Stamps Harbor Hidden Stories
Did you realize that stamps harbor hidden stories? Behind the rustic appearance of Mexico’s classic stamps, printed between 1856 and the 1880s, lurk banditos, lurching coaches, billowing dust, and the spectacle of old Mexico’s frontier days. The drama and adventure of those wild days attracted actor and philatelist Omar Rodriguez, a native of Mexico City who immigrated to the U.S. in 1989, when he was a child. He explains that, given Mexico’s dire financial situation during the nineteenth century, people used stamps as cash. Bandits often robbed coaches transporting stamps, thus forcing a system whereby the stamps remained valueless until officials manually overprinted the stamps in Mexico City.
Omar still enjoys the adventure stamps offer and the stories they tell. “Every time I visit a show or buy a lot, I take a different journey,” he says. Winning the APS “Champion of Champions” award in 2004 gave Omar particular satisfaction. “For a Mexican exhibiter to win the top American award was simply wonderful,” he recalls, “but don’t take yourself too seriously. Remember, collect for your own pleasure.”
Favorite: Second Issues on Certified Front, Mexico, 1861