ALBUM – Thessaly, Ottoman Occupation (1897 – 1898)

These are “virtual album pages” from the Dead Country collection of W. Michael Adkins. If interested in how they were made, go to the About This Site page. To link directly to the pdf file, click here.

Unless otherwise noted, numbers are from the Scott Catalogue.

6 Responses to ALBUM – Thessaly, Ottoman Occupation (1897 – 1898)

  1. Chris Whitehouse says:

    Hi Michael,

    Trying to work out the history of these stamps (in my head). Scott Catalogue states, “Issued for Turkish occupation forces to use in Thessaly during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897-98.” This doesn’t exactly square up since the stamps were issued in April of 1898, and the Greco-Turkish War occurred in April and May of the previous year (1897). Were they, instead, used by the Turkish forces occupying Thessaly a year AFTER the war? And they were only in use for a couple of months? When did the Turkish forces leave?


    • Michael says:

      These are tough, but I think they were made as a money making scheme. Here is an article I was pointed to that helps shed some light on the stamps

      LONDON PHILATELIST – May, 1898
      “Thessaly. — The retiring Turk, eager to preserve some tangible evidence of the occupation of Thessaly, has caused a series of five stamps to be issued, a set of which is to hand from Messrs. Whitfield King & Co. At the time of writing, transport vessels are awaiting to embark the Turkish troops at present in Thessaly. It seems scarcely credible that these labels should have any official connection with the Turkish Post Office, but they have been issued by Imperial Irade”, and have included in the design the Thougra, or arms of the Sultan. Le T.-P. informs us that it is the desire of the Government in issuing the stamps to leave on record some souvenir of the occupation of Thessaly by the Turkish Empire. At the Yildiz exhibition, the stamps remaining over, after the evacuation of Thessaly, will be sold at an enhanced value, the proceeds being used for the benefit of the families of those soldiers who fell in the late war.

      The stamps are octagonal in shape, and are perforated so as to give a square perforation, or an octagonal one, at will, this latter feat being possible owing to the stamps being printed with a margin of paper half an
      inch in width between each, both horizontally and vertically.

      The design includes, in Turkish characters, the following inscription : ” Special for Thessaly, that part of the country conquered.” The values are 10 and 20 paras, 1, 2, and
      5 piastres.

      Although we have gone to some trouble to describe these stamps, it is scarcely needful to say we consider that they are probably unnecessary and speculative.

      The following paragraph, which appeared in an evening London newspaper, bears out the spirit of the foregoing remarks : —
      ” There has been a great run on the new postage stamps for Thessaly, which the Turkish Government caused to be circulated last week. These stamps are of the values of 5, 2, and 1 piastre, and of 20 and 10 paras ; and so eager were collectors to possess the new stamps that on the third day following their introduction those valued 5 and 2 piastres were all bought up, and changed hands at eighteen shillings. The stamps of smaller value brought four shillings.
      The traders in these stamps were Turkish officers and Civil servants, who, now that the evacuation of Thessaly is taking definite shape, evidently thought the first and only issue of stamps by the Turkish Government
      was an opportunity for making money not to be thrown away.”

      • Chris Whitehouse says:

        Thanks Michael, that helps clear it up. Guess that’s why mint versions of these stamps are pretty common. They were rather like semi-postals in that regard.

        • Michael says:

          As I research many of the revolutions, or countries trying to establish themselves, especially from around the turn of the century until WW1, many of them issued stamps primarily to be sold to the philatelic trade to help fund their endeavor. In some cases, stamps were issued for a country by a few individuals to make money. I think this was similar, a few resourceful people found a way to make a few piasters by printing and issuing the stamps. All totally official, of course, since they probably worked for the Turkish government.
          Just my opinion, but I could be wrong.

  2. Sean Parry says:

    I have a full set of five unmounted mint sheets of 9 of these stamps, please could you advise me of the current market price on them in £ sterling. Would you be interested in purchasing them from me?

    • Michael says:

      Hi Sean, welcome to DCStamps.
      The Ottoman stamps are certainly interesting stamps. Regarding the market price, it all depends on lots of things. As single stamps they might be work a pound or two each, but for full sheets I really don’t know. I would suggest you look at Ebay or Delcampe Auctions for anyone who might be offering sheets of these stamps and see what they are selling them for. Better yet, check with a local stamp dealer, as they might be able to give you the best idea.
      As for me, I am not a dealer, and don’t buy sheets.
      Good Luck

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