Working backwards from the known Types of 1898*, one is able for the most part to reconstruct the plating of 1896. I say "for the most part" because there is no one to one correlation. Defects can be traced from one year to the other, but there are instances of notes being transferred to another position and two distinct defects from different 1896 cards ended up on the same 1898 card. The extra large spacing of 17mm between the first and second address lines appears only in 1898, Type 9. Two of the notes in both years are considerably shorter than the others. The 1894 and 1892 closely resemble the 1896 cards, but as you go back in time there are fewer defects that make each type unique.
Type 1 is the easiest to detect with at least four breaks in the word POSTAL. Contrary to the assertion in the listings Edifil 27Ac, (2 centavos green on yellow) and Edifil 30c (4 centavos blue on yellow), both were printed in 1896 and they did NOT have an inverted "s" in solamente. That defect appeared in the Type 1's of 1892 and 1894, but was corrected in the 1896 issue. Both notes are 60 mm in length.
Type 2 was in 1896 distinguished by a small feature: the second "e" of este was elevated above the rest of the word. It was almost entirely remade in 1898. In that year, there was a break that occurred in the "S" of Sr. lopping off the top; some 1898 cards have it, some don't. The lines of the address are new; in no other card are the second and third lines short and the fourth ends in a blob although the length of the lines of 1896, Type 1, are similar. The 1896 of 62½ mm has apparently migrated to Type 9 in 1898. In short, it is a matter of a process of elimination that yields us Type 2 for 1896.
Type 3 has the same broken "t" of este as does 1896 and additionally has some new breaks in the third and fourth address lines. Both have small flaws 76 and 94 mm from the start of the third address line. Both notes are 63½ mm long.
Type 4 has the same shattered "T" of TARJETA in both years, but the dented "S" of POSTAL has migrated from 1896, Type 6. This is the only case of a convergence of two plate defects from two positions to one position. Both have a break in the third address line 25 mm from the left. Both notes are 62½ mm long.
Type 5 has the same broken "o" of solamente. Both have the "a" of lado twice broken and the "b" of debe thin or broken twice. Both notes are 63½ mm long.
Type 6 in 1896 has a dented "S" in POSTAL which migrated to Type 4 in 1898. In the note, both cards have a dented second "e" in escribirse with a thin or broken "b" as well. Both notes are 63 mm long and in the word dirección there is a slight bending of the word between the "r" and the "e".
Type 7 has the "P" in POSTAL that fail to close and the lower right side of the "S" appears to be shaved. However, the shortest of all the notes migrates from Type 7 to Type 2 in 1898.
Type 8 features the right half of the "ó" in dirección considerably thinner than the left half (not to be confused with Type 4 which has a break on top and the right half is either missing or thin). In both years there is a break in the first address line 7 mm from the left. The note is 1 mm shorter and more damaged in 1898.
Type 9 has the very distinctive break in the bottom of the "O" in POSTAL in both years combined with a broken top center "T", but the 1896 (162½ mm) note with the distinctive larger "o" in solamente migrated from Type 7 to Type 9 in 1898.
Type 10 is the most interesting progression. A break in the upper left curve of the "S" or Sr. had been present for years. Then before or during the printing of the 1896 four centavos card four breaks appear in the address lines. Finally, in 1898 the address line address line breaks continue, but the "S" in Sr. is replaced or repaired. There were no significant other defects. The breaks are described as a missing dot next to the beginning of the second address line; two breaks, 5mm and 41mm from the left on the third address line, and a broken or missing seventh dot in the fourth address line. Both notes are 63 mm in length.
Can one say with absolute certainty that the 1896 plate types were that as described above? Of course not without resurrection of an 1896 plate. One also has to consider that when one divides up certain attributes of a plate and places them elsewhere for the next printing, then what do you consider the original plate: the note; the address lines; the TARJETA POSTAL? Even in the word "POSTAL" we found a division to two plates. What you can say is that there is a high degree of correlation and the typesetters likely set the type as described above. Further, it is highly useful to have ten distinct plate positions for identifying specimens.
Click on a Type Number below to see the 1898 and 1896 cards in that position