Collectors’ Stamps from Finland

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Finland’s stamps are often overlooked in favor of those of its Scandinavian neighbors. For motivated collectors, however, there is much of interest that’s worth looking into. Finland’s postal history, particularly in its early years, speaks to the country’s complicated relationship with neighbor and occasional occupier, Russia. Many early issues are both attractive and historically significant, and a large percentage of them are not prohibitively expensive for the beginning collector.

Pre-Independence: Finnish Stamps From 1856-1917

Finland’s philatelic history is typically divided into two eras – pre- and post-independence. From 1809 to 1917, the country was known as an Autonomous Grand Principality of the Russian Empire. As such, it experienced some degree of autonomy over its postage and other affairs, though tensions persisted throughout this time. This is evident in the adoption of the Finnish coat of arms, instead of the Russian, on all postage issued in the region between 1856 and 1892.

In response to increasing Finnish nationalism, Russian authorities began to push back. One way this manifested itself was in postage. From 1892 onward, more Russian motifs, including the imperial coat of arms, began appearing on Finnish stamps. By 1896, the lion and crown – a heraldic symbol of Finland – was removed entirely.

Many of these early issues – both before and after Russification – are highly sought-after Finland collectors’ stamps. Color and perforation variants abound, and the conflict between Russian and Finnish influences makes them a fascinating study from a historical perspective, too.

After Independence: Finland Stamps From 1917 Onward

Ultimately, Russia’s efforts could do little to stop the tide of history and, following the February Revolution of 1917, Finland formally declared its independence. One of the new country’s first acts was to commission its own postage stamps. Designed by famous architect Eliel Saarinen, the first Finnish issues restored the heraldic lion to the forefront and prominently featured the inscriptions FINLAND and SUOMI. These stamps were issued continuously for the next 12 years, in various denominations and color combinations.

Other early Finland collectors’ stamps of note include the second major definitive series, first released in 1930, which featured another variation on the heraldic lion theme. As well, between 1922 and 1940, many highly attractive semi-postal stamps were issued to raise funds for the Red Cross.

Buying Finland Collectors’ Stamps

If you’re interested in beginning a collection of rare Finland stamps, there’s no better place to start than at the Apfelbaum online store. We have an extensive catalogue of rare issues from around the world, including many Finnish stamps from all eras of the country’s history.

Looking for something in particular to add to your collection? We can help. Get in touch with one of our experts today and discover why we’ve been a valued partner to collectors for more than 100 years.