Guatemala is a country located in Central America and shares a border with Mexico, El Salvador, Belize and Honduras.
On this day in 1871, the country issued its own postage stamps. The stamp, perforated 14 by 13.5 and made on white paper, was used until May of 1875. There were a total of 100,000 copies typographed by the Hotel des Monnaies (also known as the French Government Mint) in Paris.
The design of the stamp is a simplified version of the coat of arms of the country, which was created on May 31, 1858, by president Rafael Carrera. The image consits of the sun, which is considered a symbol of liberty, above a shield with seven vertical stripes that are placed above the three volcanos Agua, Fuego and Acatenango, which were featured on the Spanish coat of arms that was created on July 28, 1532. The two laurel leaves next to the shield are considered a symbol of victory.
Some challenges that arose when the stamps were issued included this specific denomination being in high demand, creating a lack of supply. The financial report by the government in December of 1872 lists only 50 mint copies of the stamp remaining. President Cerna was also overthrown. The change in government, in addition to the low supply of the 1 c. stamp, lead to the 5 c., 10 c., and 20 c. denominations being sold for .5, 1, and 2 reals and would be accepted for the same postage rates.
Mint stamps are more common for this issue, so it is not surprising that fake cancels are found often. In addition, there have been halves of the 10 c. stamps found connected to seemingly genuine cancels, but it is not possible to establish their authenticity.
Forgeries of the stamps are known to come in sheets of 25. Perforations, color, and the number of bars on the coat of arms are all different in forgeries from the genuine stamps. See this Forged or Genuine issue for more information on how to identify a forgery.
The stamps were replaced in 1875 with the liberty head issue, and the plates used to create the stamps in 1871 were given to the Royal Philatelic Society in London.