World War One stamps: Ten WWI stamps on the 'Great War' theme

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18 June 2014
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Stamp collecting expert Adrian Keppel reveals his ten stamps on the World War One 'theme' as we mark the centenary of the Great War… ...

Stamp collecting expert Adrian Keppel reveals his ten stamps on the World War One 'theme' as we mark the centenary of the Great War…
 


1. As its name suggests, World War One was a war which involved many countries around the world, though the philatelic catalogues of the period do not always reflect this. Take Germany, the war’s greatest aggressor, for example. It is not until 1919 that a war-related issue appears, with a surcharge for the war wounded.

2. Its junior partner, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, has a lot more to offer, with not only war funds stamps, but special military post stamps as well, issued for their forces in Italy, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia, from 1915 onwards.

3. The Ottoman Empire, too, fought on the side of the Central Powers, from 1914. Through the years, they issued various war funds stamps, such as the 1917 ‘Off to the Front’ issue.

4. On the Allied side, we have France, where the majority of battles were fought, along the infamous Western Front. A typically French characteristic of the wartime stamp catalogue is the introduction of cheaper, grey paper, known as GC (Grande Consommation, or Bulk Use) paper, from 1916 onwards

5. Al over the British Empire, we see the issue of so-called ‘War Tax’ stamps, which were issues to raise funds for the war effort.

6. Russia, too, was one of the main participants on the Allied side. That is, until the collapse of the country and descent into chaos and revolution in 1917. A wartime peculiarity is the introduction of currency stamps; stamps with an overprint on the back, which could be used as small change, to save precious raw material such as copper and silver.

 

7. Other countries joined the fight in later years. Bulgaria, for example, joined the Central Powers in 1915. Their wartime stamps include a number of issues hailing their liberation of Macedonia in 1917.

8. On the Allied side, Greece entered the war as late as 1917, mainly because of internal strife. Their most iconic World War One issue is the 1918 Red Cross stamp, depicting a wounded soldier.

9. In the neutral countries, too, the Great War left its marks. Nowhere more obvious than in Belgium, which, even though it had declared its neutrality, was soon overrun by German forces. For four years it then fought valiantly on the Allied side. The King, Albert I, emerged as a true hero and the first post-war definitives in Belgium paid homage by depicting him as the Soldier King.


10. The Netherlands managed to remain neutral throughout the war. However, we do find special internment camp stamps, which the soldiers who were held there had to buy to put on their mail. Volume of mail was limited to two letters a month, but the scheme was discontinued after just the one month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Read much more about World War One stamps, postal history and postcards in the
WORLD
WAR ONE COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Stamp & Coin Mart.

Your in-depth guide to the stamps of the era…
• Prisoner of War issues
• Evocative WWI postcards
• Propaganda 'Cinderella' stamps
• Postal history of 1914
• The latest stamps marking the WWI centenary

…and much more.

Download the issue right now or order our print edition and we'll send it to you.