes/25 are surcharged.

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1901 (Oct) 3c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLUE :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 3c/6c 1901
The bottom right stamp has variety surcharge double, very faint, best seen in the doubling of the right-hand '1' in '1901'.

1901 (Oct) 3c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLUE :
3c/6c WITHOUT BAR [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge double [ . ]

3c/6c WITH BAR [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge inverted [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge double [ ? ]
3c/6c With Bar : '3' and 'C' of 'Cent' spaced 4 mms instead of the usual 2.5-3.0 mms [ . ]

3c/6c : Pair, with and without bar [ . ]

Item marked [ ? ] has not been reported, nor seen by us, but seem quite likely to exist when whole panes/25 are surcharged.

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1901 (Oct) 4c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLACK :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900
The bottom left stamp shows the error, 1 Cent for 4 Cent. Many of the stamps in this setting have a weak figure '4'. However, close inspection normally reveals sufficient elements of the figure '4' are present to identify it as a defective '4', rather than a '1'. Only the stamp in Position 6 in the sheet has the typographic font error, '1' for '4'.

1901 (Oct) 4c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLACK :
4c/6c WITHOUT BAR [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double, one cheval [ . ]

1c/6c (without bar) : ERROR : Wrong font in surcharge (Posn.6 : Row 2,1) [ . ]

4c/6c WITH BAR [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ ? ]

4c/6c : Pair, with and without bar [ . ]

Item marked [ ? ] has not been reported, nor seen by us, but seem quite likely to exist when whole panes/25 are surcharged.

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1901 (Oct) 4c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLUE :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1900

1901 (Oct) 4c / 6c Rose-Carmine : Surcharge in BLUE :
4c/6c WITHOUT BAR [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]

1c/6c (without bar) : ERROR : Wrong font in surcharge (Posn.6 : Row 2,1) [ . ]

4c/6c WITH Bar [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
4c/6c : Pair, with and without bar [ . ]

The error 1c/6c with double surcharge in black should logically exist, as should the inverted surcharge in blue.

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1901 (Oct) 5c / 1P Yellow : Surcharge in BLACK :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 5c/1P 1901

A block/4 from the top right of the sheet, showing the three principal types of the 5c/1P. Stamps with the shuttlecock ornament occur in the first four positions in the pane. The stamp in Position 4, the top-left stamp in the scan, is the only one in the sheet to feature the closely spaced '5' and 'C' variety. The five stamps in the right-hand column have wavy lines, Posns. 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25.

1901 (Oct) 5c / 1P Yellow : Surcharge in BLACK :
5c/1P without ornaments [ . ]

5c/1P with Wavy Lines ornament [ . ]

5c/1P with Shuttlecock ornaments [ . ]
- ditto - with '5' and 'C' of 'Cent' spaced 1.3 mms rather than 2.5 mms [ . ] (Posn.4; Row 1,4)

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1901 (Oct) 5c / 1P Yellow : Surcharge in RED :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 5c/1P 1901 Red surcharge

The sheet format appears to be the same as for the black surcharge with shuttlecock ornaments in positions 1,2,3 and 4 and wavy lines in the right-hand column. The close-spaced '5' and 'C' is also present here in position 4. Position 16 (Row 4,1) has scratches through the 'C' and 't' of 'Cent', which is probably present on the stamps with black surcharge. We do not list this flaw, although we believe it to be constant, at least on the stamps with red surcharge.

This surcharge is found double, in red and black. We list these after the red surcharges.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 5c/1P 1901 Red surcharge

1901 (Oct) 5c / 1P Yellow : Surcharge in RED :
5c/1P without ornaments [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double, both Inverted [ . ]

5c/1P with Wavy Lines ornament [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double, both Inverted [ . ]

5c/1P with Shuttlecock ornament [ . ]
- ditto - additionally with narrow (1.3mm) spacing between '5' and 'C' of 'Cent.' [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double, both Inverted [ . ]

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timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 5c/1P 1901 Red surcharge

As will be evident from the scan above, the surcharge double, in red and black, emanates from the same surcharge setting. However, the placement of the surcharge has, in two of the above stamps, shifted to the point where two different types of surcharge are on the same stamp. We cannot sensibly provide a comprehensive listing, including various surcharges cheval, but have provided a compromise listing which is reasonably thorough.

1901 (Oct) 5c / 1P Yellow : Surcharge in RED & BLACK :
Surcharge in Red & Black : Both surcharges without ornament [ . ]
Surcharge in Red & Black : Both surcharges with Wavy Lines ornament [ . ]
Surcharge in Red & Black : Both surcharges with Shuttlecock ornament [ . ]
Surcharge in Red & Black : Both surcharges with close 1.3 mms spacing between '5' and 'C' (Posn.4)[ . ]

Surcharge in Red & Black :
Black surcharge without ornament [ . ]
Surcharge in Red & Black :
Black surcharge with Wavy Lines ornament [ . ]
Surcharge in Red & Black :
Black surcharge with Shuttlecock ornament [ . ]
- as above with close (1.3 mm) spacing between '5' and 'C' (Position 4) [ . ]

Surcharge in Red & Black :
Red surcharge without ornament [ . ]
Surcharge in Red & Black :
Red surcharge with Wavy Lines ornament [ . ]
Surcharge in Red & Black :
Red surcharge with Shuttlecock ornament [ . ]
- as above with close (1.3 mm) spacing between '5' and 'C' (Position 4) [ . ]

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1901 (Oct) 10c / 2 Pesos: Surcharge in Black :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 10c/2P 1901 Red surcharge
Left to Right: 1. Normal Stamp . . . 2. Narrow spacing between 'O' and 'C' . . . 3. Scratch through 'e' and 't' of surcharge . . . 4. Surcharge Inverted . . . 5. A possible surcharge double, one inverted, an unlisted variety.

The 5th stamp above in inconclusive and we have not listed it, although there appears to be quite good evidence of part of '1901' inverted at the top of the stamp. We also do not list the damaged letters of the overprint, which are similar but not identical to those seen in position 16 in the scan of the sheet of 5c/1P stamps higher up.

1901 (Oct) 10c / 2P Vermilion : Surcharge in Black :
10c/2P Vermilion [ . ]
- ditto - narrow (1.25 mms) instead of normal (2.25-2.5 mms) spacing between '0' and 'C' [ . ]
10c/2P Vermilion : Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
10c/2P Vermilion : Surcharge Double [ . ]

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1901 (Oct) 20c / 5 Pesos: Surcharge in Red :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 20c/5P 1901 Red surcharge

1901 (Oct) 20c / 5P Black : Surcharge in Red :
20c/5P Black [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Triple (no scan) [ . ]

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Regular Issue : 1902 : Printed by Lithography : Perf 14
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 10c/2P 1901 Red surcharge

These three stamps were printed by lithography in New York and have a very different appearance to the previous recess-engraved stamps. There is no imprint below the design and the general appearance is much less sharp. They are perforated 14 as against the Perf 12 of the engraved stamps and the perforating was, at times, very carelessly performed, resulting in double perforations, poorly-centred stamps and stamps of very different sizes. The stamps shown above are unusually good for this issue. The 10c is often found with quite heavy blotches from poor workmanship in the printing.

The two 5c stamps appear to have been by far the most useful values to meet the postal demand, as we find the 10c being used later for a huge number of surcharged issues, many of these surcharges to provide further 5c adhesives.

1902 (Jan) : Litho Issue.
5c Deep Bright Carmine [ . ]

5c Deep Greyish-Blue [ . ]

10c Reddish-Purple [ . ]

We have seen a 'pair, imperforate between' on one of the surcharges applied to the 10c stamp, but do not recall having seen an imperforate pair. In view of the very poor quality control, evident in many of these stamps, a number of varieties are likely to exist on the values above and especially on the numerous surcharges on the 10c.

Margins on Litho stamps: We have seen several panes/25 as well as many single stamps imperforate along the bottom edge, especially of the 10c. Against this, all but one of the surcharge inverted stamps with an imperforate edge that we have examined are imperforate at the top, when the original stamp is orientated correctly. We make this observation without having any obvious explanation for it, but others might be able to either show that what we have examined is not sufficiently representative or perhaps shed further light on the, at times, perplexing handiwork of the Nicaraguan Post Office.

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Regular Issue : 1902 Surcharges
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1902 surcharges
The centre stamps shows a chipped figure '1' in the surcharge. We do not list this.

1902 (Oct) : 15c / 2c.
15c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharge in BLACK (normal) [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]

15c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharge in BLUE (scarce) [ . ]

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timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1902 surcharges
The second stamp show a surcharge variety, 'evos' for 'cvos' that we do not list, as it is not a font error, but the result of poor quality surcharging.

15c/1c Claret (thick figure '0' - normal) [ . ]
- ditto - but thin, tall figure '0' in '30' (centre stamp in scan) [ . ]

15c/1c Claret - Surcharge Double [ . ]
15c/1c Claret - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]

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Regular Issue : 1904 : 15 Centavos surcharges.

There are two types of the '15 Centavos' surcharge, with either a thick or a thin figure '1'. A full sheet is illustrated below and shows the thick figure '1' occurs 5 times in the pane/25, Row 4,5 and the last four stamps in Row 5.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

Other significant varieties in this sheet are the variety 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' (Row 3,3) and '15Centavos' without space between '5' and 'C' (Row 4,2). There is also a rounder (and ink-filled) 'o' in 'Centavos' (Row 5,3) but we do not list this, even though it appears to be constant.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

Above : The block/4 has 'surcharge cheval', but, although the wavy lines are present, there is no sign of the words of surcharge from the line above, a misplacement exaggerated by the 'delinquent' perforating. (The bottom two stamps are from Positions 21/22 at the foot of the sheet and there would therefore be no partial surcharge appearing there).

The vertical pair shown above have surcharge inverted and display both types of figure '1' - and the '5' and 'C' on the top stamp are un-spaced which identifies these stamps as being from Positions 17 & 22 on a normal sheet, which, when the surcharge is inverted, places them in Positions 9 and 4 respectively.

The final 'detail scan' is of a stamp with Double Surcharge, most evident in the doubling of the top two wavy lines.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

Above : The first stamp shows the non-constant, but listed, variety 'figure 5 omitted', which is scarce. The second stamp shows the Centcvos variety on an inverted surcharge. The third stamp is apparently imperforate with very large margins. Due to the very haphazard perforating of these stamps, it is usually advisable to seek this variety as a pair. This one is probably authentically imperforate but cannot be proven to be so.

Listing: Imperforate Stamps, stamps with Double Surcharge and stamps with 'Double Surcharge, Both Inverted' are rarely encountered. We have therefore only provide check-boxes for these for the two types of figure '1', not for other varieties. Stamps with Surcharge Inverted are found a little more frequently; for these, we provide two check boxes, for 'normal' and 'inverted'.

1904 : 15 Centavos / 10c.

15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THIN figure '1' in '15' [n . ] [i . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' variety [n . ] [i . ]
- ditto - surcharge cheval [ . ]
- ditto - figure '5' omitted (from '15') [n . ] [i . ]

15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THIN figure '1' in '15' - IMPERFORATE (pair) [ . ]
15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THIN figure '1' in '15' - SURCHARGE DOUBLE [ . ]
15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THIN figure '1' in '15' - SURCHARGE DOUBLE, BOTH INVERTED [ . ]

15 Centavos / 10c Purple : Pair with thin and thick figures '1' in '15' [n . ] [i . ]

15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THICK figure '1' in '15' [n . ] [i . ]
- ditto - surcharge cheval [ . ]
- ditto - '15Centavos' variety, no space between '5' and 'C' [n . ] [i . ]

15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THICK figure '1' in '15' - IMPERFORATE (pair) [ . ]
15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THICK figure '1' in '15' - SURCHARGE DOUBLE [ . ]
15 Centavos / 10c Purple - THICK figure '1' in '15' - SURCHARGE DOUBLE, BOTH INVERTED [ . ]

.

Regular Issue : 1905 Surcharges.

There are four surcharge printings in 1905, all on the 10c Purple, examined here in the following order :

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c c5/10c with 'c' and '5' spaced about 2 mms. apart.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c As above but 'c' and '5' spaced about 4 mms. apart.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c c15/10c

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c 5 CENTS/10c

We have access to complete panes/25 of all these except for the c5/10c with narrow spacing. On inspection, the wide-spaced c5/10c was apparently produced simply by removing the figure '1' from the c15 surcharges, whilst the narrow-spaced c5/15c is thought to be an earlier setting.

There are numerous surcharge varieties on these stamps, enough probably to make them a lifetime study on their own! Just a quick examination of the wide-spaced 5c/10c and the 15c/10c panes reveals constant flaws, such as a 'broken V' in Position 5,1 and a 'break in the top wavy line' in Position 5,2, neither of which we list below.

Without access to a pane/25 of the narrow-spaced c5/10c, we cannot be sure whether certain varieties are constant. We have excluded most double varieties, as it is unreasonable to expect ever to acquire sufficient material with many of these errors. However, we do provide check-boxes for the variety 'c' inverted in combination with other varieties, since the 'c' inverted occurs several times in the panes/25.

Surcharge Colour: On the C5/10c (both settings) and the c15/10c, the predominant surcharge colour is dark blue but lighter and brighter shades are not infrequently encountered. We do not distinguish by surcharge colour.

.

1905 : c 5 / 10c with 2mm Spacing between 'c' and '5'.

This is said to be the first setting of this stamp. Amongst the varieties listed for the c5/10c is '5' omitted. We have been unable to establish with certainty to which setting it belongs but have listed it here with the narrow-spaced c5 stamps. timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

Top Row: Normal (of the 2mm) . . Surcharge Inverted . . 'c' Inverted with Surch. Inverted . . . . Wavy Lines omitted

Bottom Row: Figure '5' omitted . . see note 1 below . . . . . . Variety: 'Valc' for 'Vale . . surcharge cheval (horizontally)

Note 1: This may be a 2mm setting stamps with '5' omitted but we have only ever seen this variety on stamps with an inverted 'c'. It is more likely, therefore, to be a 4mm setting stamp from the left side of the pane with surcharge cheval, the figure '5' being on the stamp to its right.

1905 : c 5 / 10c with 2mm Spacing.
c5/10c Purple (narrow-spaced '5' and 'c') [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Figure '5' Omitted [ . ]
- ditto - Wavy Lines Omitted [ . ]
- ditto - 'Valc' for 'Vale' [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge cheval [ . ]

c5/10c Purple (narrow-spaced '5' and 'c') Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' also inverted (appearing upright) [ . ]

It is highly probable that at least some of the other varieties can be found on stamps with surcharge inverted.
.

1905 : c 5 / 10c with 4mm Spacing between 'c' and '5'.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c
This full pane of the 5c/10c with 4 mm spacing between the 'c' and the '5' shows the positions of the inverted 'c' for cents in this setting: Row 1,5; Row 2,5; Row 5,4 and Row 5,5. (Positions 5, 10, 24, 25).

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c
Top Row: Surcharge Inverted . . Surcharge Double . . Surch. Double, one Sideways . . Surch. Double, one Diagonal.

Bottom Row: Pair, one with Wavy Lines Omitted . . 'Valc' for 'Vale' (not contant) . . Wavy Lines Double (register error).

.

1905 : c 5 / 10c with 4mm Spacing.
c5/10c Purple (wide-spaced '5' and 'c') [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Wavy Lines Omitted [ . ]
- ditto - 'Valc' for 'Vale' [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge cheval (not seen, presumed) [ . ]

c5/10c Purple (wide-spaced '5' and 'c') Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' also inverted (appearing upright) [ . ]

c5/10c Purple (wide-spaced '5' and 'c') Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted [ . ]

c5/10c Purple (wide-spaced '5' and 'c') Surcharge Double, One Vertical (downwards) [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted [ ? ]

c5/10c Purple (wide-spaced '5' and 'c') Surcharge Double, One Diagonal [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted [ ? ]

As with the 2mm setting, it is highly probable that other combinations of varieties will exist.
.

1905 : c 15 / 10c .
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c
Similarly to the wide-spaced c5/10c above, the positions of the inverted 'c' for cents are at Row 1,5; Row 2,5; Row 5,4 and Row 5,5. (Positions 5, 10, 24, 25). This stamp is listed with variety 'Ornament Omitted' (viz. the wavy lines) but, as will be clear from the scan above, this is not a constant variety.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

1905 : c 15 / 10c .
c15/10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Wavy Lines Omitted [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge cheval [ . ]

c15/10c Purple : Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' Inverted (appears upright) [ . ]

c15/10c Purple : Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' Inverted [ . ]

c15/10c Purple : Imperforate [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' Inverted [ . ]

c15/10c Purple : Imperforate & Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' Inverted (appears upright) [ . ]

.

1905 : 5 CENTS / 10c .
We first show some surcharge flaws, with check-boxes provided:

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

Broken '5' (Row 1,5) [ . ] . . Damaged 'CE' (R. 4,1) [ . ] . . Damaged 'S' (Row 5,1) [ . ]
We do not list these flaws, which are not all constant, in combination with other varieties.
.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c
Note the damaged 'S' at top right of the block/4. If the scratch through 'CE' flaw were constant, it would appear on the stamp below.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

Top Line: The right-hand stamp appears to have 'stop omitted' variety, but we have not listed this due to insufficient evidence.

Bottom Row: The first stamp has what appears to be a double surcharge, one on top of the other, although it is not a convincing example of this variety. The second stamp has an unlisted Surcharge Double, One Diagonal. The third stamp has a surcharge shift combined with poor perforating, producing the appearance of a '5' omitted variety, but this is not convincing. It is a good example of the many apparent varieties found on these issues that are sometimes no more than the result of a conjunction of bad centering and careless surcharging. The fourth stamp is with Surcharge in Blue, which is a scarce stamp.

1905 : 5 CENTS / 10c. Surcharge in BLACK.
5 CENTS / 10c Purple : Surcharge in BLACK [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge cheval [ . ]
- ditto - Vertical Pair, Imperforate Between (scarce) [ . ]

5 CENTS / 10c Purple : Surcharge in BLACK : Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - surcharge cheval [ . ]

5 CENTS / 10c Purple : Surcharge in BLACK : Surcharge Double, One Diagonal [ . ]

5 CENTS / 10c Purple : Surcharge in BLACK : Surcharge Inverted [ . ]

1905 : 5 CENTS / 10c. Surcharge in BLUE.
5 CENTS / 10c Purple : Surcharge in BLUE [ . ]
.

.

Postal Stationery in the 1900 Momotombo design

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Postal Stationery

An array of Momotombo postal stationery, four postcards (one with reply card) and, at foot and sideways at top, two envelopes.

The scan above displays just a small part of the extensive postal stationery in this design, issued throughout the first decade of the century, well after the adhesives had been superceded by a new 'arms' design. Whilst the stamp printed on the postcards and on some of the envelopes was in the same style as the postage stamps, other envelopes and all the postal stationery wrappers had a larger, circular stamp printed on them, including the volcano and train.

When some of these circular designs came to light in sheets in the ABN Co. archive sale, there were suggestions that these may have been proofs / specimens as part of preparations for a possible stamp issue. Whilst this is possible, we do not think there is currently sufficient evidence to support this view.

The 2c and 4c without Specimen overprint shown below are on brownish paper, as were the wrappers in those two values. The other values are on white paper, matching the postal stationery envelopes which bear them, and are probably cut-outs rather than proofs. One or two pieces have been found using what appear to be postal stationery cut-outs to frank ordinary envelopes, but, in our view, there is nothing in that to give extra weight to the idea of a stamp issue in the circular design. We provide scans of these items below.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Postal Stationery timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Postal Stationery

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Postal Stationery timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Postal Stationery
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Nicaragua : Official Stamps : 1903
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Regular Issue : 1903 Official Stamps : Set of 5 Values

The 10c Litho and 3c Engraved stamps were selected in 1903 as source material for the production of Official stamps. The sheets (panes/25) have a number of ornaments but the setting is not the same for all values. The 2c/3c, as further explained below, was later reprinted to meet a dealer's order. The original printing of these 2c/3c stamps is listed here, the reprints in a later section.

The first value of the set has numerous ornaments and errors, which we have tabulated below the scan:

Official 1c/10c :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903  surcharges
Row 1,1 . . Position.1
Spider ornament
-
R. 1,2 . . Posn.2
Trapezium orn.
-
R. 1,3 . . Posn.3
Three Lines
-
R. 1,4 . . Posn.4
Trapezium Ornmt.
+ Centovos error
R. 1,5 . . Posn.5
Spider ornament
-
R. 2,1 . Posn.6
Roman '1' top left
see small scan below
R. 2,2 . . Posn.7
-
-
R. 2,3 . . Posn.8
-
-
R. 2,4 . . Posn.9
-
-
R. 2,5 . . Posn.10
-
-
R. 3,1 . . Posn.11
-
-
R. 3,2 . . Posn.12
-
-
R. 3,3 . . Posn.13
-
-
R. 3,4 . . Posn.14
-
-
R. 3,5 . . Posn.15
-
-
R. 4,1 . . Posn.16
-
-
R. 4,2 . . Posn.17
Contavos error
-
R. 4,3 . . Posn.18
-
-
R. 4,4 . . Posn.19
-
-
R. 4,5 . . Posn.20
-
-
R. 5,1 . . Posn.21
Curly Moustache orn
-
R. 5,2 . .Posn.22
One Thick Bar ornt.
-
R. 5,3 . . Posn.23
Three Lines ornt.
+'1' omitted top left
R. 5,4 . . Posn.24
One Thick Bar ornt.
-
R. 5,5 . Posn.25
Curly Moustache orn
-
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903  surcharges

.

This stamp exists with surcharge inverted. We have provided two check boxes, marked 'n' (normal) and 'i' for inverted surcharges. Due to poor surcharging, rather than wrong fonts we think, several examples in a sheet may be found where the surcharge appears to read Ccntavos, with the centre bar of the 'e', which is very thin, not present.

Note applicable to all Values: The Contavos and Centovos varieties appear in the same sheet position on all five values in the set, but these two varieties are not present on the 2c/3c printed to dealer's order, described later.

1903 Official Stamp : 1c/10c Purple

1c/10c without ornament [n . ] [i . ]
- Contavo for Centavo [n . ] [i . ]
- Centovo for Centavo AND Trapezium ornament [n . ] [i . ]
- Roman I for '1' at top left [n . ] [i . ]
- '1' omitted at top left & 'three lines' ornament [n . ] [i . ]

1c/10c with ornament: Spider [n . ] [i . ]
- ditto but Trapezium only (i.e. 'Centavo' normal [n . ] [i . ]
- ditto but Three Lines [n . ] [i . ]
- ditto but 'Curly Moustache' [n . ] [i . ]
- ditto but Thick Bar [n . ] [i . ]

.

Official 2c/3c :

This stamp was later reprinted to meet a dealer's order. Originals have a small figure '2' in both top corners. Reprints only have a small '2' at top left. . . . The original stamps are listed here, the dealer's order stamps in the next section.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903  surcharges

This stamp is not listed with surcharge double but we have seen several examples with a weak second overprint and have therefore listed it here. To avoid repetitious listings, below we have used [n . ], [i . ], [d . ] for normal, inverted and double surcharges respectively.

1903 Official Stamp : 2c/3c Green (First Printing)

2c/3c Green [n . ] [i . ] [d . ]
- ditto - Centovos variety (Posn.4) [n . ] [i . ] [d . ]
- ditto - Contavos variety (Posn.17) [n . ] [i . ] [d . ]
- ditto - Trapezium ornament
** (Posns.1 & 25) [n . ] [i . ] [d . ]
- ditto - Spider ornament (Posns.5 & 21) [n . ] [i . ] [d . ]
- ditto - Curly Moustache ornament (Posns. 11 & 15) [n . ] [i . ] [d . ]

** The trapezium ornaments on this value are inverted in comparison to those on the 1c/10c.

.

Official 4c/3c :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903  surcharges

1903 Official Stamp : 4c/3c Green.

4c/3c Green [ . ]
- ditto - Centovos variety (Posn.4) [ . ]
- ditto - Contavos variety (Posn.17, no scan) [ . ]
- ditto - Spider ornament (Posn. or Positions unknown) [ . ]

Official 4c/10c :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903  surcharges
The last three stamps above are illustrative of the poor nature of both original perforating and register of the surcharge. In two cases, the figures '4' appear at the bottom instead of the top and the last stamp has an extra row of perforations.

1903 Official Stamp : 4c/10c Purple.

4c/10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - Centovos variety (Posn.4) [ . ]
- ditto - Contavos variety (Posn.17, no scan) [ . ]
- ditto - Spider ornament (Posn. or Positions unknown) [ . ]

Official 5c/3c :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903  surcharges

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903  surcharges Detail of the ornament on the 4th stamp above.

This stamp is also found with Surcharge Double and check-boxes for 'normal' and 'double surcharge' stamps have been provided below, thus : [n . ] [d . ]

1903 Official Stamp : 5c/3c Green.

5c/3c Green [ . ]
- ditto - Centovos variety (Posn.4) [n . ] [d . ]
- ditto - Contavos variety (Posn.17, no scan) [n . ] [d . ]
- ditto - Inverted Cone ornament (Posns. 16, 21 and perhaps others) [n . ] [d . ]

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UPU Specimens of Official Stamps.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Official 1903 UPU Specimen overprints Portuguese Colony

Examples of all countries' stamps are sent to the Universal Postal Union for forward transmission to all other member states of the UPU. Typically, these are placed in a reference archive in each country, should verification about a stamp be required.
Occasionally one of these archives finds its way onto the philatelic market. The overprint 'ULTRAMAR' is found on stamps sent to Portuguese colonies and was probably applied in Lisbon on receipt of the stamps from the UPU before they were sent on to each colony. Note that the 1c/10c includes an ornament, which is, of course, not representative of the majority of the 1c/10c officials. It is doubtful in the extreme whether any foreign post office would have had the slightest idea whether the Nicaraguan stamps on incoming mail were regular issue or stamps printed to meet a dealer's order, which are described in the next section.

.

Regional Issues:
For revenue protection purposes, handstamps were applied to regular stamps at Bluefields and Cabo Gracias a Dios in Zelaya Province. Both the principal Nicaraguan issues and these regional stamps were the subject of special printings to meet private orders for stamps from stamp dealers. Before moving on to all the Zelaya Province stamps (regular and 'dealer order'), we turn now to these purely philatelic issues for the rest of Nicaragua.
.

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Nicaragua Post Office - Special Printings on Demand : c.1901-1905
.

The unusual practice adopted by Nicaragua of making special printings of stamps at the request of certain stamp dealers was probably driven by a desperate need for funds at that time. In order to protect revenue, the Post Office both altered some detail of the surcharge (or the stamp chosen for surcharging) and often cancelled the stamps prior to delivery to the dealers. They are typically described as dealer's order or dealers' order stamps.

This practice of producing stamps solely for collectors has naturally led to their exclusion from many catalogues, but Yvert lists a large number of them, whilst all catalogues give them some mention. We shall list those we know, added to others we have found mentioned in Maxwell and/or Yvert, and we provide check-boxes; it is for each collector to decide on their merits.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1902 2c/1P surcharge

The scan above shows (left) the regular stamp, albeit with misplaced stars. The right-hand stamp is a reprint, probably made to fill a dealer's order, and surcharged in far poorer quality than the original. The date of it first appearance is not reported.

c.1902? : 2c/1P Yellow without stars (reprint) [ . ]

In 1903, three further values appeared, all on the 10c Purple, surcharged as 6c, 1 Peso and 5 Pesos stamps. The 6c values have ornaments and a setting fairly similar to the 1c/10c Official stamp already described. Mint examples of the 6c/10c seem difficult to locate, whilst used examples of the Peso values are perhaps the more elusive.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1903 Delaer's Order Stamps 6c/10c

6 Centavos/10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - 'Contavos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centovos' for 'Centavos' + Trapezium ornament (invtd) [ . ]
- ditto - Half-Spider ornament (vertical) [ . ]
- ditto - Spider ornament [ . ]
- ditto - Trapezium ornament (without Centovos error) [ . ]
- ditto - Three Lines ornament [ . ]
- ditto - Thick Bar ornament (Centavos) [ . ]
- ditto - Thick Bar ormament + 'Contavos' error [ . ]
- ditto - Curly Moustache ornament

We have not seen the 'Centovos' variety alone (without the trapezium ornament)

As above, but now with Surcharge Inverted:
6 Centavos/10c Purple : SURCHARGE INVERTED [ . ]
- ditto - 'Contavos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centovos' for 'Centavos' + Trapezium ornament (invtd) [ . ]
- ditto - Half-Spider ornament (vertical) [ . ]
- ditto - Spider ornament [ . ]
- ditto - Trapezium ornament (without Centovos error) [ . ]
- ditto - Three Lines ornament [ . ]
- ditto - Thick Bar ornament (Centavos) [ . ]
- ditto - Thick Bar ormament + 'Contavos' error [ . ]
- ditto - Curly Moustache ornament

.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1903 Dealer's Order stamps 1 Peso and 5 Pesos on 10c timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

We show above three example of the 1 Peso surcharge, with small figures 1.00 correctly placed, misplaced and then missing (presumably a stamp at the foot of the sheet with surcharge shifted upwards). The fourth stamp shows a 5 Pesos surcharge, with the large figure of value as Yvert Type I. We do not have scan for a stamp with Type II surcharge and have provided a small scan from the Yvert catalogue to help identify it.

1 Peso / 10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Cheval [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double (no scan) [ . ]

5 Pesos / 10c Purple : Type I (upright '5') [ . ]
- ditto - but Type II (italic '5') [ . ]

.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1c/6c

This is a curious stamp. Our first impression was that it was bogus, as the figures '1901' are in a style and size only used for stamps produced to dealers' orders. However, there are no recorded dealers' orders stamps denominated 1c/6c and the only regular postage stamp of that value was the error of value on the 4c/6c and the style of the figures '1901' do not match that stamp. It seems very unlikely that it is an unrecorded emergency printing by the Post Office, made at the same time as the dealers' order stamps, in order to fill a gap in the supply of regular 1c stamps, so a bogus surcharge seems the most likely explanation, surcharged on a genuinely used 6c, as the cancellation appears postal and authentic.
.

Note : Despite any date on a surcharge suggesting otherwise, the remaining stamps in this section were produced in or after 1904.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train Dealer's Issue Printers' Waste / Bogus
We have no information about the bottom left stamp with 1901 double, one sideways. It could be printers' waste; we have not listed it.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

1c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharged 1 cent / 1901 in BLACK [ . ]

1c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharged 1 cent / 1901 in
BLUE [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double, Both Inverted [ . ]

.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

1c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharged 1 cent / 1902 in BLACK [ . ]

1c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharged 1 cent / 1902 in
BLUE [ . ]
.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

1c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharged 1 cent / 1904 in BLACK [ . ]

1c/2c Reddish-Orange : Surcharged 1 cent / 1904 in
BLUE [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]

.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

2 Centavos / 1 Peso Yellow [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]

2 Centavos / 1 Peso Yellow : Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]

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timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

5 Centavos / 1 Peso Yellow : Surcharge in BLACK [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]

- ditto - wide spacing (3.5mms instead of 2.5mms) between '5' and 'C' [ . ]

5 Centavos / 1 Peso Yellow :
Surcharge in BLACK : Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ] |
- ditto - wide spacing (3.5mms instead of 2.5mms) between '5' and 'C' [ . ]

.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c
The third stamp has the wide spacing (3.5 mms) between the '5' and the 'C'.

5 Centavos / 1 Peso Yellow : Surcharge in RED [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]
- ditto - wide spacing (3.5mms instead of 2.5mms) between '5' and 'C' [ . ]

5 Centavos / 1 Peso Yellow :
Surcharge in RED : Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ] |
- ditto - wide spacing (3.5mms instead of 2.5mms) between '5' and 'C' [ . ]

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c

We have only seen one example of this stamp, for which we have a poor quality scan; we have assumed that the setting will be the same.

5 Centavos / 1 Peso Yellow : Surcharge in RED and in BLACK [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]
- ditto - wide spacing (3.5mms instead of 2.5mms) between '5' and 'C' [ . ]

.

Top Row: Thin figures '10' . . 2. Thick figures '10' . . 3. Centcvos variety . . 5. ERROR: '01 Centavos' for '10' Centavos
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Volcano & Train 1904 15 centavos surcharge 15c/10c
Bottom Row: Surch. Invtd. . 2. + Centcvos variety . . 3. + '01' for '10' var., . . 4. Surcharge Double . . 5. Surch. Double + Shift

10c / 2P Vermilion : Thin figures '10' [ . ]
- ditto - but Thick figures '10' [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' (thin '10) [ . ]
ERROR : 01c / 2P Vermilion [ . ]

10c / 2P Vermilion : Surcharge INVERTED : Thin figures '10' [ . ]
- ditto - but Thick figures '10' [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' (thin '10) [ . ]
ERROR : 01c / 2P Vermilion : Surcharge Inverted [ . ]

10c / 2P Vermilion : Surcharge DOUBLE : Thin figures '10' [ . ]
- ditto - but Thick figures '10' [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' (thin '10) [ . ]
ERROR : 01c / 2P Vermilion : Surcharge Double [ . ]

10c / 2P Vermilion : Surcharge Double, one cheval [ . ]

.

Dealer's Order : Official Stamps.

Only one value of the Official stamps was reproduced to meet a dealer's order and is easily distinguished by the absence of the small figure '2' at top right (the top left small '2' is present). The sheet format shows several differences from the regular issue. The significant differences are as follows:

Row Position On the Original Issue Dealer's Order Reprint
R. 1,1 Posn. 1 Trapezium ornament Parallelogram
R. 1,4 Posn. 4 Centovos variety No variety
R. 1,5 Posn. 5 Spider centre half-inked Spider centre fully-inked
R. 4,2 Posn. 17 Contavos variety No variety
R. 4,4 Posn. 19 No variety OFICILA for OFICIAL
R. 5,1 Posn. 21 Spider ornament No spider, large fig '2' omitted
R. 5,5 Posn. 25 Trapezium ornament No ornament
.

timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Official Oficial 2c/3c Reprint Reimpresion to Dealer's Order timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Official Oficial 2c/3c Reprint Reimpresion to Dealer's Order

Shown above are the principal design differences in the dealer's order stamps, compared to the original issue. The shape of the ornament in the left stamp is different. The central circle in the 'spider' ornament is solid, whereas only half the circle is filled with ink in the originals. The OFICILA variety does not exist on originals. We do not know whether the larger figure '2' omitted variety (right-hand scan) is constant.

Official : Reprinted to Dealer's Order : 2c/3c
2c/3c Official Reprint small '2' omitted at right (all positions) [ . ]
- ditto - Parallelogram ornament (R.1,1) [ . ]
- ditto - Spider ornament (R.1,5) [ . ]
- ditto - Curly Moustache Ornament (R.3,1 and 3,5) [ . ]
- ditto - OFICILA for OFICIAL (R.4,4) [ . ]
- ditto - Larger figure '2 at bottom left omitted (R.5,1) [ . ]

.

.

.

Nicaragua : Zelaya : Bluefields : Regular Issues.
.

The Moskito Coast was an old kingdom largely in present-day Nicaragua, and partly in today's Honduras Republic. It was incorporated into those two countries in 1894, just six years before the Momotombo stamps first appeared. Much of the area became the Province of Zelaya and it handstamped Momotombo stamps between 1904 and 1905, perhaps early 1906. Such handstamps were necessary to prevent postal fraud, since the silver currency in Zelaya acquired a value about double that of the paper money in the rest of the country, whilst still carrying the same denominational value.

The national stamps were handstamped at two locations in Zelaya Province, in the main town Bluefields and in Cabo. The handstamps in the two areas are quite different and we look first at the Bluefields issues.

Once again, we have both regular stamps and stamps provided solely at the request of stamp dealers, not always easily distinguishable. Additionally, there are some forgeries but the poor quality of the official handstamp, which is frequently incomplete and poorly applied, makes identification very difficult at times. In particular, the horizontal half-moon formed of two lines at the bottom of the overprint rarely shows as more than a single curved line, if at all.

The handstamps were often applied at an angle, just occasionally inverted. Conventionally, varieties in the application of handstamps are often omitted from listings, but we have included them in our lists where we have seen them. Handstamps on REGULAR issue stamps (as opposed to dealers' orders) are always in Black. Note that a large majority of the 'mint' stamps that one encounters are without gum.

To assist in identifying and sorting these stamps, note that any stamp handstamped / overprinted 'Dto Zelaya' (without p in Dpto) will be a dealer's order stamp. Stamps with 'Dpto Zelaya' can be regular issue or produced to dealers' order, these latter being examined in the following section.

BLUEFIELDS : Regular Issues

1904 : Regular Issue : Engraved stamps of 1901, without surcharge.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Zelaya Bluefields Momotombo Volcano & Train

1904 : Bluefields : Handstamped on Engraved Stamps, Perf 12.
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange[ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
15c Pale Grey-Blue [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Double [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown [ . ]
50c Lake [ . ]
1 Peso Deep Yellow [ . ]
2 Pesos Pale Reddish-Vermilion [ . ]
5 Pesos Black [ . ]

.

1904 : Regular Issue : Lithographed stamps of 1902, without surcharge, handstamped.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train
The first four stamps are the litho stamps listed below. The last stamp shows the handstamp double variety on the 15c, listed above.

1904 : Bluefields : Handstamped on Lithographed Stamps, Perf 14.
5c Red [ . ]
5c Blue [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
10c Purple [ . ]

The lithographed stamps without surcharge seem most commonly to be handstamped with a rubber handstamp, which is rather indistinct and in a grey rather than a black ink. The 'D' of 'Dpto' resembles an 'O' rather than a 'D'. In the scan above, this applies to the 5c Red and the 10c, whereas the 5c Blue with handstamp upright has a handstamp more akin to that on the c5/10c stamps immediately below, which are most frequently found with a thinner, sharper and blacker handstamp, probably metallic in origin.

These issues are so difficult to classify and verify that comments such as those just made should be treated as an observation made from inspection, not as an established well-studied accepted 'truth'. There are clear differences between some of the handstamps which could result both from multiple handstamps being in use by the Post Office and from forgeries.
.

1904 : Regular Issue : Lithographed 10c stamp of 1902, surcharged 'c 5', handstamped.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train
The top line shows the 2mm spacing with handstamp upright and inverted, then the same for the 4 mm spacing.
The bottom line shows the paler blue surcharge and a pair of 4mm stamps with 'c' upright and 'c' inverted.

1905 : Bluefields : With Surcharge 'c 5' on 10c, with 2 mm spacing between 'C' and '5', handstamped.
c5/10c Purple (narrow-spaced '5' and 'c') [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
c5/10c Purple (narrow-spaced '5' and 'c') - Variety 'c' Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Also with Handstamp Inverted. [ . ]

1905 : Bluefields : With Surcharge 'c 5' on 10c, with 4 mm spacing between 'C' and '5', handstamped.
c5/10c Purple (wide-spaced '5' and 'c') [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
c5/10c Purple (wide-spaced '5' and 'c') - Variety 'c' Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Also with Handstamp Inverted. [ . ]

It is highly likely that both the 2mm and 4mm stamps exist with the combination 'c' inverted and handstamp inverted. We have therefore listed them but we have not seen them.
.

1905 : Regular Issue : Lithographed 10c stamp of 1902, surcharged '5 CENTS', handstamped.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train
Note the almost total absence of the 'Dpto Zelaya' beneath the 'B' on the second stamp. As the handstamps became worn, or where they were carelessly applied, loss of part of the handstamp was common, often leaving only small parts of the handstamp visible below the 'B'.

1905 : Bluefields : With surcharge 5 CENTS on 10c, handstamped.
1905 : 5 CENTS / 10c Purple [ . ]
.

1905 : Regular Issue : Lithographed 10c stamp of 1902, surcharged '15 Centavos', handstamped.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

1905 : Bluefields : 15 Centavos / 10c, handstamped
1905 : 15 Centavos / 10c Purple : Tall, thin figure '1' [ . ]
- ditto - 'Centcvos' for 'Centavos' [ . ]

1905 : 15 Centavos / 10c Purple : Pair with thin and thick figures '1' in '15' [n . ] [i . ]

1905 : 15 Centavos / 10c Purple : Thick figure '1' [ . ]

We have not seen the Centcvos error but have assumed it exists. We think it less likely that the variety '5' omitted exists with Bluefields handstamp, and currently are not listing it.
.

1905 : Regular Issue : Engaved 5 Pesos stamp of 1900, surcharged '20 Cents', handstamped.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train
1905 : Bluefields : Surcharged in Red 20 Cent / 1901 on 5 Pesos, handstamped in Black.
1905 : 20 Cent / 5 Pesos [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge & Handstamp Inverted [ . ]

.

Nicaragua : Zelaya : Bluefields : Dealers' Order Stamps.
.

The shortage of Bluefields (and Cabo) stamps created considerable demand from dealers, who had customers looking to fill gaps. The fact that the overprints applied were different and that stamps which had never been handstamped for regular postage were included, seems not to have been a matter of any concern to these dealers!

Unlike the regular postal issues which are handstamped, it is generally held that any dealers' order stamps that are handstamped are probably forgeries. Presumably due to the high numbers ordered, dealers' orders were machine-overprinted with 'Departamento' abbreviated either to 'Dpto' or 'Dto'. We have seen many handstamped examples, including varieties such as handstamp double or inverted; we have approached them as shown below.

Listing of Forgeries:
For stamps with 'Dpto' handstamp, we do not list them at all, but we have shown an example of such a handstamp, inverted, on a 1c stamp in the second scan below.
However, for stamps with 'Dto' handstamp, due to the large number of totally bogus values that are found on them, we have provided a listing of these forgeries, purely for study purposes.

We look at the stamps overprinted 'B / Dpto. Zelaya' first.

1905 : Dealer's Order Issue : Overprinted 'B / Dpto. Zelaya' in BLUE.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo to Dealers' Order Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

1905 : Bluefields : Dealer's Order issue : Overprinted 'B / Dpto. Zelaya' in BLUE:
1c Claret [ . ]
- ditto - 'o' of 'Dpto' absent [ . ]
1c Claret Overprint Double [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange[ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
5c Red [ . ]
c5 / 10c Purple (4mm spacing) [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' Inverted [ . ]
10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
c15 / 10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted (no scan) [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown [ . ]
50c Lake [ . ]

1905 : Bluefields : Dealer's Order overprinted 'B / Dpto. Zelaya' in BLACK.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo to Dealers' Order Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train
The 1c with inverted handstamp above is considered a forgery.

1905 : Bluefields : Dealer's Order Issue : Overprinted 'B / Dpto. Zelaya' in BLACK:
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange[ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
5c Red [ . ]
c5 / 10c Purple (no scan) [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' Inverted ** [ ? ]
10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
c15 / 10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted ** [ ? ]
20c Chestnut-Brown (no scan) [ . ]
50c Lake [ . ]

Curiously, Yvert lists 'c' inverted for both the c5/10c and c15/10c with Blue Overprint, but for neither of them with Black Overprint. We have provisionally listed them with Black Overprint.

.

Other than the very last stamp in this section, which is something of a curiosity, the remaining stamps all read 'B / Dto. Zelaya.

1905 : Dealer's Order Issue : Overprinted 'B / Dto. Zelaya' in BLACK.
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo to Dealers' Order Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

We show two examples of the 2c above, the first stamp machine-overprinted (by the post office to dealer's order), the second stamp a forgery of a dealer's order stamp(!), handstamped (& inverted).

1904: Bluefields : Dealer's Order : Machine-Overprinted Dto. Zelaya (larger format) :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo to Dealers' Order Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

Bluefields : Dealer's Order : Machine-Overprinted in Black unless otherwise stated :
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
5c Deep Blue (engraved) [ . ]
- ditto - Overprint Inverted [ . ]
5c Red [ . ]
5 CENTS / 10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
C15 / 10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
20c / 5 Pesos [ . ]
20c / 5 Pesos but with Violet-Brown Overprint [ . ]
50c Lake [ . ]

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Bluefields : Dealer's Order : Handstamped Dto. Zelaya (forgeries) :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo to Dealers' Order Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

These forgeries are listed below to assist others in researching this area, with the listing printed in a 'warning colour' of yellow.

Bluefields : Dealer's Order : Forgeries, handstamped in Black :
1c Claret [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
5c Blue (Litho) [ . ]
5c Blue (engraved) [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
5c Red [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
c 5 / 10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
5 CENTS / 10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]
10c Deep Mauve (engraved) [ . ]
c 15 / 10c Purple (Litho) [ . ]
- ditto - Handstamp Inverted [ . ]

.

The final dealer's order stamp for Bluefields is a finely-applied overprint. It is a little unexpected, being in an entirely different style from both the issued stamps and the other dealers' order stamps. Despite the work involved in creating such an overprint setting, it was only applied to one stamp and, to judge from its scarcity, not in very large quantities. Although traditionally considered a dealer's order stamp, we speculate whether it might just possibly be a proof for a regular issue, but without any evidence to support this. The overprint inverted variety is only in Maxwell.

Bluefields : Dealer's Order : Overprinted 'B / Zelaya' in Red :
timbres-poste sellos postales stamps Nicaragua Momotombo to Dealers' Order Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

Bluefields : Dealer's Order : 20c / 5 Pesos Machine-Overprinted 'B / Zelaya' in Red:
20c / 5 Pesos [ . ]
- ditto - Overprint Inverted [ . ]

That concludes the dealers' order stamps from Bluefields.

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Postal Stationery:
There were numerous postal stationery overprints on Momotombo types for Bluefields and we illustrate one of particular railway interest.

Ganzsache Bluefields Postal Stationery Nicaragua Momotombo Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

Ganzsache Bluefields Postal Stationery Nicaragua Momotombo Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train Ferrocarril Atlantico Monkey Point Nicaragua Bluefields Postal Stationery Zelaya Bluefields Volcano & Train

1906 postal stationery card with B / Dpto Zelaya handstamp (H&G M2) sent from Bluefields to Leipzig, Germany, with New Orleans transit strike. On the reverse, a fine circular FERROCARRIL ATLANTICO / MONKEY POINT illustrated 'locomotive' marking.

Work on building a railway from San Miguelito to Monkey Point on the Atlantic coast south of Bluefields started around 1904 and by 1909 included about 4 miles of track at the Monkey Point end. Civil unrest in 1909 brought an end to construction and the abandonment of the project.

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Nicaragua : Cabo Gracias a Dios : Regular Issues.
.

Due to their scarcity, many of the Cabo stamps have attracted the attention of forgers. We have read contradictory views on authenticity and this, allied to the variance in listings between catalogues, opens the door to much confusion, not helped by the very poor quality of many of the genuine handstamps. We have decided to limit our scans and comments on Cabo stamps to minimize the risk of repeating erroneous information. Not everything is hazy; for example, handstamps applied to the wrong original stamps such as the engraved 5c Blue, or handstamps applied in the wrong colour ink are obvious forgeries. However, many of the stamps are not so easily finessed and Cabo is undoubtedly one of those 'dangerous' areas for collectors.

There were three handstamps used for regular issues, a 'Cabo', a small 'CABO' and a large 'CABO', this last with an accent on the 'A'. All three types were applied using only VIOLET INK; all stamps handstamped in other colours can probably be assumed to be forgeries.

It is unclear whether more than one handstamp was used for regular issues, which makes comparisons between handstamps difficult. The ink colour of the handstamp tends to lighten when stamps are placed in water and it has been suggested (Maxwell) that the ink of forged handstamps is more fugitive in water than that of genuine handstamps.

Sellos Postales Nicaragua Zelaya Cabo Postage Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

We show above what we believe to be a genuine (left) and forged (right) Cabo handstamp. Note the thick serif at the top of the 'C' in the forgery and the long well-defined serif to the 'b'. In particular with the original stamps, which are very often not at all so well defined as in the scan, the base of the 'C' as it curls upwards is very thin, but the possible use of more than one handstamp by the Post Office makes one doubt that this is 100% reliable as a guide. Note that many forgeries were applied to used stamps and that any Cabo (or indeed Bluefields) stamp with a postmark prior to 1904 will be a forgery.

As mentioned, we shall not attempt to show multiple examples for the listing of Cabo, not only because we are short of stamps that we can say are authentic with total confidence but also because some of those we do not fully trust may in fact be genuine and to display them with reservations may not be helpful.

1904/05 : Various stamps handstamped Cabo in Violet :
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
15c Pale Grey-Blue [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown [ . ]

5c Deep Bright Carmine (litho) * [ . ]
5c Deep Greyish-Blue (litho) [ . ]
10c Reddish-Purple (litho) [ . ]

c5 / 10c Purple [ . ] **

15 Centavos / 10c Purple (thin figure '1' in '15') *** [ . ]
- ditto - Thick Figure '1' *** [ . ]

* The 5c lithographed stamp in Carmine is not listed by Maxwell, Michel or Yvert but is listed by Scott and SG.

** This c5/10c stamp is listed only by Scott (#2L24) but it describes it as a handstamp on the 5c stamp of 1904, whereas both 5 centavos surcharges on the 10c are listed under Nicaragua as being from 1905. We believe Scott is referring to the 'c 5' surcharge, not the '5 CENTS' surcharge.

*** This stamp is not listed by Maxwell, Michel or Yvert but it is listed by Scott and by SG, SG referring only to the stamp with thin figures '1' in '15', whilst Scott is non-specific. Neither catalogue prices the stamp. We have added the thick figure '1', since it appears in the same original panes/25, but have not included a check-box for a pair with both types of figure '1', as none may have survived.

.

There is much greater consistency of listings by all five catalogues when it comes to small CABO handstamps, except that Yvert does not list the c15/10c Purple but does list four additional values, which we have listed separately underneath the principal values.

Despite having quite a wide range to choose from, we were unable to find a clear strike of a genuine small CABO handstamp, which conforms well with Maxwell's statement that they are poorly struck. Comparing Maxwell's illustrations, it would appear that he views the genuine handstamp as having the 'C' angled slightly upwards (compared to the 'A'), the B with a smaller top loop than bottom loop and the 'O' more oval than round. Again, though, we do not know how many handstamps were used, but genuine stamps should be handstamped in violet, poorly defined and as small as shown in our scan below, which shows what we think may well be genuine handstamps. We have sharpened up the image to try to provide a little more detail.

Sellos Postales Nicaragua Zelaya Cabo Postage Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

1904/05 : Various stamps handstamped CABO in Violet in small letters :
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange [ . ]
3c Blusih-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
15c Pale Grey-Blue [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown [ . ]

5c Deep Greyish-Blue (litho) [ . ]
10c Reddish-Purple (litho) [ . ]

c 5 / 10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - Wavy Lines omitted **** [ . ]
c 5 / 10c Purple Surcharge Inverted **** [ . ]
c 15 / 10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Inverted **** [ . ]

**** Only in Maxwell.

Additional Values only in Maxwell and Yvert et Tellier, handstamp again in Violet:
20c / 2P Vermilion (on surcharged stamp with 1901 at the top) [ . ]
20c / 5P Black (on surcharged stamp with 1901 at the bottom) [ . ]
1 Peso Yellow [ . ]
2 Pesos Vermilion [ . ]

Some of the handstamps that we have seen on these four extra values appear to conform to the typical features described above for genuine stamps and, on our current knowledge, we therefore follow Maxwell and Yvert in listing them as regular issues.

.

The final handstamp used for regular issue stamps on the Momotombo design was only applied to a further four values. Again, there are numerous forgeries and possibly more than one genuine handstamp. We illustrate the principal listed values, without proffering any detailed advice on identifying genuine and forged handstamps, other than to point out that the handstamp should again be in violet and that genuine used stamps cannot be cancelled with dates prior to 1904.

Sellos Postales Nicaragua Zelaya Cabo Postage Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

1904/05 : Various stamps handstamped CABO in Violet in large letters :

In Maxwell, Michel, Scott, SG & Yvert.
c 5 / 10c Purple [ . ]
- Surcharge Inverted (Maxwell only) [ . ]

None of the catalogues specify which setting (2mm or 4mm) was handstamped. Both may have been and we have shown both types in our scan, but with the caveat in the preceding paragraph as to authenticity.

In Maxwell, Scott, SG & Yvert.
10c Purple (litho) [ . ]

In Maxwell, Michel, Scott, SG & Yvert.
20c Chestnut-Brown [ . ]

In Maxwell, Scott, SG & Yvert.
20c / 5 Pesos Black [ . ]

Yvert lists SEVEN more values with this handstamp, none of which are even mentioned in any other catalogue, including Maxwell. We suggest that they should be considered as probable bogus stamps, unless other information comes to light.

Cabo : Additional dubious values handstamped in Violet, listed only by Yvert :
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
4c Olive [ . ]
5c Blue (litho) [ . ]
5c Carmine (litho) [ . ]
15 Centavos / 10c Purple [ . ]

.

Yvert also lists two further stamps in 1905, handstamped CABO GRACIAS . They are highly priced but not in other catalogues. We have no example to study and cannot say whether they are authentic stamps, dealer's order stamps or simply bogus, but, again, they are not mentioned in other catalogues and should be considered as dubious issues.

Handstamped CABO GRACIAS diagonally upwards (from bottom left corner).
10c Purple (litho) possibly with a black handstamp [ . ]
15c Blue with violet handstamp [ . ]

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Nicaragua : Cabo Gracias a Dios : Dealers' Order Stamps.

As with Bluefields, probably due to the size of the order(s), the dealer's order stamps are machine-overprinted, not handstamped. The overprint is found in either black and/or blue. These are catalogued, as usual, by Maxwell and Yvert, but also, albeit without detailed listing by overprint colour, in our edition of Michel.

Sellos Postales Nicaragua Zelaya Cabo Postage Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

Cabo : Dealers' Order Stamps with BLACK overprint:
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
5c Carmine (litho) [ . ]
5 CENTS / 10c Purple [ . ]
10c Purple (litho) [ . ]
c 15 / 10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown [ . ]
50c Lake [ . ]

.

Sellos Postales Nicaragua Zelaya Cabo Postage Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

Cabo : Dealers' Order Stamps with BLUE overprint:
1c Claret [ . ]
2c Reddish-Orange [ . ]
3c Bluish-Green [ . ]
5c Carmine (litho) [ . ]
10c Violet (litho) *** [ . ]
c 15 / 10c Purple [ . ]
- ditto - 'c' inverted ** [ . ]
20c Chestnut-Brown *** [ . ]
50c Lake [ . ]

** This stamp with 'c' inverted is not in Yvert, but we think it likely that it would exist.
*** 10c Violet and 20c Chestnut-Brown (blue opt) seen by us, shown above, but not in Yvert.

.

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Nicaragua : Momotombo design used for Revenue (Fiscal) purposes.
.

The 1998 28-page catalogue by Michael Birks on 'The Revenue, Seals and Cinderellas of Nicaragua' is a revealing insight into the multitude of ways a government finds to increase its income from taxes on everything from Alcohol to Education. There are three areas of taxation for which Momotombo stamps were surcharged, Cattle Tax, Military Tax and Road Tax.

Precisely what aspects of cattle, the military or road usage were being taxed and how the taxes due were calculated is not known to us, nor do we have any information as to which documents / fiscal forms were employed - or even from which government agencies the stamps were purchased. We would welcome any information that you may be able to provide for this long-neglected area of philately.

As an illustration of how poorly covered this material has been over the years, our Forbin revenue catalogue does not feature any of the stamps we describe below. The catalogue in question is dated 1915, probably at least a decade after Momotombo stamps were last used for revenue purposes, and this is an indication of how slowly information circulated about non-mainstream stamps from distant countries at that time. As a result, it is probable that much useful information about them will have been lost forever, but some of it can usually be pieced back together through the pooling of knowledge.

Mint / Used : We have seen several 'mint' stamps without gum, which, as they were at times cancelled by ink pen, could possibly be cleaned, but mostly we have encountered used stamps, the vast majority of which are cancelled with a circular handstamp. We have not seen a mint example of any of these revenue stamps with gum, which we find unsurprising. They may not even have been available for the public to purchase as stamps.

For the principal stamps in this section, we have adopted the Michael Birks' catalogue numbering system, using prefix 'Bk'. Note that the Peso was written with a dollar ($) sign in Nicaragua at this time.
.

Revenue Stamps : Cattle Tax

Only one tax rate was apparently required at the time the Momotombo 20c became the first stamp issued for this tax.

Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Destace Cattle Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

Bk.450 : 20c Chestnut-Brown optd DESTACE in Black [ . ]

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Revenue Stamps : Military Tax

It is quite unusual for a government to tax itself and, so far as we know, the Nicaraguan Government had not privatised the military! Whether this tax was on army procurement or perhaps a tax on some aspect of a soldier's life is unknown to us. We have never seen one of these stamps and neither had Michael Birks at the time his catalogue was published. The illustration comes from the Birks catalogue.

Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train
Scan of the surcharge employed.

Bk.1000 : 50P / 3c Bluish-Green surcharged Militar / Vale $50 [ . ]
Bk.1000a - ditto - Surcharge Inverted [ . ]
Bk.1000b - second 'i' of 'Militar' Inverted [ . ]

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Revenue Stamps : Road Tax

As today, taxes on road use were a popular target for the government and this is reflected in the range of tariffs surcharged onto these stamps. In making this listing, we have made a presumption that all the stamps were produced from the same basic printing forme with just the figures of value altered for each of the five face values. Please note that this may be completely wrong(!) and that the formes may have been set numerous times, and differently, whether for second printings of the same value or for new values. Consequently, we have placed a * against any variety below where we have not seen the stamp nor been assured about its existence. We have, to date, only had access to one example of the scarce 50 Pesos surcharge.

There are three styles of the dollar sign, which we have called Types 1, II and III :

Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

Type I : Single downstroke through dollar sign, letter upright.
Type II : Double downstroke through dollar sign, letter upright.
Type III : Double downstroke through dollar sign, 'fatter' $ sign, often slightly angled like an italic.

The Michael Birks catalogue does not distinguish between Types II and III. In addition to expanding his listing to three 'dollar types', we have also listed a few significant varieties that we have encountered on these stamps.

Scans provided : We have generally scanned one stamp of each face value, together with any stamp with a variety beyond the different types of Dollar sign. There are many examples of broken or poorly-formed letters which we do not list, the quality of surcharging being generally very poor.
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1900 Momotombo 1c surcharged in Black : Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 3
Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train
The two stamps are illustrative of the marked difference in quality of impression of the surcharge on these stamps.
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Bk.1020 : 3P / 1c Claret surcharged Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 3 : Type I [ . ]

Bk.1020a - ditto - Dollar Sign with two bars : Type II [ . ]

Bk.1020a var. - ditto - As above but fatter Dollar Sign : Type III [ . ]

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1900 Momotombo 2c surcharged in Black : Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 5
Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train
The right-hand stamp has double-bars (twice) through the dollar signs, not clearly visible in the scan.

Bk.1021 : 5P / 2c Reddish-Orange surcharged Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 5 : Type I [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]

Bk.1021a - ditto - Dollar Sign with two bars : Type II [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double [ . ]

Bk.1021a var. - ditto - As above but fatter Dollar Sign : Type III [ . ]
- ditto - Surcharge Double * [ . ]

* : Assumed to exist.

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1900 Momotombo 2c surcharged in Black : Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 10
Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

Bk.1022 : 10P / 2c Reddish-Orange surcharged Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 10 : Type I [ . ]

Bk.1022a - ditto - Dollar Sign with two bars : Type II [ . ]
- ditto - Small '0' in '10' [ . ]

Bk.1022a var. - ditto - As above but fatter Dollar Sign : Type III * [ . ]

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1900 Momotombo 2c surcharged in Black : Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 25
Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train

Bk.1023 : 25P / 2c Reddish-Orange surcharged Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 25 : Type I [ . ]
- ditto - Curly foot to '2' of '25' [ ? ]**

Bk.1023a - ditto - Dollar Sign with two bars : Straight foot to '2' of '25' : Type II [ . ]
- ditto - Curly foot to '2' of '25' [ . ]

Bk.1023a var. - ditto - As above but fatter Dollar Sign : Type III * [ . ]

** Other 25 Pesos types may well exist with the curly foot to '2' variety. We are 75% confident that one stamp we have examined in 'Type I' does have a curly foot, but it is poorly printed and we have therefore listed it above with a [ ? ].

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1900 Momotombo 2c surcharged in Black : Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 50
Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train Sellos Fiscales Nicaragua Impuesto Miltar Miltary Tax Revenue Stamps Momotombo Zelaya  Volcano & Train
We have only seen three images of this stamp, one in Type II and two in Type III.

1900 Momotombo 2c surcharged in Black : Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 50
Bk.1024 : 50P / 2c Reddish-Orange surcharged Impuesto de / Caminos / Vale $ 50 : Type I * [ . ]

Bk.1024a - ditto - Dollar Sign with two bars : Type II [ . ]

Bk.1024a var. - ditto - As above but fatter Dollar Sign : Type III [ . ]
- ditto - with small figure '0' in '50' [ . ]

In all three examples of this stamp that we have seen, the figure '5' in '50 appears taller than on the typical 25 Pesos stamps. In two of the three stamps, the '0' is of similar height to the '5'; on one it is smaller. We have provisionally listed small '0' as a variety, rather than large '5', but this is all based on a very small sample.

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