Stamps of the Kingdom of Italy

by Tony Clayton

The 1863 Quindici Stamps printed by Matraire

The First Stamps of Italy <<-- : -->> Other Stamps of Victor Emmanuel II

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The so-called Quindici issues of 1863 were printed in lithography by Francesco Matraire. The problem with the previous issue was the need for embossing, which limited the rate at which stamps could be produced. Now that stamps were required for the whole of Italy rather than just Sardinia, the use of the embossed head had to stop.

There are two main types, showing the head of King Victor Emmanuel III. The delight of this issue is that both types can be plated to a certain extent. Type I was printed in sheets of 200 consisting of four blocks of 25 subjects, repeated, and then the sheets were cut into panes of 50 for sending to Post Offices. For the first type each subject of the blocks of 25 can be distinguished, but which of the four blocks is not so clear, as pairs and multiples of this issue are scarce. Furthermore, flaws are few, and sometimes absent, so stamps occur which do match any of the known characteristics.

For the second type all 100 stamps can be plated, in 4 groups of 25 subjects; many large blocks survived, and the flaws were more numerous.

I am indebted to Alan Becker, who has published details of the different plate positions in Fil-Italia Volume III No. 1 of 1976.

I am gradually acquiring many of the individual plate varieties, and intend to publish images as they come to hand.

Types 1 and 2

There are several ways to distinguish Type 1 stamps from Type 2.

Type 1

Type 1 showing the important characteristics

Type 2

Type 2

For more details of the plating characteristics click here for Type 1 or here for Type 2


The stamp has been extensively forged. This example is a giveaway as the lettering is far too neat! In particular the C has a rounded back rather than a straight back.

Type 2 forgery


The First Stamps of Italy <<-- : -->> Other Stamps of Victor Emmanuel II
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1863 Matraire issue
Copyright reserved by the author, Tony Clayton
v14 17th April 2015
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