Mexico Stamps : 1915-1934 40c Map with Railway Lines and
1 Peso & 5 Pesos Post Office, Mexico City & Tram Tracks.

This is a much enlarged article, replacing the previous web page at this address that was devoted solely to official overprints on the 40c Map design.

There were numerous issues of a 40c map stamp showing railway lines. At the same period, stamps showing tram tracks in front of the Post Office in Mexico City appeared, initially with a face value of 5 Pesos (1917). This Post Office design re-appeared in 1926 with a new frame and slightly modified centre, in a 1 Peso denomination.
There are views of the tram tracks and tramcars in front of the Post Office, taken from old postcards, at the foot of this page.

General Notes :
1. Shades: The 40c Violet stamps, both without and, in particular, with watermark, are found in a wide range of shades. We have not attempted to list these.
2. Overprint Colour: On the official stamps, we have only stated the overprint colour where no illustration has been provided or where specific mention may provide greater clarity.
3. Overprint Placement: The OFICIAL overprint is typically placed between a point close to the top of the stamp and a little below the centre of the stamp, but there is much variation, particularly on the 40c map stamps. In general, we have not included overprint placement variants in our listing.

Catalogue Numbers: Due to the confusion that can surround these stamps, the principal Scott and Gibbons catalogue numbers for them are shown. 'n/c' indicates a stamp which is not given a numbered listing in a catalogue. We regularly see the stamps of these issues offered with incorrect catalogue numbers and suggest that would-be buyers satisfy themselves as to a stamp's identity. We have even seen a certificate of authenticity, issued by a respected authority, with the wrong catalogue number assigned to the stamp.

This listing is broadly chronological with postage stamps and the corresponding official overprints usually examined together. However, we have interrupted the time-line and groupings where we feel this provides greater clarity.

1915 / 1916 : Unwatermarked :
Mexico 1915 40c Map stamp

Mexico 1917 Post Office Mexico City stamp with tram tracks at front and side of Post Office arrowed.

1915 : 40c Map : Slate-Grey [ . ] Scott: 512; SG 299
- ditto - Imperf [ . ]
The second stamp in the top scan appears to be from a very worn plate or under-inked printing. No check-box provided.

1916 : 5 Pesos : Post Office : Rose-Carmine & Blue [ . ] Scott: 514; SG 301
- ditto - Centre Inverted [ . ]

1916 : 5 Pesos : Post Office : Rose-Carmine & Blue Imperf [ . ]
- ditto - Centre Inverted [ . ]

c. 1915 (?) : Proofs
Mexico Sellos Pruebas 1915 40c

There are imperforate proofs of the 40c map in many colours circulating on the market. They are unwatermarked and quite frequently gummed. Three examples, in black, brown and green, are shown above.

1915 / 1916 : OFICIAL overprints.
Mexico Sellos OFICIAL 1915 40c
Mexico Official Stamps 1915 5 Pesos

1915 : 40c Map : Slate-Grey : optd OFICIAL [ . ] Scott: O.98; SG O.318
- ditto - Overprint Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - Overprint Double [ . ]
1915 : 40c Map : Slate-Grey : optd OFICIAL Imperf. [ . ]
The varieties, overprint inverted or double, are much scarcer than catalogue prices might suggest.

c. 1916 : 5 Pesos : Post Office : Rose-Carmine & Blue : optd OFICIAL [ . ] Scott: O.100; SG O.320
- ditto - Overprint Inverted [ . ]

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1917 : Colours Changed. NO Watermark.
Mexico Stamps 1917 40c Map
Mexico Stamps 1917 5 Pesos Post Office Correos Mexico City

1917 : 40c : Violet (no wmk) : Map [ . ] Scott: SG 626; SG 410

1917 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : Post Office [ . ]
Scott: 628; SG 412
- ditto - but in Deep Greyish Blue-Green & Black [ . ]
Scott: n/c; SG 412a

1917 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : Post Office with Contol Number in Violet [ . ]
- ditto - Control Number in Red [ . ]

The final scan above and the left-hand scan below show what is likely to be printers' waste, rather than genuine proofs.

1 Peso and 5 Pesos with their centres transposed
Mexico Stamps 1917 Centre Transposed error,  centre of 5 Pesos Post Office & Tram Tracks in the frame of the 1 Peso Veracruz Lighthouse Mexico Stamps 1917 Centre Transposed error,  centre of 5 Pesos Post Office & Tram Tracks in the frame of the 1 Peso Veracruz Lighthouse
Above: Printers' Waste Pair; 5 Peso frame with 1 Peso centre; 1 Peso frame with 5 Pesos centre

The 1 Peso stamp in this series shows the lighthouse at Veracruz. Only one sheet of each value (1 Peso and 5 Pesos) was produced which transposed the centres and frames of the 1 Peso and 5 Pesos stamps, producing:
The centre of the 5 Pesos (post office) in the frame of the 1 Peso (in 1 Peso colours, blue & black.)
The centre of the 1 Peso (lighthouse) in the frame of the 5 Pesos (in 5 Pesos colours, green & black.)

All examples of the 1 Peso with the centre of the 5 Pesos (tram tracks) are off-centre, in a similar manner to the stamp shown in the scan, and a significant proportion of these stamps are also known to be heavily creased or otherwise damaged. Although not railway-releated, for interest we included the scan of the lighthouse within the frame of the 5 Pesos. Note that this stamp displays diagonal printing lines in black across its face. Used examples do not, we believe, exist for either of these two stamps with centres transposed.

c.1917 : 1 Peso : Blue & Black : Post Office & Tram Tracks [ . ] Scott: 627a; SG n/c

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1918 : OFICIAL overprints. NO Watermark.
Mexico Stamps 1918 40c Map Official Mexico Stamps 1918 5 Pesos Map Official

Mexico Stamps 1918 40c Map Mexico Stamps 1918 40c Map

Detail scans: Left - 1918 issue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Right - 1921/24 issue

40c Surcharge Types of 1918 and 1921-24 :
The 40c is mis-identified quite frequently and we have therefore provided a detailed scan of the letters 'CIAL' of the 1918 overprint alongside the same element of the 'no stop' type of the 1921/24 overprint, which is listed further down. Note that the thickness of the lettering can vary and it is therefore the shape of the letters which is the key to identification.

1918 40c : The best test is the letter 'C', which is much more open especially at the foot, a feature which, due to better contrast, can perhaps be seen even more clearly on the 5 Pesos stamp above than on the detail scan of the 40c stamp. Additionally, the serif on the top of the 'C' slopes at a 45-degree angle, whereas it is vertical on the 1921-24 'no stop' type.
Secondary Test : 1918 40c : If, for example due to a cancellation, the 'C' cannot be seen, the lower right serif of the 'L' is more angular in the 1918 issue than in the 'no stop' 1924 issue, but the difference becomes less obvious the greater the level of inking of the overprint.

The 5 Pesos Surcharge of 1918 :
With the exception of the wide-spaced 1919 O F I C I A L overprint of uncertain authenticity, the 1918 5 Pesos official, being surcharged in Red and without stop, is quite distinctive from the five other 5 Pesos officials issued from 1921 onwards, described further down.

1918 : 40c : Violet : optd OFICIAL in RED as in left stamp above (sloping serif to 'L', no stop) [ . ] Scott: O.121; SG O.421

1918 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : optd OFICIAL in RED as in left stamp above (sloping serif to 'L', no stop) [ . ]
Scott: O.123; SG O.423

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1919 : OFICIAL overprints. NO Watermark.
Mexico Stamps 1919 40c Map Official Mexico Stamps 1919 5 Pesos Correos Mexico Oficial

The 1919 overprint has more widely-spaced letters in the overprint. The 40c map is amongst the values listed with this overprint but the 5 Pesos does not appear to be in any of the main catalogues. However, we saw the very interesting 5 Pesos shown above in a Kelleher auction in February 2018 and it looks reasonably authentic but its status should naturally be treated as unclear.

1919 : 40c : Violet : optd OFICIAL as in right stamp above [ . ] Scott: O.132; SG O.433

1919 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : optd OFICIAL as in right stamp above in RED (status unestablished) [ . ]
Scott: n/c; SG n/c

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1921-1924 : OFICIAL overprints. NO Watermark.
Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Officials 40c Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Officials 40c Mexico Official Stamps 1921-1924 40c map & 5 Pesos Post Office Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Officials Map and Post Office Mexico City
Left to Right: SG O.443; detail scan of SG O.443 . . . . . . . . . . . . SG O.455d; detail scan of SG O.455d

1921-24 : 40c Violet : Map : optd in RED as left stamp above (straight serif to 'L', no stop) [ . ] Scott: O.142; SG O.443
This stamp with no stop after OFICIAL is easily confused with the 1918 40c Official, but the overprint may be distinguished, inter alia, by the shape of the 'C' and of the 'L'. See the 1918 officials higher up for scans and description of the differences.

1921-24 : 40c Violet : Map : optd in RED as right stamp above (straight serif to 'L', with stop) [ . ] Scott: O.162; SG O.455d
- ditto - Vertical Pair, Imperforate Between [ . ]
Scott: O.162a; SG: n/c
As the previous 40c, but now with stop after OFICIAL. Although this stamp strictly belongs to the 40c official issue below, it is more easily described here for comparative purposes. The other OFICIAL overprints on the 40c in this period are in BLACK. We have not seen the Scott listed variety, imperf between pair.

Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Official 5 Pesos

1921-24 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : straight serif to 'L', no stop BLACK opt. [ . ] Scott: O.144; SG O.445

This is a straightforward stamp to identify. It is the only 5 pesos with the combination:
1. Overprint in BLACK
2. No full stop.
3. The 'O' of 'OFICIAL' is a vertical oval (as opposed to the rounder 'O' forming a broad elipse on the 1928 issue.)
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Stamps still without Watermark.
Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Officials Map 40c OCIFAL and OICIFAL errors

40c Map with same overprint, but opt now in BLACK, 'L' with straight serifs, with stop.
1921-24 : 40c Violet : Map : BLACK overprint [ . ] Scott: O.153; SG O.455
- ditto - Overprint Inverted [ . ]
- ditto - error - OFICAL for OFICIAL [ . ]
- ditto - error - OICIFAL for OFICIAL [ . ]

Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Officials 5 Pesos Tramway Tramvia Mexico City Tracks

1921-24 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : opt in BLACK ('L' with straight serif, with stop) [ . ] Scott: O.154 SG O.457

Another fairly straightforward stamp to identify. It is the only 5 pesos with the combination:
1. Overprint in BLACK
2. With stop.
3. The 'O' of 'OFICIAL' is a vertical oval (as opposed to the rounder 'O' forming a broad elipse on the 1928 issue.)
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1921-24 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : opt in RED ('L' with straight serif, with stop) [ . ] Scott: O.164 SG O.457a

This is the only 5 pesos with the combination:
1. Overprint in RED
2. With stop.
3. 'C' and 'L' of 'OFICIAL' in the later typeface, viz. 'C' more closed and with a straight top serif.
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Watermarked Stamps: Unless otherwise stated, all the stamps below are watermarked diagonally with the same watermark, the words MEXICOCORREOS repeated in echelon. There is never any need, therefore, to identify the type of watermark and, indeed, there are only two occasions where one needs to identify whether a watermark is present or not, as follows:

40c Map Violet (postage) : 1917 No Wmk (Scott: SG 626; SG 410) . . . . . . . . . 1923 With Wmk (Scott: 647; SG 433)

40c Map Violet (OFICIAL) : 1921-24 No Wmk (Scott: O.162; SG O.455d) . . . . . c.1923 With Wmk (Scott: O.174; SG O.465)

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c.1923 : 40c Map, now WITH Watermark.
Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Officials 5 Pesos Tramway Tramvia Mexico City Tracks

As mentioned at the top of the article, we have not attempted to list the shades of these stamps, but the scan above, as an illustation of the range of colours, shows the 1923 40c in Purple, Mauve and Violet.

c.1923 : 40c Violet : Map WITH Watermark [ . ] Scott: 647; SG 433

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c.1926/27 : 40c Map WITH Watermark : OFICIAL. 'L' with straight serif, with Stop.
Mexico Stamps 1921-1924 Officials 5 Pesos Tramway Tramvia Mexico City Tracks

c.1923 : 40c Map : With Watermark : Overprint in RED [ . ] Scott: O.174; SG O.465
- ditto - Overprint Inverted [ . ]

c.1923 : 40c Map : With Watermark : Overprint in BLACK [ . ]
Scott: O.188; SG O.466

Curiously perhaps, SG expressly recognizes (with a separate catalogue sub-number) the red overprint applied close to the top of the stamp (rather than in the middle). As can be seen from the scan, the black overprint may be found with the same variant. We have not attempted to list these 'placement' types. The scan above includes (at right) yet another colour for the 40c map stamp, grey-blue with a hint of violet.

1928 : 5 Pesos optd OFICIAL, letter 'O' now a broad elipse. (On the 1917 issue and therefore without watermark)
Mexico Stamps 1928 Officials 5 Pesos Tramvia Mexico City

1928 : 5 Pesos : Bright Green & Black : Tram Tracks, Post Office (rounded 'O') [ . ] Scott: O.193; SG O.484
- ditto - Overprint Inverted [ . ]

1933/34 : 40c Map OFICIAL - Later Overprint styles (on the watermarked stamps)
Mexico Stamps 1933/34 Officials 40c Map

1933 : 40c Map : optd SERVICIO / OFICIAL in two lines [ . ] Scott: O.207; SG O.545

1934 : 40c Map : optd OFICIAL in smaller letters than all the other overprints [ . ]
Scott: O.222; SG O.572

That completes the listing of the 40c Map stamps and the stamps of the first design of the Post Office in Mexico City, which were all 5 Pesos stamps.

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1926 (and later) : Post Office design in new frame, denominated 1 Peso
By 1926, the design of the centre of the 5 Pesos stamp was distinctly olde worlde but it was nevertheless re-used with embellishments such as a modest change to the very top of the building to include a flag-pole. The frame, though, was entirely new, as was the face value of all the stamps in this new design. Stamps printed in this design have the same watermark as described above for previous issues, except for the special issue printed solely in Black, which are unwatermarked.

Mexico Stamps 1929 UPU Congress 1 Peso Post Office Mexico City

Issue for the Second Pan-American Congress:
1926 : 1 Peso : Pale Chocolate & Black : Post Office & Tram Tracks [ . ] Scott: 665; SG 452 (with mention 'shades')
- ditto - but in Reddish-Chestnut & Blue-Black [ . ]
Scott: 665a; SG n/c

1929 : 1 Peso : Black (for UPU Congress presentation purposes) [ . ]

The above stamp, along with the other seven non-railway values from the 1926 Second Pan-American Postal Congress set, were printed in Black only on unwatermarked paper but they were not put on public sale. They were presented by the Mexican post office to fellow delegates at the UPU Congress in London in 1929 and copies on the market will emanate from delegates' packs.

Remainders, which had not been required for this purpose, were put to postal use with overprint HABILITADO / Servicio Oficial / Aereo Stamps (see immediately below).

Mexico Stamps 1929/1930 UPU Congress Oficial

1929 : 1 Peso Black (UPU Congress presentation stamp) optd HABILITADO / Servicio Oficial / Aereo [ . ] Scott: CO.10 SG O.500
A very scarce stamp; only 128 of the 1 Peso stamps received this overprint.

1930 : 1 Peso : Pale Chocolate & Black ***** : Post Office & Tram Tracks optd HABILITADO 1930 [ . ] Scott: 674; SG 491
- ditto - but in Reddish-Chestnut & Blue-Black [ . ]
- ditto - Overprint Double [ . ]
- ditto - Overprint Triple (no scan) [ . ]

***** We have not seen the 1930 overprint in this shade and require confirmation that it exists. Both shades are found with the 1931 overprints (below).

Mexico Stamps Post Office design Proofs Mexico Stamps 1933/34 Officials 40c Map

We have seen large proofs as above in Green (shown), Black, Reddish-Brown, Rose-Carmine and Greyish-Blue. The other scan shows a proof in Chestnut & Blue. Others will exist.

Mexico Stamps 1931 Habilitado on Post Office & Tram Tracks

1931 : 1 Peso : Pale Chocolate & Black : Post Office & Tram Tracks optd HABILITADO 1931 [ . ] Scott: 682 SG 514
- ditto - but in Reddish-Chestnut & Blue-Black [ . ]

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Moving on more than half a century, the Post Office in Mexico City reappears on stamps at least three times, in 1997, 2007 and 2010. We show these in full or in detail below, followed by a small range of period postcards views of the same building, with tracks or tramcars visible.

Mexico Stamps 1997 miniature souvenir sheet Post Office & Tram Tracks

Mexico Stamps 2010 miniature souvenir sheet Post Office & Tram Tracks Mexico Stamps 2007 miniature souvenir sheet Post Office & Tram Tracks

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Mexico Stamps Picture Postcard Post Office & Tram Tracks Correos Mexico Inauguracion 1907 Mexico Stamps Picture Postcard Post Office & Tram Tracks Correos Mexico Inauguracion 1907

Mexico Stamps Picture Postcard Post Office & Tram Tracks Correos Mexico Mexico Stamps Picture Postcard Post Office & Tram Tracks Correos Mexico

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