World Stamps

Lots of color in Spain’s 1936 Royal Family set

May 3, 2023, 8 AM
The designs of Spain’s first semipostal issue (Scott B1-13 and EB1) feature portraits of the royal family. The surcharge benefited the Red Cross.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

On Sept. 15, 1926, Spain issued a set of 14 colorful engraved semipostal stamps and one special delivery semipostal stamp (Scott B1-B13 and EB1) depicting portraits of the royal family.

The members of the royal family shown in the stamp designs are King Alfonso XIII; Queen Victoria Eugenia; Alfonso, Prince of Asturias (the heir apparent); and the princesses Maria Cristina and Beatrice. Proceeds from the sale of the stamps were donated to the Red Cross.

Alfonso XIII (1886-1941) of the House of Bourbon-Anjou came to the throne on May 17, 1902, upon the death of his father, King Alfonso XII. Through extraordinary diplomacy and effort, he kept Spain out of World War I. That and his support of the Red Cross led to his being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1917.

Support for the monarchy was weakened by a series of political crises, most notably the military coup d’etat that ended civilian government from 1923 to 1930. Alfonso retained the throne but gave tacit support to the coup.

An anti-monarchy result in the elections of April 1931 led Alfonso to flee the country, and the monarchy was abolished on April 14, 1931. Alfonso died in exile in Rome, Italy, on Feb. 28, 1941.

The Spanish monarchy would be re-established on Nov. 22, 1975, with Alfonso’s grandson, Juan Carlos I, as king.

The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values the set of 14 stamps in unused, hinged condition at $105.90 and in mint, never-hinged condition at $225.

The set is a good buy in very fine grade and unused, hinged condition at around $100 and in mint, never-hinged condition at $185.

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