Peter Bamert is the editor of the ‘Postal Stationery of Mexico’, a comprehensive work that catalogues Mexico’s envelopes, postal cards, wrappers and more.
CLA How did you get interested in collecting postal stationery?
PB As a boy I began collecting stamps of the whole world. Then I started a topical collection about reptiles. One day I found a Mexican cover of the National Express with the Mexican coat-of-arms (an eagle with a snake).
From this moment I fell in love with Mexican postal stationery.
CLA What is the definition postal stationery?
PB The FIP commission defines postal stationery as “comprising postal matter which either bears an officially authorized pre-printed stamp or device or inscription indicating that a specific rate of postage or related service has been prepaid”.
CLA What have been the main challenges in building your collection?
PB Starting a collection is easy. Most Mexican postal stationery envelopes, cards, etc. are readily available on the market. However, finding the more advanced missing items gets more difficult. Only patience and the tireless searching of dealer’s boxes, the internet and auctions helps to bring the collection forward.
CLA Tell us about some of your favorite items.
PB Firstly, a 30 cents US Wells, Fargo and Co envelope (4th Nesbitt issue) with the pre-printed sub-heading of “Paid over our Mexican Coast and California Express – $1.05”.
Jas Viosca, the agent for Wells Fargo at La Paz, sent this envelope on January 14th 1872. It went via the ship New Bern to Gaxiola & Andrade, General Commission Merchants, in San Francisco. The red express label with the manuscript “La Paz S.C. Mexico” denotes special handling by a Wells Fargo messenger.
Secondly, a cover of the National Express Company which was operating in the 1890’s along the Ferrocaril National RR route (see image at top). Nothing rare but with beautiful handwriting and a nice company frank.
CLA What inspired you to write a book?
PB When I started collecting the postal stationery of Mexico, the MEPSI catalogue was the best reference available. However, it did not list the express companies and other categories of postal stationery.
As time went by, more and more unlisted items appeared. Therefore, in about 1995, I decided to update the MEPSI and Higgins & Gage catalogues. It took me some twenty-three years to complete my oeuvre.
CLA What information does your book contain?
PB This is primarily a catalogue of all Mexican postal stationery known, up until 2017. However, it is very detailed and contains many intricacies which makes it more of a handbook than a catalogue alone.
For example, it contains all express companies which are listed in detail.
CLA What advice do you have for a new collector considering starting a postal stationery collection?
PB Start with a basic collection of the area of interest. Then:
- look out for literature (not just catalogues!)
- join a club with people who share your field of interest (in Switzerland, for instance, the Schweizerischer Ganzsachensammler Verein or SGSSV)
- start exhibiting early! This brings you new friends and much good advice
CLA Do you have other stamp collecting interests?
PB Yes, I collect postal stationery from other South American countries (Peru, Bolivia and El Salvador). As a Swiss, I also collect private postal stationery of Swiss banks.
Additionally, I collect postal history of the Trans-Siberian railroad during the czarist period (c. 1895 – 1919); an extremely interesting topic with many railroad related cancels and nice post cards.
‘Postal Stationery of Mexico’ is available for direct purchase from the United Postal Stationery Society website.