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Mexico - An Introduction

Mexico is the 3rd largest country in North America. It has the 2nd largest population and the largest city in the world. Veracruz, on its southern coast, is the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere.
Most of us think of Mexico as the land of tomorrow (manana), where life is slow and things to do are usually put off as long as possible. One only needs to travel to Monterrey (a northern industrial city of several million), to Guadalajara, or to Mexico City to see the change from former habits to a bustling business-oriented environment. The government has commenced decentralization and has drastically reduced control of industry. The president has opened the door to foreign ownership of industry, has sold off government-owned monopolies, and has promised private ownership of banks once again. At present, he is negotiating a free trade treaty with the USA similar to that signed last year by Canada and the USA. There still exists a huge gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, however, change appears to be blowing in the wind from the south. Capital flight from Mexico’s coffers has slowed dramatically from the rate known during previous administrations. Japan, America, and the European Community are looking toward Mexico.
As a reader, you might ask, what does all this have to do with philately? I will explain it as I see it. I have always felt that a philatelic entity should have three basic attributes in order for it to be a significant factor in the world of philately:
1.    The country (stamp-issuing entity) should have mature, interesting history.
2.    It should lend itself to specialization.
3.    Its countrymen should collect their own stamps.
In these respects, Mexico excels. It is the oldest settled country in our hemisphere, its philatelic makeup is unique in several respects, and with its efforts to join the U.S. and Canadian economies, it will provide even more opportunity to Mexicans to collect their own.
Mexico has few sterile periods of stamp-issuing years. Many of its classic issues have been studied and publicized. Even in today’s environment, Mexico is providing an issue that lends itself to study.
In 1975, Mexico’s president decreed that its next definitive issue should announce to the world indigenous products available for export. Amid turbulent and changing technological conditions, its current “Exporta” series was designed and issued. For some 15 years, it has been extolling products such as beef, glass flasks, auto parts, iron work, chemicals, tiles, copper, and other Mexican-made products.
Born during Mexico’s experimentation with automatic sorting devices, the first issues of the “Exporta” series are phosphorescent coated. Printed on two different GOEBEL linear presses, perforations are changed and re-engravings are required. Add to this, changing paper contracts, and you have a formula for specialization that will include the inevitable plate flaws, imperforates, missing colors, and double prints to which the GOEBEL press is susceptible.
Over the period of fifteen years the EXPORTA issue has been printed, Mexico’s airmail rate to the USA has risen from 80 centavos to 1500 pesos. That, even by our 1980-81 inflationary experience, is dramatic: the inflation factor computes to 187,400%! Stamp face values range from an initial 5 centavos through 5000 pesos.
Post offices ordering procedure and distribution techniques are such that an entire printing “run” may be sent to one outlying post office. If that particular printing has a different paper, watermark, perforation, or color, a rarity could be born and some have been.
Collectors and dealers have categorized this EXPORTA series into eleven different issues with sub-categories within each. Some 550 different listings are known so far and I believe more will be reported. Some are quite scarce through almost all are within the average collector’s means of acquisition.

This has been reprinted from Global Stamp News – February 1991 – Issue #4

Contact's: Bill Shelton