Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mid-century postcard featuring Siboney Hotel in Havana, Cuba

Here's a timely piece of ephemera, as Cuba has been a major topic of recent news conversation. This is another postcard that was sent to George Homiak of Atlas, Pennsylvania. He was discussed last month via a postcard he received in 1932.

This postcard, mailed to Homiak at the same address as the 1932 card, features Hotel Siboney in Havana, Cuba. The description printed on the back of the card states:
Siboney Hotel
Havana, Cuba
Prado 355
Phones M 6233
W 0815
Air Conditioned Optional — Most Reasonable Prices in the City — Central Park Area — All rooms with private bath.

According to Easyvoyage, this building has been known as Hotel NH Parque Central since 1999 and is "popular with Europeans."

There's another passing reference to Hotel Siboney that I came across. In 2013, a Facebook commenter wrote: "The building on the right (Neptuno y Prado) was called the Hotel Siboney (now defunct) About 60 odd years ago it offered sanctuary to 2000 Jews who escaped from Europe during the war." I can't find a second source for that statement, but I'm sure there's an important story to be told there.

Getting back to the postcard, it was distributed by Sunset-Hollywood Enterprise of Miami Beach, Florida. It was printed in the United States.

I'm a bit frustrated, because I cannot determine precisely the date when this card was mailed. No date was written by the sender, and no date is discernible from the postmark. That leaves the stamps as our best clue...

The stamp on the right is a Cuba C205 air-mail stamp (as cataloged by Scott). Most references state that this stamp was produced in 1960. There are, however, a couple of references to this stamp from 1956. I'm no philately expert, so any help would be welcome.

If the postcard was sent in 1960, it might have been mailed just months or weeks before the U.S. embargo against Cuba began in October 1960.

The cursive-writing message on the card doesn't help, because I can't even determine what language it's in. My best guess is Slovak or Czech. Part of the note seems to indicate that the writer is getting (or attempting to get) a box of Cuban cigars.

So there you have it. I think this post offers more questions than answers. But we have to start somewhere, right?

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