Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

I decided to start a thread showcasing my new Greek collection.

I find it a fascinating challenge to do a country outside the British Commonwealth and one with so much history and culture. It is also a country I visited and have always admired the culture, landscape and artworks along with their contributions to history and society.


A selection of Hermes heads! Greek stamps of the late 1800s
A selection of Hermes heads! Greek stamps of the late 1800s

My Greek Collection stretches from the Hermes heads of the 1860s, through to the early 1980s and includes, charity stamps, Cretan occupation and a few special others.

As always my earlies are patchy up to the 1911 Hermes and Iris set and my understanding of the 1st issues is patchy and I apologise for mistakes.

I will start tomorrow with the Hermes heads. You will also see that until the Athens Olympics in 1896, Greek Stamps were quite non descript and plain next to the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean.

Greece's glory days ended with Alexander frankly and the 19th and 20th centuries were not good to Greece.


1940 Greek Youth stamps - rare
1940 Greek Youth stamps - rare

This set from a brief flirtation with fascism, that ended badly for Greece.
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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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WELCOME TO GREECE

A southeastern European country that laps the Mediterranean, Ionic and Aegean Seas, Greece consists of a large portion of Mainland (Euboea, Peloponessus, Thessaly) and many islands in the seas, some are very large and most are occupied. Greece has a very mild climate with hot dry summers and mild wet winters (Although the mountain areas are colder and wetter).
Map of Greece from 1930 stamp
Map of Greece from 1930 stamp
Stretching from 42 North to 35 North (Crete) the islands include mountains, plains and many hilly islands. There also several volcanoes such as Santorini and some of the Dodecanese Islands meet the Turkish coast. The Greek people are ethnic Indo Europeans and are mostly Orthodox Christians with small Catholic and Muslim minorities. The capital is Athens in the state of Attica and has been so mostly since about 1,400BC. Athens is also the largest city and has the port of Piraeus along with cultural attractions and museums, most importantly the Acropolis with its Parthenon. Other large cities include Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion on Crete along with Ioannina and Volos. Population is near 11 million people.

Greece became independent in its modern form in 1821 and was a Kingdom between 1831 - 1861 and 1864 - 1922, 1935 - 1967.

More soon.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Before we get into the stamps, some basic history and currency notes.

History
Greece has a long human history going back to early Homo Sapiens variants, whose 300k year old fossils were found in Macedonian and Thessalian caves. Later in the early Neolithic era - people from the levant settled the Mainland (Argolid/Helladic), Islands (Cycladic) and Crete (Minoans). The Neolithic farmers brought wheat and animals like goats and made pottery. These villages started trading and by 3,000BC Bronze was being used and traded. The next millenium saw the rise of the Minoan culture which lasted through to 1450BC and included palaces, great art and a high level of civilisation.
Ancient Mycenae
Ancient Mycenae
Minoan Bronze age vase of octopus
Minoan Bronze age vase of octopus
The Islands also saw some accomplished cities and arts like Akrotiri and a famous eruption of Santorini saw it destroyed in the mid 2nd millenium BC. On the mainland was the Mycenaean civilsiation based around the city remains and the stories of Homer! All these cultures used Bronze, traded with each other and the Levant/Egypt. They left great architecture (Walls, Tholos tombs, Palaces), Artwork such as vases, frescos, horns, gold and silver work and even written language (Linear B), which was found to be an early form of modern Greek.

These cultures collapsed around 1100BC (Troy even though in Turkey, was an "Aegean" culture town and thus considered ancient Greek too). For a couple of hundred years a dark age ensued with limited art and trade, and then around 900BC Dorians from the east arrived and the Iron Age began, city states started and Ancient Greece was never a full empire until Alexander the Great! The most powerful states were Athens and Sparta and others were important like Corinth, Thebes, Aegina etc. These people wrote epic stories, traded, formed the earliest democratic and oligarchic societies and founded trade colonies in Italy, France, Spain and even parts of North Africa. Coinage began in earnest around 650BC, and there were many wars between themselves and foreign powers like Persia (490 - 478BC). Artwork reached a very high standard and by 480BC completely naturalistic human forms were being made.
Acropolis
Acropolis
The Acropolis in Athens was one of the finest and most accomplished buildings ever made. Classical Greeks gave us modern government, acting, finance, laws, literature, art and many more gifts we use to this day. Democracy is a Greek word and Invention (Demos = people). However a series of wars between powerful Athens and Sparta tore apart this world by 400BC and the world limped through the 300s until Philip of Macedon and then his son Alexander made the Greek states a unified polity and then Aleexander conquered the known world eastwards. Upon his death, the empire was divided and a large area from India to Greece was hellenized until the Roman era.
The oracle at Delphi
The oracle at Delphi
Greek gods and languages were used through this world. However the bloc started to shatter from the inept dynasties and the Egyptian Ptolemies only held on to 31BC the longest. Iran broke away by 220BC, most of the eastern places a bit later, Judah in 166BC (Maccabees/Hasmoneans) and Rome rose in power so that by 150BC Greece was the Roman Province of Magna Graecia. Romans generally treated Greeks well, borrowing their culture (Roman Gods and Greek gods were basically the same Zeus = Jupiter etc, Hermes = Mercury). However Greeks did not like the foreign power and today many Roman era ruins are neglected or seen as unecessary like the Arches, temples and tracks at Olympia or Marcus Agrippa's Propylon on the Acropolis.

Under Roman rule, Greek remained the main language in the east and after the Eastern Roman Empire which became Byzantium, the Greek world shone again with a new capital at Constantinople (Istanbul). Until the 600s the Greek Byzantine empire controlled all of the eastern Mediterranean and now Orthodox Christianity was the religion. Islam was the next threat reducing Byzantine hold to Greece, some of Anatolia and bits and pieces of other palces by 800AD, but the Greek culture and religion had spread north into Russian and Slavic places.

In 1204 Constantinople was sacked by the Latin European crusaders and it barely hung on until 1453 when it fell to Ottoman Muslim Turks. Greece itself fell at the same time and Greece became a firman of the Turkisk Muslims Empire. For a tax people could remain Christian, but Greek culture was essentially suppressed. The low point came with a Mosque built in the Acropolis by 1550AD. Fortunately the Greek line had moved into Russia when Sophia Palelologue, the daughter of the last Byzantine emperor married the Tsar Ivan III in Moscow around 1460 and the world of Orthodoxy revolved there for a while (You will notice most Russian first names are in fact Greek - Vasily, Konstantin, Aleksandr, Nikolai, Ivan, Igor (John and George)).

In 1683 a bombardment by Venetians saw the Acropolis bombed and some say it was the Ottomans who did it as an arsenal was stored there. Various islands moved in and out of European and Turkish control.

By 1821 the Greeks had enough and an independence movement began, with many skirmishes and fights. A siege at Messalonghi ended in much death and in 1827 the European powers suggested a new arrangement with Turkey which saw some limited home rule for southern Greece and the Turks refused, this led to the Battle of Navarino in which the allied forces won and in 1830 Greece became independent again.

More next post as we enter the age of stamps!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Starting in 1831 the Greeks were given an unwanted foreign ruler and this was a German called Otto of Wittelsbach who was popular for a while, however by 1860 he had gone mad and was forced out.

In 1863, a Prince George of Denmark was declared the new king of Greece. He was the son of King Christian IX of Denmark and his sisters married the Tsarevich of Russia (Alexander III) and Prince of Wales (King Edward VII), so the king did well. He arrived in Greece in 1863 and married Olga of Russia and Britain gave back the Ionian Islands as a wedding gift. Greece in 1864 only included the islands and the Peloponese and a small part of the argolid, the rest including Crete was still under Turkish control.

George was a popular and capable king, but resented for not being ethnically Greek like any of the subsequent rulers, however the late 19th century Greece was doing okay and his high point came in 1912/13 when he was instrumental in the Balkan war victories in which Greece's land area expanded to largely today's borders and Crete was seized in 1900 and formally made Greek in 1912.

List of Rulers

Otto - 1831 - 1862 (Otho)
George I - 1863 - 1913 (Yorgios I)
Constantine I - 1913 - 1917 and 1920 - 1922 (Konstantinos I)
Alexander I - 1917 - 1920 (Died from an infected monkey bite) - Alexandros
1st Republic 1922 - 1935
George II - 1935 - 1947 (Yorgios II)
Paul - 1947 - 1964 (Paulos)
Constantine II 1964 - 1967 (With generals and in name only to 1973)
Army Rule (1967 - 1975)
Republic 1975 - now.

The recentlt deceased Duke of Edinburgh was a Grandson of King George the 1st, through his son Andreas.

Currency

The currency on the Greek stamps remained the same between 1861 and 2001, it was the Drachma made up of 100 Lepta (Singular = Lepton). All early Greek stamps used Greek characters that look different to our own.
Hermes heads showing Lepton appears
Hermes heads showing Lepton appears
Lepton looks like AEP or AEH in Greek characters, very few stamps after 1935 used Lepta given inflation
1926 Greek stamps in Drachmai
1926 Greek stamps in Drachmai
Drachma on the stamps looks more like "APAXMA" or "APAXMI" (Drachma, Drachmi = plural).
Some times it is shortened to APX

There were 3 Drachmas, the first two were ended due to severe inflation

1st Drachma - 1861 - 1944
2nd Drachma - 1944 - 1955 (50 billion to 1)
3rd Drachma - 1955 - 2002 (1,000 to 1)
Euro - 2002 now (But we won't show any of these stamps)

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Finally some stamps!

The Hermes heads were the first two issues that went from 1861 to 1886 and the second series of small Hermes heads through to 1900.

Hermes heads were designed by the Frenchman, Albert Desire Barre and bear a very striking resemblance to the earliest stamps of France (1849 Ceres and 1850s/60s Louis Napoleon heads). This website has more info

http://www.coinsworld.eu/info/hermes-head-stamps/#:~:text=La ... f%20France. It also discusses everything up to the Olympics issue of 1896.

All Hermes head stamps are imperforated and most types have the values on the back for 5 Lepton and above. Stamps were only issued at these rates, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40 and 80 Lepton - later the 30 and 60 Lepton were added as per UPU regulations and for new rates.
1860s Large Hermes head stamps of Greece
1860s Large Hermes head stamps of Greece
My own collection is very patchy before 1912 and my knowledge of these is very low, I could be very wrong but put them in order on the collection I bought and from what I could work out looking at catalogues.

The first series was released on October 1st 1861 and the impressions from Paris are very high quality - all the stamps, plates and a printing press arrived in Athens in 1862 and printings carried on there.

You may also notice similar postmarks to France (Double ring and Lozenge with numbers).
1860s Hermes head stamps 2
1860s Hermes head stamps 2
2nd page, I believe I have a Prussian Blue 20 Lepta here. Apologies for condition too (Its the best you can do for an $80 whole collection purchase).

Close up of numbers and what the stamps look like
Hermes close up and figures on back
Hermes close up and figures on back
The figures on back were added as an anti forging measure, most paper of these was very flimsy and plain. These stamps were used for 25 years! The 1 and 2 Lepton were obviously newspaper or junk mail rates. I think 5 Lepton was cards, 10 Lepton local mail and higher rates 20/25 overseas mail and 40 Lepton was registered or parcel.
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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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I have 2 more pages of these early Hermes head stamps and assume as these are later, I have identifications correct. One of these days I will study them more as compared to other early series, they are relatively cheap to get and then one could go into blocks, postal history and various postmarks!
1870s Hermes head of Greece
1870s Hermes head of Greece
Again this is guesswork, these must be more scarce!

The last page I have more and includes the new values of 30 and 60 Lepta from 1876. Again there are the high quality Paris Impressions (Barre was still working as the old French stamps like this were still being printed and used for the colonies of France until 1877), and the lower quality Athens ones. I suspect my 60 Lepta should be on the left side, not the right as its engraving is great.

The last set I am confident with as its super common and 1880s postmarks give it away!
1880s and late Hermes head stamps of Greece
1880s and late Hermes head stamps of Greece
Some of my better examples here.

By 1886 it was time for something a bit more current, but as you will see, what came was even more mediocre.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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The next series was known as the Small Hermes Heads, as the design was more crude, had a smaller image of Hermes (It looked like he was wearing a colander with wings).

They were printed and designed in Belgium initially by Henri Hendrix and printed at Timbre Belgique at Malines, later issues again in Athens. The Belgian prints are better but not by much.

The 50 Lepta stamp was only printed once in 1886 and some were perfed in the 1890s. That is why there were no 50 Lepton stamps on the Athens print page. At the time, 50 Lepta was not a rate in Greece and with many 40 Lepta stamps - it was simply not needed.
1886 - 1900 Small Hermes head stamps of Greece
1886 - 1900 Small Hermes head stamps of Greece
These were what I think were Belgian examples. The 25 and 50 Lepta along with the first 1 Drachma stamp were issued on 1 April 1886, the rest on February 1 1888.

Underneath are the perfed stamps that started appearing in 1891 in perf 11½ (Belgian printings) and 13½ (Greek printings). My examples are fair I guess, good to have the 3 earlies.
1888 Greek stamps Small Hermes
1888 Greek stamps Small Hermes
The Greek printings are less clear and I have many of them but not all. My perfed examples are even less of them.

This is another issue that probably outstayed its welcome, by 1900 this type of stamp looked very basic and dated (Cheap surface printing). Something better was coming - but first an international event that put Greece on the map!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Whilst the Small Hermes heads stamps were in common usage, Greece's first Commemorative stamp issue came out. This was the 1896 Olympic Games held in Athens.

A special occasion as the Olympics had not occured since the late 4th century AD due to a ultra Christian emperor banning them (Good old Christians ruining all our fun). Christians would not have liked the homoerotic imagery on these stamps either :lol:

The Panathenaic stadium in Athens was used, parts were ancient but its mostly from the 1890s. In celebration a set of 12 stamps were issued and I have 9 of them.


1896 Greece Olympic Games Stamps
1896 Greece Olympic Games Stamps

The set covered values from 1 Lepton up to 10 Drachma, which was revolutionary given no stamp so far went past 1 drachma. The designs were interesting borrowing from ancient Greek gods, motifs and the 1 and 10 Drachma showed the Stadium and 10 Drachma the Acropolis.

I am missing the 2,5, 10 Drachma as they are very expensive. The ones I do have are more common, although the 40, 60 Lepta and 1 Drachma are harder than the others to get, the 4 low values are very easy. The 60 Lepta only had 23k issued, the lowest of all of them.

1 and 2 Lepta show wrestlers, 5 and 10 the discus thrower (Diskobolos), 20 and 40 have a vase showing Pallas Athene a goddess of victory, 25 and 60 Lepta show the racing chariot of 4 horses (Quadriga, think Ben Hur), 2 drachma shows Hermes with a tiny baby (Callisto?) and 5 Drachma is symbolising again Victory.

My opinions are the set was interesting given the theme and unique as no Olympic games had been held for 1500 years and no stamps celebrating them. The heritage shown is great, but the cheap surface printing ruins it and the set looks cheap and nasty.

Even the landscape stamps look crude and the views of the stadium (1 Dr) and Acropolis (10 Dr) are very crude. In this case the classical designs look better than modern ones.

The games were interesting and low key, being held in April, with 65% of athletes being Greek, silver and bronze medals were given to 1st and 2nd. Spyridon Louis a Greek became the hero of the games.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1896_Summer_Olympics

The stamps were issued on March 25 1896.
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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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In 1901 a new set of definitives was issued and these were showing the head of Hermes from a 16th century Italian statue called "Flying Mercury (Mercury was the Roman name for Hermes)".

From 1900 onwards numerous stamps were overprinted AM and also with various face values. My collection only has a couple of these and I will skip them for now and move on.

Also starting in 1900 was a Greek Occupation of Crete and the issue of several series of stamps showing mostly coins and even one of King George (The only portrait of him in his life time). Crete was also claimed by Turkey and Russia and the British were mediating, in 1913 after the Balkan war Crete became Greek and apart from WW2 has remained so. I will show my Cretan stamps after the 1927 Pictorial set.

Now back to Flying Mercury, this was a huge improvement in every way, designed by the Frenchman Mouchon, we have 3 types of this stamp.
1901 Mouchon Issue of Greece Stamps
1901 Mouchon Issue of Greece Stamps
The low values mostly have the statue surrounded by tendrils and a rounded frame at bottom, but the main rates, 5, 10 and 25 Lepta have a straight border and tymphanum at top (These were UPU colours - Green = card, Red = local letter, Blue = overseas letter). The Drachma values have the whole statue too, but I only have the one drachma, getting the others should be easy as the catalogue is £10 or less each. These had the colours 2dr = bronze, 3dr = silver and 5dr = gold.

Still surface printed, but bolder and brighter and generally higher quality paper was used.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Also in 1902 was an additional issue of 5 values showing the head of the statue (I don't have any as of yet).

As with the 1900 overprints, they had A.M. which meant Axia Metalliki meaning for value in metal (Rather than banknotes as in standard stamps, already the Drachma was prone to inflation which worsened over time). These stamps were used regularly through the 1900s and up to 1911 with the next series.

In 1906 a 2nd Olympic Games set was held in Athens as they wanted games every 2 years 1906 was between 1904 St. Louis and 1908 London Games. The 1900 games were a flop overshadowed by a International Exposition also in Paris and 1904 was drawn out, the 1906 event was a success and held in 2 weeks over April/May. Again the Panathenaic stadium was used. Fortunately they did not recycle the 1896 stamps, but issued a new and even less satisfactory set.

The evidence for you and again I am missing most of the biggies! :mrgreen: :oops:
1906 Olympic Games Stamps of Greece
1906 Olympic Games Stamps of Greece
1 and 2 Lepton look like a man playing cricket, its infact Apollo throwing a discus, 3 and 5 Lepta have a jumper with jumping weights, 10 Lepta has Athena Nike again. 20 and 50 Lepta show Atlas and Hercules,
25 Lepta shows Antaeus and Hercules wresting (Hercules/Herakles won!), 30 shows wrestlers, 40 is the Daemon or divine being of the games, The 1, 2, 3, Drachma show Marathon runners, and 5 Drachma if I ever get it shows athletes and gods making an offering to Zeus.

This set again in my opinion is too faded to be any good, although the printing and paper is sharper and better. There is also more stamps and again its a bit more affordable for me (The drachma values are not that costly except the 5 - but here in NZ, Greek stamps are limited)

They were used long after the games along with the Flying Hermes series and you can see 1910 Postmarks on them (Mine mostly show 1907).

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Just realised some of these images are not compressed, are compression rules not enforced now?

Have reduced all subsequent ones to 1,000 pixels as these old cloudy stamps need to be seen.

As we enter the 1910s, we enter a period of instability, Balkan Wars, the King being shot and new king becoming unpopular, Turkish occupation, WW1, a succession crisis and then a Republic declared after a disastorous war with Turkey.

First lets look at Postage dues! The first postage due series came out in 1875 and is quite nice.
1876 Greece Postage Due stamp
1876 Greece Postage Due stamp
I have just one, an 1876 1 lepton value and this is much nicer than all the Hermes heads, well printed and perforated it has the number and words in script and Block with a nice Menander pattern on it. Values went up to 2 Drachma, but were enumerated in Lepta! These were good stamps and I hope to get more of them.

In 1902 came a new set which was in my opinion - a monstrosity. The same designer and printing type as the Flying Hermes series, this had coloumns, scrolled lettering and value tablets. It is hideous.
1902 - 1926 Postage Due stamps of Greece
1902 - 1926 Postage Due stamps of Greece
I have a few of each type (Watermarked and unwatermarked). The values went up to 10 Drachme but as you see I just have a few Lepton ones - still they are mint. They pretty much ended in 1926, but a series was revived in 1938 - 1942 with an aircraft overprint for Airmail!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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The next series of stamps, you all need to get used to as it was used a lot in overprints and even colonial overprints. This was the Hermes, Iris, Arcas series of 1911 - 1926. I don't know too many technical details about it (The amount of stuff on European stamps in limited in our British Empire fuxated world here).

The set was huge and issued in two types, Engraved 1911 - 1921 and Lithographed 1913 - 1927 and I really don't the difference between either! I have deduced through the values issued of types and some postmark dates, so are reasonably confident of which is which in the lepta values at least. Some stamps with postmarks from 1911 and 1912 muct be the earlier engraved types and these look a little faded and pale next to the Lithographed ones. Colours are weaker too.

5 major designs

Basic 5 designs of 1911 - 1926 Greece definitive stamps
Basic 5 designs of 1911 - 1926 Greece definitive stamps
These include the Head of Hermes - 1, 3, 10 Lepta
Iris (Goddess of the Rainbow) - 2, 20, 25, 40 Lepta (Holding a Cadeucus)
Hermes donning sandals - 5, 30, 50 and 80 Lepta
Hermes holding the infant Arcas - 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 Drachma
Head of Hermes (Large) - 25 Drachma.

All the Lepta values are one size and Drachma values 2 sizes, with the 25 Drachma larger than the other Drachma stamps.

The first series included all values except the 15 and 80 Lepta

1911 Engraved Greece Definitive stamps.
1911 Engraved Greece Definitive stamps.


My page is a mix of mint and used and I suspect my 10 and 25 Drachma may be lithographed, however the 20 and 50 Lepta are 100% this type as they have 1911/12 postmarks :mrgreen:

I am only missing the 40 Lepta - not a hard stamp to get, but just missing it.
The 10 Drachma I got recently, with the exception of the top value worth a few bucks, all these are cheap given their long period of use.


Close up of 1911 High values
Close up of 1911 High values



Close up of 3 top values (Look very similar and basically same colour!
Also two pairs that are imperf or very weak perfing, the 40 Lepta I suspect is the later type.
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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Princestamps wrote:
23 Apr 2021 15:42
Just realised some of these images are not compressed, are compression rules not enforced now?

Have reduced all subsequent ones to 1,000 pixels as these old cloudy stamps need to be seen.

NO idea what you are waffling on about.

Good large scans IN = large clear scans OUT. Tiddlers in = tiddlers out.

Might pay you to actually READ the image tutoriral -

https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=90770


You clearly are not using the ADD SPACE bu tton to stop your images jamming up -
MargoZ wrote:
01 Jun 2020 19:28

Sadly the new software JAMS things up often. So we added the ADD SPACE button .. use that before you type anything, even words, or before any images, to stop that. It adds white space.

NOTE: Only click it ONCE .. yes two ''ADD SPACE'' html commands appear - that is just quirky coding. i.e. do not hit it TWICE as you will get LARGE spaces then!

Those savvy members that use the PREVIEW button, will see instantly how that improves your final post! No more ugly jamming up of YOUR posts.

Near ALL mages posted here looked better CENTRED -- simply select the attachment image code and then hit CENTRE button as shown.

Also, when posting a string of 6 or 8 images, each butts up to one another - pretty ugly, and no definition between them. Using your SHIFT key to add space does not work.

There is a SUPER simple and fast solution to add a few mm of white space between them .. just manually add a full stop as shown here -


Image

Please test your direct image loading skills below! It is much easier than you may think. And always use ''PREVIEW'' button for your first few tries. 8-)
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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

Sorry did not know as I was "absent" for a lot of last year and these changes took place then. Plus I have been low key until now.

Have improved this matter and done last post, can't do earlier ones.

Glad that it is much easier to add images and the limits have been lifted :mrgreen:

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Global Administrator »

.
Yes a ton easier now. :D

All members are asked to add the AddSpace button BEFORE any images.

Abnd adding a full stop after each image link adds space between images.

Adds air and spacing. Try it and see!

Glen



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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

The second type of these stamps was the "Lithographed series" which are darker and in my opinion show more detail. The 50 Lepta was not issued in this type and 2 new values the 15 and 80 Lepta were added.


1913 Greece Lithographed definitive stamps
1913 Greece Lithographed definitive stamps



These stamps are nicer overall and were printed various times through to 1926.

In 1909 a new Prime Minister called Eleutherios Venizelos came to power and he was part of a Nationalist clique which opposed the Royal Family and its imperialist designs. However in 1912/13 the Royal Family did well out of Greek Victories in 2 Balkan wars, the first removed the Ottomans from the area north of Greece and created new enemies to the north with Bulgaria and Albania. The second war increased Greece's territory immensely to pretty much today's boundary along with Aegean cities like Izmir (Smyrna) in Anatolia and Crete. However in 1913 King George aged 72 was shot by an anarchist and this led to a crisis.

The new king Constantine had married Sophia of Prussia and was pro Germanic which annoyed the Greek nationalists who resented him as they saw the Royals as a foreign power like Turks 100 years earlier and WW1 was bad for Constantine and Greece as they supported Germany in all but name, Germany remember was also propping up the Turkish and practically no Greek help happened in Gallipoli for instance.

The economy began to tank and the Drachma lost value through the later 1910s and through the 1920s.

However in 1912/13 there were some victories!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Before we continue with our Greek series, lets look at the tangible results of the Balkan wars. The Victories of 1912 and 1913 meant new territories for Greece, that had been annexed off Turkey (The big prize was Salonica, now Greece's second city Thessaloniki).

First came this beautiful but jingoistic issue of stamps - Called the Souda bay types and a "Campaign issue" these and the overprints were done in Thessaloniki.


1912 Greece annexation of new Greece stamps
1912 Greece annexation of new Greece stamps
.



The set showed a cross of Constantine or the Eagle of zeus over the new territories, the former showing a monastery. Nearly all of this territory was ethnically Greek anyway and they had not shared in the fruits of 19th century independent Greece, but now the light of pan Hellenic unity shone on them. Of course this included some ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Salonica and Turks,other Muslims, Bosniaks, Albanians and over Slavs as well.

The stamps went up to 10 Drachma, but I only have some of the Lepta values, still these are nice designs and a lot prettier than anything else shown so far.

In addition to these were overprinted stamps of many types including various 1911 - 1921 Hermes/Iris definitives


Overprints on Greece 1912 stamps for New Greece
Overprints on Greece 1912 stamps for New Greece
.



The overprint read "Greek Administration" and was in Red and Black, I have a mix of stamps but not all. One I don't have is the 20 Lepta of the 1901 Flying Hermes series.
Further examples of these types include this page


More Greek Administration stamp overprints of 1913
More Greek Administration stamp overprints of 1913
.



Finally, even Postage Dues got the overprints!


Postage Due overprint stamps of 1912 Greece
Postage Due overprint stamps of 1912 Greece
.



One could spend ages categorising these things and most are cheap, but I think we have seen enough. No even more overprints of this series are coming up and the action is moving back to the main part of Greece!

The last stamp is a foretaste of World War 2 when the same overprint was brought out for stamps overprinted for use in Albania. The stamp is the 1939 Queens charity fund and was overprinted in early 1941. But we are getting way ahead of ourselves.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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1916 saw a crisis with the Royal Government in Athens refusing to joining the entente powers against the Kaiser and Venizelos started his own provisional government that did join the entente. They issued their own stamps which just showed Iris. This was because the 1911/26 issues were forbidden to them to use and they were overprinted ET. The Royal family wished to remain neutral, but many nationalists blamed the Danish/Germanic king and his German wife for their lack of commitment to the war effort.


1916 ET Greece Overprinted stamps
1916 ET Greece Overprinted stamps
.



Engraved and Lithographic stamps were affected as you can see. Also shown is the Annexation (Union) of Greece and Crete stamp. This beautiful stamp was issued Dec 1st 1913 and is a stunner. It was meant for use only in Crete. The addition of Crete and the new territories was why the lithographed stamps replaced the engraved ones, as the population of Greece increased and the Turkish had a very weak postal system before.

Venizelos and friends issued their own stamps showing Iris. They all had the same design from 1 Lepton to 25 Drachma (So the fact I only have 3 and a few overprints is okay).


1917 Venezelist Greece stamps with Iris
1917 Venezelist Greece stamps with Iris
.



The bottom group, we will see more of soon, as Greece became a Republic in October 1922 and virtually every left over stamp around was overprinted. Here you can see the 1 Drachma stamp is identical in everything except colour.

In late 1917, King Constantine was forced to abdicate and his son Prince Alexander became the new king.

He was young and naive and did well to the Venezelists who approved of his choice as a Greek peasant woman to be his Queen. Many of the royals, nobles and establishment did not approve of his choice and this caused problems.

Constantine was fuming and in exile. However in October 1920 the 27 year old king was bitten by a monkey at Tatoi (The Royal estate near Athens) and died a week later.

Constantine was called back to be king as the next son was only 18 and at training in the UK. Things got worse through the early 1920s and a coup and revolution saw the king overthrown and he was sent into exile, Greece became a republic.

Also at this time, the infant Prince Philip and his parents and siblings were also evacuated out of Greece.

Apart from endless overprints and some reprinting of the Hermes/Iris series, no more stamps were issued until 1923.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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In October 1922 a Republic was declared in Greece and the Royal Family was officially deposed, mainly due to the losses against Turkey and the rape of Smyrna in which many Greeks were killed and the rest evicted by the Turkish. In the 1910s the Ottomans were the bad guys, but now in the 1920s they were the good guys and the modern Turkish state had no time for Greek Imperialism, neither did Nationalist leaders.

In 1923 the Greeks left the theatre of war, keeping Thrace and the Dodecanese islands like Rhodes, but Smyrna and any city on the Aegean coast of Turkey remained Turkish. Relations between the two countries warmed in the 1930s and remained amiable until the 1950s.

Inflation was an issue too, with many Greek stamps of the mid and late 1920s being in Drachma values rather than Lepta. The 1927 had values down to 5 Lepta, but most commems were 1 and 2 Drachma or more.

Also the coinage issued in 1926 and 1930 featured coins up to 5 Drachma made in worthless Cupro nickel (Many European states gave up the silver standard after WW1 and worthless coins made out of nickel, brass and even aluminium came out. The early 1920s of course saw crazy German inflation and moderate inflation in most other countries affected by WW1, but in the later 1920s some half silver coins came back for high values (Like 10 and 20 Drachma). In 1911 the 2 Drachma coin was a florin sized silver piece, in 1926 it was a 10 cent sized cupronickel coin.

It would get worse, Greece's pattern of coin issuing had always been erratic - the country was never particularly wealthy or financially stable from this era onwards, except for a few years in the 1960s, 1980s and just before the GFC in 2008.

No official stamp sets were issued for the new republic's birth, but a kazillion overprints were.


1922 Greek Republic Overprints
1922 Greek Republic Overprints



These are overprints on the 1912 occupation series, also overprints were done on Cretan Colonial stamps and Postage dues.

However starting in 1924, a series of fresh commemorative issues came out for the Centenary of Greek Independence, one showing Lord Byron is incredibly high quality was was printed in the UK. It also has Lord Byron in English, yet the rest of this stamp is in Greek (Ellas = Hellas, Greece in Greek).


Greece mid 1920s stamps
Greece mid 1920s stamps



Also shown is the Messalonghi siege centenary and the 1927 Definitive set.
This set replaced the long out of date 1911/13 Hermes and 1917 Iris series (And all those overprints for that matter). The set is quite nice and uses basic recess printing and some 2 colour printing on the high values.

The Corinth canal which links the Ionian Sea and Saronic Gulf is shown on 3 values and this was opened in 1871, a great boon to commerce. Women, Mt Athos and a lighthouse appear on the other low values. The 1 and 10 Drachma show the Parthenon, 2 and 25 show the Acropolis, 3 shows a warship and 5 the Government house. The 15 Drachma missing also showed the warship.

A 4 Drachma stamp showing a church was added in 1930 when 4 Drachma was a main postage rate. The set was used through to 1937.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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1927 also saw the issue of several "battle centenary" stamps. These included the naval battle of Navarino in which the Turks who had refused a plan for Greek Home rule by European powers and Greek leaders - were routed in a naval battle that led to full independence from Turkey.

Also there was General Favier (My knowledge of this era is limited at this stage - feel free to research it further.


Favier and Navarino 1927 Greece stamps
Favier and Navarino 1927 Greece stamps



As you can see I am missing a few of each set!

However there were also reprints done for new postal rates and these I have. The Navarino stamps show various naval leaders and the Favier set show the same scene!


1929 Navarino Overprints Greece
1929 Navarino Overprints Greece



There is also a 1930 stamp showing a famous priest (Name escapes me).

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Clapas »

Very nice collection from Greece and an excellent idea of ​​this beautiful country steeped in history Princestamps.

Small clarification concerning General Fabvier
Around 1825-1830, he was famous for having been a Philhellene, hero of the Greek War of Independence. He is a legitimist and conspiratorial officer, he is also a liberal and conservative politician at the same time. His profile is typical of the bright young officers whose careers came to an end with the fall of the Empire. He was among those who would spread ideas from the Revolution and the Empire, drawing on the power of Napoleonic legend and the influence the Empire exerted on many minds.

Victor Hugo describes him as follows in his Things seen: "Quite tall, enormous head, hair, black mustaches, thick, a male mask, heroic and formidable that one would have said kneaded and fiddled with by the hand of a giant; an expression both hard and benevolent, finesse in the smile, a rapid and jerky flow. A great Homeric savagery such as one would have rather said that he came out of Achilles' tent than of Napoleon's camp. "
more information on the thread below (in French but with the automatic translator it should help you)

https://ch.hypotheses.org/1703

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Portrait_de_Charles_Nicolas_Fabvier-402x500.jpg
Portrait of Charles Nicolas Fabvier, War Museum, Athens (wikicommons)
I Collect : FDCs around the world and mint stamps or FDC from Greek Mythology, Writers, Poets, Native Masks. You can send to me at my address by post. Before you can write a message to: clapas at gmx dot fr

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

Thanks for all that, I wonder how he got by, given the Turban looks very Turko/Muslim and France had been Turkey's ally since the early 1500s and the era of Suleiman and Francois I. Only around 1912 did the love affair end when Turkey threw in its lot with Germany and that ended badly.

Anyway if he defended Athens and the Greeks dedicated a series of stamps to him, he must have redeemed himself quickly. The whole Hellenic movement attracted many foreigners like Byron and others. There was a romance about it.


1926 Aero Espresso set of stamps
1926 Aero Espresso set of stamps



In 1926 came the first air mail service and for once it was also Foreigners running it. This beautiful set is in Greek, but as you can see the word "Italios" features and it celebrates a service between Italy and Greece, which in 1926 was fine, but the first clouds were gathering, for the next 20 years Italians and their new fascist regime would be a thorn in the side of Greece. Since 1912 Italy had already controlled several Greek Islands on the western coast like Chios and Stampalia (No kidding with that name), Corfu given its proximity to Albania was also in danger, although Albania was now independent with a "self made" king called Zog!!

The funny thing about the set is 2 of the stamps are common and 2 are scarce. The flying boat is called the Patagonia. I think the 2 and 5 are common but may be wrong (Did all the info finding last year when I had a global catalogue). The set was used until 1933.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Just before we go forward into the 30s, I want to show 3 pages of Cretan overprints. These are all stamps issued between 1900 and 1912 and some are overprinted "Ellas" (Greece) and later "Epanastasis 1922 ...Value in lepta or Drachmai" (Revolution 1922). The Ellas overprint likely dates from the mid 1910s and Revolution ones from 1922/23 as the revolution happened late in 1922.


1922 Cretan Overprints stamps
1922 Cretan Overprints stamps



This first page has 3 stamps from the early 1900s showing the overprints. What must strike you all straight away is the Cretan stamps are much higher quality that Greek stamps of the time, these are surface but later issues are full recess printing. Crete was a prize worth fighting for.


]
1922 Cretan Overprints stamps of 1909
1922 Cretan Overprints stamps of 1909
[/centre



This page shows several more with the usual themes of ancient coins and Greek art, however one showing a meeting between foreign powers (Russia or Britain?) and Greece in 1898 is stunning recess. Many of these stamps are less common and hence why I only have a handful. Forgeries abound too. I assume mine are okay, but are still very naive here.

Finally a few Postage Dues(!!), seriously the revolutionaries must have been bereft of stamps.


1922 Cretan Postage due overprint stamps
1922 Cretan Postage due overprint stamps



Many are overprinted with values different from normal stamps, most seem to be 5,10,50 Lepta and 1 Drachmai, and no doubt higher rates on the ones I don't have like 5 or 10 Dracma. These may have been the rates most in use then. I know that by 1926 it was 80 Lepta and then in 1927 1.50 and 2 Drachma were heavily used, this was 4 Drachma by 1930.

Next that beautiful 1930 set of centenary independence (And new scans have split these in 2 so you get BETTER quality images of these stamps!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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1930 saw the centenary of Independence set and the set of stamps showed various "Heroes" of independence and 3 stamps that showed other scenes. Issued on April 1st 1930 and withdrawn a year later, mint sets are scarce, the used ones here are more common, but values above 5 drachma are less common and the 25 and 50 are scarce.

These details I borrowed from an ebay listing by "Achilles Z" whom I believe is a Greek stamp dealer with a shop in Athens and a thank you to Achilles Z for saving me all this typing time. You can buy a UHM set with tabs off him.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Greece-Independence-Greek-Heroes-se ... 3054947934 - apologies if the link goes dead after early May 2021.


1930 Heroes set of Greece Part 1
1930 Heroes set of Greece Part 1



In order of appearance
10 Lepta - Righas Ferreo
20 Lepta - Patriarch Gregory V
4 Drachma - Map of Greece 1830 - 1930
40 Lepta - Alexander Ypsilantes
50 Lepta orange - Bouboulina (Laskarina)
50 Lepta blue - Athanasios Diakos
1 Dr sepia - Constantine Kanaris
1 Dr carmine - Thedoros Kolokotronis
1.50 Dr blue - George Karaiskakis
1.50 Dr orange - Marco Botsaris


1930 Heroes set of Greece Part 2
1930 Heroes set of Greece Part 2



2 Drachma - Andreas Miaoulis
3 Dr - Lazaros Koudouriotis
5 Dr - Ioannis Kapodistrias
10 Dr - Petrobeis Mavromihalis
15 Dr - Dionysios Solomos
20 Dr - Adamantios Korais
25 Dr - Raising of the Flag of Revolution from Paleon Patron Germanos in Santa Lavra
50 Dr - Sortie from Mesolonghi (April 10th, 1826)

Mine are hardly the best examples, but all to the 20 Drachma are decent, the two top values have light damage (Tears and thins). As you can see, still surface printed but a decent size and better quality. I think the two top values may be recess. The set was the most ambitious and best so far put out.

1930 was a big year for Greece with also new coins of 5 Drachma (Showing the Phoenix rising out of the ashes a symbol of Greek rebirth) and 10 and 20 Drachma silver pieces. The 50 Drachma was the new highest rate stamp ever, but by 1930 this was around 5/- in sterling and really not that valuable.


1930 Greece coin set
1930 Greece coin set


- From the "thesaleroom.com"
Coins show Poisedon (Neptune) and a Bireme, Demeter (Minerva) and wheat ear and Phoenix.

Apart from 1927 definitive reissues and overprints, no more stamps came until 1932/33 and these would usher in a phase of heavy stamp issuing until 1939. Some stamps of this era are scarce, others are not.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Eli »

Thank you very much, Prince, for starting this great thread!!!! As a collector of "Mythologies of the World", especially Greek Mythology, I very interest in Greece stamps and have many of them, old and modern. Looking forward to see more great album pages!!! Eli

Please, allow me slight correction: Demeter is not Minerva. The Roman equivalent of Demeter is Ceres.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

Thanks Eli, like I said my Greek gods and mythology knowledge is lacking and my Minor for my degree was classical studies (Although mostly Roman coins, Art and sculpture, Bronze Age Greece and Crete and Athenian History, Aristophanes and Plato rather than mythology and gods sadly). It was also over 20 years ago, I am 45 tomorrow!

1933 saw some beautiful and scarce stamp issues, one I have none of is a rare Graf Zeppelin issue, the great German airships were everywhere at this time until the Hindenburg and most stamps and covers on them are expensive.

2 Air post sets came out, one from the Italian Aero Espresso company and the other by the Greek government itself, which by 1933 was falling apart under the shaky 1st republic


1933 Greece Air mail stamps
1933 Greece Air mail stamps



I only have 3 of the nice recess printed Aero espresso ones (The group responsible for the 1926 Watercolours set) and these are very nice, the propeller is a nice touch, the missing stamps have a high value (Any used stamp behind a mount is catalogued at least £5 - £10. Mostly its the 50 Lepta and values to 5 Drachma are common, the rest not so.

The Government featured maps of Greece and the Saronic gulf, again movement was suggested and these are quite nice too. The 1930s ushered in some nice stamp issues that made pre 1930 stuff look very dull and staid. The scan is a bit less fine and the 5 Drachma at the bottom shows a plane flying over the Acropolis (Probably not allowed as the airfield then was near the south end of Piraeus, away from the Acropolis!).



1933 to 1935 stamp issues
1933 to 1935 stamp issues



The 1933 Democracy set is a very expensive one as it was high face values by the time (50, 75 and 100 Drachma) when the usual postage was 3 or 4 Drachma and also that most unsold ones were overprinted for the Restoration of the monarchy set in 1935. The used 50 Drachma is quite cheap and the 100 Drachma less so, the 75 is scarce used and rare UHM.

Athens stadium and the Church stamp were also easy to find stamps, the latter being added to the 1927 definitive set, which was about to be replaced by 1937.

The return to a kingdom happened with the failure of the republic and in November 1935, King George II was recalled to Greece to resume the king ship and a prime minister. In early 1936 Ioannis Metaxas was this Prime Minister and his self coup was promoted by the king, which was basically a form of national socialism. It would last untl late 1940 when Italians forced him and Greece to surrender, more about that later.

This determined nationalism is on show of the stamps of the later 1930s and 1940. The overprints here are quite weak, but interesting. The missing one is a printing variety.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

The Metaxas era saw bigger and bolder stamps. Yet another Airmail issue emerged in 1935 and was used through to 1940.


1935 Air Post Greek Myths stamps
1935 Air Post Greek Myths stamps



These featured Greek gods and mythological figures in an aerial sense, my identification are not perfect but suspect

1 Drachma - Atlas on a fire chariot (Biggest guess), 2 Dr - Iris, 5 Dr - Icarus, 7 Dr ? and Pegasus, 10 Dr - Hermes, 25 Dr Phoenix and or Griffin, 50 Pegasus again? (Perhaps an expert may help).

2 types and again I am missing a couple (30 and 100 Drachma). I like these stamps overall.

Commems issued in this era inculded these sets.


1936 to 1938 Greece stamps
1936 to 1938 Greece stamps



The 1936 series is the removal of King Constantine's remains to Tatoi the royal estate. He died in 1925 in exile and his queen Sophia in 1932. These have the black and gold mourning borders. The whole Mourning border really caught on with European stamps the 30s after the death of the Queen of Belgium in 1935.

The 1937 stamp shows a large statue of Athena Nike at the university of Athens and the next series shows King George II on 4 values (These are sometimes included in the 1937 Definitive set). Also you may notice 3 low values (1, 3, 8 Drachma) and a high value (100 Drachma), less common but not rare. The royalty loving Metaxas ensured that royalty featured heavily on stamps of this era. Hence the pair of King Constantine again. These are also sometimes added to the 1937 Pictorials. Further royalty is added with Prince Paul (Greece's king from 1947 to 1964 marrying). The royalty overload was a stark contrast to the Nationalistic issues of the 1920s.

I am missing the sole "Balkan entente" stamp of 1938, a set of 4 was also issued in 1939. It marked the high point of Greece's relations with its neighbours, Romania, Albania and Turkey all signed it along with Greece, Bulgaria however refused.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Eli »

Again, many thanks for the great pages and the comprehensive explanations! This thread became as one of my favorites.

Princestamps wrote:
30 Apr 2021 19:57
1 Drachma - Atlas on a fire chariot (Biggest guess), 2 Dr - Iris, 5 Dr - Icarus, 7 Dr ? and Pegasus, 10 Dr - Hermes, 25 Dr Phoenix and or Griffin, 50 Pegasus again? (Perhaps an expert may help).
Here the figures, all have connection to flight:
1 Drachma: Helios and the Chariot of the Sun
2 Drachma: Iris, the messenger of the gods
5 Drachma: Daedalus and Icarus
7 Drachma: Athena, goddess of Wisdom and War with Pegasus
10 Drachma: Hermes, the messenger of the gods
25 Drachma: The abduction of Ganymede by Zeus (as an Eagle)
30 Drachma: Triptolemus riding his Chariot (missing)
50 Drachma: Bellerophon riding on Pegasus
100 Drachma: Phrixos and Helle (missing)

You can see the complete set here: 1935 Air Mail
Princestamps wrote:
30 Apr 2021 19:57
I am missing the sole "Balkan entente" stamp of 1938, a set of 4 was also issued in 1939. It marked the high point of Greece's relations with its neighbours, Romania, Albania and Turkey all signed it along with Greece, Bulgaria however refused.
As far as I know, this is the first joint issue stamps in the world

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

Well I got 4½ right in "vague" terms. Thanks Eli, good to know all that. The ancient Greeks had a very rich and interesting mythology and pantheon of Gods!

1937 saw also a fine Pictorial set with Greek Art and Architecture as the focus. The set ranged from 5 Lepta (Really of no use at this stage) up to 25 Drachma. Some also include the 4 King George Stamps of 1937 and the 2 Constantine stautes to the line up as the face values slot in well.


1937 Greek History stamps part 1
1937 Greek History stamps part 1



The low values included Bronze age and Ancient Greek motifs. The lines are unintentional, just a risk with this type of printing and the cheaper models of scanner like the one I have :mrgreen:


1937 Greek History stamps part 2
1937 Greek History stamps part 2

The higher values show scenes that also appear to be Greco Roman. Except one stamp below which shows the interior of a Byzantine or later era building. I can't read Greek - so at a huge disadvantage here. The set is beautiful and the 25 Drachma shows a goddess of Victory. This stamp was reissued in 1945, but with the different face values, if your one is not 25 Drachma - it is one of the 1945 reissues.

The set was not really used past 1940 as the inflation got much worse and by 1942, all of the stamps were essentially rendered useless.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

Before I go any further, I must promote the following thread by Eli (Until yesterday was completely blind to it, but now notice how great it is)

https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=54511
Mythologies of the world on stamps.

He has been doing this thread for 7 years and the posts are mine of information and superb scans of the stamps involved. As a high percentage of mythology is Greek, stamps of Greece and Cyprus feature a lot and he has pretty much all of them - whereas my collection especially with earlies and high values is patchy until the later 1940s.

There are also Greek mythology and God based stamps from other nations too. Eli along with everyone else is more than welcome to post their Greek stamps here too! Especially if you have any stamps I don't and can offer better quality scans - all welcome :D

Now back to the stamps, a few 1939 and 1940 issues here, some of these are obviously scarce and I am missing a lot on this page. One reason why it was not posted on the "Anything you have completed page" :mrgreen:


1939 Greece stamp issues
1939 Greece stamp issues



The Ionian Islands set celebrates the wedding gift of Britain to the Kingdom of Greece for the wedding of King George I to Princess Olga of Russia in 1864. I am missing the 3 20 Drachma stamps here, but will show a full set when we reach the centenary in 1964! The 1 Drachma shows the arms of the 6 main islands, the most important is Corfu (Kerkyra) where Prince Philip was born in 1922 and now a popular holiday island.

The 1939 Balkan Games was part of the new entente and 4 designs showing ancient Greek style sporting motifs were issued. I have 2 which I think show Javelin and some kind of running race.

The 1940 Balkan Entente pair showed the arms of the 4 states that signed. The stamp is in French which was the language of diplomacy and maybe the only Greek stamp ever in French (Greek mostly, some English but French is rare).

It was the last stamp before the war drums began to beat. Well one more set of rather "Fascistical designs"

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

In later 1940 two sets of very well designed Recess printed stamps came out and these would be the last stamps of this quality until (Well ever really, the stamps through to the late 1950s were cheap and awful and then post 1957 ones were the polychromatic art delights of Anastasios Tassos, whom also designed most of Cyprus's 1960s output).

Quality yes, but a repugnant theme. A set of 10 stamps for local postage and 10 for airmail came out concurrently. The postage ones celebrated the EON (Ethniki Organosis Neoleas - Greek Etnnicity Youth organisation), basically a Greek version of Hitler youth - but softer as membership was voluntary and it was not tied directly to Metaxas or the King (Although implied).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Youth_Organisation_(Greece)


1940 EON set of Stamps Greece
1940 EON set of Stamps Greece



The set of stamps is well designed and very clear. The other great thing is it's value and one true highlight in my collection, figure on average £50 per stamp and £500 all up! Figure usual themes of virile youth, athletic and military prowess and usual eugenic racism that was expected (No Muslims and "selected" Jews only, along with other exclusions no doubt).

This group was formed in October 1936 and this means the set is probably Sep/Oct 1940 if a 4th anniversary set for it. The group was disbanded in April 1941, around the time the Nazis had conquered most of Greece. Metaxas himself had died in January 1941.

Much better was the next airmail set of 10 views


1940 Greece airmail set
1940 Greece airmail set



Here the aircraft swoops low over Greek landscapes and ruins, I believe the 4 Drachma shows Mt Athos monastery and the Erechtieum (The temple with Karyatids on the Acropolis) on the 55 Drachma. Interesting face values on some of the stamps too. By 1940 Inflation was worsening along with the war situation.

These stamps also have a very catalogue value of around £500 the set, although like the other set the 2 low values are relatively cheap.

On October 29th 1940, Italy under Mussolini gave the Greeks an ultimatum - surrender or face the consequences. Already Yugoslavia and Albania had fallen to Italy and Bulgaria and Romania were fascist puppets (Metaxas thought he was too - but obviously not!).

Greece chose to suffer consequences and they initially suffered well, the Italians invaded in November through Corfu and the area around Igoumenitsa and from Albania - they were repulsed and so much to the point, the Greeks actually invaded half of Albania and overprinted stamps for occupation. By February 1941 the Italians were gone - but they called in the big guns, Germans.

Starting in the early part of March 1941, Nazis invaded Thrace and spread south, they were repulsed by Greeks and Allied troops including Anzacs, British, Indians and the Maori Battalion! They fought well, but this was 1941 not 1944 and they basically lost. The Nazis swept through Greece, so by April 19th Athens fell and the King fled (Metaxas was dead by this stage), the carnage ensued and by the end of May 1941, Crete had fallen and Greece was now a German conquered territory. Just in time for Barbarossa to begin in June.

Greece entered another very sad and horrid phase of history, the Nazi occupation lasted until Sep 1944 and Italians took over from Germans who were needed on the Eastern and Western fronts (Stories like Captain Corelli's violin). Salonica was emptied of its Jews and inflation took over in Greece, poverty and misery abounded and you will see this in the next stamp issues.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

Post by Princestamps »

We move out of the classic era and now and there will be more stamps and less commentary.

Occupied Greece saw some crazy inflation, that really took off in 1943 reaching 50 billion drachma to 1 new drachma when recalibrated in September 1944. The next stamp issues show this climbing inflation. First was the famous landscapes series of 1942 and into 1944. It was back to cheap and basic surface printing - but the designs were okay.


1942 and 1944 Greek views stamps
1942 and 1944 Greek views stamps



Here is a complete set of 18 and each design was used twice. You may notice the lowest face value is just 2 drachma and the highest 5 million!! Yet this was 1/1000th of the peak inflation era. The designs are decent but cheap printing ruins them, the paper is very basic and not many are found used as they simply became worthless overnight!

Unlike the sets from 1940, these can be picked up for next to nothing.

Also issued was a much nicer set showing winds from the Famous Temple of the winds in Athens, an octagonal building built in the early Roman period (c. 150 - 50BC). Each stamp shows one of the carvings of the winds. I have helpfully translated them for you. I am missing one stamp again.


1942 and 1943 winds stamps of Greece
1942 and 1943 winds stamps of Greece



The engraving is nice and I have seen the building myself, its classic to say the least. Again Eli has a much better scan series and photos of the Tower in his thread!

The next stamps I will show date from 1944/1945 after occupation. I will spare you much more history lessons and encourage you to read about this remarkable era yourself and the strength and power of the Greek spirit at the time.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Late 1944 saw the Germans gone and a new currency, at 50 Billion to One the Drachma was reformed and the 2nd drachma from 1944 to 1954 was not much better. It was a banknote only currency (No coins as it was not stable long enough). Crazy inflation saw stamp face values run up to 100 to 1 by mid 1945, so in 1944 new postage was 2 new drachma, by 1947 it was 200 new drachma and 1300 by 1951, which remained stable until 1954 when the 3rd drachma came out.

In this series, stamp values run between 50 Lepta and 20,000 - although from 1945 onwards, 10 is about the lowest face value and its 700 by 1950. Most people until late 1945 used the British Military pound, US dollar or Italian Lira.

Greece also was still poor and unstable, after the Nazis came in the wave of Soviet communism to all its Balkan neighbours and Greece very nearly also became communist in the late 1940s. In 1948/49 a Provisional communist government in the north evacuated children north into Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania for communist indoctrination - the experiment killed many and made refugees out of the others.

The south remained nominally democratic with the King back in Greece as head of state from 1946. The country was wracked by a civil war between communists and the government in the south until 1950.

Only in 1952 did the government feel confident that communism had been eviscerated from Greece. At this time Marshall Plan money flowed in and the economy began to mend and Greece had a modicum of stability until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1967.

The stamps of this era are mostly cheaply printed, but they are quite well designed and most are a large format. This is pretty much of all of the historical background needed and I will show some stamps!


1944 and 1945 Stamps of Greece
1944 and 1945 Stamps of Greece



4 of the history types were overprinted "New Drachma" in late 1944 and these are common too, pretty much worthless in days! The 50 Lepta I think is the only Lepta denominated stamp of the 2nd drachma

Next is the set of 8 that celebrate Victory by showing a goddess of Victory similar to that of the 25 Drachma stamp of 1937. None are that hard to find, but originally I was missing the 200 Drachma until a few weeks ago :) always good to fill a gap. The 100 has a postmark in English (Occupation). It is not surprising the stamps below 10 Drachmas have no postmarks as they were immediately worthless too.

Also shown are the Italian Ultimatum pair - this is the one in which Greece chose to face the consequences, 5 years later they could look back and laugh! OXI is Ohi or Greek for no basically. (Think that "oh hell noooowooowwooo! meme :lol: )

Finally a set of Roosevelt memorial stamps, a wee bit irrelevant - but guess it was a theme and Greece was slated to receive US help in reconstruction. Mainly as Communists were knocking on the doors, also I like the design and background art.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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1946 saw a few stamp issues as well.


1946 Greece stamps
1946 Greece stamps



First was 13 overprints on older stamps including the 1937 History low values, 1942 scenes and 1942/3 Airmail winds stamps. Most catalogues show 18 of these overprints, but 5 of them came out in 1947. All featured a basic framed overprint ranging from 10 to 5,000 Drachma. The 2k and 5k are scarce and I don't have them and they replaced the 1944 set of 4 which were basically useless by 1946 where local postage settled at 130 new drachma for a while and then climbed to 250 drachma later in the year.

Also shown are two pairs showing Republican Politicians, one of course is the famous Eleutherios or Elefterios Venizelos. These pairs squeaked out just before King George II came back from exile.


1946 and 1947 Greek commemorative stamps
1946 and 1947 Greek commemorative stamps



This page features a set of 4 overprints celebrating the return of the King, you may notice the new values from 50 to 3,000 new drachma on the 1937 set. The fact the top value is catalogued at a couple of pounds and is used is a clear sign this new currency was pretty worthless in the poverty wracked post war era. King George enjoyed less than a year until he died of arterioscolerosis aged 56.

A much better set was the World War 2 victory set which showed scenes of the Greek War.
50 Drachma - Warships, 100 Drachma - Bombings, 250 Drachma - women fleeing, 500 Drachma - Army marching in the snow, 600 Drachma - the period of Italian and German Occupation, 1,000 Drachma - Greek airforce, 2,000 Drachma - sunken battleships and 5,000 Drachma, a war memorial with wreath.

A well done set and I was lucky to get it all mint sans one stamp, there is a bit of catalogue value for it mint, many stamps of this era are worth more mint than used.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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1947 saw more stamp issues, yet 1948 and 1949 had just one each, mainly as these years were the height of the Civil War between the main government in Athens and the Communist forces in the north of the country based around Thessaloniki.


1947 to 1949 Greek Stamps
1947 to 1949 Greek Stamps



1947 saw a group of 3 more overprints for the death of King George II, again the 1937 Metaxas era stamps were bought out - but only the 3 lower values were overprinted. He died on April 1st and some thought it was an April fools Joke! It was very real and his younger brother Paul and the 3rd of Constantine's sons became the new King as Paul 1 (1947 - 1964 and born in 1901).

Also shown are the other 5 overprints and these were for lower rates and what I suspect the new local rate of 450 drachma was. All 5 were from the 1942 views series (They must have had piles of these left over - unused because of the wartime inflation).

1947 also saw the big Dodecanese set in Greece, but this is on another page.

Finally 1948's only stamp a 1,000 Drachma which showed the 1941 Crete campaign and 1949 3 stamp set on the Abduction of Greek Children. This set showcases a civil war atrocity in which communists kidnapped children under 14 all over Greece and made them go into the Communist Balkan countries for Communist indoctrination, many were in a death march and died of neglect and abuse. It was a severe atrocity and something that many Greeks still feel anger over. The set is quite scarce and the 450 is the hardest stamp to get. The images are quite harrowing too.

It is interesting to compare this theme and art to the very upbeat stamp issues you will see when we reach the 1960s!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Pretty busy day yesterday - so no updates.

The next set was issued in two phases - based around the inflation of the era. It celebrated the Dodecanese Islands and showed several scenes of art, patriots, ships and ancient statues such as the Colossus of Rhodes. Rhodes is the main island of course. These are 1947/48


1947 Dodecanese Islands stamp set
1947 Dodecanese Islands stamp set



The 10 stamps ranged from 20 to 1,000 Drachma and were recess printed I think (They could even be surface printed?) Despite their long Greek History - the islands have been claimed by Turkey many times and are incredibly close to the Aegean and Southern coast of Anatolia.

Also shown are 2 stamps from 1950, one shows the siege of Crete and has the flags of allied nations including New Zealand! The one with the attractive male statue is celebrating the 1949, 75th anniversary of the UPU a year late.


1950 Dodecanese Islands stamp set of Greece
1950 Dodecanese Islands stamp set of Greece



The set was reissued in 1950 with increased face values from 200 to 10,000 (!!) drachma. There are 13 values in this part and pale green and hot pink colours suggest that they were running out of colour types.
None of these are scarce and even the 10k has a postmark - so they got the use. Pretty much they served as definitives until 1954.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Now we are in the 1950s we stamp quality improve, at the start the sizes got larger and we have some handsome designs, but the stamps are still basic one colour affairs.


1951 Stamps of Greece
1951 Stamps of Greece



The first set was celebrating St Paul who apparently visited Athens in 51AD, the Roman empire had small Christian communities and apart from the occasional intolerant emperor like Nero and Diocletian, they pretty much were tolerated at times (Any that stuck their heads above the mire or refused to worship the Roman emperor as a living God were treated less well). St Paul himself was martyred in 67AD in the time of Nero. The set is interesting and reminds me of several Maltese sets from the 1960s.

The top value is a fairly scarce stamp and hence why it is mounted, the face value of 10k Drachma was fairly high whereas standard postage was 700 or 1,300 Drachma.

Also shown is the nice Marshall Plan/National Reconstruction set which mixed Post war recovery with Greek motifs. The 700 shows the wheels and cogs of industry, the 800 has Poiseidon as a Dolphin signifying the seas, the 1.3k shows the reconstruction of the Parthenon (Still happening today, correcting damage from 1683 when it was bombed by Venetians and Turks and 1806 British vandalism and theft of the Elgin marbles). The 1.6k shows Demeter overlooking fertile plowed fields and the 2,600 shows a craftsman influenced by a beautiful woman? and the 5k shows stars of industry over Greece.


1952 defeat of the communists stamps
1952 defeat of the communists stamps



The set of 4 shows the struggle against communism during the 1944 - 1950 civil war and is rather jingoistic in parts, the low value shows a Patriarch inspiring fighters, the angels of Glory on a mountaintop on the next stamp, a Greek soldier kicking some commie b#*! on the next stamp and finally the valuable 7k shows the fighters saluted by glory who presents the wreath of victory.

As much as I don't like Communism, this set espouses the whole anti communist "reds under the bed" hysteria of the early 1950s, the era of Joe McCarthy and naming names etc.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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1952/53 saw some more large format stamps issued.


1952 and 1953 Greek stamps
1952 and 1953 Greek stamps



4 stamps for the King's birthday and this was a year late as well! One shows a seated female figure rather than his majesty.

Finally a very nice set of 7 showing National Products which are mostly fruits and wines, these are very imaginative and large format stamps. Only the cheap and slightly pale printing ruin it. Still a great impact like the 1951 National Reconstruction set.

In 1954 came a set of new definitives showing again ancient art, artefacts and sculptures.



1954 Greek stamps
1954 Greek stamps



From what I can make out, this set was reissued in new colours and more values in the new currency in 1955.

Top Row
100 Dr - Pericles - Athenian leader in the 5th century BC, 2,400 Dr - Minoan Frieze, 200 Dr - Head of Bull on Rhyton (Drinking cup), Minoan or Mycenaean c1,400BC,

Middle Row
300Dr - Orion?, 500Dr - Head of Classical era statue 450BC, 600 Dr - Head from early classical statue of youth c.480BC, 1000 Dr - Head of Alexander the Great as Apollo, 4,000 Dr - Exekias/Amasis drinking cup interior showing Dionysos on boat surrounded by dolphins and vines (Attic Black figure of about 540BC)

Bottom Row
1,200 Dr - Head of Charioteer from bronze, c.470BC, 2,000 Dr - Dipylon Vase, c.750BC very early Attic vase from Kerameikos cemetery showing Funeral rites, 2,500 Man carrying calf relief c. 550BC archaic, 20,000 Dr - Women carrying water vessels, late Classical relief c.420 - 400BC.

I could be wrong with some, but seem fairly certain

The other set is in the new currency and was about Cyprus's status as a British colony, they wanted to join Greece and the British said no - start of the revolt and fight for indepence, the stamps show a blot on the Westminster agreement and 6 were issued, 3 in English, 2 in Greek and 1 in French, I have 4 of them.

There was an opposition from Britain and the 25% of the island's residents who were Turkish and Muslim. Indpedence came in 1960, but civil war began almost straight away with the Island divided after a Turkish invasion in 1974 and to this day, the conflict and stalemate ensues.

The 1940s to 1960s saw a mass exodus of Greek and Cypriot peoples to other parts of the world, especially Australia, the UK and the USA.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Just scanned 20 or more pages this afternoon and have to process them, once done will start uploading more.

Will show some coins first though too!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Greece has some patchy coin issuing history, from the 1st Drachma, I have one coin worthy of showing.


1869 Copper 5 lepta of Greece
1869 Copper 5 lepta of Greece



A very worn 5 Lepta from 1869! About the size of a halfpenny. The other side shows a worn image of George I The top says "OBOLOS" which alludes to the old obol of ancient Athens, except 6 old obols made a drachma, 20 of these made one. Originally in 1828, they wanted to call the currency the Phoenix.

In the 1890s came a base metal issue to 20 Lepta with crowns and these very worn coins show up at times. In 1912 came holed 5 and 10 Lepta and a series of base metal coins to 2 Drachma came out in 1926 with the gorgeous set of 3 I showed back in the Heroes set. A giant 25 silver drachma coin celebrating 75 years of the Kings came out in 1938. Various silver and gold coins came out up to this point too.

Base metal and silver issues followed until the late 1930s and then the war saw only banknotes in the inflation era, only banknotes were issued in the 2nd drachma in 1944 - 1954. In 1954 a new series came out with base metal coins to 5 Drachma.


1954 2 Drachma obverse
1954 2 Drachma obverse




1954 20 silver drachma coins
1954 20 silver drachma coins



The top photo shows the back of a 2 drachma with King Constantine 2, although Paul era coins were similar. and the 30 Drachma silver coin of 1963 (A one off centenary piece).

Next photo above shows 4 examples of the 20 Drachma silver coin, this was issued in 1954 only and like the 30 Drachma was .833 silver or the same as the old Turkish/Egyptian and Latin standards. The 20 Drachma was around 8 grams and 26mm in size.


1963 30 Drachma
1963 30 Drachma




1963 30 Drachma map
1963 30 Drachma map



This beautiful coin 34mm in size and .833 silver came out in 1963 for the 100th anniversary of the House of Glucksburg in Greece and shows all 5 coins to that point (Not Constantine II as he was still a Prince).

This was similar to the 1963 set of stamps, kings from left going anti clockwise, George I, Constantine I, Alexander, George II, Paul

After 1963 all coins became base metal and I will show these later, as I have more of them.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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And we are back to stamps after our little numismatic diversion.


1954/1958 Greek stamps
1954/1958 Greek stamps



The 10th anniversary of NATO set was the last in the old 2nd drachma and featured 3 stamps with ancient Greek defensive themes. I suspect the low value shows the marathon runner who ran 42 kilometres to alert Athenians about the Persian attack at Marathon in 480BC. I am not sure who is on the ancient coin (Amotipo?) and Athena Nike appears on the high value with modern planes signifying NATO defense.

The Harbours set came out much later in 1958 (Part of Steiner's obsession with keeping Air Post stamps from the "Standard stamps", this set sums up the later 50s and early 60s well.

This is Tassos and the standard high quality art he did, its much softer and friendly looking than the harsher designs of the earlier period. It is also a set of high values too with rates from 10 to 100 Drachma (3rd type) - bear in mind that 20 was a silver coin, so 100 Drachma in 1958 is a decent pile of coin - yet these stamps are all cheap. By 1990, 100 Drachma had the purchasing power of $1.

Like most of my 1956 - 1972 Greek collection, it is used and some are not in the greatest condition

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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The final drachma emerged in 1954 and this time coins were issued as well as banknotes, of course stamps needed to be changed over as well.

This did not take place until 1955 and the new local postage rate was 2 Drachma for a start (So those 100 Drachma stamps before were high value!).


1955 Greece Stamps
1955 Greece Stamps



First of the mark were 8 of the stamps that were the 1953/54 Greek Art designs (for those of you wondering where the other 10 are, they came out in 1959/1960). the values range from 20 Lepta to 4 Drachma (200 - 4,000 old Drachma).

As all these stamps are very cheap, the goal is to get them all Mint eventually.

Also shown is the 2,500th anniversary of Pythagora's theorem. I am missing the high value one of the few stamps of this era worth something! The 3 Drachma is the most interesting and shows the theorem in practice. The square of the largest side of a triangle is the sum of the squares of the other 2 sides.

Shown here is 3 squared = 9, 4 squared = 16 and this equals 25, with 5 squared being 25 and giving us the length of the longest side (My best 3rd form maths there).

Last stamp is the Rotary 50th anniversary, this event was celebrated more in 1980 and 2005 (75th and 100th anniversary).

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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The next set in 1956 could also be called a definitive one given the values and the topic. It was 125 year anniversary of the Greek Royal family!!! Wait a minute, King George was 1863.

Well actually the first modern king of Greece was back in 1831. Here's why.


1956 Royal Family of Greece Stamps
1956 Royal Family of Greece Stamps



It seems when Greece became independent in 1830 there was no way European powers would sit by and watch it become some upstart republic with a Venizelos like politician running things! Local leaders were fine, but a "supervising" royal family and parliament was needed. This era was full of minor German princelings just wanting a new kingdom for themselves and the British and French were the ones allocating kingdoms to them!

Enter King Otto (70 Lepta) of Wittelsbach, who adopted the job with gusto, a fresh faced boy in his late teens - he instantly became Orthodox and became ruler of the new Kingdom. For the first few years it went well and he married the beautiful Amalia (1 Dr). However by 1862 he had pretty much got drunk on power and the people hated him - so he was removed by mama Britain.

1863 enter Prince George of Denmark (30 Lepta), himself from a newly minted Royal House, his father Christian IX, the star of a new royal dynasty after his uncle died childless in 1863. Two of George's sisters married into the royal houses of Britain and Russia. George became king in 1863 and married Olga of Russia (50 Lepta) in 1864 and the British gave him the Ionian islands as a present.

George was a very successful king (The stamp shows him later in his reign), however he was shot by an anarchist in 1913 and his hopeless son Constantine (1.50dr) was the new king. He married Sophia (dr 3.50) and his greatest achievement was fathering 3 future kings.

First up was the ill fated Alexander (10 Lepta) who died from a monkey bite, next was some more of Constantine and then the republic. The next king was George II (3 Drachma) who was not very popular or effective and was puffed up by Metaxas. His wife is not shown.

Finally came Paul, whom him and his family dominate the rest of the stamps. Paul appears on the 2, 5, 7.5 and 10 drachma stamps. His wife Frederika appears on the 4 Drachma and a rather eerie looking Prince Constantine II appears on the 20 Lepta by himself and with his parents on the 7.5 and 10 drachma stamps!

The 10 Drachma looks very spooky with the arches. The facial poses are rather staid for the 1950s and remind me of Sheldon Cooper!

The whole set was reissued in 1957 in new colours, for reasons I do not know. (Rate increases, royal week?)


1957 Royal Family of Greece stamps
1957 Royal Family of Greece stamps



The set is nice recess printing and one of the last in this style, as you will see we move into gravure and the bizarre water colours of Tassos for the next few years, however the quality of art really improves in the mid and late 1960s. The 1970s stamps are superb designwise.

The 10 Lepta is one of the lowest value stamps put out and generally values down to 20 and 30 Lepta are seen in the 60s and only 50 Lepta in the 1970s.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Starting in 1957, they began to issue more sets of stamps and more stamps in a set (5 or 6 issues a year and 4 or more stamps, rather than just pairs of threes).


1957 Stamps of Greece
1957 Stamps of Greece



Here we have two stamps of Dinoysos Solomos (His name is spelt many ways - Solomonos, Salomon etc), who died in 1857 and was considered Greece's national poet. Born on the Ionian Islands to a rich family in pre independence times, he grew up speaking and writing Italian (He is very well known for his Italian poetry).

He wrote the national hymn and republic poem in 1823 - Hymn to Liberty and few others. Salomos is more known for his unfinished works of which there are many! A real polymath who spoke Italian, Greek and English (He was a follower of Byron and Shelley).

He died in 1857 and one of the two stamps I have show him as an old and young poet. I confused it originally for a portrait of the Curies!

Next set is Greek merchant marine vessels - the 2 low values show modern ships, one looks like a mid 20th century cruise liner, the next 2 are obviously 19th century and final 2 are Ancient Greek, the last being a bireme or trireme and the other almost a standard trading one with the eye painted on it for protection.

I love the colours on these stamps, they have a warmth that sums up this age of optimism and mild prosperity.



1958 Stamps of Greece
1958 Stamps of Greece



The congress for the Protection of nature is also another Tassos style graphic production, a mixture of flower paintings on higher values and Greek myths on lower. the 20 Lepta shows Narcissus who drowned in a pond after being distracted by his own reflection (Hence the term narcissitic - self loving/vain). The 70 Lepta shows a Satyr playing a pipe under the pinecones.

Satyrs were mythical creatures who had goatlegs and flank, but a human body with horns! They were often oversexed and harassing maenads (Female godlings) and feature heavily in Dionysic (Bacchanalian for you Latinophiles) parties on Greek art.

Through this era I often missing a stamp or 3 from most sets. Eli has a complete set and discusses it a lot better in his mythology thread.

Finally is the rest of the Greek art definitives (The Royalty set must have sold out or not taken). The stamps focus mostly on low values and none are over 3 Drachma. See my 1953 post for descriptions.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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1959 saw the resumption of standard issues celebrating Ancient Greek culture and society.

Here are two beautiful examples. Ancient coins and Theatre.


1959 Greek stamps showing coins and theatre history
1959 Greek stamps showing coins and theatre history



The coins set of 10 came out in 1959 and another set with different colours and some changed face values (Although the same coins). I am missing one here, but my 1963 set is complete. From what I can see we have an eagle of Thebes, the Aoe Dedadrachm of ancient Athens, a Syracusan (Italy - Greek plantation) with la Siracusa and Quadriga chariot, a winged griffin coin, and the Labyrinth amongst many others. Bright colour background set it off well.

The Greek theatre series showcases depictions of theatre from old pottery, statues and ornaments. These include the Lenaia festival of plays, harps, perfromers and the 6 Drachma shows another Satyr.

The next page I am missing a few!


1959 Red cross and civil war stamps
1959 Red cross and civil war stamps



The top stamp is Victory in the Civil War (NIKE) and shows the protective angels you saw in the 1952 set on soldiers (Glory or Victory?). The missing stamps showed Imre Nagy the hero of the Hungarian uprising and it was not a popular issue due to communist anger, yes Greece was nominally democratic but surrounded by hostile Communists. The set is not very rare and I should try and get it. It shows a smiling Imre Nagy.

The bottom set is the centenary of the Red Cross showing various scenes. I am missing a stamp, this set was confusing to mount as a similar one came out in 1963.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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The next pages show more of the same.


Gr 32 001.jpg



The first single stamp shows Kostis Palamas (1859 - 1943) who was another famous poet who wrote the Olympic Hymn in 1896 (The words). The stamp was mostly issued not a delayed Birth centenary, but because from the 1960 Winter Olympics onwards - it has been performed at every games winter and summer since, it was performed at Athens 1896, but not at all until 1960.

Palamas also wrote more patriotic verse and unlike Salomas - not interested in Italian poetry or melodrama, he is revered as a national hero who died during the German occupation.

Next pair are world refugee year 1959/1960 in which all the refugees were actually settled (Fat chance of that now!). The stamps show ships at an unsettled sea and then a safe calm passage as refuge is reached - a good analogy.

Next is a very camp and ridiculous scouting set, the attempt to place British colonial boy movements into a Greek context us attempted well. Having the scout on a horse emulate St. George and the Dragon is pure gold! The rest are rather tame socuting activities and its a good thematic set.

6 of the values are 1 Drachma or less, suggesting it may have been aimed at children as purchasers.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Moving deeper into 1960 we have a very nice Olympics set for 1960. This again is a Tassos masterpiece and shows various ancient Olympic ceremonies and events. His attention to making it look like a 6th/5th century BC Attic Vase type detail is astounding.


1960 stamps of Greece
1960 stamps of Greece



Values from 20 Lepta to 12.5 Drachma - various events such as running, discus, quadriga and long jump are shown, along with ceremonies such as dedication, presenting a victor with the wreath, the Olympic flame, a youth harvesting laurel for the wreath and offerings to Olympic Gods.

The set also has an Olympia CTO postmark on them, I have visited Olympia and its historic site of which you can see today, the oldest part is a temple to Hera that dates back to 600BC!

Greece also joined up to the Europa stamp programme in 1960 and you can see their effort with the 1960s design. I am missing shepherd though and not the 1961 Victory stamp. It seems that Prince Constantine aged 19 won a gold medal for Greece in the Sailing at the said Olympics, he was given a parade, 6 years later, he was chased out of the country!

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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In early 1961 a new set of definitives emerged called Tourist Publicity and values ranged from 10 Lepta to 12.50 Drachma.


1961 Definitives of Greece Part 1
1961 Definitives of Greece Part 1



By 1961 Tourism was becoming a big part of Greece's income and besides all the history and heritage with the temples, acropolises and old churches, its climate meant it did wonders in beach and resort holidays along with people wanting hospitality of the people.

To this day (Excusing Covid of course) Tourism is a vital industry in Greece and the Greeks move mountains to ensure it remains that way.

The stamps are recess printed (One of the last series to be so), yet look very effective and focus on Island villages, beaches, old churches and temples (The Acropolis is on the 70 Lepta, Knossos on the 2.50 Dr). The 80 shows buildings on Mykonos, long before it became a party island or known for gay nudist beaches like Super Paradise!


1961 Tourism definitive stamps of Greece Part 2
1961 Tourism definitive stamps of Greece Part 2



The 4 Drachma shows the preserved theatre at Epidauros, and Santorini on the 8.50 amongst other attractions. I don't know how many more tickets it sold to get into the Parthenon - but the tourism theme was a huge success and along with Ancient Greek art and artefacts, tourist themes will feature heavily on coming stamp issues.

It also shows how much Greece evolved at this time, stamp issues are large, light hearted, well drawn and soft on the eye. Compare this to harsh issues like the 1949 Abduction of Greek Children and 1947's Victory issue.

From what I can identify in order of appearance on pages.
10 Lepta - Kastoria, 20 Lepta - Meteora, 50l - Lara, 70l - Acropolis, 80l - Mykonos
1Dr - Thessaloniki? 1.50d - Olympia, 2.50d - Knossos, 3.50d - Rhodes 4d - Epidauros,
4.50d - Cape Sounion, 5d - Athens or Attica, some ruin on the Acropolis?, 7.50d Ionannina, 12.50d - Delos I think, 6d - Delphi, 8d Athos Monastery, 8.50d Santorini

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Time for another coin update. Here is a complete set of the Higher coin values issued between 1954 and 1973 showing the 3 main designs. I mainly show these so you can get some context behind the face values of the stamps issued at various periods. All of these to 10 Drachma are Nickel. The 20 is silver.


1960s Greek coin designs
1960s Greek coin designs



Top row - 50 Lepta, 1 Drachmai, 2 Drachma, 5 Drachma
Bottom - 10 Drachma (King Paul style 1959), 10 Drachma (King Constantine II style - 1970), 20 Drachma silver.

There was also 3 small aluminium coins for 5, 10 and 20 Lepta - I have neither at this time. The coat of arms and ruler appeared on all the coins to 1971. Even though the revolution was in 1967, they kept the image of the King on the coins until 1973!

The first 10 and 20 Drachma are King Paul era, the rest are Constantine II (1964 - 1971) and the 1 and 5 Drachma coins are the transistional junta coins that celebrate the revolution of 1967, yet keep the King on the obverse. The Phoenix appears in place of the coat of arms.

In 1973 some transitional coins showing the Revolution motifs and Greek art designs were added. In 1973 a nickel 20 Drachma was added as a one off (The last silver one was minted in 1965).

No coins were issued in 1974/75 and in 1976 a new series showing famous Greeks and symbols was issued. These will be shown later.

The 10 Drachma is interesting in its barely larger than the 5 Drachma! Silver 30 Drachma coins were issued as one offs in 1963 (Shown in earlier post), 1964 Kings Wedding and 1970 Revolution. Gold and silver bullion coins were also issued in 1970 for the Revolution.

Notes of 20 to 500 Drachma were issued in 1955, in 1967 the 20 was demonitised and a 1,000 added.

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Re: Sharing my Stamp Collection of Greece: Hermes to the 1970s

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Back to stamps. Next we had a nice set showcasing Minoan art, mostly found on the palace walls at Knossos, although some may be considered fantasies by Arthur Evans who excavated Knossos in 1900.


1961 Greek stamps
1961 Greek stamps



We are lucky to have so much Bronze age cultural sites survival in Greece, besides Knossos we have Akrotiri on Thira which was preserved from a mid 2nd millienium BC eruption and also sites like Mycenae, Tholos and Tiryns. The Greek Bronze Age (3,000BC - 1,050BC) can get overlooked with its more known Ancient period (800BC - 150BC). Here we see some lively art and the Minoans love of dancing, beauty, nature and movement. These were a very advanced people, yet loved human sacifices and possibly cannibalism (A cave on Crete had some interesting gnawed bones of a priestess).

Briefly, Minoan culture refers to Crete mostly, Mycenaean to Mainland (Helladic, Greece) although they overlap and Mycenae was later than Minoan in many cases. Mycenae's golden age was 1350 - 1100BC and Minoans was 1900 - 1500BC. In the middle you have Cycladic (Places like the Cyclades including Thera). Athens itself was originally a Myceanean citadel. And the Mycenaean language was a form of proto Greek!

The other pair celebrates Nuclear theory and Democritus, discoverer of the atom. He later appeared on the 10 Drachma coin (Not the ones above - but the ones from 1976).

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