Queen Isabella II

February 24, 1858


Media Onza (½ Ounce). A total of 30,000 stamps were received in Black on Yellow. (Edifil #6A)

Un Onza (1 Ounce). A total of 90,000 stamps were received in Black on Red. (Edifil #6B)

Cuatro Onza (4 Ounces). A total of 40,000 stamps were received in Black on Green. (Edifil #6C)

Un Libra (1 Pound). A total of 20,100 stamps were received in Black on Grey-Blue. (Not listed in Edifil)

The "Value Inscription" on these stamps is actually the weight of the mail in ounces and pounds for which they were valid, (1 libra equal to 16-onza).

Between 1853 and 1858, all Official correspondence was carried free within the Philippines as long as it bore an official impression stamp-seal on it, with the sender's name, title, and name of the Province marked thereon. However, in a Decree dated February 24, 1858, this was altered. Following this Decree, all Official correspondence between the capital, (Manila), and the provinces, (and vice-versa), had to be franked with an Official Stamp. This also applied for Official mail between the Philippines and Spain.

As a result, the 1855 Official stamps of Spain were sent and received by the Postmaster General of the Philippines. The stamps were issued in Spain on January 1, 1855, engraved by Jose Perez Varela, and typographed at the Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre, Madrid. The design consists of the Arms of Spain and Bourbon in an oval, surrounded by an oval design of spandrels, surmounted by the Royal Crown. The words "CORREO" and "OFICIAL" (Official Mail) appear at the top, with the value (weight) at the bottom.

These stamps were also in use in Spain and in the Colonies of Cuba and Porto Rico, and as a result, need to show clear cancellations emanating from the Philippines to validate them as being used in the Philippines. These stamps would have continued in use either until supplies were exhausted, or when the Official Stamps were withdrawn in September 1866, in common with Spain itself and her colonies.

Despite large quantities of stamps appearing to have been sent to the Philippines, existing examples of covers affixed with these Official stamps are extremely rare, with only a handful recorded to date.



A Royal Ordinance was issued, directing that Official stamps are to be employed for the correspondence between the authorities in the Islands.


Governor and Captain-General of the Philippines


By your letter of 21st November last, Your Excellency asked for stamps for franking official correspondence, 300 of 1 libra, 25 of one onza, and 300 of half onza. In reply to this request, there have been despatched by the last mail 30,000 ½ onza stamps, 90,000 1 onza stamps, 40,000 4 onza stamps, and 20,100 1 libra. The conspicuous difference between the numbers asked for and those sent is due to the extreme smallness of the former. It may be gathered from the contents of Your Excellency’s letter that these stamps are only used upon official correspondence addressed to the Peninsula, but the intention of the instructions in force is that they should also be used for franking the correspondence between the central authorities and the officials in the Provinces.


By Royal Order - Madrid, February 24, 1858


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