Postage stamps and postal history of Iraq
This is a survey of the
postage stamps and postal historyof Iraq.
The earliest postal service known in the area of present-day Iraq was operated by
Assyria; archeologists have found a large number of commercial letters written in cuneiform on clay tablets, and enclosed in addressed clay envelopes.
Ottoman Empirehad post offices at Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, and Kirkukaround 1863. Indiaoperated post offices in Baghdad and Basra from 1868to 1914. During World War I, British and Indian troops fought their way from Basra to Mosul; they used stamps of India overprinted "I.E.F." on their military mail.
The British overprinted a variety of Turkish stamps during the occupation, a grouping now conventionally called the issues of "Mesopotamia"; for details, see
postage stamps and postal history of Mesopotamia.
The postal service of Iraq proper began with the British mandate granted by the
League of Nationsin 1920.
The first stamps of Iraq were a
definitive seriesthat appeared in 1923; the set of 12 included eight different designs depicting scenes and images from ancient history and the present day. They were denominated in annas and rupees, inscribed with "IRAQ" and "POSTAGE & REVENUE". The first stamp depicting Faisal I of Iraqwas a 1-rupee value in 1927, followed in 1931by a series of 13 values.
1932brought a new currency ( fils and dinar), and the existing Faisal stamps were surcharged accordingly, and issued on 1 April1932. These were followed soon after ( 9 May) by stamps of the previous design denominated in the new currency. The accession of King Ghazi necessitated new stamps, which appeared in 1934; they were of the same design as the Faisal stamps, but with a profile of Ghazi in the vignette.
Due to Ghazi's unexpected death and the infancy of his son, in
1941a new series was issued featuring local scenery. Along with additional values and color changes issued the next year, the series totals 23 stamps. 1942also saw the first stamps depicting Faisal II, who was still a young boy. He appears as a teenager in the next series, which was issued in 1948.
commemorative stamps came out in 1949to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union. Faisal's 1953coronation was also marked by a set of three, along with a souvenir sheet. The last of the Faisal definitives had only partly appeared before the revolution of 1958, and both issued and unissued types were overprinted.
Qassim's period was noted by the usual round of commemoratives, many featuring him as benevolent leader. Later presidents also appeared, though less frequently. Saddam Hussein, as vice-president, makes a first appearance in a souvenir sheetof 1976, and by the mid- 1980sappeared on a great many Iraqi stamps.
Iraq invasion of 2003brought the stamp program to a sudden halt, the last Saddam-era issue being a Saddam Universitystamp on 5 February 2003. Two additional issues were planned, themed "Old Methods of Transportation" and "Popular Industries", and proofs had been made. The printing works were destroyed in the looting, but not the Post Office building, and the proofs survived. The Coalition Provisional Authoritysubsequently approved the printing of the Transportation stamps, and they were issued 29 January 2004. In the meantime, overprints appeared on various stamps, but none were officially authorized.
List of people on stamps of Iraq
Patrick Pearsonand E. B. Proud, "The Postal History of Iraq" (Proud-Bailey, 1996) ISBN 1-872465-19-6. Focuses on occupation and mandate periods.
* [http://www.iraq-stamps.com/stamps_gallery/ All Iraqi Stamps organised in albums, full colour images]
* [http://www.maganstamps.co.uk/Niraq.htm Dealer in modern Iraq issues, including much background info]
Stanley GibbonsLtd: various catalogues
* [http://www.jl.sl.btinternet.co.uk/stampsite/home.html Encyclopaedia of Postal History]
* Stuart Rossiter & John Flower: "The Stamp Atlas"
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