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Mexico's Madero Issue

by Bonnie & Roger Riga

madero.jpg (21696 bytes)Revolutions often produce stamps that become cinderellas when the revolution fails. Governments in exile are frequent producers of eventual cinderellas. Interestingly, the revolution in Mexico just before the first World War was successful, yet produced an issue of stamps that fell between the cracks philatelicly.

Francisco Madero was the first Revolutionary President of Mexico. A champion of democracy and social reform, he led the revolution that swept through Mexico in 1910. With the support of Pancho Villa, he overthrew the Porfirio Diaz regime and assumed the presidency in 1911. A successful coup by Gen. Victoriano Huerta forced him to resign the presidency in February, 1913 resulting in Madero's arrest, imprisonment and subsequent assassination.

Sometime later , Ellis Brothers Printing in El Paso, Texas, was approached by Pancho Villa to produce some stamps with same frame design as the 1914 "Denver Issue" of Mexican stamps, but with the bust of Madero in the center. Five values were produced: 1 cent green, 2 cent purple, 3 cent red, 5 cent blue and 10 cent orange. White unwatermarked laid paper was used. The issue was gummed and perfed 11 1/2 and 12. Printing varieties abound. Tan newsprint-type lithographed, ungummed and imperforate "proofs" were also prepared. In the meantime, Pancho Villa had gone on to Mexico City and no longer had any need for these stamps, leaving the Ellis Brothers with a large supply of questionable stamps on hand.

That's the story anyway. The Ellis Brothers died in the 40's, their printing plant along with their records were destroyed by fire and no one seems to know exactly what transpired in the days after the Revolution. Catalogers are wary, but divided on the subject of authenticity of the issue. It's probably best to consider them "ordered, but never used." As such, they fall somewhere between a genuine Revolutionary issue and a fantasy, but in any case an honest-to-gosh cinderella. Mexican collectors will, like the catalogers, divide between acceptance and rejection of the issue. Cinderella collectors and topicalists will no doubt find a home for these stamps either way.

This column first appeared in Scott Stamp Monthly and has been edited for online presentation.
This page was last updated July 9, 2016.
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