1930 Early Airmails

There had been times when quantities of "misprints" and "errors" were produced by the Honduran postal authorities. 1923 was such a year. For some reason in this year one American and one English catalog decided to promote these "faults" to sanctioned varieties with unique numbers. Their listing included 20 numbered varieties for the year based on "misprints" in a surcharge. At the time German and French stamp catalogs refused to promote these items above purported examples of printing incompetence. Strangely, these newly numbered varieties were listed as available in mint but not used condition, a situation that can only be seen as a certification of the illicit intent of the catalog publishers.


1930 the Honduran Post Office returned in earnest to it old habits. This time, however, there was nobody, not even Seebeck to blame. This artwork was homegrown. Between 1930 and 1933, almost 600 different varieties of stamps were printed at the Government Printing Office. 113 were legitimate issues that were distributed to post offices, airport vendors and estancos. The rest were created under the direction of Mr. Durón, "errors" or "misprints" to be delivered through the back door to an American stamp dealer and catalog publisher.

American stamp catalogs certified the postal use of the creations and European catalogs, except for Yvert & Tellier, fell into line. The now defunct Sanabria dealer/catalog joined the promotion and Silombra was more limited in their acceptance. Many of the hundreds of creations have been removed from current international catalogs, but some remain.

On the other hand, these Durón creations do exist. They are not postage stamps but they exist and are highly collectable. In fact, they command premium prices and don't seem to have a central database to sort them out. The 1929-1933 Surcharge Key is a cross reference to fill that need.

Early 1930 Airmail overprints - that everyone ignored

It is interesting to note that the surcharges did not change the cost of the basic stamps. In 1930 Honduras used a silver peso of 100 centavos circulated at half the value of the American dollar, the US then using the gold standard. The letter rate via international air mail was 25 cents American oro, or 50 centavos Honduran. To this was added the internal ground rate of 6 centavos. The oro cost was very important because that is how Pan American charged to fly the airmail.

The presidential decree ordered that the overprints should read 10c or 5c or 25c oro so as not to cause confusion with 10 cts which indicated Honduran centavos. This did not happen. It was the start of the confusion. It still cost 10 centavos to buy the 10 centavos stamp that was overprinted 5 centavos oro! The result was that day to day nobody paid any attention to the overprints! Bad idea...

The first stamps taken out of storage were 410 sheets or 20,500 stamps of the 10 centavos 1924 Herrera issue. The type setting used for the 1929 Herrera surcharge was adjusted to read "1930." This yielded Surcharge E released February 21, 1930. Nine "mistakes" were created with this surcharge and had no demonstrated postal usage.

C20 through C23 The Type E surcharge above was applied in limited quantities in yellow to the Herrera 10c blue stamp. It was also applied in red to the 10c blue Herrera official stamp in storage.

 C33 only

The next stamp to be overprinted with the Type E overprint was the 20 centavos yellow brown Herrera. Bright blue was chosen. The first run of 20,500 stamps were incorrectly printed with the 5 cts oro surcharge. These were noticed before sale to the public and stored awaiting the correct surcharge. They will show up later in our history.

Another 20,500 of the 20 centavos yellow brown were overprinted with the correct surcharge of 10 cts oro. This time black was used for the Type E. But six sheets of the first run above of the blue surcharge were somehow "mixed in" with this lot. Some stamps from the six sheets made it through to sale overprinted 5 cts oro on 20 centavos. Just as before "mistakes" were created with this surcharge and had no postal usage including a violet Type E.

C22 C23 C24 C33

The next overprinting of the Type E required a realignment to fit onto the smaller stamp. Typo errors were made. An intense black ink was used. Again seven "accidents" were created and sold to dealers some with a 55 cts. black Type E overprint.


Next the Type E plate was mistakenly used on the green one peso stamp of 1915. The error was discovered and there was talk of destroying the entire stock and overprinting a new supply. But the one peso stamps were in short supply. Thus the entire lot of one peso stamps with the 25 cts overprint were stored away for a future surcharge. A trial printing of the Type E was made on three sheets of official 50c Herrera in dull black. Some of these were seen with postal use.
More about the Type E surcharge and pricing HERE

There was a growing need for 50 centavos stamps as that was the going rate for air mail. There was also a huge surplus of the still monetized San Lorenzo 50c official, the little used official stamps. (100,000 were printed!) The presses rolled and out came a Type J airmail surcharge.

1930 singles
More about the Type J surcharge and pricing HERE

Now began the overprinting of the stored lots with error of value. First came the stored lot of 25 cts oro mistakenly printed on the one peso green stamp. These were overprinted in black. These are Type H.
1930 singles part 2
More about the Type H surcharge and pricing HERE

Early in April the remaining error lot in storage, the 5 cts oro on the 20 centavo stamp, was surcharged again reading up with a large two line surcharge --the Type G. The printed sheets were of a different size so that there is an extra row of red overprints in the right margin.

At the same time 4 sheets of the 20c Herrera Type E slipped through and were overprinted with a red Type G. The usual varieties were sneaked to stamp dealers. 1930 singles part 3

More about the Type G surcharge and pricing HERE

Anderson Catalog of Classic Honduras Stamps ©2013.
The 1930 Air Mail Provisionals "A Comedy of Errors" by Irving Green in Aero Philatelist Annals July, 1957 pps 5-30.
C31 or San 38 by Irving Green in Aero Philatelist Annals April, 1956 pps 99-101.