A.O. Tittmann Specialized Collection of Sonora, Mexico

Finding Guide
Perforated Type “a” with “CENTAVOB” errors

Perforated Type “a” with “CENTAVOB” errors

Prepared by Thomas Lera, Winton Blount Research Chair.


The A.O. Tittmann Specialized Collection of Sonora, Mexico consists of four volumes of stamps, sheets stamps and covers from 1913 to 1915. The collection is housed on the original pages.


On March 31, 1960, Mrs. Margaret Tittmann donated the collection to the museum under Accession Number 229813. The collection was catalogued as 5,410 objects and three awards and certificates, totaling 5,413 objects.


In May 1911, President Porfirio Diaz was expelled from Mexico and Francisco Madero, the son of a rich landowner, assumed the presidency. In February 1913, General Victoriano Huerta instigated a revolution and the people of Mexico City rose up against Madero. On February 22nd Madero was assassinated and General Huerta proclaimed himself as the provisional president, until his official election took place on October 26, 1913.

Among Madero’s best friends and supporters were Maytorena, Governor of Sonora, and Carranza, the Governor of Chihuahua. When Huerta was elected President, Carranza and a few hundred of  his followers went to Sonora and he declared himself Chief of the Revolutionary Army. The State of Sonora revolted and declared itself free and independent of Huerta and started a civil war by driving the Mexican Federales out of the State of Sonora.

Prior to the revolution, the State of Sonora had the usual supply of government stamps on hand, but these were soon exhausted and it was necessary to provide new stamps for postal and revenue use.

The first of these stamps, “The White Issues,” were issued in May 1913. The inscription on these stamps “Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora” is translated as “Free and Sovereign State of Sonora.” These stamps were embossed with the word “Constitucional,” used as a control mark. However, they were hand struck, a slow a process, and the next issues of Sonora were overprinted with a green seal.

As with any revolution, there was a difference of opinions between Pancho Villa and the leaders and Cosme Hinojosa, the Postmaster at Hermosillo, so together they abandoned Villa, took all of the stamps, and went to Mexico City. This caused a great shortage of stamps leaving General Maytorena, one of Villa’s leaders now in control of the State of Sonora, to order new stamps to be issued. These stamps became the “White and Green Seal Issues.”

Included in this collection are stamps issued between 1913 – 1914, with many types, varieties and usages. It is one of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s finest international collections.