The first Polish postage stamp

Fischer 1 | Michel 1 | Scott 1 | Year of issue 1860 | Pre-war Poland

The first Polish postage stamp was issued when Poland was a constitutional kingdom within the Russian empire. Under tsarist rule, Poland was allowed to form its own postal system and to issue its own stamps.

Fischer 1
1
The Romanov eagle
  On early Russian stamps, the Romanov eagle was very common. The model for the first Polish stamp was of course that of the tsarist Russian stamps which were then in use. The denomination is 10 Kopecks. It was only valid in Russia and occupied Polish territory.
The Russian two-faced Romanov eagle has been the Russian coat of arms since the 15th century. The eagle was the symbol of the Roman empire. After the division of the Roman empire, the eagle became the symbol of the Byzantine. All heirs, from islamic Albanians to east orthodox Russians took over the symbol. In Greece, the eagle is used as a symbol for the orthodox church.
The bird symbol of the crown of the Russian tsar stands for a wide vision and the unprecedented opportunities of the world's biggest state and its relation with the church.
This stamp was used in Poland until 1863, when the January Uprising broke out against the tsarist Russian oppression. After 1863, regular Russian stamps were used in Poland until World War I.

Varieties

There are two main varieties of Poland No. 1: pale and dark prints. Both pale and dark prints have colour varieties of pale blue/rose and dark blue/carmine shades.


1a (pale)


1b (dark)


1s (blue edge added to the inner oval)

Cancellations

The first Polish stamp was cancelled in various ways, mostly with a number within concentric circles. The number identifies the mailing office where the stamp was cancelled. 345 mailing offices can be identified on mail used during the Russian occupation of Poland. The numbers 1-322, 324-327, 329-330 and 332 were used on Poland number one. The mailing offices with the numbers 323, 328, 331 and 333-345 were opened in 1865, which is after the January Uprising. They were used on Russian stamps issued in Poland after Poland number one.

Click here to see examples of cancellations on the first stamp of Poland

 


A numeral cancellation from Warsaw

Translations

Za łót kop 10 = 10 Kopecks per lot. A lot is a disused Russian measure of weight, about half an ounce (about 12.8 grams). Kopecks were Russian currency (Rubles and Kopecks).

Glossary

The Romanov eagle on a shield is the coat of arms of Russia.
A tsar is a male ruler of Russia until 1917.

Relevant pages

Find other Polish stamps depicting the Romanov eagle
Cancellations of Poland No 1
Identification list for numeral cancellations on early Polish stamps

Resources

Postage stamps and postal history of Poland
Map of the Polish kingdom within the Russian empire in 1815
Stamp atlas Poland (www.sandafayre.com)
Russian stamps, philately and postal history (www.rossia.com)
Polish post station marks (www.rossica.org)
Congress Poland
Romanov
Tsar
Ruble and Kopeck
Coat of arms of Russia

Map

Map of Poland in 1860: