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Telegraph stamps of the World

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  I have brought these prices up to date and added currency selection.  
  I have now re-numbered, but in line with what I have done with other  
countries, I am using RH numbers (Revised Hiscocks) for my
numbering and also showing the original Hiscocks numbers.
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Shortcuts to different sections
Correos y Telégrafos - 1 1892 Overprints Correos y Telégrafos - 2 Loose Ends 1907 1910 1927 Telegram Seals


Costa Rica .


According to "Dirección General de Correos y Telégrafos" (PDF) :

"On March 23, 1868, during the administration of Jesús Jiménez Zamora, a contract was signed between the Ministry of Development and Lyman Reynolds, to establish telegraphic connections between Cartago, San José, Heredia, Alajuela and Puntarenas. This project was terminated by that government in 1869, because the contracting party quit."

According to John Barefoot, this was completed but produced little traffic.

The Government persevered with telegraphy and by 1879 was connected to Mexico via the intervening countries.

A list of 1906 for wireless-Telegraph stations lists three in operation at Puerto Limón, at least two of which were owned by the United Fruit Co. One has the notes "With Bocas del Toro and for public service." and "10 cents gold a word." The other is noted as being 10 kW. Bocas del Toro refers to Isla Colón off the north coast of Panama.
A similar list of 1912 shows a commercial station in Puerto Limón and another in Boca del Colorado.

Telegraphy based on the Morse system disappeared from Costa Rica, approximately, at the end of 1970, being replaced
by the teletype or telex system and, currently, computer networks.
This is here to get consistent results on different browsers.

Further information, together with later fiscal and other uses of overprinted telegraph stamps can be found in a
catalogue of stamps of Costa Rica, produced by Dr. Hector R. Mena and available from the Socorico website.

Costa Rican Map


For 1889, 1892 and 1901 issues of normal 'Correos y Telégrafos' stamps were used and can be recognised by their concentric circle cancels.
I understand that after 1895 this cancel was also used as a postal cancellation.


1889 Various frames featuring the head of President Soto Alfaro and 'UPU'. Scott says Perf. 14-16 & Compound. Michel says Perf. 14 or 15 x 14. Yvert says Perf. 14-15.

1c 1889 CT1 2c 1889 CT2 5c CyT stamp 1889 10c 1889 CT1
1c CyT stamp of 1889 from Rolf Lamprecht. 2c CyT stamp of 1889 from Rolf Lamprecht. 5c CyT stamp of 1889 series. 10c CyT stamp of 1889 from Rolf Lamprecht.

1c 1889 CT5 1c 1889 CT6 1P CyT stamp 1889 1c 1889 CT8 1c 1889 CT9
20c CyT stamp of 1889 from Rolf Lamprecht. 50c CyT stamp of 1889 from Rolf Lamprecht. 1P CyT stamp courtesy of Arkadiy Avrorov. 2P CyT stamp of 1889 from Rolf Lamprecht. 2P CyT stamp courtesy of Les & Paul Bottomley.


RH # Description Mint Used Postal/Telegraph used pricing
CT1 1c brown 0.35 0.45 postal
CT2 2c dark blue-green 0.35 0.45 postal
CT3 5c orange 0.45 0.35 postal
CT4 10c red-brown 0.40 0.35 postal
CT5 20c yellow-green 0.30 0.35 postal
CT6 50c rose-red 1.00 0.75 telegraph
CT7 1P blue (shades) 1.25 0.75 telegraph
CT8 2P dark violet (shades) 6.00 4.00 telegraph
CT9 5P olive-green 25.00 10.00 telegraph
CT10 10P black 100.00 60.00 telegraph

10 similar designs showing President Soto Alfaro. According to the Scott Catalogue, the 5 highest values, 50c, 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p "normally were used on telegrams
and most copies were removed from the forms and sold by the government". Almost certainly they were sold to N. F. Seebeck who, as well as producing stamps for the
Hamilton Bank Note Co., was also a stamp dealer and was in Costa Rica early in 1889 to obtain a contract to supply stamps.

These stamps are known overprinted "GUANACASTE" for use in that sparsely populated province in the North-West, but there appears to have been no telegraph stations there, at least prior to 1912.
However, if those high values of the 1889 series were mostly telegraphically used, then the same may be true of the following series, but mostly the low values are seen and Scott makes no mention of it.


1892 Various frames featuring the arms of Costa Rica and 'UPU'. Scott says Perf. 12-15 & Compound. Michel says Perf. 15, 16 , 15 x 14 or 15 x 14½. Yvert says Perf. 15.

1c postage stamp of 1892 2c postage stamp of 1892 5c postage stamp of 1892 5c violet postage stamp of 1892
10c postage stamp of 1892 20c postage stamp of 1892 50c postage stamp of 1892 10P postage stamp of 1892
Correos y Telégrafos stamps of 1892 series (probably) used telegraphically. These stamps were used until 1901,
but the concentric circles cancellations started to be used postally from 1895.

1P postage stamp of 1892 2P postage stamp of 1892 5P postage stamp of 1892
For the sake of completion, here are mint examples of the missing values courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.
The 2 pesos is prone to darkening, probably due to sulpher compounds in the atmosphere.

RH # Description Mint Postally Used
CT11 1c light greenish blue 0.30 0.40
CT12 2c yellow 0.30 0.40
CT13 5c red lilac 0.30 0.25
CT13a         violet (SG34a) 60.00 0.30
CT14 10c light green 0.75 0.35
CT15 20c vermilion 12.00 0.20
CT16 50c light blue 4.25 4.00
CT17 1P dark green on yellow 1.00 1.00
CT18 2P red 3.00 1.00
CT19 5P dark blue on blue 2.00 1.00
CT20 10P brown on yellowish 8.00 5.00


1892 'Correos y Telégrafos' stamps of 1892 (SG34a - 37) overprinted (by roller) 'TELEGRAFO' in blue-black.
Thick white wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 15

unlisted 2c Hiscocks H1 Hiscocks H2 San Josè Telegraph Cancel
*RH1  -  2c. RH2  -  5c. RH3  -  10c. 10c with San Josè Telegraph cancel. Image
courtesy ColettesTreasures. Click image for listing.

The 'TELEGRAFO' is said to be an overprint, but the San Josè example makes me wonder if it was not simply a cancel. After all, these are Correos y Telégrafos stamps, why would they even need an overprint ?
It is not unusual for telegraph stamps to have two cancels, in fact it is quite normal, one applied by the telegrapher and one by the supervisor after checking.


Hiscocks H3 Hiscocks H2
RH4  -  20c. RH5  -  50c. Courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.


RH # Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
*RH1 - 1 2c yellow (shades) - 20.00
RH2 - 1 5c red lilac(SG34 ?) - 3.00
RH2a H1           violet (SG34a) - 7.00
RH3 H2 2 10c green (SG35) - 4.00
RH4 H3 3 20c Indian red (SG 36) - 2.00
RH5 H4 (4) 50c blue (SG37) - 50.00
RH6 - (4) 1p green - -
RH7 - (4) 2p brown - -
RH8 - (4) 5p dark blue - -
RH9 - (4) 10p brown - -

* I added the 2c value due to the example shown and another. There may
I have added RH6-9 since the higher values are likely to have been used
telegraphically, even though examples with this overprint are not reported.
There are two shades of the 5c, red-lilac and a scarcer violet.

Hiscocks added the following 3 notes:

Note 1. The overprint was apparently applied manually with a roller. One therefore obtains specimens
                with the overprint at all conceivable orientations, doubles and, very commonly, beginnings or
                ends of the next 'TELEGRAFO' on the roller.
                These have not been listed separately since they would seem to have little philatelic significance.
Note 2. Used copies of the above and all later issues up to 1927 are cancelled with a black 'target' of
                four concentric rings the largest of which is about 2cm in diameter.
Note 3. Mint copies do not seem to be known — I have certainly never seen an un-cancelled copy
                with gum — and some authorities believe that the 'TELEGRAFO' is a cancellation rather than
                an overprint. The fact remains that the normal 'target' cancellation was also used which makes
                this explanation less likely. Confirmation one way or the other is needed.


I understand that after 1895 this cancel was also used as a postal cancellation.

1901 (January) Various designs. Scott says Perf. 12-15½. Michel says Perf. 14, 15, 16 or 15 x 14. Yvert says Perf. 14-15.
The Colon replaced the Peso in 1900.

1c postage stamp 1901 2c postage stamp 1901 5c postage stamp 1901 10c postage stamp 1901 20c postage stamp 1901
50c postage stamp 1901 1C postage stamp 1901 2C postage stamp 1901 5C postage stamp 190110C postage stamp 1901
'Correos y Telégrafos' stamps of 1901 with concentric-ring cancels, may have been used postally, but 50c and up are more likely to be telegraphic (20c and above, courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht).


RH # Description Mint Postally Used
CT21 1c green and black 3.00 0.30
CT22 2c orange and black 1.25 0.30
CT23 5c light blue and black 3.00 0.30
CT24 10c ochre and black 3.00 0.35
CT25 20c lake and black 22.00 0.25
CT26 50c red-lilac and dark blue 5.50 1.00
CT27 1C olive-bistre and black 110.00 3.50
CT28 2C rose and black 17.00 3.00
CT29 5C brown and black 75.00 3.50
CT30 10C green and red 30.00 3.00


1903 (10 September) Various designs. Scott says Perf. 13½, 14, 15. Michel says Perf. 14 or 15. Yvert says Perf. 14-15.

4c postage stamp 1903 6c postage stamp 1903 25c postage stamp 1903
'Correos y Telégrafos' stamps of 1903 with concentric-ring cancels, were probably mostly used postally (4c and 6c courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht).


RH # Description Mint Postally Used
CT31 4c claret and black 1.80 0.75
CT32 6c olive-green and black 8.00 4.25
CT33 25c blue and dark brown 17.00 0.30


1905 CT25 as above surcharged 'UN CENTIMO'.

1c on CT19 1c diagonal on CT19
Images courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.


RH # Description Mint Postally Used
CT34 1c on 20c lake and black 0.50 0.50
CT34a         overprint inverted 10.00 10.00
CT34b         overprint diagonal 0.50 0.50

These were probably the last stamps of Costa Rica intended for both Telegraphic and Postal use.

Loose Ends.

1c overprinted 1911         4c postage stamp 1907         Official Overprints         Official Overprints

In 1911 CT21 was overprinted to re-validate it. However the intention was almost certainly to revalidate it for postal use
only since there were telegraph stamps in 1911, with apparently no use for a 1c value. Image courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht
The 'T in circle' that was described by vendor as being telegraphic, is not. As with many countries, it is likely that the 'T' stands for 'TAXE' meaning Postage Due. This was purely postal.
Correos y Telegrafos stamps of 1889 to 1903 were overprinted for Official use. Scott says of all these "normally were not cancelled when affixed to official mail."
It looks like some were, but I have no idea whether such things were used to prepay telegrams. The highest values of these
sets were not overprinted, suggesting they were not intended for telegraphic use. Image courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht

The last stamp, with the Columbus motif was a bit of a puzzle. It is not listed in any of the catalogues that I have. It is gummed, and unusually for Costa Rica is Perf. 12.
Dr. Hector R. Mena of Socorico tells me that it was never issued. He says "Actually the first non emis in the CR listing. It was printed in 1892 by August Gast Banknote Co of St. Louis, MO in panes of 100 perf. 12,
only in the black color, the reported printing is 50,000 which make it to be common, but probably fewer were placed in the philatelic market, because I see sometimes in eBay asking for $20 or so.
In Socorico one see it auction for around $10, so it is not common. I do not know why it was not released, how many were actually received by the government, etc"
Image courtesy of Bob Bidner.


1907 (28 September). Telégrafos stamps engraved by Ronald A. Harrison of Waterlow Brothers & Layton in London on thin to medium white wove paper.
Sheet watermark. Perf. 14 x 11 or 14 as indicated. Panes of 100 stamps.

Costa Rica H5 Costa Rica H6b Costa Rica H7b Costa Rica H8
5c   -   RH10 10c   -   RH11b 25c   -   RH12b 50c   -   RH13

Costa Rica RH14 Costa Rica RH15a Costa Rica RH16a Costa Rica RH17a
1C   -   RH14 2C   -   RH15a 5C   -   RH16a 10C   -   RH17a   -   Courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

More images available at paperheritage.co.uk


RH # Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
RH10 H5 5 5c yellow-brown (perf. 14) 3.00 1.50
RH10a H5a           brownish orange (perf. 14) 3.00 1.50
RH11 H6 5 10c deep blue (perf. 14) 7.50 2.00
RH11a H6a           blue (perf. 14) 10.00 2.50
RH11b H6b           deep blue (perf. 14 x 11) 3.80 1.20
RH12 H7 5 25c slate-violet (perf. 14) 15.00 3.50
RH12a H7a           yellow brown (error) (perf. 14) 150.00 125.00
RH12b H7b           slate-violet (perf. 14 x 11) 10.00 2.00
RH13 H8 5 50c carmine-red (perf. 14) 75.00 10.00
RH13a H8a           perf. 14 x 11 4.00 3.50
RH14 H9 5 1C brown (perf. 14) 10.00 2.50
RH14a H9a           perf. 14 x 11 40.00 15.00
RH15 H10 5 2C carmine (perf. 14) 10.00 1.50
RH15a H10a           perf. 14 x 11 40.00 12.00
RH16 H11 5 5C green (perf. 14) 75.00 60.00
RH16a H11a           perf. 14 x 11 35.00 2.50
*RH16b -           perf. 11 (no gum) - -
RH17 H12 5 10C brown-lake (perf. 14) 100.00 75.00
RH17a H12a           perf. 14 x 11 75.00 3.00

* I added this due to the H. R. Mena specialized catalogue.

Hiscocks added the following 2 notes:

Note 1. No. 7 tends to discolour with exposure and take on a more reddish hue.
Note 2. See also Nos. 20 to 25 which are of the same design.


1910 (15 February). Engraved on white wove paper by the American Bank Note Co. No watermark. Perf. 12. Panes of 100.
These stamps were discontinued for telegraphic purposes on October 10, 1910. Remaining stocks of these and the 1907 issue, were overprinted for other uses.

Costa Rica H13 Costa Rica H14 Costa Rica H15
5c   -   RH18 10c   -   RH19 specimen
Only 5c, 10c and 25c like this.
25c   -   RH20


Costa Rica H16 Costa Rica H17 Costa Rica H18 specimen Costa Rica RH24
50c   -   RH21 1C   -   RH22 5C   -   RH23 specimen
All values except 10c like this.
10C   -   RH24   -   Courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht.

Specimens of the set were prepared overprinted in red and with a punch hole.
There were two formats of the specimens, one with the hole above 'SPECIMEN', known for the 5c, 10c and 25c, the other with the hole below, for all the rest except the 10c.
There are thus two types of 5c and 25c, but one type of each of the other values.

Costa Rica RH18 imperf proof
I also have a set of these imperf. and another set of pairs imperf., all unused (no gum).
In each case, the low values up to 25c are on white, ungummed paper and the high values of 1p to 10p are on white ungummed card.
According to Dr. Hector R. Mena, the 5c, 10c and 25c also exist as horizontal gutter pairs.


RH # Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
RH18 H13 6 5c orange (shades, 800,000) 3.80 2.00
RH19 H14 6 10c dark blue (300,000) 5.00 2.00
RH20 H15 6 25c deep lilac (1,000,000) 5.00 2.00
RH21 H16 6 50c brown lake (100,000) 10.00 10.00
RH22 H17 6 1C brown (50,000) 10.00 2.50
RH23 H18 6 5C scarlet (25,000) 25.00 3.00
RH24 H19 6 10C deep brown (25,000) 40.00 3.80

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Nos. 5, 6 and 8 to 19 were surcharged with new values and used as provisional postage stamps
                in 1911-12 (SG94-108). The use of these provisionals for telegraphic purposes is not known.


1927 (30 January). Design of 1907 engraved on white wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 12½
Discontinued sometime before 1930.

Costa Rica RH25 Costa Rica RH26 Costa Rica RH27
5c   -   RH25   -   Courtesy of Rolf Lamprecht. 10c   -   RH26 40c   -   RH27


Costa Rica H23 Costa Rica H24 Costa Rica H25
50c   -   RH28 1C   -   RH29 2C   -   RH30


RH # Hisc. Type Description Mint Used
RH25 H20 5 5c brown-lilac (500,000) 5.00 2.50
RH26 H21 5 10c dark brown (1,000,000) 2.50 1.50
RH27 H22 5 40c green (3,000,000) 3.80 2.00
RH28 H23 5 50c blue (1,000,000) 3.80 3.80
RH29 H24 5 1C orange (500,000) 7.50 7.50
RH30 H25 5 2C carmine (500,000) 15.00 15.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note. Nos. 21 to 24 were overprinted 'CORREO AERO' and used for airmail
                postage in 1930-32 and again in 1945-46 (SG 182-5, 193, 402-4).

Sometime in the lifespan of this series a new cancel started to be used:

Costa Rica RH26 Costa Rica RH27 Costa Rica RH28
The cancel takes the form of pale dull-green streaks across the stamp which are not always very visible.
These stamps were discontinued for telegraphic purposes around 1930 and many were overprinted for other purposes such as Air Post.
Perhaps these were also used for some other purpose without overprinting. Parcel Post for example. (50c courtesy of Ralph Lamprecht)
Anyone know the purpose of this style of cancel ?


For The Telegrams used, see the section on Telegram Seals.

Telegram Seals.

A range of different seals were used on telegrams of Costa Rica.

This half sized image shows a sample of them.
Costa Rican Seals

Steve Hiscocks made a start on cataloguing seals of the world in a book he published in 2007.
It was his hope to update it later, but unfortunately that was not to be.
His original book can be viewed at Telegraph Seals: A World Catalogue. There are links from the pages to my updates.

Alternatively you can view the latest page for Cost Rica.



Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.


Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 26th. March 2024

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