STAMPS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Most kinds of stamps that are or have been issued in the Netherlands, are also issued
in foreign countries.
We can use almost the same classification as in the last chapter.
Almost all countries of the world issue permanent stamps. Sometimes the difference
between permanent and special stamps can only be ascertained with the use of a
Austria: monument- and costume series (3.1 and 3.2)
The Federal Republic of Germany: castles, industry and engineering series
(3.3 and 3.4)
Italy: castle series (3.5)
Greece: costume series (3.6)
A few countries, such as Belgium and Great-Britain have (just like Holland) series
of definitive stamps with a portrait of the head of state (3.7 and 3.8).
All countries publish special stamps (special occasion stamp) for several purposes
and subjects. Below we present some examples:
- 150 years Kingdom of Belgium (3.9)
- Faröer Islands, Gothic sculpture, 1980 (3.10)
- 350 years of British postal service, 1985 (3.11)
- Belgium, pedagogics, 1981 (3.12)
- Federal Republic of Germany, Winter Olympics 1976 (3.13)
- Canada, Olympic Games, 1976 (3.14)
Sometimes these stamps have a "political character"; that means that they are
with a political purpose, such as the stamp that was issued in France in 1941 with the
portrait of Marshal Pétain (3.15).
Special stamps with extra charge
These stamps also appear in foreign countries; especially the Red Cross stamps will be
found in many countries.
Examples of Red Cross issues:
- Iceland, 100 years Red Cross, 1963 (3.16)
- Denmark, for peace, Red Cross (in different languages), 1966 (3.17)
- Finland, 100 years Red Cross, 1977 (3.18)
- France, 1939 (3.19).
Examples of other special stamps with extra charge:
- Belgium, beneficence, 1978 (3.20)
- Belgium, solidarity, 1979 (3.21)
- Luxembourg, Caritas (Love of one's neighbour), 1983 (3.22)
3.20 3.21 3.22
- Switzerland, Pro Juventute (for the youth), 1983 (3.23)
- Finland, international stamp exhibition NORDIA, 1975 (3.24)
- Federal Republic of Germany, Für die Jugend (for the youth), 1969 (3.25).
Special stamps with an international character
Stamps with an international character are often issued by a few countries at the same
time, in order to draw attention to a common theme. Sometimes all countries use the
same representation; in other cases each country determines the representation
separately, but still based upon the common theme.
The best known issue for the countries of West-Europe is the annual emission of the
- Luxembourg, 1964 (3.26)
- Belgium, 1967 (3.27)
- Greece, 1972 (3.28)
- Sweden, 1975 (3.29)
- Guernsey, 1978 (3.30).
3.28 3.29 3.30
Other stamps with an international character are the so called "Joint Issues"
of the Nordic
countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland) (3.31 and 3.32).
Here also belong the stamps that have been emitted in many countries on the occasion of
celebrations of important organizations, such as the International Labour Organization
(ILO) in 1969 (3.33 and 3.34) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (3.35)
and the World Postal Union (Union Postale Universelle, U.P.U.) (3.36 and 3.37).
3.33 3.34 3.35
Great-Britain and France together with their former dependencies issued and sometimes
still issue series of stamps with a common subject or a joint theme. Examples from the
English areas are the so-called "omnibus-issues" (in England the word "omnibus" means
the same as joint):
- the jubilee of King George V, 1935 (3.38)
- the 100th birthday of Sir Winston Churchill, 1974 (3.39)
- the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, 1981 (3.41).
Examples from the French areas are:
- the International Colonial Exhibition in Paris, 1931 (3.40)
- the international exhibition PHILEXFRANCE 82, 1982 (3.42).
Postage due-stamps are easy to recognize, because sometimes the country's name is
while there is an indication with the word "taxe" or "port" of "postage due":
- Italy, 1870 (3.43)
- Indonesia, 1973 (3.44)
In England, the United States and other English-speaking countries, these stamps often
the words "postage due" or "to pay":
- Canada, 1935 (3.45)
- Canada, 1967 (3.46)
- United States, 1987 (3.47).
3.45 3.46 3.47
Sometimes you will find foreign stamps with the letter T printed or stamped on; these
either postage due-stamps or normal stamps used as postage due-stamps:
- Belgium, 1919 (3.48).
Sometimes you may find a postal item (usually a letter) on which a letter "T"
is stamped, with
a written number next to it; this is a note of the postal services that the postal item has been
prepaid insufficiently and that the recipient - the person to whom the item is addressed - has to
pay the postage which is still due (the missing amount plus the administrative expenses) (3.49).
Italy was the first to issue an airmail stamp to pre-pay the mail that was going to be
in an experimental flight from Turin to Rome and back on May 22nd, 1917 (3.50); the purpose
of the stamp was made recognizable by a surcharge.
Austria published the first series of airmail stamps in 1918 for a regular service from
Krakow and Lemberg to Kiev; they printed a surcharge with the special postal rate on stamps
of the regular series (3.51).
Examples of other airmail stamps:
- Belgium, 1946 (3.52)
- Canada, 1946 (3.53)
- United States, 1968 (3.54)
- Russia, 1924 (3.55)
- Finland, 1963 (3.56)
- Spain, 1931 (3.57).
Just as regular stamps, airmail stamps can be subdivided into different groups:
memorial stamps (3.58), beneficence stamps and air-field-post stamps (3.59 and 3.60).
There are also appearances of special airmail stamps for flights with air-ships, the
Service stamps are used by the government. In the former Dutch East-Indies, they used
normal stamps with the overprinting "DIENST" (service) (3.62); Great-Britain used the
overprinting "OFFICIAL". Luxembourg has used the indication "OFFICIEL" as a perforation
and as overprinting (3.63, 3.64), while Belgium uses the letter "B" either as a surcharge or as part of
the presentation of the stamp for use as service stamps of the Belgian Railroad (3.65).
3.62 3.63 3.64 3.65
Freedom of postage for soldiers
In a number of countries, the government issues special stamps for soldiers so they can
correspond with their families without having to pay for it (3.67). Belgium has such special
"free postage" stamps but also stamps with a discount on the postal fees: these stamps are
recognisable by a letter "M" in an oval (3.68).
3.67A 3.68 3.67B
Great-Britain was the first country that issue telegraph stamps (1851). Belgium emitted
in 1866 (3.69); the Belgian model was later copied by the Netherlands.
In 1885 the first express stamp of the world was issued in the United States. Many
countries - such as Belgium, Italy and Canada - followed (3.70). Such a stamp means that
the extra fee for quick delivery of the mail has been paid and is also an indication that the
letter has to be delivered quickly. In the present-day, these stamps are going out of fashion;
prepayment is possible with normal stamps and by sticking a label with the word "express"
or "special delivery" on the envelope.
Return-stamps were used by the postal services to return the undeliverable articles. In
speaking countries sometimes the words "officially sealed" are mentioned on these stamps (3.71).
Sometimes a value is printed on them, but most of the times there is no indication of any value.
They are actually no stamps, but just indication labels. They have a special place in the catalogue,
and because they are in mentioned there, they are collected.
Some countries have special stamps for the prepayment of postal parcels; these are in
Examples are Belgium (3.72), France and Bavaria (with a surcharge or perforation of the
E = Eisenbahn = railroad) (3.73).
In many countries you have to pay tax for window-advertising or for affixing posters
You have to go to the tax-collector's office to buy tax stamps, that must be stuck on each leaf
of the advertisement.
These tax stamps or fiscal stamps (in the Yvert-catalogue indicated as "timbres
often very similar to postage stamps, but they are not that! The F.I.P. has approved them as
exhibition-objects, but then they have to be considered as a separate area. So do not insert
hem in your stamp collection, keep them separated when you get them.
But watch out: in some countries (like England and colonies) in the past people were
to use tax stamps to pre-pay the mail. The Yvert-catalogue indicates these as "timbres
fiscaux-postaux". These therefore are stamps, and they are allowed in a collection. It may be
handy to consult the catalogue or an experienced collector (3.75).
Just as in Holland, stamps in other countries are for sale in different designs. We can
just a few examples.
In all countries, post offices have to work fast and efficiently; it's also easy to let
a number of things. That's why you will also find coil stamps there to facilitate the sale by the
postal employee or in a stamp vending machine; the permanent series of stamps are often sold
The foreign countries were again leading the way. Coil stamps were put into use in the
States around the year 1900 (3.76); Sweden followed soon after that (3.77).
Stamps from stamp booklets
Great-Britain, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Sweden and France were very early
the emission of booklets with stamps. Those were usually the so-called "counter-booklets",
that were only available at the post office counters (3.78 and 3.79). Later people could buy
stamp booklets from an automat.
Certain countries use the covers of the booklets for advertising, mostly for the use of
organization, but sometimes also of private firms.
Look at a complete sheet of stamps; beneath the lowest row of stamps you will find a
of white paper.
The postal service or the printing office may have printed all kinds of indications on that strip.
When Israel became an independent state in 1948 and started publishing their own
they decided to print an explanation of the representation and the text of the stamp on that
lowest strip of paper. The strip with a text, that hangs underneath a stamp is called a "tab";
later the "full tab" came into existence: beneath the tabs came a new sheet margin with a
perforation in between (3.80). Because of the popularity of the Israeli stamps with tab,
many countries have copied that.
Apart from that, the use of stamp-appendices existed before that time. In Belgium mail
used to be delivered also on Sunday; if people objected to that, they would stick a stamp
with the tab "no delivery on Sunday" on the letter; those who were not opposed to the
system would tear the tab off the stamp. You will find these tabs with Belgian stamps
published between 1893 and 1913 (3.81).
There were also stamps with tabs on which advertisements of private firms were printed,
for example in Italy (3.82). Do not tear the tabs from the stamps, for instance when you
are soaking them.
- In foreign-countries generally the same types of stamps appear as in Holland
- The first airmail stamps were published in Italy
- Stamp booklets and coil stamps were published in foreign countries earlier than
in the Netherlands.
- Stamps with tabs appeared already in the past century.
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