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Stamps of Italy

Definitives of 1862-1877


-- King Victor Emmanuel II


The first stamps of Italy were issued between March and October of 1862.  The new Kingdom of Italy had been proclaimed on March 17, 1861, and Victor Emmanuel II (1820-1878) became the country's first constitutional monarch. 

Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso had been the King of Sardinia from 1849 until 1861, and he was one of the major protagonists in Italy's Wars of Independence.  He was officially King Victor Emmanuel I of Italy, but he chose to go by his title as King of Sardinia, which was Victor Emmanuel II.  After the unification of Italy, he spent much of the remainder of his reign quietly working on cultural and economic issues. 

The Italians voted him the title of "Padre della Patria" or "Father of the Fatherland", and it is this phrase that is inscribed beneath his name on his tomb in the 2,000 year old Pantheon in Rome.

All of the definitive stamps of Italy, from 1862 through 1877, have the following attributes in common:

  • Printing Process:  Typographed or Lithographed.
  • Portrait:  Left Facing Portrait of Victor Emmanuel II or Large Numerals.
  • Perforation:  Perforated 11 1/2 x 12 (1862), Imperforate (1863), Perforated 14 (1863-1877).
  • Watermark:  Unwatermarked (1862-1863), WMK 140 -- Crown (1863-1877).

The first four stamps of Italy, issued during 1862, are shown in the images above.  They are identical to the same denomination 1855-1863 issues of the Kingdom of Sardinia, except that the Sardinian stamps are imperforate and these are perforatedThe images above are of certified mint examples found on the internet.

The 15 C. denomination was issued in 1863, and it is imperforate.


  • 10 C.  (1862 - Scott #17) - Bister.
  • 20 C.  (1862 - Scott #19) - Dark Blue.
  • 40 C.  (1862 - Scott #20) - Red.
  • 80 C.  (1862 - Scott #21) - Orange.
  • 15 C.  (1863 - Scott #22) - Blue.

Type I

Type II


The new 15 C. denomination shown above was issued in 1863.  These stamps of Italy are lithographed and imperforate.  The 15 C. denomination comes in two types:

Type I
Type II

First "C" in bottom line nearly closed.
First "C" is open and line under "Q" is broken.


  • 15 C.  (1863 - Type I - Scott #23a) - Blue.
  • 15 C.  (1863 - Type II - Scott #23) - Blue.

Beginning in December 1863, a new series of definitive stamps of Italy was issued.  They are all shown above, with the exception of the Scott listed 10 C. denomination in Blue.  This stamp was not part of the original printings, as it was issued in 1877.  It is described with the 1867-1877 issues below. 

There were two printings of these nine stamps.  The De La Rue & Co. London Printings were produced between December 1863 and April 1866.  The Torino (Turin) Printings were produced between May 1866 and the end of 1867.  The two printings have slightly different colors, and the lines of the London Printings are a little clearer than the Torino (Turin) Printings.  According to Sassone, the 15 C. denomination in Light Blue was only produced in the London Printing.

On mint condition examples, these stamps can be extremely difficult to differentiate.  Fortunately, most people collect these issues in used condition, and for them, it is a lot easier.  The two printings can be separated by dated postmarks.  Stamps with dated postmarks before April 1866 are London Printings.  Stamps with dated postmarks after May 1866 are most probably Torino (Turin) Printings.

The images above are of certified mint condition examples of the London Printings that were found on the internet.


  • 1 C.  (1863 - Scott #24) - Gray Green.
  • 2 C.  (1865 - Scott #23) - Orange Brown.
  • 5 C.  (1863 - Scott #26) - Slate Green.
  • 10 C.  (1863 - Scott #27) - Buff
  • 15 C.  (1863 - Scott #29) - Blue.
  • 30 C.  (1863 - Scott #30) - Brown.
  • 40 C.  (1863 - Scott #31) - Carmine.
  • 60 C.  (1863 - Scott #32) - Lilac.
  • 2 L.  (1863 - Scott #33) - Vermilion.

The Scott Catalog does not differentiate between the two printings in their listings.  It may be assumed that the stamps described and valued in the Scott Catalog are the Torino (Turin) Printings.  For anyone having a specialized interest in these issues, reference to the Sassone specialized catalog is an absolute necessity.

Type I

Type II

Type III


In 1865, some of the 15 C. denomination stamps of Italy were surcharged to fill a need for 20 C. denomination stamps.

These stamps exist in three types:

Type I


Type II

Type III

Dots flanking stars in oval, and a dot in each of the check-mark ornaments in the corners.

Dots in oval but none in corners.

No Dots at all.


  • 20 C. on 15 C.  (1865 - Type I - Scott #34) - Blue.
  • 20 C. on 15 C.  (1865 - Type II - Scott #34a) - Blue.
  • 20 C. on 15 C.  (1865 - Type III - Scott #34b) - Blue.


A 10 C. denomination stamp and two new 20 C. denomination stamps were issued between 1867 and 1877Supplies must have been completely exhausted, as mint condition examples are astronomically expensive, whereas used condition examples are cheap.


  • 20 C.  (1867 - Scott #35) - Blue.
  • 10 C.  (1877 - Scott #28) - Blue.
  • 20 C.  (1877 - Scott #36) - Orange.


In 1877, the urgent need for 2 C. denomination stamps necessitated the surcharging of various denomination official stamps, as shown above.


  • 2 C. on 2 C.  (1877 - Scott #37)
  • 2 C. on 5 C.  (1877 - Scott #38)
  • 2 C. on 20 C.  (1877 - Scott #39)
  • 2 C. on 30 C.  (1877 - Scott #40)
  • 2 C. on 1 L.  (1877 - Scott #41)
  • 2 C. on 2 L.  (1877 - Scott #42)
  • 2 C. on 5 L.  (1877 - Scott #43)
  • 2 C. on 10 L.  (1877 - Scott #44)

Used condition examples are known with inverted surcharges.  They are all very scarce and expensive.




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Italy Postage Stamps

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Definitives of 1862-1877






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