Sellos Postales Tren - Ecuador 1926 Railway Stamps

Issued in 1926 to commemorate the opening of the railway from Quito to Esmeraldas, several of these stamps are far scarcer than the values suggested in many of the world's catalogues.

The issue was made by means of overprinting six different earlier stamps, each depicting a different Ecuadorian personality. The original face values of 1c, 2c, 3c, 4c, 5c, 10c are retained for the railway issue, the overprint having no surcharge, just the word 'QUITO' above and '1926 ESMERALDAS' below an image of a steam locomotive. The overprints are in Black, except on the 3c, where it is in Red. The scan below shows an unusually clear protrayal of the overprint; it is rarely this sharp and, on most stamps, there is a lack of contrast between the stamp and the overprint.

Ecuador 1c of 1926 1c Diagonal Opt

The 3c, in addition to having the only red overprint, has the distinction of being the only value which does not exist with inverted overprint. Curiously, most of the other values are scarcer with upright overprint than with overprint inverted. Overall, the 2c is probably the scarcest value, but the real rarity in this issue is the 10c with upright overprint in mint condition.

Unusually for this series of articles, I have decided to put prices against the stamps, perhaps the easiest way to show my evaluation of relative scarcity within this issue, based on many years of dealing in these stamps. I do not claim the prices to be beyond dispute but I would hope they represent a reasonable guide to pricing.

I have opted for US Dollars for this purpose, prices for mint being for hinged stamps. I would suggest a premium of perhaps 30% for unmounted (never hinged). For an issue of 1926, this may seem a low premium, but Latin American stamps are mercifully free, for the most part, of the excessive premiums paid in the investment-conscious markets of North America and Europe. Collectors are usually thoroughly content simply to find a respectable example of a stamp, without swooning over the virginity of the gum.

To help with comparisons of pricing at a later date, at the time of writing, August 2004, the Pound Sterling was worth about US Dollars 1.75 and the Euro was worth a little under US Dollars 1.20.


Face Value Upright Mint Upright Used ..... Inverted Mint Inverted Used
1c $ 16.00 $ 6.50 ..... $ 22.50 $ 9.00
1c Diagonal - - - $ 45.00 .....
2c $ 70.00 $ 32.50 ..... $ 40.00 $ 22.00
3c $ 22.50 $ 16.00 ..... Does not exist Does not exist
4c $ 22.50 $ 16.00 ..... $ 18.00 $ 12.50
5c $ 140.00 $ 42.50 ..... $ 25.00 $ 8.00
10c $ 240.00 $ 75.00 ..... $ 30.00 $ 10.00
10c var ** ..... ..... ..... $ 120.00 ** .....
** Overprint Double, both Inverted. I have seen three copies of this, all mint, all with some foxing on the gum. Illustration below, very slow to download, sorry, as I had to change its format to brighten it up for viewing!

Ecuador 10c of 1926


The centering of the overprint is generally fairly good but I have noticed over the years that quite a few of the 4c with inverted overprint turn up with fairly large shifts of the overprint.
Whilst sideways shifts of the overprint are fairly common on the 4c and occur on other values, although not uisually as significantly as on the 4c, it is rare that you see examples with overprints at a significant angle, for which reason I have listed the 1c with an overprint angled at nearly 45 degrees as a variety (see scan).

I am always interested in hearing of other varieties that you may have encountered; do please send me an email (accessed via the home page link below), if you have anything to add, or, indeed, if you wish to dispute any of the facts or opinions in any of these articles !

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