Postage stamps and postal history of Egypt

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An 1864 POSTA EUROPEA stamp
A 1914 stamp of Egypt.

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Egypt.

Pre-stamp era[edit]

Handstamps were first introduced during the Napoleonic period, 1798-1800. Single line handstamps are known from "ALEXANDRIE", "LE CAIRE", "BENESOUEF" and "SIOUTH".[1]

Carlo Meratti, an Italian, set up the first postal system in Egypt in 1821. This was a private enterprise which in 1842 was named "POSTA EUROPEA". The Egyptian Government, in 1857, sanctioned it to carry on all inland postal services. This concession was purchased by the Egyptian Government and on 1 January 1865 it took control of this service. This service was renamed to "POSTE VICE-REALI EGIZIAN".[2][3]

First stamps[edit]

First Egyptian stamps were issued on 1 January 1866. Egypt joined the UPU in 1875.

British, French, Italian, Austrian, Russian and Greek post offices operated on Egyptian soil, particularly in Alexandria and Port Said.

British troops used special stamps inscribed BRITISH FORCES IN EGYPT or ARMY POST EGYPT.

After independence, Egypt Post was used. Stamps were labeled "United Arab Republic" or more commonly UAR from 1959-1971.

Egyptian post offices in foreign countries[edit]

The 1866 local stamps of Liannos et Cie for the Egyptian postal service in Constantinople.

Post offices in Sudan, the Turkish Empire and in East Africa were opened by the Egyptian postal administration. No special stamps were used just normal Egyptian stamps; so they can only be identified by the cancellation.[4]


According to records a total of 27 post offices were opened in Sudan – but cancellations are known only from 11 of these. Egyptian stamps were in use in Sudan between 1867 and 1897.[4]

Ottoman Empire[edit]

A total of twenty post offices were opened in the Ottoman Empire; the locations are now Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Syria. These were in operation for only a few years between 1865 and 1881.[4]

In 1865 the local post distribution company Liannos et Cie was established in Constantinople to distribute mail arriving in the city which was not addressed in Arabic as the staff of the Ottoman Postal Service were unable to read the Latin alphabet. In 1866 a second service was set up on behalf of the Egyptian post office operating in the city to solve the same problem. Both services were short lived.[5]

East Africa[edit]

Four post offices were opened in what is now Somalia and one in present-day Eritrea. They were open between 1867 and 1885.[4]

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Billings, p. 252
  2. ^ Billings, pp. 252-253
  3. ^ Kehr/Cockrill, pp. 17-22
  4. ^ a b c d Stanley Gibbons Catalogue, pt. 19, 2005, p. 83.
  5. ^ The Local Mail Stamps of the British Levant by Tony Stanford, Maidenhead & District Philatelic Society, 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Smith, Peter A S, Egypt: Stamps and Postal History - A Philatelic Treatise, J Bendon, 1999, 922pp, ISBN 9963-579-81-7
  • Chalhoub, J.H. and Hass, C., The Nile Post: Handbook and Catalogue of Egyptian Stamps, Including Listings of the Egyptian Issues for Palestine and Sudan, as Well as Those of the French Consular Post Offices in Alexandria and Port-Said, Chalhoub and Hass, 2003, 783pp, ISBN 978-0973337303

External links[edit]