Archive for Postal History


History of Philately

From the dawn of civilization, humans needed to communicate over long distances. Email is but the latest form of communication. Before email, people used to communicate by letters . Letters are sent via a global postal system. Stamps have been used since 1840 to pay for postage. The first stamp is ever issued is UK’s

Philately (from French philatélie) is the study of stamps and postal history. The term was coined by Georges Herpin in 1864 to describe the nascent hobby of collecting and studying stamps. Philatélie is a composite words of phila (attraction) and atélie (derived from Latin ateleia) to mean free of duties. Before the invention of stamps, the receiver of a letter used to pay upon delivery.

Lebanon philately

The first stamps used in Lebanon date back to the same era. Ottomans, rulers of Lebanon in the 19th century, permitted some Western countries to set up foreign post offices in the Ottoman empire and in particular in Lebanon. In 1863 the first Ottoman stamp (tughra) was issued.

Ottoman and foreign post offices continued to operate in Lebanon until World War I. Upon the defeated the Ottomans, in 1919, allied troops occupied Lebanon. Stamps of this era issued by France were overprinted with T.E.O. (Territoire Ennemie Occupé). Similarly, British troops used in Palestine and Lebanon E.E.F. stamps (Egyptian Expeditionary Forces).

In the 1920′s administration of Lebanon was assigned to France by the League of Nations. Hence began the Mandate period. Stamps used during the mandate period changed as the political transformation of the Lebanese territory took shape. T.E.O stamps were quickly replace with French stamps overprinted with O.M.F (Occupation Militaire Francaise). O.M.F. stamps were then replaced in 1923 with Syrie Grand Liban stamps for a brief period. These were the last stamps share between Syria and Lebanon.

1924 ushered in GRAND LIBAN overprinted French stamps. In 1925, the first stamps designed for Grand Liban were issued including perhaps the most gorgeous cedar stamp. In 1927 The Lebanese Republic was declared, while still under mandate, and so Grand Liban stamps started to be overprinted with Republique Libanaise. In 1930 the first stamps were issued for the new republic. This political-philatelic state of affairs lasted until WW II. One of the most memorable Lebanese stamp was issued in 1944, to commemorate the anniversary of the independence with an overprint of 22 November 1942, in Arabic in President Bechara Khoury hand writing.

The post WWII era, and especially sixties, was the most prolific in terms of quantity and quality of stamps issued. This included some of the prettiest stamps. This era of ended abruptly with the onset of the civil war. Stamps were stollen during the war, forcing authorities to reissue stamps with a security background to distinguish new stamps from stollen ones.

In the nineties a moderate number of new issues were released, largely reflecting personalities and events of the decade. In 2005, following the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Harriri, a new political order took over. The new political order showcased its martyrs through stamps. Even when power changed hands in the last couple of years, the output of new issues continued to be strong and culturally varied.

By the time this writing is published, a new set of stamps would have been issued featuring Lebanese intellectuals, Amine Maalouf, Said Akl’s, Ghassan Tueni, statesman Adel Osseiran, and commemorating Pope Benedict XVI visit to Lebanon.

World Lebanese Union on Stamp

In July 10, 1968 Lebanon issued an airmail stamp commemorating the Third World Lebanese Union 1968 congress. The congress was held at the UESCO palace in Beirut and attended by President Charles Helou. Interestingly the year printed on the stamp 1967 was incorrect. [insert conference photo] Emigrant congresses were previously held in Sao Paolo and Miami. The organization with world offices was named the World Lebanese Cultural Union.

Lebanon philately forums

Philately as a hobby for new generation


1950s forgeries

Lebanon Philately reprint Wed Jun 15, 2005

Dear all,

can any body elaborate about what exactly happened to the 1950s
forgeries? I know a little bit about the issue myself, i know that
when the police knew about the location, those who did the forgeries
spent days and nights using an ink seal (only one example) canceling
those stamps, i also know that the group went to jail..
My question is : What happened to those forgeries? were they really
burned? Is it true that it was very dangerous to exchange these
forgeries in the 1960s and 1970s?

any help is welcomed..


Cana Cross

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Fri Nov 26, 2004

The cross of the Cana series is printed twice. One of them is
the visible one and the other is invisible, but can be seen
under ultraviolet light. Forging that is hard as applying the
invisible cross requires specialized equipment that costs a
lot of money.


Quana-Cross Serie

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Mon Sep 27, 2004

There is an important feature for the Cana set that is not shared by other
rare/scarce lebanon material. It is a regular issue of stamps. It is not
a souvenir sheet and it is not an imperf or an error. If it becomes
accepted in all catalogues, anyone who wants completion of a basic
Lebanon collection, would have to get it. This is not the case for souvenir
and errors. So my point is that it has a larger buyers base.

But as I pointed out there a few hundreds sets at least and there aren’t
that many collectors of Lebanon who are willing to pay a lot.

A set that is similar to Cana is the Grand Zero. In the 1950′s it was sold
for $100 (that is what an old time collector told me). It was really
scarce at that time. While it is still difficult to find (especially MNH),
its price is nowhere near Cana. The grand zero (50p) has a printing
of 50,000 and was heavily used: I have seen copies used from Ain Zhalta,
Beirut, and Karoun. The remaining ones cannot be that numerous.


Quana-Cross Serie

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Sat Sep 25, 2004

Hello everybody
Also the analysis of Elie is very interesting, but we still are not answering the main question … How much of this stamp are available … And let us once “AS LEBANESE” forget the conspiracy theories …. Let’s talk facts … NO one knows how much of the Qana stamp were overprinted … The most reliable figure that I’ve got from a trusted person is around 3000

Quana-Cross Serie

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Sat Sep 25, 2004

Dear Friends
First: Qana 1100LL with cross quantity = 35000 pieces
it was used for 2 month at all post office at Lebanon
1100 LL used for Europe and Registered letter to Arab country in the
mean time,it was used in holiday seasons.
I thing or I am sure it wasn’t withdrawn and all stories about
Iranian Ambassy or Hisb Alla are not true .
two month are more than enough with buying buying by collectors and
dealers to finish the quantities .
Second : if more than 5 sets and one block of 4 will be offerd the
price will fall down but because NO body has large quantities it
will never be offered.
So it’s a dream to see the price is falling down .

Lastly NO BODY obliged any one to buy it upon request and offer.

have a lovely week-end .