Portuguese stamps have their own unique history and heritage that dates back to the 12th century. Read our guide below for more facts and information on the valuable Portuguese stamps…
The Portuguese word for stamp is “selo” and for stamp collection is “colecao”. Unfortunately Portuguese stamps have been shrouded with various forgeries and corruptions since time immemorial.
Ancient history of Portugese stamps
Although actual Portuguese stamps first came to existence after many centuries, Portugal had an effective postal system known as the Royal Postmaster General post, which was functional during the 12th century. This postal system was developed to provide means of communication for students who traveled across Europe with their respective families.
Unfortunately this nascent postal system was unable to handle the enormous workload and had to undergo major reforms during 1797-98. Finally in 1820 every Portuguese village had their own post office.
As Portuguese stamps had not yet been developed, people had to pay a fee for collecting their mail at the post office. The fee generally amounted to 5 reis. During this same time some entrepreneurs took the initiative of collecting the mail in lots and then distributing it to the people concerned for a much smaller fee.
The mid 1800’s finally saw the Portuguese postal system introduce the Portuguese stamp and in 1853 the first two stamps bearing the value of 5 reis and 25 reis were issued. Portuguese Queen Maria II was depicted on these stamps and in 1893 Portugal released its introductory set of commemorative stamps in honor of the renowned Portuguese Prince, Henry the navigator.
Azores postal service
Azores has some of Portugal’s most treasured stamps, with “Vasco da Gama” printed in 1898 being one of the renowned stamps. The early 20th century witnessed the printing of King Carlos and King Manual issues. Late 1800 had three postal districts in Azores that printed stamps. Each district can be differentiated from one another by the variation in color in each. The word “continente” on these stamps differentiate them from the other conventional Portuguese stamps. The year 1980 witnessed Azores postal service introduce its unique set of stamps after many decades.
Christmas Stamps from Portugal
Portugal released “Christmas Stamps” to reinforce the 2009 Christmas festive spirit amongst the citizens of the country and to add their personal touch to the celebrations. In the past, Portuguese Philately had recommended various designs for the purpose and these designs were centered on the rich heritage and culture of Portugal. These designs were inspired from paintings, sculptures, ceramics, stained-glasses tiles etc. However the 2009 theme was more graphic and colorful and depicted the merry festive mood of Christmas with the special “solidarity package” introduced by the Portuguese postal service and conveyed the Christmas Spirit aptly.