from Mexicana, Journal of MEPSI, April 1997
Compiled by Jaime Benavides
As everyone involved in Nineteenth Century postal history or stamps knows, Mexico was repeatedly in turmoil from the time it began its quest for independence in 1810 until independence was gained in 1821.
This turmoil continued, with short respites until the Diaz regime. After this, several years of relative calm ensued until the beginnings of the Mexican revolution.
During this entire period the use of forwarding agents played a very importante roll in the conduct of business, both within Mexico and internationally. These agents in Mexico were usually forwarding agents secondarily as an adjunct to their normal business, which might be bankers, shipping agents or merchants of many differente types who performed the duties of forwarders, either for a fee or as an unpaid service, frequently to assist firms whith which they did other business.
|An cover (unfolded for display) forwarded by MEYER, DOORMANN & CO. (Monte Hensley's collection)|
Frequently, their services were needed to assist transmission of mails through areas where postal service was either unavailable or inreliable due to strife or civil unrest, but the greater portion of forwarding agent usage was found on international mails where the agent would assist with placement of the letter, usually directly with a ship's captain or through use of foreign mail systems such as the British or French provided.
Use of the forwarding agents in this manner could frequently greatly reduce the transit time to overseas locations and in many cases, could reduce the delivery costs involved.
What follows is a complete list of all Mexican forwarders and locations from Kenneth Rowe's book, Postal History and Markings, as well as additions which were found after the book's publication.
|A letter addressed to Pari forwarded by the Esteban Benecke Sucesores in Mexico City (Monte Hensley's collection)|
Forwarded covers most frequently include markings from only one agent, but can also include markings applied by forwarders in route with two, three and, in one case, four forwarding agent's markings on one cover. It is interesting to note that the only known cover bearing four forwarding agents is a cover from Mazatlan to London, which was forwarded in Mexico city, Veracruz, New Orleans and Boston before delivery to its ultimate destination.
This article deals only with the Mexican forwarders, even though several of the covers on which these markings are shown also bear secondary or tertiary markings, either from inside Mexico or applied in Havana, New Orleans, Boston, New York or several differente European locations.
Mr. Rowe states a double forwarded cover has a scarcity approximately 25 times that of a single forwarded cover. A triple handling covers are aboyt 75 times as scarce.
|An example of a forwarder's mark in manuscript on a letter to Downieville, California (Monte Hensley's collection)|
As with other international mail to and from Mexico, most of the forwarding covers are on mails to the United States, England and France with coverage to Sapin more scarce. Othe forwarded mail from Mexico exists to Italy, Gibraltar, Ireland, Germanu and several other countries with these being relatively unusual destinations.
Much of the information in this article is taken with the kind permission of Kenneth Rowe, author, and Leonard Hartman, publisher, of the Postal History and Markings of the Forwarding Agents, 1996. This is an excellente and comprehensive book on forwarding agents and is available from Leonard H. Hartman, Box 36006, Louisville, Kentucky 40233. Information from this book is also available on the Internet at http://www.pbbooks.com. The book is available from the publisher for $ 47.50 or $ 52.50 with a computer disk index.