Republic of Albania
is a Balkan country in Southeastern Europe. It borders
Montenegro to the north, Kosovo to the northeast, the
Republic of Macedonia in the east, and Greece in the
south. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west
and a coast on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. The
country has an estimated population of about 3,6 million
people (2006), and the capital and largest city is
Tirana (around 300.000 inhabitants). From 1443 to 1468
the national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg led a
successful resistance against the invading Ottomans.
After the death of Skanderbeg, resistance continued
until 1478, after which Albania became a part of the
Ottoman empire. They would remain a part of the Ottoman
Empire until 28th of November 1912 when the country
I will here present some
letters and stamps from Albania. They are
presented in a chronological order (for letters; year of
cancellation), and may be more systematised on a later
stage. For now: Just enjoy!
You find the
years 1909 - 1924 under here, and from 1925
The card shows the fortress
guarding Skutari (Shkodėr). It is cancelled 12th
August 1909 in Scutari, and addressed to La Haye in
In the first Balkan war of 1912, much of
Albania was conquered by Serbian troops. Shkoder
was occupied by the Montenegrins. After the defeat
of the Ottoman forces by the Balkan Allies (Serbia,
Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia), these countries seemed
intent to partition amongst themselves the entire
Ottoman territory on the Balkans peninsula west of the
The major powers of Europe interfered
again by putting pressure on Serbia and Montenegro, and
an independent Albania was formed by the Conference of
London in December 1912. Britain made it very
clear that a Serbian Albania would not be tolerated,
perceived as Russian, or as potentially Italian, in
overprinted for use in Albania. "The
first issues of Albania have been forged more frequently
than almost any other stamps. Probably 95% of the
"Double-eagle" overprints on the market are rank
forgeries. It is quite possible that many hundreds of
forgers have tried their hands at this devil's pastime,
since each new forgery that comes to my attention is
generally different from the others. It should be
considered that the basic Turkish stamps on which the
"Double-eagle" handstamp was placed, are in the main
fairly cheap, and present no diffculties to one bent-on
obtaining a wholesale supply. Few people know what a
genuine "Double-eagle" looks like"...
(from article by
W. J. Eckhardt, A. P. S., in
The American Philatelist, Journal of the American
Forgeries of the Double - Eagle Overprint
On The First Issues of Albania).
(1846–1917) did not look upon himself as a forger, but
described his material as facsimiles. The idea,
according to him, was to provide collectors with stamps
they could afford, and to prevent uneducated collectors
of being defrauded. But his facsimiles have
nevertheless been known as 'Fournier forgeries' and
treated as such. The example from Albania shows
not the stamp, but the overprint used on Turkish stamps.
And it shows a post mark from Berat. UPU bought
the whole stock from the widow of Fournier's successor,
Charles Hirschburger, and made albums out of it in 1928,
while the balance was burnt. As long as they
remain in the album, there is no problem, but many rogue
exemplars have unfortunately been sold to unsuspecting
collectors for high prices.
Serbian occupation of Albania
Montenegrine occupation of Albania
Post card showing
soldiers from Montenegro, cancelled on the picture side
of the card with a Montenegrine stamp in Scutari 28th
In 1913 the Kingdom of Albania was
created, but large areas with an Albanian-speaking
majority were left out, like Kosovo (allocated to
Serbia) and Camria (same as southern Epirus, allocated
to Greece). The new King, prince Wilhelm zu Wied,
arrived in March 1914. He was unfamiliar with the
language and customs of the land, and left already in
the first weeks of World War I.
The first regular
issues of Albania - Michel 29-34, showing the national
hero, Skanderbeg. Black box registration label
Vlonė / Valona, cancelled 11th December 1913 in Vlonė
and adressed to München in Germany, received in München
16th December 1913.
Another letter with
the first regular
issues of Albania - Michel 29-34, showing the national
hero, Skanderbeg. The letter is cancelled in Vlonė
3rd February 1914, in transit "Verona
Ferrovia-Racommandate" 5th February, added a Red box registration label
in Germany; "Vom Auslande | über Bahnpost | Kufstein -
München" and arrived in Dresden 6th February 1914.
Postage Due stamps 1914
Complete set of the
first Postage Due stamps (Michel Po 1-5), cancelled 4th
March 1914 in Berat and addressed to Fier, received in
Fier 7th March 1914.
Complete set of the
first Postage Due stamps (Michel Po 1-5), cancelled 6th
March 1914 in Vlonė and addressed to Vlonė.
Post card with 5
Para on 2 Q (Michel 41), issued 2nd April 1914.
The card is cancelled 24th June 1914 in Dürres.
Essad Post 1914 - 1916
6, on a letter addressed to Valona. It is cancelled
Durazzo 4th September 1914, while the stamps according
to Michel were issued 9th January 1915...
Essad-Post, 40 para
blue on a letter addressed to Richard Borek in
Braunschweig (the one with the Borek catalogues?), cancelled
Durazzo 12th april 1915. It arrived in Braunshweig
19th April 1915.
complete set cancelled Durazzo 11th November 1915.
This is not exactly
a letter, but Essad-Post on a sheet from the Prince of
Albania, cancelled 1st March 1915. The stamps on
the sheet are 10th February 1915 surcharges on
non-issued Tarabosch issues of 1913 (tall ones), 5, 10,
40, 100 para and 5 Piastres - Mi 11-12 and 14-16, and
same surcharge on another issue (small ones), 20 and 50
para and 3 and 6 Piastres - Mi 18-21.
I don't really know
when this letter head was issued, but it is the official
letter seal for the Prince of Albania, seen in the upper
left corner of the sheet to the left.
Cuts from letters, Essad-Post,
Mi 18-19 cancelled 5th and 20th March 1915 in addition
to the remaining values in the series, Mi 17 and 20-21
Mi 13, 20 para, cancelled with no date "Zyra-Postes
Mollas" and sent to Elbasan, cancelled on arrival
Elbasan 10th January 1916.
surcharges (Michel 41-46) on registered letter to Rome,
Italy. Special cancellation 8th March 1915 in
Shkodėr. Note that all
the surcharges are out of place! The 25q also
has the surcharge upside down.
surcharge (Michel 41) on letter to Shkodėr, added
Postage Due stamp from Skutari (Michel Skutari Postage
Due 2). Cancelled Shėngjin 22nd April 1915, and
received in Shkodėr 24th April 1915 with special
1915-1919 Occupation by foreign powers
After Albania's neutrality had been
violated by Serbia, the Central Powers invaded Albania,
occupying the country's north. The Greeks occupied
the south, which they called Northern Epirus, and
received support of the local Greek minority.
Central Albania was occupied by Italian forces
(1915-1916), but the Italians were soon pushed back by
the Central Powers. After fighting ended in
October / November 1918, the occupation of Albania
continued, though. Albania's independence was
restored in 1919, although Greece still occupied
southern Albania (Northern Epirus) until 1923. A
curiosity, though: The small island of Saseno, only a
few kilometres off the Albanian coast (hitherto Greek)
was allocated not to Albania, but funny enough to Italy
had a pork (?) farm in Mairhof in Eggerding in Germany.
He was enrolled in the army, manning the canon in an
infantry regiment. Then he got sick with malaria,
and died 22nd October 1916 in a field hospital in Tyrena
in Albania after having been given the holy death
sacrament by a Catholic priest. He was 34 years
old. The poems main point is that we will meet
Italian occupation of Albania
card from a soldier in Albania to Aderno in Italy, sent
27th December 1916, with arrival cancellation Aderno 1st
Austrian occupation of Albania
to Hannover, Germany cancelled "K.u.K. Ettappenpostamt
DZURI" 28th August 1917. The stamps are Austrian
Fieldpost Michel 22 x 2, 23 x 2 and 37. The letter
was received in Hannover 9th September 1917. The
letter also has a red Austrian censor stamp.
The card shows a
Mosque, the main road in Skutari (Shkodėr) and a
Franciscan monastery church. It is cancelled 7th
September 1917 - K.u.K. Etappenposta mt Scutari" with a
red line stamped "K.u.K. Etappenstationskommando in
Skutari". It is received in Maissau, Austria 14th
October 1917 - 5 weeks after it was sent.
sent from Albania 26th December 1917 to Böhmen in
Germany. The front has a spectacular view of
Quite a special
post card as it is hand painted! It is probably
sent by a soldier to Wien, and cancelled Tirana 1st May
1918. Stampless postcard sent from Albania 26th
December 1917 to Böhmen in Germany. The front has
a spectacular view of Skhodre.
Complete set on
Greek postal form cancelled Korytza 14th September 1917.
Front of letter
with with complete set of Mi 47-52, type II control
surcharge, issued 16th January 1919. The letter is
inter-city registered Skhodėr, and cancelled 14th
February 1919. Note that both the types of 25 Q
are included. The type I "thin" eagle is much
rarer than type II (the 2 Q only has one surcharge type
present; the lesser value red surcharge in stead of blue).
Complete set of Mi
53-59, but lacking the expensive type II eagles of 15 Q
and 1 Frank. The stamps were issued 5th June 1919,
and this letter is cancelled 22nd July 1919 in Elbasan
with a "Zyra e Telegrafevet" cancellation (Elbasan
is quite accurately in the very middle of Albania). It was
obviously never ment to be sent, since an addressee is
absent. It was most probably a stamp collector's
way of getting the complete, cancelled set...
Letter to Scutari
cancelled Durres 28th October 1919. Stamps are
Michel 54 I and 55-56, control surcharge number IV.
Letter to Augsburg
in Germany, cancelled Shkodėr 5th March 1921.
Stamps are Michel 76 x 7 and 77-79 (1920).
registered letter from the French Legation in Albania to
Paris, France, cancelled Shkoder 1st April 1923, transit
cancellations Bari Ferrovia 3rd April and Genova -
Marseille 4th April 1923. The back side also has a
Card with Michel
95, cancelled Zyra Postate Shkodėr 21st September 1924
and addressed to Paris, France. .
complete set of the opening of the national assembly
(Michel 90-94), cancelled Tirane 21st January 1924.
letter with complete set of the opening of the national
assembly (Michel 90-94), cancelled Shkodėr 31st January
1924 and adressed to Shkodėr.