Postage stamps and postal history of Yugoslavia
The story of the postage stamps and postal history of Yugoslavia officially begins with the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on 1 December 1918. Prior to this each of the constituent countries had their own postal systems and history (see Postage stamps and postal history of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Postage stamps and postal history of Croatia, Postage stamps and postal history of Serbia, etc.).
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia-Slavonia actually issued stamps for the new regime in November, before it was formally created. In the former case the Austrian-issued pictorial stamps of 1910 were overprinted, some in Latin characters reading "DRZAVA S.H.S. / 1918 1918 / Bosna j Hercegovina" and others in their Cyrillic equivalent. In Croatia-Slavonia, stamps of Hungary overprinted with "HRVATSKA / SHS" went on sale 18 November. In Slovenia, design work began at this time, with the first stamps of the Verigar issue going on sale 3 January 1919.
Croatia-Slavonia issued their own designs of stamps in 1919 as well, using various allegorical designs. Slovenia issued additional allegorical designs in 1919, along with high values depicting King Peter I.
The first stamps intended for use throughout the kingdom were issued 16 January 1921. The lower values depicted Crown Prince Alexander, and the higher values (1 dinar and up), King Peter. In January 1923, the higher values were replaced by the image of now-King Alexander. Variations on the design appeared in issues of 1924 (different portrait) and 1926 (facing right instead of left, typographed instead of engraved).
In 1931, a new series was the first to be inscribed "JUGOSLAVIA". The old series of 1926 was also overprinted with the new name, in 1933. Just a week after Alexander's assassination in 1934, the 1931 issues were re-issued with black borders, and in 1935, the first anniversary of his death was marked by an issue of five stamps. In the meantime, new definitives depicted the young King Peter II.
In 1936, Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, honored on his 80th birthday, became the first non-royal on a Yugoslavian stamp.
A new definitive series of 1939 showed an older Peter II; it would be the last series issued by the kingdom.
World War II
During the occupations of World War II, a variety of issues were in use. Slovenia was under Italian and then German occupation; the Italians overprinted Yugoslavian stamps, while the Germans overprinted Italian stamps and then in 1945 issued a series of 16 stamps depicting local scenery and inscribed "PROVINZ LAIBACH" and "LJUBLJANSKA POKRAJINA". Serbia was under German occupation, which overprinted Yugoslav stamps with "SERBIEN", and later its own stamps while Croatia became a puppet state issuing its own stamps.
The federal republic began its own stamp issues in December 1944 with overprints of Serbian stamps, followed in early 1945 by a series depicting Josip Broz Tito. In October, stamps with a different depiction of Tito were joined with view of partisans and the city of Jajce in a definitive series that would continue in use for the rest of the 1940s.
After the war, the Allied occupation issued a series of 13 pictorial stamps for Istria and the Slovene coast (Zone B), while Trieste became a free territory issuing its own stamps, mostly inscribed "STT VUJA", until its division in 1954.
Post war era
The republic began frequent issues of pictorial and propaganda stamps from 1947 on. The definitive series of 1950 featured workers in a variety of industries, and was followed by additional stamps in different denominations and colors as late as 1955. Beginning in 1958, the definitives depicted industrial progress in various forms, with several re-issues, the last in 1966. In 1967, the 75th birthday of Tito was marked with a series of his profile, and new stamps of this design appeared until 1972.
The breakup of Yugoslavia had little effect on its stamp issues, although most were sold only to collectors; the Scott catalog stops pricing used stamps dating from 1992 and later, a practice indicating lack of evidence for postal usage.
In Croatia, Hrvatska pošta was established in 1990.
- Scott catalogue
- Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, pp. 117-119. ISBN 0-356-10862-7
- Stamp Domain collection of links to Yugoslavian philately pages
- Yugoslavia Stamps on Banatul.com
- Kindgdom of Yugoslavia stamps on Philatelica Yugoslavia