The Anotados are Part III of The Great Postal Fraud trilogy. The fraud began in 1869 and bled the Mexican Government for over two years, ending only when the 1872 issue was placed into use at the various post offices. From the end of 1869 and right up to the final days of the 1868 issue, which is approximately the end of April 1872, the postal forgeries were being sold as genuine stamps, thereby greatly impacting sales of Government printed 1868 stamps.
As a result of the proliferation of the postal forgeries, the Postal Administration took various steps to eliminate the hemorrhaging. These steps are outlined in several articles and books. Roberto Liera wrote two articles on the subject, one was published in MEXICANA in the July 1991 journal, entitled "Type of Mexico - It's History Set Straight", and in October 1977, "Postal Forgeries of the 1868 Issue". Then in December of 1997 and January of 1998, John Heath's two part article, entitled "The 1868 Issue & the Great Postal Fraud" was printed in MEXICANA, the official MEPSI journal. Plus the handbook published by MEPSI entitled "Mexico, The 1868 Issue, A Specialist Handbook" by John Heath and Doug Stout' provides good information about the Tipos, Habilitados and Anotados.
Anotados were introduced early in 1872 when the Postal Circular #5, dated February 29, 1872, was distributed. That circular outline various steps that would be in preparation for the new (the 1872) issue of stamps. One of the procedures outlined by Circular #5 was that stamps that were in private hands could be brought into the post office where an identifying mark would be placed on them. Although the circular did not specify, the mark had to be the "Anotado" that shows up on many of the stamps used in the months of February, March, April and May.
There could be a difference of opinion how stamps were collected and received the anotado overprint. One famous student believes that the postal administration seized stocks of stamps, applied the anotado and kept them. Another student believes that stocks of 1868 stamps were voluntarily turned in in exchange for the new issue. However, the new issue was not ready. Although the 1872 issue was supposed to be released on March 1, 1872, it was not actually released until later on March 26th.
This 4 week delay is very likely the reason that both the anotados and the habilitados became necessary. If the stocks of stamps that were in Mexico City had been brought in and received the "Anotado" overprint, then it was likely that the post office in the 4 week period actually started running out of stamps and were forced to use the anotados. Perhaps by design, they would have used the 1872 issue, but due to the circumstances began using those marked "Anotado" until the 1872 issue was actually ready. This is the most likely explanation.
The 1872 issue was an issue that was designed to make it impossible for forgers to, ever again, create stamps to defraud the government. The normal procedures of having the office number, date and the district name imprinted on the face was still a requirement. But one additional procedure made it practically impossible for future would be forgers to counterfeit the stamps. The paper used on the 1872 issue was purchased with a moiré pattern imprinted on the back that would make it impossible for counterfeiters to duplicate the paper. Apparently these measures worked well to some degree and the Great Postal Fraud came to a close once the 1872 issue was in place. But in the two years prior to the 1872 issue the counterfeiters had a profitable field day.
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the end of the 1868 issue. It was obvious that the Postal Administration was undergoing some major issues. The Postmaster General, Luis Gutierrez Correa, was suddenly downgraded and replaced by a senior official, Pedro de Garay y Garay. And official circulars were being distributed at a much greater frequency than ever before.
But in the very short interim period between approximately February 1872 and May 1872 a great postal history ensued. The tipos were discovered and the anotados and habilitados were born.
1868 Issue of Mexico, The Great Postal