Eritrean Collectors’ Stamps
While most Americans would be hard-pressed to find Eritrea on a map, many stamp collectors know the tiny north African country as one with a particularly rich philatelic history. Formerly an Italian colony, and then annexed into Somalia, Eritrea finally gained independence in 1993. Like a lot of young countries, however, Eritrea has struggled in recent years, marked by an oppressive, single-party government, rampant human rights violations, endemic poverty, and the world's worst record for media freedom.
Collecting Eritrean stamps can be a depressing reminder of the legacy colonialism has left in certain parts of the world, but it's not a futile exercise. The stamps of Italian East Africa and Eritrea provide a window through which we can view and understand history, hopefully making ourselves more informed, sympathetic global citizens in the process.
Italian East Africa Stamps
The territory now known as Eritrea was one of the first in Africa colonized by the Italians. Italy had a presence in Eritrea as early as 1880, and by 1893 was issuing overprinted stamps for use in the region. In 1910, the first distinct issues were created for the territory, inscribed with "Colonia Eritrea."
In 1936 came the formal unification of all Italian colonies in the region as Italian East Africa. Comprising parts of what is now Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, Italian East Africa produced its own stamps until 1941, when the British overthrew the colony. Following that, Ethiopia regained its sovereignty and annexed Eritrea, beginning a struggle for independence that would last almost 30 years.
Eritrean Revenue Stamps
From the colonial period onward, Eritrea has produced numerous revenue stamps for use on various goods. For many collectors, these are a unique and rewarding area of specialization in their own right, with many good-quality examples frequently coming up for sale.
It is perhaps surprising to note the high values listed for many rare Eritrean stamps, particularly given most are Italian or Ethiopian overprints. That being said, many of these issues are highly attractive, with designs such as the 1922-1925 Elephant and Lions stamps from Italian Somaliland winning high praise from collectors and further enhanced by their relative scarcity on the open market.
Rare Eritrean Stamps for Sale
If you're considering starting a collection of Eritrean stamps, Apfelbaum, Inc., can help. We frequently have many issues available for sale in our online stamp store or Buy It Now sales, which are convenient choices if you are looking for something in particular.
In addition to sales, we also offer appraisals of rare Eritrean stamps, as well as rare stamps from Nicaragua or any other country in the world, and can come to your location to assess the value of your collection. Give our office a call to get started today.