The first stamps of Finland appeared in 1856, at a time when Finland was still an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. A pair of the 5 Kopeck denomination is shown above.
The currency of Finland, before 1860 was the Russian Ruble (1
Ruble = 100 Kopecks). Their currency from 1860 to 2002 was the Finnish
Markka (1 Markka = 100 Pennia).
The Finn people, originally a civilization of hunters and gatherers, have inhabited this area for over 8,500 years. The word "Suomi" is believed to be derived from an ancient Proto-Baltic word meaning "land", and that is the name by which the Finns would eventually refer to their nation. Most of the modern European languages would interpret that as being "the land of the Finns" or "Finland". Stamps inscribed "SUOMI / FINLAND" were first issued in 1875.
From the 12th Century until the beginning of the 19th Century, present-day Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. The area was conquered by the armies of Czar Alexander I of Russia in 1809, and afterwards, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy, within the Russian Empire. In the midst of the Russian Revolution, Finland declared its independence from the Russian Empire on December 6, 1917, and since then, the country has been a parliamentary republic.
The stamps of Finland that are most recognizable to stamp collectors were issued, beginning in 1860. They are shown above. One could show the back side of these stamps to any experienced stamp collector, and they would immediately be able to determine that they are Finnish stamps.
The first stamp separation methodology used by Finland was Serpentine Rouletting, usually with gauge 7 1/2 or gauge 8. The indentation depth between the teeth was so extreme that the individual stamps looked very odd. This methodology worked, but separating the individual stamps from the sheet often resulted in mutilated or missing teeth. As a result, stamps with intact teeth all the way around are rare. The prices in the catalogs refer to stamps with all the teeth intact.
Perforation of printed sheets of stamps was finally implemented in 1875.
Links to historical articles and reviews of many of the individual classical and early modern postage stamps of Finland will eventually appear at the top of the third column of this page.
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