Mexico Collectors' Stamps

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Our southern neighbor is often overlooked in discussions of countries with a strong philatelic culture. The truth, however, is that the rare stamps of Mexico have a lot to offer collectors of all interest levels. Stamps have been issued continually in the country for over 150 years. While many prominently feature historical figures, a number of quite beautiful pictorial issues have also been released as well.

Mexico's Postal System at a Glance

Often reduced to a few clichés in Hollywood cinema, Mexico is a diverse country with a fascinating history rivaling that of anywhere in Europe or elsewhere. The roots of the country's postal system date back to pre-Columbian times, when Aztec messengers routinely couriered information between the principle city-states of the Empire. The Spanish continued to use this infrastructure during the colonial period, expanding the system as more territory was annexed and eventually nationalizing it in 1765.

The first Mexican stamps were issued in 1856 and featured a portrait of Miguel Hidalgo, a hero of the country's 1810 War of Independence. The period between 1856 and 1874 is considered the country's “classic” period of philately, notable for the rough charm many issues featured. Following 1874, Mexico began having stamps printed abroad, making them more consistent but sacrificing some of the domestic character of its earliest issues.

The history of Mexico since gaining independence has been tumultuous, marked by a civil war, territorial losses to the United States, a brief occupation by the French and a seven-decade period of single-party rule, which the writer Mario Vargas Llosa famously called the "perfect dictatorship."

As such, it’s no surprise the country's philatelic history since the early classic period is equally byzantine. Mexico's catalog is filled with different overprints and cancellations, and forgeries of classic issues are not uncommon. That being said, anyone willing to wade into the market will be rewarded with a number of unique and attractive stamps from all eras of the country's history.

Collectible Mexican Stamps

Mexico’s complex postal history has produced a number of notable issues. Here are just a few of our favorites:

  • 1864 Eagle issue: One of the earliest collectible Mexican stamps, this 1864 issue depicts the country’s coat of arms, an eagle and snake perched atop a cactus — the vision that, according to legend, led to the founding of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.
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  • 1874 Hidalgo issue: These stamps were the first to be printed by the American Bank Note Company of New York. Similar in character to those printed by the company for other Latin American countries, they feature a more consistent design than previous Mexican stamps.
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  • 1895 Mulitas: This series depicts the various methods of mail delivery in Mexico at the time, including the pack mules that give it its unofficial name.

Collectors' Outlook

One of the thrills of stamp collecting is the speculative nature of reading the market. Some countries, such as Austria, France and the UK, will always be popular, and some trends — such as the rise of the Chinese market — seem to be here for the long term. That being said, it's always fun to guess where the next big thing will come from.

Typical conditions required for a country to see a boost in values include a prosperous expat community, a rising middle class at home and a long history of interesting issues. By this metric, Mexico seems to be a strong contender for growth. While the market for Mexican collectors' stamps is large, few issues command high prices today. The upside to this is that an investment now can lead to significant gains in the future.

Buy Rare Mexico Stamps Online

Apfelbaum, Inc. frequently has rare collectors' Mexican stamps for sale in our online store. Looking for something in particular? We can help you complete your collection of rare Mexican stamps. Call or email our office today for assistance from one of our team members.