Dubai Collectors' Stamps
Dubai is one of the seven main administrative regions that make up the United Arab Emirates. It consists most notably of Dubai City, though the emirate is also home to several other smaller villages and towns.
Seen by many as a symbol of the Middle Eastern oil boom in all its problematic decadence, Dubai City is one of the most expensive municipalities in the world and home to gaudy extravagances such as the Burj Kalifa — the world’s tallest building — and Ski Dubai, an indoor ski facility.
However, the public perception of modern Dubai doesn’t tell the whole story. One of the reasons why Dubai’s stamps are of growing interest to collectors is that they allow us to look at the Emirate in an entirely different light, and see how it has grown over time into what it is today.
Dubai in Context
Modern Dubai was established in the early 18th century. By 1833, it was an independent emirate with a growing population. Along with several other nearby regions known as the Trucial States, Dubai was a British protectorate between 1892 and 1971. After that, it united with Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain to form the modern UAE.
Though petrodollars fuel much of Dubai’s current economy, the emirate was prosperous long before the discovery of oil. In the 19th and early 20th century, the region was known for its pearling fleets. Before that, it was a major trade hub due to its proximity to Iran.
Stamps of Dubai
The first post office in Dubai was opened in 1909. At the time, like several other Middle Eastern states under colonial influence, British authorities oversaw mail service using the postage stamps of British India. Following India’s independence, Dubai’s postal system was run first by Pakistani authorities. In 1948, it reverted to British control.
During this time, Dubai served as an important mail hub for service through the British protectorates in the region. Overprinted UK stamps were used as postage, until being replaced by issues that were specially printed for use in the Trucial States. This persisted until 1963, when Dubai assumed responsibility for its own postal service and began printing its own stamps. Many of the more valuable Dubai collectors’ stamps date from this period.
Following the founding of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, Dubai stopped printing its own stamps, and their use was phased out over the next two years.
Collecting Dubai Stamps
If you collect rare Dubai stamps and are looking for something in particular, Apfelbaum, Inc. can help. We routinely have stamps from all eras of the country’s history available in our online store. We also provide valuations and other services for anyone with a collection of Dubai stamps they are considering selling. Contact our office directly for assistance.