Collectable and Rare Tuscan Stamps

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The Grand Duchy of Tuscany, an independent state until 1859, had a long tradition of postal delivery and a brief but extremely notable philatelic history. Private mail service in Tuscany dates back to the 1300s, with routes running between main cities Florence, Pisa and Livorno. The Medici family, which ruled the region until 1737, had a lasting impact on this system, formalizing operations and bringing it under state control in 1704.

During the Medici period and beyond, letters were generally sent postage due, at first with hand-drawn markings and later with rubber stamping indicating their city of origin. Letters and envelopes from this period are highly sought after by collectors, with well-preserved examples rivaling in value some of the rarest Tuscany collectors' stamps of the 19th century.

Introduction of the Postage Stamp

Postage stamps were first used in Tuscany in 1851. Prior to being annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia, Tuscany produced two main issues, both of which are highly prized by collectors today:

  • The Marzocco, which was originally issued on April 1, 1851. The first adhesive stamp used in Tuscany, Il Marzocco encapsulates the artistry the region is famed for. Its striking design, featuring a lion wearing a crown and resting its paw on a fleur-de-lis, was based on a sculpture by Donatello. Until the dissolution of the Tuscan state, the Marzocco was issued multiple times in various denominations for local, international and newspaper mailings. Despite its prominence, the Marzocco is one of most prized collectors' stamps from Tuscany, and select denominations have a catalogue value of over $2,500.
  • The Arms of Savoy, which was used in the transitional period of 1860, during which Tuscany was a member of the United Provinces of Central Italy. Featuring the same border as the Marzocco, the stamp used the Coat of Arms of the House of Savoy in place of the lion design. Its short run — Tuscany was annexed in March of 1860 — has made it the rarest Tuscan stamp and also the most valuable stamp ever issued in Italy.

How to Buy Tuscan Stamps: The Problem of Forgeries

Forgeries are a significant problem when shopping for rare Tuscany collectors' stamps. The high value and relative scarcity of both issues has led to a rash of forgeries, many of which are quite difficult to distinguish from the real thing. Before buying anything, it's important to do your research and ensure you are getting what you will be paying for. Ultimately, the best way to avoid forgeries is to buy from a dealer you can trust.

Rare Tuscan Stamps for Sale at Apfelbaum, Inc.

Apfelbaum, Inc. frequently has Tuscany collectors' stamps for sale. Since 1910, we have been providing expertise and dedicated service to the philatelic community. Shop with confidence in our online store. Check out our inventory online or contact our office for more information about upcoming sales.

Wondering if that rare Tuscan stamp collection you inherited is genuine? We offer appraisal services for authentication, valuation and insurance purposes. Give us a call at 800-523-4648 or contact us online to find out more about what we can do for you.