1877 Provisionals

Genuine copies are extremely, hopelessly rare. To be safe look for copies with written certification by Richard Washburn or Brian Moorhouse.

In April 1877 a postal guide booklet was published by the authorities in Comayagua, then the capital city. It listed all revised postal regulations, postage rates and instructions for overprinting the first issues as provisionals. Only six provisionals meet the requirements posted in the governmental decree and are valid postage stamps. They are pictured below and are breathlessly rare. Be careful. Anybody can initial the back of a stamp.

After demonitization the mint remainders of the first issue were sold to American stamp dealers. Any provisional other than the six described is by definition a fraud created from one of the flood of mint first issue remainders and was created outside of Honduras. One international authority in England has draconianly removed all these 1877 provisionals from their catalog! Will the Anglo bias against all things Hispanic ever dissipate? However, one catalog lists them but doesn't recognize them. Another recognizes three. An American catalog lists them but recognizes only five.

The provisionals were valid for only 16 months (2 in Comayagua and 14 in Tegus) in anticipation of the Morazán issue that had been ordered from a foreign printer. They were demonitized August 1, 1878. Only three declared genuine copies of the provisionals exist on piece. None, that's right. None exist on cover. Hmmm.

view of Comayagua

Two types of overprints

There is a framed Comayagua type and an unframed Tegucigalpa type. In August of 1877 the authorities moved the capital to Tegucigalpa. Gossip has it the local privileged class in Comayagua didn't show the president's wife proper respect. This change might explain why the unframed overprints are not as rare. The framed surcharges do not possess the tick mark characteristic of Tegucigalpa issue and are extremely rare with written certification. Remember, they were valid for less than two months!

1877 APS
Certified, framed Comayagua issue 2r black on 2r pink

framed also

What is the likelihood of your finding a genuine Comayagua provisional without written certification for sale? Zero.

Tegucigalpa Issue

The unframed Tegus provisionals too are rare but occasionally show up with a genuine written certification.

The medio real is always on a green stamp. The ink is a heavy orange-red. Each was hand stamped so impressions vary from heavy and smeared to light and barely perceptible.

The un real is always on a green stamp using thick, black ink. Some examples show an upstroke on "u."

The dos reales is always on a pink stamp. The ink runs from dull red violet to a blueish black.The initial "s" has no ending stroke so it appears an O like in "doo." It can be so light as to be barely perceptible.

1877 on paper
Genuine provisional on paper with a mute MCB and a very rare ADM1 cancel from Santa Rosa.

6 genuine

Notice that the surcharges vary from horizontal on the stamp to no more than 20 degrees up or down.

Washburn certificate

Keep in mind that, like the first issue, the market has plenty of "used provisionals" parading fake cancels like those of the first issue. To be 100% sure make sure it has a Washburn or Moorhouse certificate.

1877 Provisional Forgeries

The best way to begin the detective work is to verify that the stamp itself isn't a fake using the link 1865 forgeries. If it is you are done. Yes, even though millions of the first issue were sold directly to stamp dealers, some counterfeiters used forged stamps to cover with fake overprints. In fact here is one from the Anderson Collection!

1877 forgeries on a fake

So the stamp seems genuine. Does it have a framed overprint? If yes, your chance is less than being struck by lightening. Literally. I have but one APS certified and some photos of good and bad found in the literature. Two genuine used framed are in a museum in London. Another genuine used is in a private collection in Tegucigalpa. That makes four. That is all we know of. If the stamp does not have a full certificate, not just signed, from a known source --- it is fake. Just like the one that follows.

1877 signed forgeries

Don't forget --these provisionals were available for only eight weeks! Get the idea?

1877 forged cover

The creator of this forgery didn't do his homework. The only cancel of the five that ever saw a Honduras post office is the partial D2 and that didn't come along until 25 years later!

1877 framed forgeries

If your surcharge is unframed your chance for a genuine issue is a little better then zero since there were many more produced. Is there a small checkmark just above the right hand star? No? It is very likely a forgery. Yes, there is a little check mark above the right hand star? Yes, great. Now check out the steps to follow for the final seal of approval.

The genuine medio real was printed on a green stamp with heavy orange-red ink. Medio reales not printed in red-orange are counterfeit. Impressions vary with heavy and blotched to almost imperceptible.

The genuine un real was printed on a green stamp with thick black ink. Notice the graceful little serifs to end the n of un and start the r of real. The serifs are very difficult to duplicate and should be there. If the ink is not black or if it is on a pink stamp it is a counterfeit.

The genuine dos reales was printed on a pink stamp using ink that varies from violet blue to blueish gray. If it is on a green stamp or if the ink is a different color it is a counterfeit.

Additionally, here are some counterfeit unframed surcharges from the literature. For every genuine provisional you will find hundreds of counterfeits made up from the millions of new issue wallpaper.

unframed forgeries

More examples to add to the bogus parade. Some are quite attractive!

parade of bogus

Here is a group of genuine stamps with counterfeit overprints. It has two primary plates flaws and no secondary plate flaws. Can you tell what part of the sheet of 120 stamps this was cut from?

group of 6


prices 1877

-Anderson Catalog of Classic Honduran Stamps by Craig Anderson © 2013.
-Honduras Report by Richard Washburn The Oxcart, summer 1989.
-Honduras Report by Richard Washburn The Oxcart, fall 1989.
-Honduras 1877-1889 by Honduras - the 1877 Surcharges by Bernard Davies in Mainsheet November, 1982 pps 23-25.
-Honduras: Comayagua and Tegucigalpa Surcharges of 1877 by Harrison Schaff in Congress Books 1941 pps. 41-48.
-Honduras: the Provisionals of 1877 by L.Fulcher in London Philatelist, December 1922. Vol 31 pps. 308-309.
-The 1877 Provisional Issue of the Republic of Honduras by Henry Holmes in London Philatelist reprint 1955 No. 372 pps. 86-93.

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