CUBAN TRAM STAMPS
On 20 February 2004 Correos de Cuba (Post Office of Cuba) issued a series of postage stamps commemorating Cuba's tramway heritage. All the tram images on the stamps were copied from Allen Morrison's website, The Tramways of Cuba, in violation of international copyright, without consulting him and without giving credit either to him or to the photographers and collectors involved. Black & white pictures were colorized. All images were altered slightly in an obvious attempt at disguise.
Click on the photographs below to see the postage stamps that were made from them. Click again on the postage stamps to return to the original photographs.
The first photograph, which appears on the webpage about The Tramways of Havana, shows a tram lineup on Calzada de la Reina in the capital. Correos de Cuba colorized it and reproduced it on the stamp pane with its 1.00 peso stamp. (Note that in the stamp version several pedestrians in the foreground have disappeared . . .)
The images of bond and stock certificates on the stamp pane above came from Morrison's pages on The Tramways of Cárdenas, The Tramways of Cienfuegos and The Tramways of Havana. The ticket and tokens came from The Tramways of Camagüey page.
Here is another scene in the capital that appears on the second page of The Tramways of Havana. Correos de Cuba colored the image for the postage stamp, shrunk the tram's headlight, removed its destination board and altered shadows in the windows!
Two postage stamps in the series are based on illustrations that Correos de Cuba found on The Tramways of Camagüey page. The original images were already in color, for they came from color slides. In both cases, the trams were left untouched, but the backgrounds were changed.
The background on the Camagüey stamp above shows the old capitol building in Havana! In the second Camagüey scene, the tram had a shadow over a rear window . . .
. . . which was removed for the stamp. The new background looks authentic. But it is not: it's the mirror image of a building shown in the second-last photograph on The Tramways of Santiago de Cuba page!
Matanzas Bay provided a beautiful backdrop for this 1953 view, which appears on The Tramways of Matanzas page. Correos de Cuba replaced the bay with a building for its 65 centavo stamp. Every detail of the tram is the same - even the open window near the back.
The Santiago de Cuba tramway company took this photograph to show a new car. It appears on The Tramways of Santiago de Cuba page. Correos de Cuba added color and cropped the background, but left most of the tram details intact.
It is against United States law to import these postage stamps into the United States. (Which government - U.S. or Cuban - is more ridiculous?) The stamp views above came from scans emailed to the author by a correspondent in Canada. The Flash files were created and graciously supplied by Matt Pérez.
This webpage was launched on 5 May 2004. Please send comments, corrections & suggestions to Allen Morrison
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