World Stamps

Hatay has ties to Ottoman Empire and Turkey

Apr 17, 2024, 9 AM
Stamps of Hatay are of interest to Ottoman Empire and Turkey collectors.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Hatay is one of our very favorite obscure stamp-issuing entities. Fans of the Indiana Jones motion picture series are familiar with Hatay from the third film in the series, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as the hidden location of the Holy Grail.

The historical Hatay was a disputed province on the eastern Mediterranean Sea coast between Syria and Turkey. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, it was part of the French mandate of Syria and was known as the Sanjak of Alexandretta. It had a mixed population of Turks, Arabs, Jews, Kurds, and Armenians.

Turkey disputed Syria’s claim to the area, which resulted in the territory receiving special administrative status within the mandate. In 1938, with war clouds gathering, France hoped to woo Turkey away from Nazi Germany by holding a referendum in Hatay. This led to Hatay becoming a semi-independent Turkish republic from Sept. 7, 1938, to July 23, 1939, when it was annexed outright to Turkey.

Stamps of Hatay are of interest to Ottoman Empire and Turkey collectors. Hatay issued its first set of postage stamps (Scott 1-11) in 1939 by overprinting and surcharging Turkish stamps. The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values the set at $57.25 in unused, hinged condition and $114 in mint, never-hinged condition.

The set is a good buy at 80 percent of Scott catalog value. Centering is a problem, and a set in fine-very fine grade is perfectly acceptable. A set in used condition is valued at $20, which might be a bit low.

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