Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Postage stamps and postal history of Greece
A 5-lepta large Hermes head, probably used at Pylos in 1886
The first stamps of Greece were the so-called "large Hermes heads ", a profile of the Greek messenger god Hermes in a frame strongly resembling that used for contemporary stamps of France. Issued in 1861 with seven denominations ranging from one lepton to 80 lepta, they were initially printed in Paris; in November 1861 the printing plates were transferred to Athens and subsequent printings made there. The plates continued in use into the early 1880s, resulting in a number of varieties due to plates becoming worn and then cleaned, as well as the printing of the stamps on several kinds of paper. Most types were also printed with numbers on the back, and all are imperforate.
The "small Hermes heads " first appeared in 1886, and were printed in both Belgium and Athens. Like their predecessors, they depicted Hermes in profile, but with a smaller head and a rounder helmet. Initially imperforate, perforated versions became available in 1891.
Greece's first commemorative stamps were issued in 1896 for the 1896 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic games in modern times. The series consisted of twelve values with eight designs, which included famous sports-related images from ancient Greece, such as a chariot race and Myron's Discobolus .
In 1900, a variety of existing Greek stamps were surcharged with new values, some with a denomination by itself, or with "A M", meaning Axia Metalliki ("value in metal") for values based on gold currency , typically used for parcel post .
In 1901, a new series of definitive stamps depicted Giovanni da Bologna 's status of Hermes. The high values of this series are notable for being printed in metallic colors; bronze (2d), silver (3d), and gold (5d). In 1902 an additional series for gold currency was inscribed "A M".
Territorial changes, 1871 to 1923
1920s and 1930s
World War II
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