Stamps of the Kingdom of Italy

by Tony Clayton

The Stamps of Victor Emmanuel II

The Quindici Stamps <<-- : -->> Stamps of Umberto I

Main Index

The De La Rue Issues

In 1863 a new set of stamps was printed in London by De La Rue showing a portrait of the King designed by Leonardo C.Wyon on all except the two low values (1c and 2c) which were deemed too valueless to warrant the use of the King's portrait.

On the 1st May 1866 versions printed in Turin using the De La Rue plates were issued. Distinguishing the two printings is very difficult unless you have clearly dated postmarks or marginal copies.

The 10c and 40c are amongst the most highly prized mint stamps of the period.


10 centesimi orange
Sassone 17


40 centesimi carmine rose
Sassone 20


15 centesimi light blue
Sassone 18

2 lire

2 lire light scarlet
Sassone 22

The 20 centesimi Provisional

In 1865 the basic letter postage rate went up from 15c to 20c. As there was no stamp of that denomination, it was decided that the stocks of 15c stamps should be overprinted with the new value.

Astonishingly, three different plates were used, the original having no dots in the design, the second having four and the third twelve. SG list these in reverse order. Only proofs of those with dots have been found without the overprint.

There are other design differences besides the number of dots.

Type 1

20c on 15c type 1 - no dots
Sassone 23

Type 2

20c on 15c type 2 - 4 dots
Sassone 24

Type 3

20c on 15c type 3 - 12 dots
Sassone 25

The New 20 centesimi Issue

In 1867 a new definitive for the 20c letter rate was issued at last. This was printed in both London and Turin, with the latter issued first.

Type 1

20c blue
Sassone 26

New Colours

In 1877 the colours of the 10c and 20c were exchanged. The plate for the 20c is different from that used for the blue version of this stamp.

Type 1

10c blue
Sassone 27

Type 1

20c yellow ochre
Sassone 28

The Overprinted Official Stamps

The Official stamps were no longer used, so the remainder were overprinted in 1878 and used for the printed paper rate of 2c. There are two shades of the basic stamps, and two less obvious shades of the overprint.

Inverted overprints are known and are rare. Forged overprints are also known.


Two mint copies of the eight varieties
Sassone 33 and 34


Letter from Carbonara to Ficarolo, franked with 2c on 20 centesimi, light shade
Sassone 31


Letter from Due Ville to Sandrigo, franked with 2c on 5 lire, dark shade
Sassone 35

The Quindici Stamps <<-- : -->> Stamps of Umberto I
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Stamps of the Kingdom of Italy - VE2 Issues
Copyright reserved by the author, Tony Clayton
v6 11th August 2014
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