Collecting Greek Stamps
The history of Greece has fascinated scholars and audiences for generations. Perhaps no other culture has quite the hold on the popular imagination that Greece does. After all, how many blockbuster movies are made about Polish mythology or Bulgarian legends?
It should come as no surprise that the Greek postal service has used its stamps to celebrate many facets of the country’s rich cultural history. Likewise, Greek philately is an object of fascination for many in the stamp collecting community. Greece collectors’ stamps are some of the most frequently sold, sought out and written about.
Philately of Early Greece
One of the founding members of what would become the Universal Postal Union, Greece has been steadily printing both definitive and commemorative stamps since the late 1800s. In 1859, the Ionian Islands, then under British rule, issued a set of three imperforates featuring the profile of Queen Victoria.
Greece itself soon followed suit. In 1861, the first of the famous Hermes Head stamps were issued, featuring a design used for the next 25 years. Hermes Heads alone can constitute a dedicated area of study for anyone interested in collecting Greek stamps. Throughout their printing, each denomination was made from the same plate, which makes classifying them with accuracy a considerable challenge.
Other notable issues during this so-called Classic period of Greek philately include the small Hermes Head series, which was printed from 1886 to 1900, and the postage due stamps, which were first issued in 1875.
Greek Philately From 1896 Onward
Greece hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and printed its first set of commemorative stamps to mark the occasion and defray the costs of the Games themselves. This marked a period of increasing national ambition that culminated in the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. A number of now-rare Greek stamps were issued during this time, including the 1901 Flying Mercury definitive, which replaced the small Hermes Head; a 1906 commemorative issue for that year’s Intercalated Games; and several wartime stamps produced for use in occupied and annexed territories.
Other notable stamps from this period and later include the country’s first airmail stamps, issued in 1926, and a 1923 overprint with the inscription “ΕΠΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΣ 1922” (Revolution of 1922), commemorating the military coup that led to the overthrow of King Constantine I.
Starting a Collection of Rare StampsFrom Greece
Greece’s postal history has continued through a period of occupation in World War II to the 2010 debt crisis and its current aftermath. No matter which area of the country’s philately you are interested in, Apfelbaum, Inc., has many rare stamps from Greece for sale through our online store and Buy It Now sales. There’s no better way to start your collection or find that one issue you’re currently missing. Contact our team today to learn more.