Collectors’ Stamps from the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic occupies the larger portion of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with its French-speaking neighbor, Haiti. The country has been independent since 1924 and is currently home to just over 10 million people. A large Dominican diaspora is present in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada and Mexico. As a result, there is a growing interest in stamps from the Dominican Republic both within the country and in the larger philatelic community.

A Brief History of the Dominican Republic

To understand the Dominican Republic and its stamps, it is helpful to know a little about the country’s history. The Dominican Republic — not to be confused with Dominica, a separate Caribbean country located in the Lesser Antilles — has been inhabited by the Taíno people since the 7th century. Hispaniola was famously the site of Columbus’ first landing in the Americas, and Santo Domingo, founded in 1496, is recognized as the oldest European settlement in the New World.

The Dominican Republic was under French rule from 1795 to 1809, but reverted to Spanish control when Haiti became an independent state. The country enjoyed a brief independence of its own between 1821 and 1822, before being annexed by its neighbor. The unified Hispaniola lasted until 1844 when the Dominican Republic once again declared itself a sovereign state.

The first decades of the 20th century saw widespread instability in the country. The United States assumed control over the Dominican Republic’s finances and occupied the country between 1916 and 1924. Post-independence, strongman Raphael Trujillo ruled between 1930 and 1961, with varying degrees of US support. Today, the country is relatively stable, though political corruption, income inequality and infrastructural problems are widespread.

Stamps of the Dominican Republic

Postage has been in use in the Dominican Republic since 1861. Between 1865 and 1880, unique postage was created for internal use, though because the country was not a member of the Universal Postal Union, these first Dominican Republic stamps were not inscribed with its name.

The first stamps bearing the Dominican Republic name were issued in 1880, at which point the country joined the UPU and assumed control of its foreign mail services from Britain.

Despite US occupation and other instability, the Dominican Republic continued to issue its own postage throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Collecting Stamps of the Dominican Republic

Apfelbaum, Inc. routinely has rare Dominican Republic stamps available for sale in our online store. The country’s long history provides much for collectors to explore.

Looking for something in particular or need advice about building your collection? We can help. Contact our office by phone or email to speak with a representative.  

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