HomeOficina Impresora de Hacienda - 1915-1923

De postwaardenproductie in Mexico / Stamp production in Mexico

April 12, 2018

Rein C. Bakhuizen van den Brink

Algemeen / Algemeines / General

Diverse / Verschiedenes / Various

During the First World War 1914-1918 several Latin-American countries were in the avant garde as far as the use of new printing methods were concerned...

We saw Argentina introducing offset-litho in 1916, Mexico did experiment with the unscreened photogravure parallel to the use of recess; the first stamps appeared in 1916.

Ten years later Mexico issued the first stamp printed in bicoloured recess using just one [1] plate.... Mexico was 12 years ahead of the next stamp issuing country: Poland used that method once in 1938, France followed in 1939 and continued to use it till now!

Since 1916 and before 1936 the Mexican stamps were printed by the Oficina Impresora de Hacienda [State Printing Works] in recess/intaglio or in a very similar process that resembled more the later photogravure. As a matter of fact they used both the traditional recess AND the adapted process for the very same stamps! In other words they were experimenting with the printing process and eventually went on with what we now know as photogravure.

From 1936 the TIEV [Talleres de Impresion de Estampillas y Valores] took over using the same process [unscreened photogravure] on the newly imported printing press made by GOEBEL, Darmstadt, Germany.

The history of the Mexican stamps as to their printing methods has not really been written up to now. It is thinkable that even the experts writing catalogues like Celis Cano had no idea about the richess of Mexican stamp printing history.

Today, the emphasis had been on the modern definitives like the "Mexico Exporta" series with some 20 different types of paper - according to the experts - so they completely forgot about the earlier issues!

the traditional version:

The unscreened version:

The 1c Eagle of 1915 is just the start of the experiments. Some 15 years later the Oficina de Hacienda had perfectioned the unscreened process:

A side line is the complexity of the Mexican watermarks:

The blue lines following the diagonals of the symmetrical paper wire, the orange line pointing in the direction of the text line; and the yellow line following an identical character in a subsequent line of watermark - "MEXICO CORREOS"

No doubt they must have had contact with European printers like the Nederlandsche Rotogravure Maatschappij, at Leiden, the Netherlands and the printing press manufacturer GOEBEL AG at Darmstadt, Germany.

The NRM had played an important role in introducing the then rather new printing process of photogravure in Europa and also had had their own particular contribution in the form of the so-called "unscreened" method. A method with a result very close to that of recess printing but so much more cheaper! The poor-mans recess they might have called it.

After a quantum leap in time the TIEV proceeded with the autotypical photogravure - unlike the traditional screened photogravure in which the hole were depth-variable, the autotypical holes were surface-variable resulting in smaller and larger dots.

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Last updated on April 12, 2018

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