Second ESCUELAS Series
Third ESCUELAS Series
The Book in Numbers...
Years in the Making
Pages Full of Info
… or just
About The Author
Williams Castillo is a professional software engineer by trade and stamp collector at heart. A collector since the age of nine, today he has particularly expert knowledge of early Venezuelan stamps up to 1903. An avid student of Venezuelan history as well, he has managed to combine all of these areas of knowledge to the benefit of Venezuelan philately.
A frequent writer for the Asociación Filatélica de Caracas (ASOFILCA), he has focused on the study of counterfeits prioritizing his readers; insisting on reaching out to them with invaluable, easy-to-digest information on how they too can detect forgeries.
He has also been able to help give meaning to several of our series on unearthing old secrets, aimed at exposing false truths. Among them, the enigmatic ‘Tiritas de Coro a La Vela’, the unfortunate series on ‘Los Godos’, the intriguing ‘Libranzas’, the ‘Sellos Numerados’, the ‘Timbres de Minas’, and many more.
In this work, his first book, Williams aims to present a practical tool to help bring his favorite series closer to philatelists the world over, giving them access to information previously known only to the very few specialists of these series −the so-called ESCUELAS.
In 1870, when General Antonio Guzmán Blanco began to rule, he struggled to find a way to make his Free and Mandatory Universal Public Education program a reality. The nation was broke and the country deeply indebted following so many civil wars. So, he created a fiscal tax to be charged on all market transactions. Said tax would be paid by the public, by way of attaching stamps to the document – stamps issued for this very purpose. These stamps were cancelled via the signature of the notary who processed the transaction.
General Guzmán Blanco, on the 27th June, 1870, decreed Free and Mandatory Public Education for all those aged between 7 and 21 years old. These stamps carried, for the first time, the depiction of El Libertador, Simón Bolívar.
Because the stamps themselves financed public education, they carried the printed word ‘ESCUELAS’ (schools), the name by which these stamps continue to be known.