Alfonso XIII – The "República Española" overprints

On April 14, 1931, Alfonso XIII was forced to quit his throne and Spain was declared a Republic. The stamps of the "Vaquer II" issue were –with the exception of the 4 and 10 pts values and the 40 cts, type I- oficially overprinted with "República Española" in blue and red. A complete half-sheet of the overprinted 2 cts stamp is shown here. For the overprinted Express stamp look here. Some values do exist with reversed overprints, that means it runs from the top to the bottom of the sheet rather than from bottom to top, mostly found with the 25 cts stamp. Also double overprinted copies exist. Some semi-official overprinted issues were prepared in Madrid, Barcelona, Almeria, Tolosa and Valencia and can often be found on philatelically inspired covers.

The official -or 'general'- overprint, applied typographically, consists of two lines of the words Republica | Española. repeated eighteen times running from the bottom to the top of the sheets; one row for each vertical row of stamps. The stamps of 2, 25, 30, 50 cts and the Express stamp were overprinted in blue; the values of 5, 10, 15, 20, 40 cts and 1 pta in red.

The overprint exists in various shades as (dark/light) blue and ultramarine, red and carmine. Sometimes the stamp sheets were inserted into the printing machine 'head first' and the overprint then runs from the top to the bottom of such a sheet. This happened with the face values of 5, 25, 30, 40, 50 cts and with the Express stamp, too. These 'inverted overprints' can chiefly be found on the 25 cts stamps as they had the biggest print run of the whole serie. In an article published 1932 in Madrid Filatelico, José Chocomeli stated that there were at least 78 sheets of the 25 cts stamp known with this 'error' with control numbers from N 803,031 to O 119,972. The mint block of four from my own collection (see below) also it fits into this sequence.

Block of four with inverted overprint, control number N 845,956

Another popular variety is called 'a caballo' (jumping) in Spain: Instead of passing through the center of each stamp, the overprint passes through the vertical margins between the stamp rows. On a single stamp it looks as if it was overprinted on the left side with 'Española. Española.' only and the same on the right side with 'República República'. This variety appears with all values of this issue, except the Express stamp.

Block of eight 2 cts stamps with 'a caballo' overprint from the lower sheet margin

Engraver: Enrique Vaquer | Recess printing of the F.N.M.T. with typographic overprint "República Española" in red and blue (tones) | Sheets of 200 (all values except the 40 cts, type II) and 100 (40 cts, type II and some of the 2 and 25 cts) | Perforation: 11,25 (comb) | First issued: May 1931 (no official dates available) | Valid until: 11.01.1935 | Control numbers on the reverse (except the 2 cts)