- Postage stamps and postal history of Italy
Italywas not unified until 1861, its early postal historyis tied to the various kingdoms and smaller realms that ruled in the peninsula.
Cavallini" ("little horses") of Sardiniawas an early private 1819.
1850, Count Camillo Cavourdrafted a report to the Piedmont Chamber of Deputiesproposing postal reform along the lines of that which had been adopted in several European states, and including postage stamps, for which a new word - "francobollo" - was coined. The reform became law in November, and went into effect 1 January 1851.
After some casting around for expertise in the newfangled art of stamp printing, the government settled on the house of
Françoise Matrairein Turin. Matraire produced stamps with an embossedprofile of Victor Emmanuel II. (See Stamps and postal history of Sardiniafor the details.)
Other states in Italy also issued stamps during the
1850s: Modena, Naples, the Papal States, Parma, Romagna, Sicily, and Tuscany.
The Kingdom of Italy
Matraire's stamps were reprinted several times, and those printed after
17 March 1861are normally considered the first stamps of Italy. During 1860 and 1861 "Sardinian" stamps supplanted those in use in each of the territories that joined Italy, with Modena, Parma, and Romagna changing over on 1 February 1860, and Naplesnot converting until 15 September 1862(although the local authorities had earlier printed stamps featuring the arms of Savoy).
The stamps were
perforatedbeginning in 1862, and starting on 1 January 1863uniform postal rates went into effect. In 1862 Count Ambjörn Sparrewon the stamp contract, but his designs were not liked, and he seemed unable to produce the stamps. In danger of running out of stamps altogether, at the end of 1862 the Italian government once again turned to Matraire, who quickly produced a 15c value by lithography.
Sparre's contract was cancelled in March 1863, and a new contract let to the British printer
De La Rue, who produced a series of eight types ranging from 1c to 2l. They continued in use until the end of 1889.
Italy joined the
Universal Postal Unionon 1 July 1875.
Humbert succeeded his father in
1878, which necessitated a new issue of stamps. First appearing on 15 August 1879, they were the first stamps of the kingdom to be entirely designed, engraved, and printed by Italians. Since considerable stocks of Victor Emmanuel stamps were left over and finances were poor, the old stamps continued in use for some years, and some values of Humbert's stamps were little-used during his reign.
The new series incorporated rates and colors mandated by the UPU.
Victor Emmanuel III
2007, the issue of an Italian stamp featuring the Croatian city of Rijekacaused a controversy. [ [http://www.stampnews.com/stamps/stamps_2007/stamp_1198081083_236030.html StampNews.com : Croatia protests over Italian stamp ] ] The stamp referred to the city in its Italian name of "Fiume", claiming it was former Italian territory. This is seen as offensive in Croatiaas Rijeka was only a part of Fascist Italyfrom 1924to 1945, a time in which the Italian regime launched Fascist Italianizationagainst the local Croatpopulation.
Roy A. Dehn, "Italian Stamps: a Handbook for Collectors" (Heinemann, 1973)
Stanley GibbonsLtd: various catalogues
* [http://www.jl.sl.btinternet.co.uk/stampsite/home.html Encyclopaedia of Postal History]
* Stuart Rossiter & John Flower: "The Stamp Atlas"
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