Puerto Rico today uses postage stamps of the United States, but used its very own stamps from 1873 until 1900. These old Puerto Rican stamps are not too uncommon, though some are quite rarely seen for sale.
The first stamps for Puerto Rico were Spanish issues inscribed ULTRAMAR (“overseas”), intended for use in both Puerto Rico and Cuba. These were first used, with overprints, in 1873 in Puerto Rico. Actual Puerto Rico-only stamps came in 1878, issued by Spain and inscribed either PTO RICO or PUERTO RICO, and denominated in centimes and pesetas, though the monetary system changed in 1881 to milesimas, centavos, and pesos. In 1893, a three centavo stamp was issued that was valid for one day only, and commemorated the voyages of Christopher Columbus for the Spanish crown.
In 1898, Puerto Rico was given to the United States; the following year, U.S. stamps with an overprint reading ‘PORTO RICO’ were used, U.S. postage due stamps with this same overprint exist as well. In 1900, US stamps overprinted with the original Spanish phrase ‘PUERTO RICO’ were used.
Since 1900, regular US stamps without overprints have been used. Collectible Puerto Rico philatelic collectibles from this point tend to be United States stamps that commemorate subjects related to Puerto Rico, or covers and air mail pieces involving Puerto Rico. Check the current for sale listings in this section to see what’s available now. Offers are updated daily.
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