Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Stamp Issuers - Alexandretta

Alexandretta, 1938 (Scott #7)
Overprinted Syrian stamp
One of the shortest-lived issuers of stamps was for the sanjak of Alexandretta. This province of Turkey (sanjak is a type of Turkish district) issued stamps for less than one full year.

The province is located near the present day border of Turkey and Syria. The ownership of the area is disputed between the two countries.

In 1920, French-controlled Syria was awarded the sanjak of Alexandretta, shortly after the demise of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, in 1936, complained to the League of Nations that the freedoms of the minority Turks in the region were being infringed. In 1937, the League brokered an arrangement between France (which was mandated power in Syria) and Turkey to give the sanjak autonomy.

Stamps for the sanjak of Alexandretta were issued in 1938. All of the stamps issued were actually overprinted Syrian stamps; there are no stamps of Alexandretta where the name is actually printed as part of the design of the stamp.

On Sept 2, 1938, the assembly proclaimed the sanjak of Alexandretta as the Republic of Hatay, and Alexandretta stamps were no longer created. Shortly thereafter, in 1939, France transferred the sanjak to Turkey. Since that time, Syria has continued claims to the area.

All of the stamps of Alexandretta have a high catalog value premium for mint, never hinged stamps. The values quoted for mint stamps are for the hinged variety. Never hinged stamps will sell for 2 or 3 times these amounts.

The first regular issue stamp series consists of 12 stamps with a Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalog value of about $32 US for either mint hinged, or used. It was followed by the second (and only other) regular issue stamp set memorializing the death of Kemal Ataturk, President of Turkey. The second set catalogs for about $135 for the 5 stamps that make up this issue.

Alexandretta also has 8 air post stamps (valued at approximately $35) and 6 postage due stamps (valued just over $32). The 31 stamps that make up the entire issue of stamps for Alexandretta, catalog for about $235.

With careful planning, you can probably purchase all of the stamps of Alexandretta for about $180, if you search the internet and stamp auction sites. On a per stamp basis, that seems costly ... the stamps of Alexandretta average around $6 per stamp. For mint, never hinged stamps, you would pay about 3 times that amount, based on catalog values.

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