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The Centros de Hoja (Center of the Sheet)
Collection of Robert Littrell

One of my pleasures in Cuban philately is one perhaps overlooked by others. I have pursued the collection of Centros de Hoja. Between the years 1926 and 1952 there were 160 sheets of stamps produced in Cuba that had intersecting gutters between 4 panes of stamps. After the patriot series of 1926 which had 400 stamps in panes of 100, the number of stamps in a sheet was uniformly set at 100 in four panes of 25 stamps each.

Most of the Centros de Hoja were commemorative issues with a few definitives, 18 airmail, 2 special delivery (Assoc. of Writers & Artists plus the flag sesquicentennial) and 1 airmail special delivery (Scott CE1 Port of Matanzas).

How many sheets were issued? A 2 stamp was the standard postage for much of the time period of the centros de hoja, and produced the most sheets. As many as 3,200 sheets of 100 stamps were issued for many of the Communications Workers' Retirement series. In 1948, as few as 250 sheets of the one peso "Death of Antonio Maceo" were printed. How many of those survived in the form of centros de hoja is anybody's guess.

It is hard to discern what the criteria was to rate this type of printing with intersecting gutters. A little over half of the stamps issued between 1926 and 1952 were printed with centros de hoja. Nineteen were imperforate including 14 Matanzas; the rest were not. Even within a series of eight stamps issued on the same day, two such series were printed with one having no centro de hoja: the Maceo centennial (1948) series has no 20¢ centro de hoja and the Cuban flag sesquicentennial series (1951) has no 5¢ ordinary mail centro de hoja although it does have a 5¢ airmail.

The first 3 have narrow gutters and thin continuous lines. These were the 1926 imperforate Patriots: Marti, Gomez and García. This was followed 10 years later by the Port of Matanzas series which was divided by a double dashed line instead of a single continuous line. The final design was the wide gutters which could be either with or without a single line.

The Association of Writers and Artists series has two stamps on each centro de hoja except for the 25¢ ship. The series was issued in sheets of 100 stamps divided by gutters into four panels of 25 stamps each. A single sheet had fifty of one stamp and fifty of another of the same value. Sales of the stamp benefitted the Association, but the issues were sold only for three days, then withdrawn. Although 7,500 sheets of the most popular 2 stamps were printed, only 108,000 stamps, equivalent to 1,080 sheets, were sold in the three days. The least popular in the set, the 20 airmail (Uruguay and Venezuela) had 2,500 sheets printed, but sold only 17,850 stamps, equivalent to 178 sheets.

Sheets were really dressed up in 1940-41; they were given a special emblem or writing in the center of the intersecting gutters. Those special issues were for the Rotary Club International Convention, the Lions Club International Convention, the Centennial of postage stamps and the Guillermo Moncada centennial which decorated the 3¢ and 5¢ issues.

What follows is a table listing the centros de hoja in my collection. Each listing is linked to the scan of that particular centro de hoja.  Use the back button on your browser to get back to this table.


La Colección de Centros de Hoja de Robert Littrell

(traducción de Ernesto Cuesta)

Una de mis áreas favoritas en la filatelia cubana pasa frecuentemente desapercibida por otros coleccionistas--se trata de los Centros de Hoja. Entre los años 1926 y 1952 se produjeron en Cuba 160 sellos en hojas divididas en cuatro paneles por bandas en blanco que se intersectan en el centro. Después de la serie de los patriotas de 1926 cuyas hojas de 400 sellos estaban divididas en 4 paneles de 100, el número de sellos en cada hoja se fijó en 100 sellos divididos en cuatro paneles de 25 sellos cada uno.

La mayor parte de los Centros de Hoja fueron sellos conmemorativos con algunos sellos regulares, 18 aéreos, 2 de entrega especial (Asociación de Escritores y Artistas y Centenario de la Bandera) y un sello de entrega especial aéreo (el sello Scott CE1 del Puerto de Matanzas).

¿Cuantas hojas se emitieron? Durante casi todo el período de los Centros de Hoja el franqueo de una carta sencilla fue de 2 centavos y por eso muchos de los Centros de Hoja son sellos de ese valor. Se emitieron hasta 3200 hojas de 100 sellos para muchas de las series del Retiro de Comunicaciones. En 1948 sin embargo nada más se imprimieron 250 hojas del valor de un peso conmemorando "La Muerte de Antonio Maceo". Resulta imposible determinar cuántos Centros de Hoja de ese sello sobrevivieron.

 Es difícil discernir cuál fue el criterio que se usó para imprimir algunos sellos con Centros de Hoja. Un poco más de la mitad de los sellos emitidos entre 1926 y 1952 se imprimieron con Centros de Hoja. Diecinueve fueron sellos sin perforaciones, incluyendo 14 de la serie de Matanzas; el resto fueron sellos con dientes. Inclusive en dos series de ocho sellos emitidos en el mismo día uno de los valores no tiene Centro de Hoja: en la serie del Centenario de Maceo (1948), el valor de 20 centavos no tiene Centro de Hoja y en la serie del Centenario de la Bandera Cubana el valor de 5 centavos para el correo regular tampoco tiene Centro de Hoja—a pesar de que el valor de 5 centavos para el correo aéreo sí lo tiene.

Los primeros Centros de Hoja de 1926 conmemorando a los patriotas Martí, Gómez y García eran sellos sin perforar y los paneles de sellos estaban divididos por una franja blanca estrecha con una línea contínua a lo largo del centro de la franja. A éstos les siguió diez años más tarde la serie del Puerto de Matanzas donde las franjas blancas dividiendo los paneles de sellos presentan dos líneas de rayitas intermitentes en vez de una raya contínua. El diseño final de los Centros de Hoja usa una franja blanca divisoria ancha con o sin una raya central a su largo.

La serie de la Asociación de Escritores y Artistas se emitió en hojas de 100 sellos divididos en cuatro paneles de 25 sellos cada uno. Cada valor de la serie consta de dos diseños, imprimiéndose una mitad de la hoja con dos paneles del mismo diseño y la otra mitad con el otro diseño, de manera que cada Centro de Hoja muestra dos diseños de cada valor excepto el valor de 25 centavos que se imprimió solo en una hoja de 100 sellos. Las ventas de esta serie fueron a favor de la Asociación, pero solo se vendieron estos sellos durante tres días y luego se retiraron de la venta. A pesar de que se imprimieron 7500 hojas del valor más popular de 2 centavos, solo se vendieron 108,000 sellos durante los tres días que estuvieron a la venta, equivalentes a 1080 hojas. El sello menos popular de la serie, el valor de 20 centavos para el correo aéreo (con diseños correspondientes a Uruguay y Venezuela) tuvo una tirada de 2500 hojas, pero solo se vendieron 17,850 sellos, equivalentes a 178 hojas.

Las hojas se adornaron en los años 1940 y 41 con un emblema especial en el centro de las hojas. Estas emisiones especiales fueron las de la Convención Internacional del Club de Rotarios, la Convención Internacional del Club de Leones, el Centenario del Sello Postal y el Centenario del General Guillermo Moncada.

A continuación les presento una lista de los Centros de Hoja de mi colección. Cada elemento de la lista está enlazado a las imágenesde los Centros de Hoja que se describen. Para volver a la lista, use el botón de retorno de su browser.


THE COLLECTION

1926 Patriots Series: Martí, Gómez, and García. 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 280 - 282; Edifil 214AsCH - 216SAsCH
1936 Matanzas series - 1¢ Map of Cuba and 2¢ Map of Matanzas Bay. Scott 324 - 325; Edifil 278CH - 279CH
1936 Matanzas series - 8¢ Bellamar Cave and 10¢ Yumuri Valley. Scott 328 - 329; Edifil 282CH - 283CH
1936 Matanzas series - 10¢ Concordia Bridge and Blimp "Macon". Scott C19; Edifil 287CH
1936 Matanzas series - 10¢ Mercury special delivery. Scott E8; Edifil 290CH
1936 Matanzas series - Imperforate 1¢ Map of Cuba and 2¢ Map of Matanzas Bay. Scott 324 - 325; Edifil 278sCH - 279sCH
1937 - 400th Anniversary of Sugar Cane Industry. 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 337 - 339; Edifil 302CH - 304CH
1937 Association of American Writers and Artists. 1¢, 2¢ and 3¢. Scott 340 - 345; Edifil 305CH - 310CH
1937 Association of American Writers and Artists. 4¢, 5¢ and 8¢. Scott 346 - 351; Edifil 311CH - 316CH
1937 Association of American Writers and Artists. 10¢, 25¢ + 5¢ airmail. Scott 352 - 354 + C24 - C25;
Edifil 317CH - 321CH
1937 Association of American Writers and Artists. 10¢, 20¢ airmail + 10¢ special delivery;
Scott C26 - C29 + E10 - E11; Edifil 322CH - 327CH
1939 Gen. Calixto García. 2¢ and 5¢. Perforated 10. Scott 359 - 360; Edifil 334CH - 335CH
1939 Gen. Calixto García. 2¢ and 5¢. Imperforate. Scott 359 - 360; Edifil 334sCH - 335sCH
1940 Pan American Union 50th Anniversary. 2¢. Scott 361; Edifil 336CH
1940 Rotary International Convention. 2¢. Scott 362; Edifil 337CH
1940 Lion's Club Convention. 2¢. Scott 363; Edifil 338CH
1940 - 100th Anniversary of Publication of Médico Habanero. 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 364 - 365; Edifil 339CH - 340CH
1940 - 100th Anniversary of Postage Stamps. 10¢. Scott C32; Edifil 342CH
1941 - 100th Anniv. of birth of Guillermo Moncada. 3¢ and 5¢. Scott 366 - 367; Edifil 346CH - 347CH
1942 Democracy in America series of 5, Perf. 10 and imperforate. 1¢. Scott 368; Edifil 348CH & 348sCH
1942 Democracy in America series of 5, Perf. 10 and imperforate. 3¢. Scott 369; Edifil 349CH & 349sCH
1942 Democracy in America series of 5, Perf. 10 and imperforate. 5¢. Scott 370; Edifil 350CH & 350sCH
1942 Democracy in America series of 5, Perf. 10 and imperforate. 10¢. Scott 371; Edifil 351CH & 351sCH
1942 Democracy in America series of 5, Perf. 10 and imperforate. 13¢. Scott 372; Edifil 352CH & 352sCH
1942 -100th Anniversary of birth of Ignacio Agramonte. 3¢ and 5¢. Scott 373 - 373; Edifil 353CH - 354CH
1943 President of Equador, Eloy Alfaro. 3¢. Scott 380; Edifil 360CH
1944 Maj. Gen. Carlos Roloff centennial. 3¢. Scott 392; Edifil 374CH
1943 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 1¢ and 3¢. Scott 381 - 382; Edifil 361CH - 362CH
1943 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 5¢. Scott 383; Edifil 363CH
1944 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 1¢. Scott 384; Edifil 364CH
1944 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 3¢ & 5¢. Scott 385-386; Edifil 365CH-366CH
1944 - 450 years since Columbus' discovery of America. Series of 7. 1¢. Scott 387; Edifil 367CH
1944 - 450 years since Columbus' discovery of America. Series of 7. 3¢ and 5¢. Scott 388 - 389;
Edifil 368CH - 369CH
1944 - 450 years since Columbus' discovery of America. Series of 7. 10¢ and 13¢. Scott 390 - 391;
Edifil 370CH - 371CH
1944 - 450 years since Columbus' discovery of America. Series of 7. 5¢ and 10¢ airmail. Scott C36 - C37;
Edifil 372CH - 373CH
1945 Economic Society of Friends of the Country. 1¢ and 2¢. Scott 394 - 395; Edifil 376CH - 377CH
1944 - 100th Anniversary of 1st Postage Stamp in the Americas. 3¢. Scott 393; Edifil 375CH
1945 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 1¢. Scott 396; Edifil 379CH
1945 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 397 – 398; Edifil 380 – 381CH
1946 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 1¢ and 2¢. Scott 399 - 400; Edifil 383CH - 384CH
1946 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 5¢. Scott 401; Edifil 385CH
1946 School Establishment by Manuel Sterling. 2¢. Scott 403; Edifil 387CH
1946 Death of poet Gabriel Valdés. 2¢. Scott 402; Edifil 382CH
1946 International Red Cross. 2¢. Scott 404; Edifil 388CH
1947 National Stock Breeding Exhibition. 2¢. Scott 405; Edifil 389CH
1947 Franklin D. Roosevelt. 2¢. Scott 406; Edifil 390CH
1947 Retirement Security for Communications Workers. 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 407 - 409; Edifil 391CH - 393CH
1947 Marta Abreu, benefactress of Santa Clara. Series of 4. 1¢, 2¢, 5¢ and 10¢. Scott 410 – 413;
Edifil 394CH – 397CH
1948 Dr. Hansen and leprocy. 2¢. Scott 414; Edifil 398CH
1948 50th Anniversary of Cuban Independence. 8¢ airmail. Scott C38; Edifil 399CH
1948 Retirement Security for Communications Workers - Mother and Child. 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 415 - 417;
Edifil 402CH - 404CH
1948 Death of José Martí. 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 418 - 419; Edifil 405CH - 406CH
1948 Antonio Maceo centennial of birth. Series of 7. 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 423 - 425; Edifil 410CH - 412CH
1948 Antonio Maceo centennial of birth. Series of 7. 8¢ and 10¢. Scott 426 - 427; Edifil 413CH - 414CH
1948 Antonio Maceo centennial of birth. Series of 7. 50¢ and 1 peso. Scott 429 - 430; Edifil 416CH - 417CH
(There was no 20¢ Scott 428, Edifil 415CH Centro de Hoja made.)
1948 Pan-American Congress of Pharmacy. 2¢. Scott 431; Edifil 418CH
1949 Morro Castle Lighthouse. 2¢. Scott 432; Edifil 419CH
1949 Isle of Pines. 5¢. Scott 437; Edifil 424CH
1949 Castle of Jagua de Cienfuegos. 1¢ and 2¢. Scott 433 - 434; Edifil 420CH - 421CH
1949 Centennial of birth of Manuel Sanguily. 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 435 - 436; Edifil 422CH - 423CH
1949 Retirement Security for Communications Workers - Ismael Céspedes. 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 438 - 440;
Edifil 425CH - 427CH
1950 Enrique Varona. 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 443 - 444; Edifil 428CH - 429CH
1950 Enrique Collazo. 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 441 - 442; Edifil 430CH - 431CH
1950 Retirement Security for Communications Workers - Train wreck. 1¢, 2¢ & 5¢. Scott 452 - 454; Edifil 439CH - 441CH
1951 Retirement Security for Communications Workers - Fernando Figueredo. 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢. Scott 455 - 457; Edifil 442CH - 444CH
1951 Centennial of the Cuban Flag. Series of 7. 1¢, 2¢ and 10¢ regular postage. Scott 458, 459 & 461 - 482;
Edifil 445CH, 446CH & 448CH. (There was no 5¢ Scott 447, Edifil 447CH Centro de Hoja made.)
1951 Centennial of the Cuban Flag. Series of 7. 5¢ and 8¢ air mail. Scott C41 & C42; Edifil 449CH & 450CH
1951 Centennial of the Cuban Flag. Series of 7. 25¢ airmail and 10¢ special delivery. Scott C43 & E13;
Edifil 451CH & 452CH
1951 Clara Louise Maass, courageous nurse. 2¢. Scott 462; Edifil 453CH
1952 Retirement Security for Communications Workers - Fernando Figueredo. Series of 8.
Scott 456, Edifil 433 was reprinted in yellow brown and overprinted with the denomination plus the six airmail had "AEREO" and the special delivery had "E. ESPECIAL" overprinted. Scott C51 - C54; Edifil 480CH - 483CH
1952 Retirement Security for Communications Workers - Fernando Figueredo. Series of 8.
Scott 456, Edifil 433 was reprinted in yellow brown and overprinted with the denomination plus the six airmail had "AEREO" and the special delivery had "E. ESPECIAL" overprinted. Scott C55 - C56; Edifil 484CH - 485CH
1952 Bicentennial of Cultivation of Coffee. 1¢ and 2¢. Scott 481 - 482; Edifil 502CH - 503CH
1952 Bicentennial of Cultivation of Coffee. 5¢. Scott 483; Edifil 504CH

Table prepared by Robert Littrell


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This page was last modified on October 31, 2008.