A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, January 5, 2014


1874 Scott 111 100c carmine "Hidalgo"
Quick History
Mexico and it's history, both real and philatelic, is very complex, to say the least. Arguably, it's stamps show the most philatelic twists of any Latin American country. To do justice, one would need to divide the philatelic production into eras, and cover in 3-4 blog posts.

But I'm going to do it in one. ;-)

Rather than attempt a general survey, I've elected to concentrate on the 1910 Independence Issue, with a followup examination of all the overprints subsequently generated with this issue during the 1913-16 civil wars. The philatelic plate will be full just with that. ;-)
The Capital is Mexico City, and the population was 22,000,000 in 1942.

The first stamp for Mexico was issued in 1856, and had the "Father of the Country", Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, for the subject. All the stamp issues from 1856-1883 are often found with District Name, and/or Number and/or Date overprints.

The 1866 "Emperor Maximilian" stamps, with a visage of the Austrian Habsburg, reflect the tumultuous history of the era. He was backed by Napoleon III and by part of the Mexican-Spanish aristocracy, much to the displeasure of Benito Juarez and the republican forces. His government was defeated, and Emperor Maximilian was executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867.

For the centennial of the 1810 Mexican War of Independence, an eleven stamp issue was produced in 1910 with portraits of the heroes and scenes. Then, with the 1910 Mexican Revolution, and the civil wars through 1920, provisional and local stamps were issued, as well as numerous overprints: many on the 1910 issue.

These overprints are known as "gomigrafos" by philatelists, and often consist of the "GCM" monogram ("Gobierno Constitutionalista Mexicano").  They were used by the Conventionalists (Pancho Villa), and  subsequently by the Constitutionalists ( Carranza).

Let's take a closer look at the 1910 issue and the many overprinted varieties ......

1856 Scott 2 1r yellow
"Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Mexico 1856-1940, 769 regular, 2 semi-postal, 118 air post, 31 air post official, 7 special delivery, 3 insured letter, 5 postage due, 23 porte de mar, 237 official, & 14 postal tax stamp category major descriptions. In addition there are 90 provisional and revolutionary descriptions. Total = 1299.

Of those, 265 "regular" and 172 "other" categories (Total = 437) are CV <$1-$1+, or 34%. Mexico is generally the most expensive of the Latin American countries. There are several reasons...

• A complicated philatelic history with many overprints.
• Mexico now has 112 million population, and there are large pockets of wealth: Therefore indigenous philatelic demand.
• Quite popular with USA collectors- the largest factor.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
8 Reales = 1 Peso
100 Centavos = 1 Peso
1910 Scott 312 3c orange brown
"López Rayón"
Ignacio López Rayón headed the revolutionary government after the death of Miguel Hidalgo. He was Secretary of State under Hildago, and signed the document emancipating the slaves in 1810.

1914 Scott 372 3c orange brown "Lopez Rayon"
Regular issue of 1910 overprinted in various colors
In 1914, the 1910 Independence issue was overprinted in violet, magenta, black, and green with the "GCM" monogram. This 11 stamp production has a CV of <$1-$8 for 9 stamps.

1910 Scott 317 20c red & black
"Mariano Abasolo"
Mariano Abasolo supported the revolution through his wealth, but also participated in several battles as field marshal. He was captured, and subsequently died in 1818 while imprisoned in the Santa Catalina castle in Cadiz, Spain.
1914 Scott 430 20c red & blue "Mariano Abasolo"
Overprinted on issue of 1910
The overprint "Gobierno Constitucionalista" was applied on the 1910 issue, and released in 1914. CV is <$1 for the eight portrait stamps- quite inexpensive.

One might wonder why many of these varieties are inexpensive. Despite the chaos of the era, opportunistic entrepreneurs, aware of the high interest from stamp collectors, were quite involved in the distribution of these issues- often with the collusion of postal authorities. Many of the covers of the era are philatelic in nature. Naturally, there are considerable overprint forgeries as well. Caveat emptor. 

1910 Scott 318 50c red brown & black
"Declaration of Independence"
The 50c denomination shows a scene from the Congress of Chilpancingo in 1813, where the "Declaration of Independence" was signed. By this time, José Maria Morelos was the leader of the revolutionary army.

1914 Scott 431 50c red brown & black
Overprinted on issue of 1910
The 1914 "Gobierno Constitucionalista" overprinted stamps included the 50c, 1p, and 5p denominations with scenes from the War of Independence. CV is $1+-$30+.

1910 Scott 315 10c blue & orange
"Ignacio Allende"
Ignacio José de Allende y Unzaga was a Spanish Army captain who became sympathetic toward the Mexican Independence movement. He fought alongside Miguel Hidalgo during the early battles. He was captured by the Spanish Colonial authorities, and executed for treason.

1915 Scott 460 10c blue & orange
Overprinted with "Villa" monogram
This 1915 eleven stamp issue is overprinted with the Pancho Villa "GCM" monogram. CV is <$1-$8+ for eight stamps.
1910 Scott 311 2c green
"Leona Vicario"
Leona Vicario de Quintana Roo lived in Mexico City, and was able to provide intelligence as well as money to the rebels. Imprisoned twice (1813, 1818), she is known as the "Sweet Mother of the Fatherland".

1915 Scott 485 2c green
Overprinted with "Carranza" monogram
In 1915, Pancho Villa and his followers, during the Battle of Celaya, were badly defeated by the forces of General Obregon.

Carranza then took advantage and seized power.

This overprint, used on this 1915 eleven stamp issue, has the so-called "Carranza" monogram. CV is <$1-$2 for eight stamps.

By the way, there were about 9,000,000 people in Mexico during the 1910-1920 period, and 900,000 lost their lives during the bloody civil wars.

1916 Scott 519 3c orange brown
Overprinted  "G.P. de M." in blue
In 1916, the overprint "G. P. DE M." ( Gobierno Proviorio de Mexico)- "Provisional Government of Mexico"- was used on eleven stamps of the 1910 Independence issue. The overprint is known as the "Corbata". CV is <$1-$6+ for nine stamps.

1916 Scott 525 50c red brown & black
Overprinted "G.P. de M."  in red
Here, the overprint, which can be found in blue, red, or black, is shown for the 50c denomination.

 1910 Scott 313 4c carmine
"Juan Aldama"
Juan Aldama was a rebel soldier during the Mexican War of Independence. He was involved in the early conspiracy meetings in Queretaro. He was in Dolores when Miguel Hidalgo gave his iconic "Grito de Delores" ( Cry of Dolores"), which began the armed conflict. He was captured in 1811, court-martialed, and executed for treason by firing squad.

 1916 Scott 531 4c carmine
Overprinted on 1914 issue "G.P. de M." in blue
The 1914 issue was overprinted with the "Corbata" in 1916, as shown, on eleven stamps. CV is <$1 for seven stamps.

1916 Scott 545 10c blue & orange
Overprinted on 1915 issue  "G.P. de M."  in red
Likewise, the "Corbata" overprint was used on the 1915 "Carranza" issue. The 1916 ten stamp issue has a CV of <$1-$2 for six stamps.

1916 Scott 552 2c green
Overprinted on 1915 issue "G.P. de M." in red
The "Pancho Villa" "GCM" monogrammed issue of 1915 was also overprinted with the "Corbata". CV for the eight stamp issue is <$1-$4+ for three stamps, with four more in the $10+ range.

What was happening with Pancho Villa in the meantime? After his defeat in the Battle of Celaya, he crossed the U.S. border into Columbus, New Mexico, where is attacked an American arms dealer on March 9, 1916, who had sold him useless ammunition. Eighteen Americans and ninety of Villa's men were killed. Or so the story goes- there is actually some doubt if  Pancho Villa was actually there.

But the incident so outraged the American public (incited by the conservative newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst), that President Wilson sent General Pershing and 5,000 troops into Mexico in order to capture Pancho Villa. This "Punitive Expedition" was called off after nearly a year without success.

1910 Scott 310 1c dull violet
"Josefa Ortiz"
Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez was married to Miguel Dominguez, corregidor ( the local official for the Spanish crown), of the city of Querétaro. She became an active supporter of the Independence movement, and the conspirators would meet at her residence, Casa de la Corregidora. Her husband at first knew nothing of this. Her role was eventually uncovered, and she was sent (banished) to the convent of Santa Catalina de Sena.

1916 Scott 577 5c on 1c dull violet
"Barril" overprint in brown
In 1916, a new surcharge overprint, known as the "Barril", was applied on some of the 1910 Independence issues. The "Barril" can be found in colors brown, blue, green, and red. The surcharge values range from 5c to 60c. The CV for this 1916 five stamp issue is <$1 for four stamps.

1916 Scott 583 10c on 1c dull violet
"Barril" overprint in blue
Here, the "Barril" is applied to the 1914 issue overprinted stamps, as shown. The 1916 four stamp release has a CV of <$1 for three stamps.

1910 Scott 314 5c orange
"Miguel Hidalgo"
Known as the "Father of the Country" Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a parish priest in Dolores, Mexico. He was appalled by the living conditions of the citizens, and attempted to show them how to raise grapes and olives for income. But the Spanish colonial authorities did not permit it, as the crops were only allowed through Spanish imports.

He became "radicalized", and in 1810 gave "The Cry of Dolores" speech, which called on the people to rise up against the current Spanish colonial authorities.

He gathered a rag-tag army of up to 90,000 (mostly) peasants, and marched across Mexico. The Spanish colonial aristocracy were attacked, and many killed.

Eventually, a well trained Spanish army of 6,000 troops killed and scattered Hidalgo's army.

Hidalgo was executed by firing squad on July 30, 1811.

1916 Scott 586 25c on 5c orange, Villa" monogram
"Barril" overprint in green
This 1916 release shows the "Barril" surcharge on a 1915 "Villa" monogrammed stamp. CV is <$1.

1916 Scott 589 25c on 5c orange, "Carranza"monogram
"Barril" overprint in green
Likewise, the "Barril" surcharge was applied to the "Carranza" monogrammed stamps of 1915. CV for the four stamps in the issue is $1-$5 for two stamps.

1911 Official Scott O82 20c red & blue
1910 issue overprinted "Oficial"
Official stamps were created in 1911 by overprinting, as shown, on the 1910 Independence issue. The eleven stamp issue has a CV of $2+-$8+ for seven stamps.

1910 Scott 316 15c gray blue & claret
"Epigmenio González"
Epigmenio González Flores owned a grocery store in Querétaro, and enjoyed literary gatherings at the house of the corregidor Miguel Dominguez. He soon joined Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, the corregidor's wife, and others, into plotting for independence. He and his brother began to manufacture and store ammunition, but was found out, and arrested. He was banished to Manila, Philippines, a Spanish colony. He was not allowed to return to his homeland until 1838.

1916 Official Scott O108 15c gray blue & claret
Overprinted on 1911 Official issue with "G.P. de M." in black
In 1916, the "Corbata" overprint was applied to the 1911 Official issue. This eleven stamp production has a CV of $1+ for six stamps.

1931 Postal tax Scott RA13 1c dull violet
Overprinted "Pro Infancia"
A postal tax stamp in 1931 used the 1914 overprinted  Independence issue 1c dull violet, adding a "Pro Infancia" overprint.

In general, Postal tax stamps were intended for specific causes, and were required to be added to the mail for a set time.
1910 Scott 319 1p blue & black
"Mass on Mount of Crosses"
This stamp celebrates the victory of Hidalgo's army over some Spanish forces at the battle of El Monte de las Cruces on October 30, 1910. The cannons were captured in combat. The Spanish had retreated to Mexico City, and it was ripe for taking. But Hidalgo refused to enter. Some historians believe he was appalled by the looting and plundering his undisciplined army had unleashed with prior forays, and did not want that to occur in Mexico City. Nevertheless, that is considered his biggest strategical blunder.

The last stamp of the 1910 issue, the Scott 320 5p carmine & black (not shown) illustrates the capture of Granaditas.

The Alhóndiga de Granaditas (public granary) in Guanajuato was attacked by Hidalgo's army on September 28, 1910. The building was sacked, and the Spanish families, who had hid there for protection, were all murdered.

But the Spanish Colonials had their revenge.

The four main leaders- Miguel Hidalgo himself, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, and Jose Mariano Jimenez were captured. They were beheaded, and their heads hung from the four corners of the Alhóndiga for 10 years. !! ( The building, now a museum, is still standing- I saw it myself when I visited Guanajuato.)

Deep Blue
1903 "Coat of Arms" & 1910 "Independence" issues in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 103 pages for Mexico. The pages follow the Scott catalogue quite closely, so there should be little confusion- other than the issues themselves, which sometimes are confusing. ;-)

Of interest, Deep Blue includes all the minor number spaces for perforation varieties for the 1895-1898 issues- some 58 spaces!

1866 Scott 33 25c orange brown, engraved
"Emperor Maximilian"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 12 pages, has 242 regular, 63 air post, 5 postage due, 45 official, 4 official air post, 7 postal tax, and 3 special delivery spaces. Total = 369 spaces. Coverage is 28 %. But, recall that Mexico is a more expensive country, so the coverage is not as bad as one would think.

• Of the "Most expensive stamps" ($10 threshold): only one! had a CV >$35 ( 1872 Scott 98 100c gray lilac ($50)), and twelve more had a CV $10-$30. Good job BB!
• Be aware that a postal tax stamp (RA13B- 1c dull orange "Indian Mother and Child") is stuck in among the 1934 regular issues.
• Mexican issues tend to be complicated-There are spaces where BB can accept up to four choices, so be aware. ;-)
• In general BB does a good job threading through these complicated issues, and presenting a nice inexpensive "representative" collection. If BB can be faulted...
- There are a lot of spaces with multiple choices. So, many inexpensive stamps will end up without a space.
- I did find ~ 112 stamps with CV <$1-$1+ that BB does not provide even a choice for a space.



1863* (actually 1864)

47 or 59 or 66, 48 or 61 or 68,

1872 (Imperforate)*
81 or 87 or 93, 82 or 88 or 94, 83 or 89 or 95, 86 or 92 or 98,

105 or 117, 106 or 112 or 118, 107 or 113, 108 or 119, 109 or 114 or 120, 110 or 115 or 121, 111 or 116 or 122,

123 or 131, 124 or 132, 125 or 133, 126 or 134, 127 or 139,



Next Page






214 or 233 or 238B, 215 or 234 or 238C, 217 or 239C, 218 or 240, 220 or 240A, 221 or 241,

1c green - 242 or 257 or 269 or 279
2c carmine- 243 or 258 or 270 or 280
3c (illust)- 244 or 259 or 281
4c orange- 246 or 260 or 271 or 282
5c (illust)- 247 or 261 or 272 or 283
10c lilac rose- 248 or 284
12c (illust)- 249 or 262 or 273 or 285
15c bright blue- 251 or 263 or 275 or 286
20c (illust)- 252 or 264 or 276 or 287

Next Page





Next Page




500 or 506, 501 or 507, 502 or 508, 503 or 509, 504 or 510, 505 or 511,

Next Page




634 or 642 or 650, 653,637 or 644 or 654,635 or 651,

636 or 643 or 652, 640 or 656, 638, 639 or 645 or 655, 641,648,

Next Page





RA13B*, 698,699,700,701,702,703,
707 or 729, 708 or 730, 709 or 731, 710 or 732 or 733B, 711 or 712 or 733 or 735,713,714 or 715,

721, 722 or 734, 723, 725,726,727,

Next Page






Next Page

Air Post
C1 or C2, (C3 or C4),



C20,C11 or C21, C12 or C22, C13 or C23,
C24,C14,C15,C16 or C25,





Next Page

(Air Post)






Next Page

(air post)


Next Page

Postage Due

Official Stamps

O1 or O1B, O2,O3,O4, O6 or O9,

O10 or O23 or O30 or O40, O11 or O24, O12 or O25 or O42, O15,







Next Page

(Official stamps)

Official Air Post

Postal Tax
RA1 or RA2 or RA3, RA4,


RA13, RA 14,

Special Delivery
E1 or E2,

E4 or E5,



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1872 Scott 98 100c gray lilac ($50)
1880 Scott 105 4c orange ($10+)
1874 Scott 110 50c green ($10+)
1874 Scott 111 100c carmine ($10+)
1883 Scott 148 6c blue ($30)
1895 Scott 249 12c olive brown ($10+)
1910 Scott (320) 5p carmine & black ($10+)
1916 Scott 575 10c lilac brown ($10+)
1926 Scott 665 1p brown & blue ($10)
1938 Scott 742 10c orange ($10+)
1938 Scott 745 20c black ($10+)
1938 Scott C86 20c purple ($10)
1921 Scott O134 1c gray ($10+)
B) *1863- the selection is for "without district name".
"with district name" (major number) is CV in the $ thousands!
C) 1872 (Imperforate)- 99,100,101,104 pin-perf/serrate are excluded by BB.
D) * 150- 1885 Scott 165 "pale green" not included by BB.
E) * 1895-98- Choice of wmk 152,153,154,unwmk, and various perfs
F) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice
G) * 1915-16- choices Rouletted 14 vs Perf 12
H) *RA13B- Postal tax stamp stuck in among the regular issues. ;-)
I) * C6- "black and brown red" in BB is "septia and brown red" in Scott
J) 1929-35 (air post) - some choices are perf vs rouletted
K) 1927-38 (official)- lots of possible choices for blank spaces, but need vertical format.

1882 Scott 137b 18c orange brown
"Benito Juárez"
Out of the Blue
I hope you enjoyed the juxtaposition of the 1810 Independence issue, and a discussion of their patriot portraits, with the numerous overprints of the issue engendered  by the 1910-20 civil wars. One hundred years apart, and turmoil on both ends. ;-)

In truth, Mexico is a very complicated philatelic country, and it is a prime candidate for specialization. So, a WW classical collector, such as myself, has only scratched the surface.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Mexico - Bud's Big Blue

Have a comment?


  1. Sorting Mexico, a herculean task made much easier by this post, still is daunting to me. I have some 350 different pre-1940 stamps for which Big Blue offers no spaces, including a set of 19th century "gold" stamps, the intended use of which remains a mystery to me. So, added to the 340 or so I already have in BB (only possibly in correct spaces), I still have collected only about half of Mexico's philatelic output. Had the American Revolution occurred when stamps were being produced, would USA stamps have been complicated and variously overprinted as Mexico's? Probably so. Each of the 13 colonies would have had George III stamps overprinted with ... who knows what. In any case, you've motivated me to work though Mexico again. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Bud. Always appreciate your comments.

      At the moment I have some 600 stamps of Mexico in Steiner. I will check (someday!) to see how many would fit in BB- I'm sure I still have holes. ;-)

      I have a hard time with Mexico. Tough issues and rather expensive. I find other Latin American countries more rewarding. I'm glad I motivated you, though. ;-)

  2. I find Mexico frustrating in that I have 220 stamps thru 1940 on Steiner pages (and buying affordable collections on ebay produces mostly the same stamps) yet the collection is heavily diluted across the blank pages and spots due to the variations and quantity of rare/expensive early stamps. I have toyed with ideas of using just International Pages and selling the stamps w/o spots.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I hear you. For the first eleven pages of Steiner (1856-1872), there are 150 spaces, and I have 19 stamps. Pretty empty.

    Big Blue 1840-1940 has 369 spaces for Mexico, while Steiner has 1299.

    If you feel like you will not fill a lot of early spaces for Mexico because of expense, then BB might make more sense.