Make your own free website on


<< Back

The 4 cuarto of 1856-59 - the 3 types.

You might be asking yourself "why is he devoting a whole page to one of the single most common 19th century stamps of Spain?"

Well, aside from the fact that it is one of my favorite issues, ugly as it is, it seems to be one of those issues that is not understood by the average collector nor is it understood very well by the Scott catalog. Since most of the collectors and dealers in the United States use the Scott catalog, this might be especially helpful to them. This page is going to deal with the unwatermarked variety only, as this seems to be where the confusion is.

Note: If anyone can add or correct any of the information on this page, let me know.

Let's start with some facts:

Now, let's get into some detail here and look at each type individually.

Type I (Edifil #48, Scott #45)

Click here to see an unused block of 8 of this type

This type is by far the most common one you will run into. It is usually in shades of red. It was the first type issued in 1856 and was in production for most of the issuing period (exact date not known, but probably into 1859), with a large quantity printed (not known to me, but probably in the 7-figure range). There are many plate and printing flaws that can be found here, as well as shades of color. A large percentage of copies seem to be dull in color and lack a crispness to the design, this is especially evident in the lines of shading on the neck and throat and around the eye (compare with the images of the other 2 types). This type is valued higher in unused condition than used for the simple fact that a high percentage of the issued stamps were actually used.

Type II (Edifil #48A, Scott - unlisted)

Click here to see a block of 4 of this type

Now, let's look at type II. Accordoing to the Edifil catalog, this type was issued sometime in 1859. It is printed in more of a rose color, rather than the reds of T.I. There are 2 main differences in this type, as compared to the previous type. 1.) There is a small break in the left side outer frame line, just about midway up. 2.) The white narrow space at the base of the bust has been made wider and there is a row of small colored dots running down the middle of it. This type, at least the ones I have in my possession and seen elsewhere, has a fineness to the printing. I attribute this to the fact that it was printed late in the validity period, from new plates, and the plate did not have the chance to get very worn.

Type III (Edifil #48B, Scott #45a)

Click here to see a block of 25 of this type

This one is where most people tend to misidentify. According to the Edifil catalog, this one was also issued in 1859, same as type II, but I believe it was issued towards the end of that year. It is usually found in a darker more carmine color. There are some very distinct characteristics to this type. 1.) There is usually heavy breaking in the outer frame lines. 2.) There is a constant break in the right outer frame line just below the top of the design next to the upper right corner ornament. 3.) The printing is almost invariably heavier, and on some very clear. I believe this is a result of using acid-cleaned plates. Since this type was issued so late, there probably were not very many used, which would account for the high percentage of copies found in unused condition. I have also been told that alot of remainders did not recieve the standard 3-bar remainder cancel. postally used copies are valued at a premium over unused. This is where things get weird. The Edifil has this type priced correctly but Scott's has chosen to list them incorrectly. And since most US dealers use Scott, they almost always have them listed incorrectly in there sales. It seems that the majority of unused copies being advertised for sale, turn out to be type III.

Check your copies, you might be the lucky owner of one of the better types.