World Stamps

Inside Linn’s: Stamps trace Italy’s 1939-43 occupation of Albania

Feb 9, 2023, 9 AM
Postage stamps are the main legacy of Italy’s 53-month occupation of Italy during World War II. Rick Miller has the details in Stamps of Eastern Europe.

By Charles Snee

The Feb. 27 issue of Linn’s Stamp News just landed on the presses and goes in the mail to subscribers Monday, Feb. 13. And if you subscribe to Linn’s digital edition, you’re at the head of the line with early access Saturday, Feb. 11. While you wait for your issue to arrive in your mailbox, enjoy these three quick glimpses of exclusive content available only to subscribers.

Stamps trace Italy’s 1939-43 occupation of Albania

“From April 1939 to September 1943, fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel III invaded and occupied Albania,” writes Rick Miller in Stamps of Eastern Europe. “Postage stamps issued by the Italian regime remain one of the most visible relics of that aggression.” To set the stage, Miller points out Albania’s long connection to the Ottoman Empire, which began in the 15th century. Some of the stamps he uses to tell this fascinating story feature two key individuals: Ahmet Zogu, who helped forge an Albanian national identity and was later crowned King Zog I of Albania, and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, who became king of Albania in 1939. Miller provides a compact narrative that shows how fascist Italy under dictator Benito Mussolini came to control Albania and eventually oust Zog.

ArtCraft cachets offer a tremendous amount of options

In First-Day Covers, Lloyd de Vries pays tribute to the ArtCraft line of first-day cover cachets that the Washington Press in New Jersey produced for more than 75 years. He introduces readers to Michael Lake of Massachusetts, a specialist in ArtCraft FDCs and author of the ArtCraft Variety Spotlight column in First Days, the official journal of the American First Day Cover Society. In an interview with de Vries, Lake ties the myriad collecting options for ArtCraft cachets to the substantial numbers that were produced. This resulted in multiple plate varieties and the use of different inks and envelope paper stock for many FDCs. Although Washington Press ended production of ArtCraft cachets at the end of 2015, “Lake and others are still discovering new material,” according to de Vries. One such discovery, which de Vries highlights, was made at the 2022 Great American Stamp Show.

Kitchen Table Philately: worldwide stamps at a penny apiece

In each weekly issue of Linn’s, either E. Rawolik VI or E. Rawolik VII dissects the contents of a stamp mixture offered to collectors. E. Rawolik is a pseudonym that is also the word “kiloware” (a stamp mixture) spelled backward. This week, E. Rawolik VII looks over a sample of 76 stamps from a worldwide mixture of slightly more than 300 issues. Included in the sample were 11 stamps not listed in the Scott catalog; as such, they were excluded from the review. Rawolik paid about 1¢ per stamp, so it was nice to find 10 stamps in the sample valued at $1 or more. The high value of $6.25 went to a German Democratic Republic 50-pfennig stamp issued in 1955. Enjoy the full review in this issue.

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