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Stamps of Italy

Commemoratives of 1933-1934

The commemorative stamps of Italy, for the period from August 1933 to March 1934, celebrate an athletic event, a holy year, and the annexation of Fiume.

The four stamps shown above (Sc. #306-09) were issued on August 16, 1933 to celebrate the 5th International University Games at Turin in September 1933.

The designs feature the statue of an athlete.

The games were part of what would become the International University Sports Federation, an international athletic competition for university students between the ages of 17 and 28.  The athletic events mirror those of the Summer Olympics.  In the 1933 games in Turin, Italy won the most medals, with 9 gold, 1 silver, and 9 bronze.  The United States placed fourth in the medal count.

The seven stamps of Italy shown above (Sc. #310-14, #CB1-2) were issued on October 23, 1933, at the solicitation of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, to celebrate the Holy Year.

The designs are as follows:

  • 20 C. - Cross in a halo and the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral.
  • 25 C. - Angel with a cross.
  • 50 C. - Angel with a cross.
  • 1.25 L. - Cross in a halo and the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral.
  • 2.55 L. + 2.50 L. - Cross and doves.

  • 50 C. + 25 C. - Dome of St. Peter's Cathedral, dove of peace, and Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
  • 75 C. + 50 C. - Dome of St. Peter's Cathedral, dove of peace, and Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem is a Roman Catholic order of knighthood, under the protection of the Pope.  Its roots can be traced to Duke Godfrey of Bouillon, the principal leader of the First Crusade.  Its purpose is to maintain the presence of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.

The sixteen stamps of Italy shown above (Sc. #315-21, #C56-61, #CE5-7) were issued on March 12, 1934 to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Annexation of Fiume.

The designs are as follows:

  • 10 C., 20 C. - Anchor.
  • 50 C. - Gabriele d'Annunzio.
  • 1.25 L. - St. Vito's Tower.
  • 1.75 L. + 1 L. - Allegory of the annexation of Fiume.
  • 2.55 L. + 2 L. - King Victor Emmanuel III arriving aboard the "Brindisi".
  • 2.75 L. + 2.50 L. - Galley, gondola, and battleship.

  • 25 C., 75 C. - View of Fiume Harbor.
  • 50 C., 1 L. + 50 C. - Monument to the Dead.
  • 2 L. + 1.50 L. - Venetian Lions.
  • 3 L. + 2 L. - Julian Wall.

  • 2 L. + 1.25 L., 2.25 L. + 1.25 L., 4.50 L. + 2 L. - Flag raising before the Fascist headquarters.

Fiume was a Free City and State, in present-day Croatia, which existed from 1920 to 1924.  It is made up of the city of Fiume (Rijeka) and the rural areas around it, with a corridor connecting the free state to Italy.

Following World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the area was disputed by both the Kingdom of Italy and the newly-formed Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  In order to resolve the post-war anarchy there, a buffer state between the two kingdoms was suggested by the parties to the Treaty of Versailles.  In September 1919, an Italian poet, Gabriele d'Annunzio, in command of an armed force, occupied the hotly-disputed territory.  In November 1920, the sovereign Free State of Fiume was declared, and it was officially recognized by the international community.  Political turmoil continued however, and in March 1922, the Italian government was asked to intervene and to restore order in Fiume.

In January 1924, the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia ratified a treaty agreeing to the annexation of Fiume by the Italian government.  Other territorial concessions were also made by the Italian government to the Yugoslav government, as part of the treaty.  Fiume remained part of the Kingdom of Italy, from then until 1944, when it once again became a hot-bed of political turmoil in the years after World War II.

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