Estancos in Spain are what one would otherwise call a tobacconist shop but, tobacco is only half the story.
It all started in 1636, when Spanish King Felipe IV issued a Real Cédula, thus imposing a customs levy on all labour involving tobacco and the sale of such products. Apart from tobacco and the related accoutrements, estanco tiendas sell other products as well, also carrying a Government duty, such as postage stamps, contractual documents, letras de cambio (promissory notes), application papers for grants and subsidies, and so on. Newspapers and revistas (magazines) are also sold, as well as walking sticks, straw hats, or in the case of the Estanco shown in the photo (above), shopping baskets, slippers and shoes, even though, none of these are subject to customs duties. The bicycle shown is not for sale; it belongs to a customer.
Even though alcoholic beverages are also subject to certain Aranceles (levies) in Spain, no alcohol is sold in a Spanish Estanco.
Occasionally, the Spanish Loterías y Apuestas del Estado may also have a small outlet within an Estanco, selling tickets for the Lotería Nacional, La Primitiva, Euromillones, Bonoloto, El Gordo, La Quiniela or Lototurf.
The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 23rd, 2010. The time was 18:57:12.