The Pichs Collection

Exploring Cuba's History Through Postage Stamps
5 cent Cuban stamp

This stamp is illustrated by an excellent depiction of Aeromarine’s Curtiss Model 75, which opened the first regular air services between Havana and Florida.

Virtual Exhibit

Welcome to the home page of a research and exhibition effort to study and bring to the public an important research resource for the cultural history of Cuba, the Roberto Pichs collection of Cuban postage stamps at the San Carlos Institute (Key West, Florida).

Map of Cuba

Exploring Cuba’s Postal History, 1830-1939, through the Roberto Pichs Collection is an overview of Cuba’s postal history from the pre-philatelic period to 1939. It includes “folded letters” (pre-philatelic covers), stamped envelopes, and historic postcards, which have never before been published.

This text written by Joseph Geraci, Philatelist (Emeritus) from the National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

The Farman Goliath airplane

Cuba’s Commercial Aviation History and the Pichs Collection is especially strong in depictions of the history of aviation, including many envelopes commemorative of events in Cuba’s aviation history.

This exhibition presents the research of Ronald E.G. Davies, Aviation Historian, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.


A joint project of
the National Postal Museum (Smithsonian Institution)
and the San Carlos Institute (Key West, Florida)

Project under the direction of:
Allen Kane, Director (Former), National Postal Museum
Paul Michael Taylor and Rafael Peñalver, Exhibition Co-curators / Co-editors

This collections-based project is co-curated by Dr. Rafael Peñalver (President, San Carlos Institute) and Dr. Paul Michael Taylor (Research Anthropologist and Curator, Department of Anthropology National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution), under the auspices of the National Postal Museum.

Our long-term goals are:

  1. A digital database of information about Cuban philately, based upon the San Carlos Institute’s collection assembled by philatelist Roberto Pichs, along with the Cuban philatelic holdings of the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum; and
  2. The preparation of virtual exhibits consisting of an interconnected set of “explorations” or interpretations of this collection.

Explorando la Historia Cubana a través de su Filatelia
Explore la historia postal y aeronáutica de Cuba en un esfuerzo de investigación y exhibición para estudiar y llevar al público un importante recurso de investigación para la historia cultural de Cuba, la colección de sellos postales cubanos de Roberto Pichs.

Learn more