First Issues - 1861 to 1864

page 6.5


The stamps for nine Italian states have already been shown and a new convention will be introduced here, to review the commemoratives of all the previous state or province stamps when the parent country issues its first. These are shown overleaf and include a rather nice miniature sheet from a 1985 Rome exhibition.

Italy SG1 Sc17 Italy SG81 Sc115 Italy SG102 ScC1 Italy SG86 Sc119 Italy SG-O21 Sc-O1 Italy SGD6 ScJ1
24th February 1862
SG1 Sc17
1910 SG81 Sc115
50th anniversary of the freedom of Naples and Sicily
World's First Airmail
1917 SG102 Sc-C1
Express o/p
1911 SG86 Sc119
50th anniversary of the union of Italian States
1875 SG-O21 Sc-O1
Post Due
1863 SG-D6 Sc-J1

Italy’s 24th February 1862 #1 had a rather complicated gestation. The Italian states were united by 1860 under Sardinia’s King Victor Emmanuel II but national stamps were not issued for two years. During that period the states’ stamps were still used, gradually replaced by the stamps of Sardinia and then the 1862 national stamps were the Sardinian issues with perforations. The remaining stamps are a pretty ordinary lot (the 1911 ‘charity’ sold at a premium but is not regarded by Scott as a charity stamp), however Italy has the distinction of the first ever airmail, a 1917 overprint. Given that all the other stamp types were issued before 1917, Italy must by definition be the first country to complete the first set, beating Austria’s 1918.

Italy SGP38 ScQ1 Italy SGPE96 ScD1 Italy SG940 Sc718
World's First Parcel Post stamp
1884 SG-P38 Sc-Q1
World's First Pneumatic Post
1913 SG-PE96 Sc-D1
World's First Stereoscopic stamps
1956 SG940-41 Sc718-19

The airmail is not Italy’s only innovation, they also brought to the world parcel post (1884), pneumatic post (1913, five cities linked by pneumatic tubes) and stereoscopic stamps (1956, special glasses required).

Italy SG57 Sc1   Italy SG583 Italy SG678 Sc478
Italian Social Republic Campione Allied Military Government The Republic
1944 SG57 Sc1 1944 SG1 1943 SG583 Sc1N1 1946 SG678 Sc478

Italy has administrative variants to offer too. Following Italy’s surrender in 1943, Mussolini established the Italian Social Republic, which used Italian overprints (there were also commemorative and post due issues). There was a brief issue in the area of Campione (not found in Scott). Allied Military Government stamps were issued in 1943 and the Republic was established in 1946.


page written July 2013