SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD - Cuba 1898 - Used Sc 197 Puerto Principe issue - Red Narrow "3" (Position 2) on 1 centavo black violet stamp.
This stamp is part of the Fourth Printing done in Puerto Principe on December 27th, 1898. The overall height of the overprint is 19˝mm. The narrow numeral "3" occurs only once on the setting of five and it is the second stamp from the left (Position 2) when looking at the complete setting.
Listed in Scott as 197 and priced at $55.00 in used condition. The EDIFIL Specialized Catalogue of the Stamps of Cuba lists this stamp as 13A and prices it at € 92,- (US $129.00) in used condition.
A larger picture of this stamp is shown. Also, page 48 of the book "Estudio sobre los Habilitados de Puerto Principe y sus Falsificaciones" by Jose L. Guerra Aguiar that shows the vertical alignment of the elements of the surcharges of known genuine stamps of this issue which is the key to authentication of these stamps. Admittedly, hard to do because of the red color of the surcharge, but you can check the vertical alignment right on your computer monitor by using a ruler or anything else with a straight edge and comparing it against the Guerra Aguiar illustration. The narrow "3" is the second position from the left.
As it is well known, the early forgers had access to the exact movable type that was used on the original printings, but were never able to duplicate the exact alignment of the types when setting the mould to make their forgeries!
Also, the red ink used for these overprints was basically made at the printing shop by mixing low quality, very heavy red ink with vegetable compounds in order to dilute it sufficiently to make it workable. This sticky ink explains all the red ink stains that can be found on most of these stamps. The forgers have never been able to duplicate the exact hue of this red ink and the authenticity of these stamps, in my opinion, can be established almost exclusively by training your eye to recognize the correct red tone of the ink.