Sellos Postales Tren - Ecuador 1926 Railway Stamps

Issued in 1926 to commemorate the start of construction work of the railway between Quito and Esmeraldas, this issue coincides with the start of a short period in Ecuador when stamp issues were subject to corrupt practices at a very high level. In particular, for this set, instructions were issued to produce 'overprint inverted' varieties in equal quantity to the surcharge upright varieties. These instructions were misinterpreted, resulting in some orientations of the overprint being very scarce.

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 overprint is rarely clear or sharp in appearance and, in general, there is a lack of contrast between the stamp and the overprint.

Sellos Postales Ecuador Stamps Ferrocarril Quito-Esmeraldas Railway 1926

Quito-Esmeraldas Railway : 1926 : Overprint UPRIGHT : Surcharge in Black (except 3c)
1c Pale Bright Blue [ . ]
2c Violet [ . ]
3c Black (surcharge in Red) [ . ]
4c Deep Blue-Green [ . ]
5c Deep Rose-Carmine [ . ]
10c Green [ . ]

Sellos Postales Ecuador Stamps Ferrocarril Quito-Esmeraldas Railway 1926

Quito-Esmeraldas Railway : 1926 : Overprint INVERTED : Surcharge in Black
1c Pale Bright Blue [ . ]
2c Violet [ . ]
4c Deep Blue-Green [ . ]
5c Deep Rose-Carmine [ . ]
10c Green [ . ]

Although, for the majority of the set, overprint inverted appears to be more common than overprint upright, we know of no example of the 3c 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.

The print run for this commemorative issue was 50,000 sets, apparently with the same quantity printed for each value and some forgeries are known, made easier by the poor quality of the official overprint. Covers are found bearing these stamps but are not at all common, nor are many multiples usually encountered of any value. There are several further varieties on these overprints and we illustrate below those that we know:

Sellos Postales Ecuador Stamps Ferrocarril Quito-Esmeraldas Railway 1926

Quito-Esmeraldas Railway : 1926 : Overprint DOUBLE :
1c Pale Bright Blue : Overprint Double, both Upright [ . ]
2c Violet : Overprint Double : both Upright [ . ]
5c Deep Rose-Carmine : Overprint Double : both Upright [ . ]
10c Green : Overprint Double : both Inverted [ . ]

Sellos Postales Ecuador Stamps Ferrocarril Quito-Esmeraldas Railway 1926

Quito-Esmeraldas Railway : 1926 : Overprint Shifted :
1c Pale Bright Blue : Overprint Diagonal [ . ]
4c Deep Blue-Green : Overprint Inverted & ŕ cheval [ . ]

The 1c with Overprint Diagonal appears to be a forgery.

Unusually for this series of articles, we have decided to put prices against the stamps, perhaps the easiest way to give an idea of the relative scarcity within this issue, but, like most valuations, they are naturally subjective. We have opted for US Dollars for this purpose, prices for mint being for hinged stamps.

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. Note: When re-working this article in March 2020 (during the Coronavirus pandemic), the Pound was at about 1.14 Dollars and the Euro at 1.06 Dollars). We did not change the valuations in the table when re-writing this article in 2020.


1926 Quito-Esmeraldas Railway Issue: VALUATIONS IN THE TABLE BELOW ARE IN U.S.DOLLARS

Face Value Upright Mint Upright Used ..... Inverted Mint Inverted Used
1c $ 16.00 $ 6.50 ..... $ 22.50 $ 9.00
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. We have seen three copies of this, all mint and all with some foxing on the gum.

We have not attempted to price the 1c, 2c and 5c with overprint double, as we have only seen one example each of these stamps. The 4c with overprint inverted and ŕ cheval is scarce but not rare.

We should like to thank Adolf Kuchynkatook from the Czech Republic for bringing to our attention an online article by Roberto Leví Castillo, which encouraged us to re-write this page in 2020, since it contained information that was new to us. The article, which is in Spanish may be accessed via this link (opens in new tab).

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