Italy Collectors’ Stamps

Known for its food, music and art, Italy has a philatelic history that is no less rich. Collectors with an interest in the country and related regions have a wide range of options for specialization, many of which can be started without a large initial expenditure. Rare Italian stamps are also a great long-term investment, as a strong market both domestically and abroad means more notable issues are likely to rise in value in the future.


The country we now know as Italy wasn’t formally created until 1861, when several distinct states in the region combined resources to form the Kingdom of Italy. Pre-unification, many of these early states were among the first to print their own postage, with issues dating back as early as 1851 from Modena, Parma, Sardinia, Tuscany and the Papal States.

Some of these rank among the most rare Italian stamps, though many can be found at auction for a relatively reasonable price. Shedding a fascinating light on Europe’s byzantine 19th century history, the stamps of the early Italian states make a great area of specialization for any likeminded collector.

Kingdom of Italy Stamps

The unification of the Italian kingdom in 1861 brought the first wave of official Italian stamps issued countrywide. Perforation and unified rates were introduced in the following few years. During this time, Italy produced many attractive stamps, including the first Victor Emmanuel II design in various colors and denominations.

Two further notable events marked the early period of Italian philately: the 1878 definitive issues that, following the ascension of Humbert I to the throne, were the first printed in the country, and Mussolini’s rise to power in 1922. Following this latter event, Italian stamps came to acquire a decidedly propagandistic quality, echoing back to the glories of classic Rome in a series of issues celebrating both the glories of the earlier Empire and the current administration’s colonial ambitions.

Italian Colonial Stamps

Both before and during the rise of fascism, Italy pursued an aggressive policy of imperialism, annexing and colonizing territories in Africa, the Balkans, Turkey, China and beyond. The country maintained post offices in all of these territories and often printed special-issue stamps for use in the region. Today, these are a prominent area of study for anyone interested in collectors’ Italian stamps.

Buying Rare Italy Stamps

No matter what particular area you specialize in, Apfelbaum, Inc., has collectors’ Italian stamps for sale that can add to any collection. We offer several convenient ways to shop, including Buy It Now sales. Our team of experts can help you find that hard-to-locate rare Italian stamp. We also offer appraisals, advice and more. Keep browsing our website to learn more about how we can help you.

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