2 reales, green.
|Plate I emerald||
Plate I olive
April 16, 1857
Plate I sapphire
January 19, 1857
Plate II green
May 19, 1857
|Plate III blue-green|
Three plates were used: Plate I & II with 60 subjects arranged in 6 columns and 10 rows, and plate III with 190 subjects arranged as 19 columns and 10 rows. The stamps produced from plate III are also found on porous wove paper from 1858.
There were 13 deliveries of the 2 reales stamps from the printers. The actual number of printings is unknown. Stamps from the first two (smaller) plates are much scarcer than stamps from plate III, but scarcity can be strongly dependent on which district the stamps were used in, since some districts received a larger proportion of the early plate stamps.
|Quantity sent to districts||1629773|
|Returned from districts||-13438|
|From plate I & II||285780|
|From plate III||1330555|
|Survival rate||Quantity surviving|
|Plate I & II||Plate III|
It is not possible to say whether the stamps from the various plates have survived at the same rate. It is generally believed that plate I and II are equally scarce. However, some experts are of the opinion that plate II is scarcer than plate I.
Though the 2 reales was also used split in half, it was only done very rarely. The number of split stamps hardly affects the quantity of surviving whole stamps.
According to Chapman the first delivery of the 2 reales was printed exclusively using plate I and II, and plate III was used for production as of the second delivery from the printer. It should be noted that the number of stamps received from the printer is not the number of stamps printed. We will show how it is possible to substantiate Chapman's claim.
The following timeline will try to show that all the stamps from the first delivery were distributed before March 1857, and that only stamps from plate III were distrubuted after that date.
|July 30, 1856||First delivery: 285780 good stamps. 4763 sheets of 60 or one of 250 combinations with sheets of 190 stamps.|
|August 1 - December 30, 1856||All consignment quantities are divisible by 60, but not by 190, assuming that only whole sheets were distributed.|
|December 30, 1856||Second delivery: 247000 good stamps. Could be as 1300 sheets of 190 or one of 216 combinations with 60 stamp sheets.|
|January 10, 1857||Mexico City receives 1900 stamps: 10 sheets of 190 presumably, or 19 sheets of 60 + 4 sheets of 190, if only whole sheets were distributed. All other districts receive consignments divisible by 60. Most deliveries to Mexico City from this date on are divisible by 190.|
|January 31, 1857||Third delivery: 345420 stamps. Could be as 1818 sheets of 190, 5757 sheets of 60 or any one of 302 other combinations.|
|February 25, 1857||Queretaro and Tabasco receive the last consignments in a size divisible by 60. Prior to this date all districts except for Mexico City received quantities divisible by 60.||February 25, 1857||The total quantity of dos reales stamps delivered to this date is 281100 = 4685 sheets. This would leave 78 sheets not accounted for.|
|March 3, 1857||Veracruz receives 9120 stamps, a number divisible by both 60 and 190.|
|March 3, 1857||Orizava receives 3040 stamps, a number not divisible by 60, implying that all or part of the delivery was in sheets of 190.||March 5, 1857||Mexico City receives 5320 stamps, potentially as 76 sheets of 60 + 4 sheets of 190, leaving two sheets of 60 unaccounted for.||March 13, 1857||Mexico City receives 120 stamps, as two sheets of 60. All 60 subject sheets would then be accounted for.|
From March 3, 1857 and onward most consignments are divisible by 190. This gives reason for the following speculations:
- The first delivery from the printer consisted entirely of stamps from plate I and / or plate II.
- The second delivery consisted entirely of stamps from plate III
- All 285,780 stamps delivered on July 31, 1856 were sent to the districts.
- The earliest date for a plate III stamp would be January 10, 1857, and it would be from Mexico City
- Any stamp from Mexico City with a cancel date after late March 1857 is most likely from plate III.
- The earliest date for a plate III stamps overprinted and used outside of Mexico City would be March 3, 1857, from Veracruz or Orizava. Any stamp used prior to this date, and not from Mexico City, is almost certainly from plate I or II.
- All stamps from plate I and II were distributed by mid March 1857.
It must be stressed that no proof has been presented here, only conjecture. It should be noted that stamps could potentially be used a long time after they were distributed.
|Plate I||Plate II||Plate III|
|Vertical spacing between stamps||6 - 8 mm.||4 - 5 mm.||0 - 3.5 mm.|
|Colors||Emerald, sapphire, olive and dark olive.||Green, "dry" green||Deep bluish green, olive and yellow green. Many shades.|
|Paper||Hard||Hard||Hard or porous|
|Shading lines||Weak, indistinct||Weak, indistinct||Heavy, well defined|
|Framelines||Yes||Unknown, but most likely.||Yes, possibly faint|
Plate I stamps are normally about 7mm apart. A vertical pair from plate II showing a 4mm margin was in the Mazepa sale on December 10, 2000.
There are other minor things to look for, but some are not consistently present. The horizontal spacing is not a good indicator for determining which plate a stamp originated from, since it varies a lot. In general, the stamps were spaced a bit further apart on plate I and II, but some positions are as close as they often are on plate III.
One indicator is somewhat subjective, and necessitates a stamp for comparison (or a lot of experience), and that is the quality of the impression. It is generally better in plate I than in plate II. The colors found on plate I are not found on plate II.
CAVEAT EMPTOR: The difference between plate I and II has not been adequately described to me at this point. The only real difference seems to be the vertical spacing between the stamps. However, very few vertical pairs exist (none exist from plate I), and very few stamps have adequate margins to show even a small piece of the stamp above or below. Color seems to be used to distinguish between plate I and plate II, a very inadequate and subjective distinction, at best.
The emerald green stamps from the Mexico district are only found with the solid, serif font overprints. The hollow type overprints were put in use later and are not found on at least the emerald plate I. It is unknown if the hollow type overprints were used on some of the other plate I and plate II stamps. It is common on plate III stamps.
The following images were provided by Nicholas Follansbee. They show the major colors found on the 2 reales stamps.
A color study of the 2 reales stamps can be found at
Please be aware that color is a subjective perception. A very large amount of these stamps are inaccurately described by buyers and sellers alike. It is strongly advised that you get an expert opinion before buying the more expensive stamps. Visit MEPSI for info on getting a stamp expertized.
|Known district||Plate I
|I. del Carmen||(X)||500||400|
|Tepeji del Rio||500|
Note: According to Bubba Bland, an expert on the 2 reales, the olive shade from Guadalajara exists, but olive shade from Mexico City does not. The sapphire from Mexico City is only known as a forgery. The olive shade from Chihuahua, Huejutla, Merida and Veracruz is known, but is (or was) not priced by the Follansbee catalog. Stamps in the emerald shade from Tixtla Guerrero are priced in the latest edition of the Follansbee catalog. Many other stamps may exist, and even in quantity, though they are not priced.
The numbers indicated (with permission) in this table are the prices quoted in the 1998 Follansbee catalog. The catalog was last revised in 2006 (3rd edition), and you are strongly encouraged to acquire a copy of the newest version. Many updates have been made. See footnote.
The emerald green plate I stamps seems to be the only kind sent to the following districts: Apam, Baja California, Chalco, Ciudad Bravos, Tepeji del Rio and Tulancingo. The fact that some varieties are not priced, should not be taken to indicate that they do not exist.
The following districts did not overprint their stamps, and are therefore only recognizable by the cancel: Colima, Guadalupe Hidalgo, Perote, Polotitlan, San Felipe del Obraje, Tepeji del Rio, Texcoco, Tlalpam, Villa del Valle and Zitacuaro. Guadalupe Hidalgo and Tlalpam were overprinted with the MEXICO overprint. Tepeji del Rio is found both with and without the MEXICO overprint.
Guadalupe Hidalgo and Tlalpam received stamps from plate I (or, less likely, from plate II). On March 12, 1859, Zitacuaro received one sheet of 190 stamps from plate III. None of these stamps are known to exist today.
|District||Sent||Returned||Used||Used % of total||Ratio vs. Mexico|
|Isla del Carmen||1620||360||1260||0.08%||337.7|
|San Felipe del Obraje||190||190||0.01%||2239.5|
|San Luis Potosi||77780||5363||72417||4.44%||5.9|
|Tepeji del Rio||310||310||0.02%||1372.6|
|Villa del Valle||190||190||0.01%||2239.5|