Cuba 1899 - Sc U7 (EDIFIL 47ip) (Higgins & Gage 5) (UPSS 7)
2c de Peso, carmine on buff, unused stamped envelope with the printed corner card of "Miro y Otero - Almacenistas Importadores de Viveres - Obrapia No. 27 - HABANA". By far, the scarcest of all the US envelopes overprinted for use in Cuba. According to information available in the United Postal Stationery Society Catalogue (UPSS), 5,000 of these envelopes were printed.
But for a while now and judging by how incredibly scarce these U7 envelopes are, we have had the suspicion that perhaps the amounts printed of the U8 envelope (1500) got switched by mistake with the amounts printed of the U7 envelope (5000) and in reality only 1500 of these U7 envelopes (and 5000 of the U8) were ever printed. But in our experience, Cuba philatelic items of which only 1500 or so exist, show up in the market with more frequency than these U7 envelopes ever do.
So now we have a new theory. Now we think that perhaps, by mistake, another zero was added to the amounts printed of these U7 envelopes and in reality, only 500 (and not 5000) of these were printed. This new theory of mine makes more sense and is much more consistent with how far and apart these envelopes are offered for sale. Only a theory of course, but that could explain why these envelopes are so incredibly hard to find!
More than 35 years ago, I was at a Brooklyn, NY stamp shop and I was talking to the store owner about these envelopes and how hard to come by they were. His reasoning for their scarcity was that "someone is sitting on a bunch of these and they will surface one of these days". Needless to say, he could have been right but it hasn't happened yet. The Brooklyn stamp dealer, Mr. Abraham Siegel, is no longer wth us, and needless to say, he never saw his prediction come true.