King Alfonso XIII of Spain Tarjeta Postal

King Alfonso XIII (17 May 1886 – 28 February 1941) was the Spanish monarch who was born in 1886. He was immediately proclaimed king under the regency of Maria Cristina ( his mother). In 1902, on his 16th birthday, he assumed full authority as king until his abdication in 1931.

Tarjeta Postal – Postal Card/ Postcard

King Alfonso XIII postcard commercially used dated January 17,1906 by Pototipia de Hauser V Menet Undivided Back (c. 1901-1907) Madrid

He was the ruler of the country, when Cuba gained their independence, Philippine, Guam, Puerto Rico were sold to the United States of the treaty of Paris in 1898. The remaining islands of Caroline islands ( Islas de Carolinas) formerly part of Spanish East Indies were eventually sold to Germany in 1899 for 25 million pesetas or 17 million golds mark. Spain only remaining colonies are the Spanish Sahara in Northern Africa and some enclaves.

Aside from the decline of Spain as a world power, This was also one of the most turbulent episodes in Spanish history.

back portion of the tarjeta postal – the postcard was send from Spain to England with King Alfonso XIII stamp

Popular Myths Behind King Alfonso XIII coins and stamps

There are coins, banknotes, postage stamps, telegraph stamps and tarjeta postal issued during the Spanish regime in the country which bore his portrait – Almost same design were also issued in Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba with few minor differences. When the coins were minted in Madrid and issued in Manila for general use, They were not so popular compared to Queen Isabel 2 and King Alfonso XII.

The XIII or number 13 was sometimes considered “unlucky” to those people collecting them. There are some old time collectors who recounted their stories , that some do not even dared to touch the coins due to the fear of getting “unlucky” (malas).

As years passed by, The coins, stamps and ephemera of King Alfonso XIII became popular because a lot of the items were destroyed during the Spanish civil war during the middle part of 1936 to early 1939. Some of the local collection were lost during the last world war, natural calamities, fires and even neglect by their owners.

Some of the coins were eventually remelted down after the war up to the 1980’s for the use in different local silversmith ateliers, altar pieces or reselling them. Those are just some of the contributing of the scarcity of the coin.

There are still some King Alfonso XIII or King Alphonse XIII stamps and postcards that are still affordable for sale in popular online auction sites or local stamp collecting bourse.

It had been more than 1 year since the last local stamp club held their local bourse due to IATF and enhanced community quarantine restriction.

Bought this postcard in an online auction site, few months ago for a price of a fast food burger meal. It was quite rare to find this in local stamp bourse/ auction club meeting.

King Alfonso XIII Abdication and Death

He left Spain voluntarily after the municipal elections of April 1931, which were taken as a plebiscite on abolishing the monarchy. Alfonso XIII renounced his rights to the defunct Spanish throne on June 15, 1941 in favor of Juan. He died of a heart attack in Rome on 28 February of that year. He was buried in Spanish National Church of Santiago and Montserrat (Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli) in Rome before his body was repatriated in 1980.

He was re interred in El Escorial in Spain.

Tarjeta Postal of King Alfonso XII

Tarjeta Postal or postcards were issued in the country during the reign of King Alfonso XII of Spain ( Reign from December 29, 1874 to November 25, 1885). These are the considered as the first postal stationary or postcards in the country.

IMAGE

3 centimo de peso with portrait of King Alfonso XII -issued around 1889

It was in 1878 that the postal card was introduced in Cuba, Philippines and Puerto Rico. The use was sparse, though, and used postal cards of the early years are exceedingly uncommon.

The first postal card was issued on September 1879, 3 centavos de peso value surcharged on an earlier but unissued 50 milesimas card.

In 1880 U.P.U. postal cards were printed in Spain for use in Cuba and the Philippines to take advantage of the new treaty. Puerto Rico got their issue in 1885.

The benefits provided by the treaty included:

1.) There should be a more or less uniform flat rate to mail a letter or postal card anywhere in the world.

2.) postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail; and

3.) each country should retain all monies it collected for international postage

However the postcards were printed from 1879 to 1885. Then another batch of Tarjeta Postal was issued during the reign of King Alfonso XIII.

IMAGE

5 centimo de peso with portrait of King Alfonso XII/ King Alphonso XII – issued around 1889

Inscription:” Sr.D. ” ( Senor Don or Mr. Sir ) is the title before the name and address

Sources and Bibliographies:

American Era Postcards: https://renz15.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/american-regime-manila-thru-postcards-part-1/

Elizalde Stamp Journal- October to December 1939

Postal Cards of Spanish Colonial Cuba, Philippines and Puerto Rico. Published by the United States Postal Stationery Society, Inc, 2009. Robert Littrell, Donald Peterson and Byron Mitchell

United Postal Stationery Society, Copyright 2010; ISBN: 9780980011241

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (Part 1)

Manila earn several accolades such as “Pearl of the Orient”, “Paris of the East”, “Milan of the East”, ” Little Vatican”, “Venice of the East ” among others. These were the term used by travelers, expats and colonial masters during the last decade of the Spanish and until American colonial regime.

postcard

old Spanish watch tower, Intramuros postcard

Philippine Postcards

Postcards in the country were distributed during the mid-19th during the Spanish colonial regime and were known as tarjeta postal by old time collectors. Early postcards, bear features of Spanish monarchs and it was only in the late 1890’s when photo type postcards were printed and distributed by stores within Escolta, Binondo, Intramuros and large cities.

IMAGE

old Spanish wall printed by Photo Finishing Corporation, Manila

The Spanish government produced series in various printed denominations specifically for the country. Unfortunately thru time, revolutions, tropical weather, poor quality of the paper, printing quality available during that time. A lot of the postcards printed during this era barely survived. Early collectors would just put them on book shelves or any place. Most of the Spanish era postcards are hard to come by, even in specialized local bourse or club’s auction.

IMAGE

Binondo canal

I have seen a handful of these trajeta postal mostly from specialized postcard collectors and bought 2 pieces Spanish -Cuban tarjeta postal printed around 1883 which bore the portrait of King Alphonso XII /Alfonso XII (pre-stamp). Some of the tarjeta postal printed in other Spanish colonies would also circulate in the country, since there are some Filipinos who lived and worked in those countries.  The country is under the Spanish crown, postcards printed in those countries may also been used in the country and coveted by some collectors.

IMAGE

Insular Ice Plant postcard

Insular ice plant is one of the major building infrastructure built by the Americans in Manila.

IMAGE

Manila Central Post Office in 1930

Manila Central Post Office used to be a horse stable and post office which serves the southern part of Manila during the last decade of the Spanish regime. The building depicted at the postcard was built from 1926 to 1930 under the supervision of Pedro Siochi and Company. The triumvirate of Mr.Ralph Harrington Doane, Mr.Tomas Mapua and Mr. Juan Arellano were the architects behind this magnificent building.

Malacañang Palace

Malacañang Palace

Malacañan /Malacañang Palace is another favorite subject in postcard and even had a commemorative stamps issued during the commonwealth time. Several bookstores like Goodwill bookstore, National bookstore featured the palace during post war period.

American Regime

The Americans started printing new postcards and were quickly bought by American military personnel or service personnel that were stationed in the country.
Since travel to the country became easier with faster steam engine vessels and larger commercial steam boats which ply the islands. More and more postcards
with different interesting topics were printed.
manila cityhall
Manila Cityhall
The most popular were Manila carnival queens, ethnic groups, landmarks, public executions, people in filipiñiana costume among others.
IMAGE
Calle Bagumbayan postcard
Some of the postcards were printed in the Unites States during the early part of the colonial regime, while some are printed in the country.
IMAGE
Bureau of Science building
Bureau of Science is the precursor of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) during the American colonial regime. The building was  designed in 1901 by the first American resident architect Edgar Bourne.
IMAGE
Bureau of Science building printed by Photo Supply Company
The colonial government needed a laboratory to study and store the colony’s rich store of minerals, forest and agricultural products as well as manufactured goods like tobacco and rope. The California Mission-style Neoclassic building graced the PGH Complex off ,Taft Avenue until the war when it was destroyed.
IMAGE
University of Santo Tomas– This pre-war postcard was probably printed around 1930. This is the newly built building at the Sampaloc campus.
Postal Card
Most businesses and the general public during the commonwealth regime would prefer using postal card. It is a type of postal stationary with pre-paid stamp affixed on the card.  These were classified under postal stationary of Philippine Islands under US Administration. Printed by the US Bureau of Printing and Engraving for use in the Philippine islands.
One can write short messages on the postal card and can be send very quick.
IMAGE
postal card issued during the commonwealth era with 2 centavos face value
Postal cards had a very interesting story. A lot of the postal card were hidden during the Japanese occupation and were brought out when the American or Allied forces began liberating major cities , hence there are popular cancellation and slogan  marks.
Sometimes these bear overprint cancellation marks of “V Day” ( Victory Day) postal card of 1945, marking the return to power of the commonwealth from the Japanese which occupied the country.
These became popular souvenir items by Allied forces and American troops which were stationed in the country between 1944 to 1946. Approximately 250,000 American service and Allied forces were stationed in the country during this time period.
These type of postal card is commonly used by business, personal and quite popular even until the late 1960’s.

Sources and References:

Collins English Dictionary : Postal Card

Littrell, Robert, Ed; Postal Cards of Spanish Colonial Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico, UPSS, 2010.

Personal interview from postcard collectors

Philippine Postcards page 130 to 137 Consuming Passions

%d bloggers like this: