Isabella II and her many titles!
The 3-year old Isabella became the Queen of Spain in 1833 on the death of her father, Ferdinand VII - although her mother Maria Christina was named regent for her daughter. But Isabella assumed majority rule in 1843 when she was only 13-years old and held the title until she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1868, and formally abdicated in 1870. Actually, her full title at the beginning of her monarchy was…
Isabella II by the Grace of God, Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, of the Two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, of Navarre, of Granada, of Toledo, of Valencia, of Galicia, of Majorca, of Seville, of Sardinia, of Córdoba, of Corsica, of Murcia, of Minorca, of Jaén, the Algarves, Algeciras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, of the East and West Indies, Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea; Archduchess of Austria; Duchess of Burgundy, Brabant, Milan and Aspurg; Countess of Flanders, Tirol and Barcelona; Lady of Biscay and Molina.
I mention that in passing, although it has little connection with the folded letter sheet illustrated above sent from Coruña to Puenteareas in 1851. However, the young queen did have a bit of a personality complex which is illustrated here. Isabella II was the face on most of Spain’s postage stamps from 1850 until 1870… a series of 25 stamp designs and multiple values and colour shades, numbering around 170 catalogued items, which have become a popular collecting area. My interest is in the 1850 and 1851 ‘seis cuartos’ issues because they were printed in negro… and therefore fit my ‘black’ collecting speciality.
But what illustrates her ‘vanity’ in my example (though not very clearly) is the ‘spider' postmark cancelling the stamp. Apparently the Queen was quite vain about her appearance and didn’t want any postmark to ‘deface’ her when applied directly to the stamp. I think the ‘spider’ reference is more akin to a ‘web’ because the design certainly hasn’t eight arms or legs! Whatever, a couple of years later this practice was dropped and postmarks with several horizontal bars were introduced to cancel the stamps and her features before more regular round cancels were introduced with the name of the town and date.
Incidentally, for anyone wanting to specialise in a limited selection of very old yet attractive stamps which are nevertheless quite plentiful, although with numerous issues and enough varieties to be challenging, the two great 19th century female monarchs - Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Queen Isabella II of Spain - would provide a lifetime of interest.
Although stamps for Isabella II were issued for only 20 years - compared to the 60 years for Victoria’s reign, the Spanish stamp designs were changed every year to begin with in order to thwart potential forgers! And, Isabella’s head also appears on stamps of Spanish colonies of the same period including Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands (the latter are rarer and expensive).
Note: For serious students of Spanish stamps the “Manual de la Filatelia Espanola” (1st Ed. 2000, 400 pages in colour, A4 size, 36 euros) by Dr. Oswald Schier published by the ‘Foundation Albertino de Figueiredo para la Filatelia’ Madrid is essential reading.
Image / words © Ed Buziak 2016.
#post #mail #stamp #Spain #history