Puerto Rico - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States located east of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea has a total land area of 3515 square miles and a population of over 3.7M. It is an archipelago consisting of the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands – significant among them are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. Puerto Rico was under Spanish colonial control for over 400 years before it was ceded to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American war.

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Puerto Rico were a set of three stamps issued in 1873 showing the head portrait of King Amadeo in different denominations. The set (Scott #1 to #3) is very valuable cataloging for around $450 Mint and around $25 for Used. On cover versions sell at a sizable premium over used values. Prior to this issue, Puerto Rico used stamps of Cuba during the period between 1855 and 1873. The issues with identifiable Puerto Rican overprints sell at a good premium over regular issues. The first original designs were a set of five stamps released in 1877 showing the head portrait of King Alfonso XII. That set (Scott #13 to #17) catalogs for around $100 Mint and around one-third that for Used. A number of other issues portraying King Alfonso XII and King Alfonso XIII dominated the Puerto Rican stamp issues during the period till 1898. One exception is the 1893 issue (Scott #133) showing Landing of Columbus in Puerot Rico to mark the 400th anniversary of the event. That stamp is sought after cataloging in the $200 range for Mint and around $50 for Used.

The first stamp of Puerto Rico under US Administration was a Ponce Provisional Issue of July, 1898 with a basic typeset numerals design. The stamp is very rare and used copies are known only handstamped on envelopes. This issue was followed in August of 1898 by another provisional issue, also with a typeset numerals design. That stamp (Scott #201) is also very valuable cataloging upwards of $650 Mint depending on variety. The first regular issues under US Administration were a set of five stamps issued in 1899 that were ‘Porto Rico’ overprints on issues from the Great Men Set of the United States from the turn of the century. The set (Scott #210 to #214) catalogs for around $80 Mint and around $30 Used.

Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Puerto Rico were Spanish Colony Countermarked Coinage (100 Centavos = 1 Peso) Bronze Centimos released in 1884. These were countermarks on Spanish 5 Centimos (KM# 674) issues. The first issues are valuable cataloging in the $175 price range for F. Several other countermarks on Spanish and US bronze and silver coins of the era were issued during the period till 1896. Catalog values are generally consistent for these issues with higher values cataloging for somewhat more. Decimal Coinage debut in 1896 with the issue of 5 Centavos Silver coins (KM# 20) featuring Denomination in Obverse and Crowned arms between columns in Reverse. That issue has a mintage of 600,000 and is valued in the $225 price range in UNC.

Collectible Memorabilia:


Collectible memorabilia of Puerto Rico include vintage postcards, souvenir trinkets, vintage Ads in coke bottles and other spirit bottles, etc.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

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