The Stamps of Puerto Rico


1855 - 1873

1873 - 1876

1877 - 1889

1890 - 1897

El Barquito

1898 - 1899

Tax & Habilitados

US overprints


Specimens & Others

    The Island of Puerto Rico was discovered by Christopher Columbus on November 19, 1493. The Spanish began colonization in the early 16th century. About 1511, Juan Ponce de Leon founded a town called Puerto Rico. Over time, for reasons not entirely clear, the names reversed--the town became San Juan, and the island Puerto Rico.

    Puerto Rico postal history begins about 300 years later, when in the early 19th century, colonization began in earnest.

   The island philatelic history is interesting, varied, and at times confusing. And still offers almost limitless possibilities for research and exhibiting. Quality material is elusive and is seldom offered either by dealers or at auction in the United States. This is true for both the Spanish and American occupation periods.

    Much of the information about early postal history has been pieced together from covers examples. In 1890, the main post office burned--destroying all early records. Records from 1890-1898 were removed when the Spanish left the island, but the information is missing from the postal archives in Madrid.

    Work done by Preston and Sandorn, was publish in The Stamp Specialist series during the early 40's. In 1977, Hugo D. Storer published a comprehensive reference for the PR specialist, The Catalogo Filatelico de Puerto Rico. Billig's Philatelic Handbook, volume VI, has an article covering from the first Antilles issues thru the US overprints. It also has a section on bogus issues and identification of fakes and provisionals.



Technical Details:

    The original scans are done in an Epson Perfection 1650 scanner at a resolution of 1600 dpi, using SilverFast SE software. They are then processed in Photoshop 7 for web display.