The first stamps of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany were issued on 1 April 1851; they depicted a crowned lion of Etruria (the land of the Etruscans) also known as Marzocco, the symbol of Florence. The face value was expressed in fractional denominations of the Tuscan Lira: Quattrino, Soldo, Crazia. One Lira consisted of 60 Quattrini, or 20 Soldi, or 12 Crazie. In Summer 1859, as a result of the Second War of Independence, Grand Duke Leopold II fled Tuscany. A Provisional Government issued new stamps denominated in Italian Lire and featuring the coat of arms of the House of Savoy.

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THE PORT OF LIVORNO  Maritime Postal History by Alan BECKER
Country: TUSCANY
Condition: THE PORT OF LIVORNO Maritime Postal History by Alan BECKER
Description: Alan Becker, The Port of Livorno - A Survey of its Maritime Postal History -- 17th to the 20th Centuries. in English, 74 pages (A4) spiral bound, color illustrations throughout. *************** This book brings together into one volume the current knowledge of the postal history of the port of Livorno. Although touched on in several other more general works, the last book covering this specific subject was published some 50 years ago. The Author is a long-time specialist of Livorno’s maritime mail postal history with related extensive collections on the various aspects. In 1676 Livorno was officially declared a free port, thus consolidating a pre-existing situation that dated back to the 1500s. During the ensuing decades many foreigners settled in Livorno forming sizable communities of French, Jewish, Dutch, Greek, Armenian and Levantine expatriates. In due course Livorno became the most important seaport of the Mediterranean, especially for importation of salted fish, cereals and grains. The Author begins with the 1600s mail of the Medici era which illustrates the great postal interaction the port had with import-export traders all over the Mediterranean and throughout Italy and Northern Europe. The end of the Medici dynasty and the inception of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty characterized the 1700s; these were the years that saw the post office revenue increase substantially. By the end of the 1700s, although the port’s traffic is said to have slowed down, Livorno was attracting an average 5,000 ships of all kinds and descriptions each year. Contemporaries described it as a chronically crowded port. The British had warehouses and their presence was rather important since Livorno imported spices, fabrics and manufactured goods from Britain; at the same time it exported to Britain silk, wine, olive oil, olives, cumin, straw hats, cheese, capers, camel and goat’s hair etc. The Napoleonic period brought the first maritime postmark “COLONIES PAR/LIVOURNE” and a better organized postal service. The Lorraine Grand Duke was restored in 1814; from a postal history viewpoint the 1820s, 30s and 40s, saw greater maritime traffic and with it more mail and more maritime mail postmarks. In 1843, provenance, instructional, routing and accessory hand-stamps were introduced for mail carried to Livorno by French Navy Steamers. Indeed, Becker visits all aspects of maritime mail and succeeds in presenting a clear picture of a rather complex subject matter. The 1859 Second War of Independence inflicted a severe blow on Austria and Tuscany went through a Provisional Government followed by a plebiscite that confirmed the wish of the people to have the Grand Duchy become part of the Kingdom of Italy. The transition period resulted in the adoption of Provisional Government stamps followed by those of the 4th issue of the Kingdom of Sardinia and later on those of the Kingdom of Italy. This is reflected on the covers of the time which become even more interesting with maritime mail postmarks. Mail disinfection was a major task for Livorno’s four lazarettos; they certainly were busy with bigger tasks but the postal aspect was one that was at the top of the priority list of health authorities. From the 1600s to the 1800s the lazarettos were the first to handle and disinfect incoming mail. Becker examines health passports - a corollary collecting area that appeals to specialists of disinfected mail. The steamers’ age saw the opening of French, Sardinian and Neapolitan steamship agencies in Livorno. The Grand Duchy launched the Tuscan Steamship Company in 1834 with a fleet of two vessels operating routes to Genoa, Naples and Sicily. Many hand-stamps of the agencies used on their mail feature a steamship making them particularly endearing to postal historians. With so many ships arriving every day of the week at Livorno, the port was also a major mail sorting hub; the lion’s share was secured by forwarding agents - 160 of them so far recorded as operating at Livorno. Their activity is documented by their endorsements on the letters and in many cases by the use of hand-stamps. The book ends with a very useful catalogue of cancellations used on maritime mail, and hand-stamps and seals used on disinfected mail. The English-speaking reader has now the opportunity to benefit from information and research not available before in his/her language. The Author is well aware of the needs of those who would venture in a rather complex field. A one town postal history with focus on maritime mail may look like an easy task, but experienced collectors will tell you differently. In this specific case we have a cosmopolitan town and port interacting with North Africa, Mediterranean islands, the Near East, Turkey, France and quite a number of countries in Europe. This is a fascinating book and an eye-opener for those who want to venture into new areas of research and collecting. [Reviewed by Giorgio Migliavacca]
Price: $58.00
Item Id #013104    See Details...
Country: TUSCANY
Description: “Granducato di Toscana: I Francobolli e le Varietà di Cliché” by Emilio Calcagno and Vittorio Morani; in Italian, card cover, 192 pages (6.3/4” x 9.1/2”); about 1,000 colour illustrations; published 2014. Available at: Virginstamps.com PO Box 7007, St. Thomas, VI 00801-0007 USA (issun@candwbvi.net) ****** “Hic sunt leones” [Here are the lions] the Romans used to say to indicate uncharted or troublesome areas on a map. This colourful expression has remained in the western world for centuries and has gradually shifted from cartography to modern colloquialism to describe a situation or condition for which it is wise to pay attention. We doubt ancient Etruria (today’s Tuscany and Umbria) had lions, unless they had escaped from the Coliseum after their lunch bravados so colourfully depicted by the “kolossal” movies of the 1950s. Nonetheless, in the early 1400s the Etrurian lion became Florence’s heraldic symbol. It consists of a seated lion with his right paw supporting a shield featuring the town’s coat of arms, the fleur de lys. It became popularly known as “Marzocco”. Most collectors are familiar with Donatello’s Marzocco because a crowned version is featured on the stamps of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Sometime in December 1850, Grand Duke Leopold II was submitted a number of options for the stamp design, including his own portrait or his own coat of arms. Vienna was watching, of course, and after careful evaluation of the proposed designs it was decided to use the Marzocco, even though it was linked to the Tuscan activists seeking independence of the Duchy. This choice has been described by philatelists and postal historians as curious and interesting. The Marzocco stamps had a relatively long life, eight years and nine months, and - from a 21st century perspective - a rather intricate currency mirrored by the face value of the various denominations: 1 Tuscany Lira = 12 Crazie = 20 Soldi = 60 Quattrini. The crown was also a significant component of the watermark’s design and the stamps were printed by letterpress in sheets of 240 stamps (three panes of 80 stamps - five rows of 16 stamps - stacked on one another, leaving a space between each pane of 1.5 millimeters). Unfortunately, budgetary constraints caused the 240 stamps to be squeezed so close that the vertical distance from one stamp to the next is hardly one millimeter; and worse yet, horizontally the distance is a lilliputian 0.8 millimeter, except for the two 1.5 millimeter inter-panneau spaces between panes mentioned earlier. The truly narrow space between stamps was no big concern at the time, but in due course it turned into a nightmare for collectors who demanded even margined examples. In this little, fussy some may say, drawback has flourished for generations the prejudice that has impacted negatively on the popularity of these stamps. Philately shows various positive aspects of the many fine individuals involved in it, but their pursuit for perfection, at times, can show their limitations as well as unrealistic expectations. From the Ministry of Finance point of view, money had been saved; the hastily conceived layout of 240 stamps avoided the paper wastage generated by the first Austria and Lombardy-Venetia issues which resulted in the inclusion of coveted St. Andrew’s Crosses to fill the empty spaces on the plate. Florence was determined to meet the deadline and to save time and money used a master plate that had suitable plugs to insert the value tablets. The technique for creating chalk moulds for stereotyping had been perfected by Turin-based printing specialist Giuseppe Giozza in 1842. [see article on page 199] Stereotype plates for the various denominations of the Grand Duchy stamps were thus created which resulted in a more consistent quality and the possibility of easy replacement of worn-out plates. This however, as we shall see, could complicate the task of plating these stamps. The Florence Mint chief engraver Giuseppe Niederost engraved the die and the printing was executed by the Grand-Duchy Printing Works owned by Francesco Cambiagi & Co. The paper was supplied by the old-reliable Cini paper mills. Among Italian States stamps, those featuring the Tuscan lion are unique when it comes to being printed on paper that is watermarked from top to bottom. This often overlooked detail permitted the vast majority of stamps of the first issue to have a watermark; in the eyes of post office’ top executives this was believed to be a great deterrent for forgers. It seems to have worked because there is no recorded occurrence of Tuscany stamps forged for the purpose of defrauding the post office. It goes without saying that the very few stamps positioned in such a way that they would not have any watermark are quite scarce. Selected denominations of the first series of the Grand Duchy made their debut on Fools’ Day. In fact, seven denominations were issued between Spring and Summer 1851: 1 Soldo ochre; 2 Soldi scarlet; 1 Crazia carmine; 2 Crazie blue; 4 Crazie green; 6 Crazie slate; and a 9 Crazie maroon. In 1852, a 1 Quattrino black (September), and a 60 Crazie scarlet (November) were added. Bluish tinted paper was used for the early printings; but later printings were on greyish tinted paper that had a subtle hue of blue. The lateness of the 60 Crazie caused it to be printed solely on the greyish tinted paper. In 1857, six denominations with the very same design were issued on white paper with diagonal wavy lines as watermark. This is traditionally referred to as the second issue which included the following values: 1 Quattrino, and 1, 2, 4, 6, and 9 Crazie. Incidentally, the watermark was designed in such a way that every single stamp had to have portions of it. The most impressive achievement of this book is to have plated 230 out of 240 stereotypes. One lone, ground-breaking article on the subject had been written in 1960 by the prolific philatelic writer Professor Cesco Giannetto and it triggered greater attention to recurrent flaws. This was duly reflected in the subsequent updates of both the Bolaffi Encyclopaedic Catalogue of Old Italian States and the C.E.I. (Catalogo Enciclopedico Italiano). The plating, however, looked like an herculean endeavour because due to the vulnerable nature of the plates, warts and blemishes were added to the congenital flaws. Additionally the position of a given stamp was not always the same and when new plates were made “musical chairs” took place; the same song and dance applied to the plate composition of the different denominations. With so many capricious variables there was no pun intended in uttering “Here are the lions” - at least until now. Meanwhile a collector-dealer by the name of Lorenzo Veracini had accumulated a huge amount of these lions, irrespective of poor margins and blemishes. His 20 years pursuit became a truly impressive collection that he exhibited at national philatelic events. This stirred great interest and became the launch pad for the co-authors of the monograph under review who had been pursuing similar endevours for quite some time. Mapping these stamps was not an easy task but, Calcagno and Morani received encouragement by the Society for the Study of the Postal History of Tuscany (A.S.Po.T.). To a large extent this was successfully accomplished, and the plating (in the old sense) was achieved for the 2 and 9 Crazie, but - due to the variables mentioned earlier - research on the other denominations is still underway. This book has a lot to offer to both the newcomer and the specialist; it is divided into two main sections: the first is entirely devoted to introducing the stamps of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the second delves into the plating and other highly specialised aspects of these stamps. Far from being a simple refresher course, part one outlines the postal history of the region; currencies, coins, and weights; postal rates; hand-stamps and cancellations; the context in which the postage stamps were adopted and the motivations for their introduction and use. Then the stamps, the paper, the watermark, the making of plates; the main characteristics of the stamp design; and the printing aspects. This lavishly produced monograph examines plate flaws and varieties in great detail - a task made easier in recent times thanks to the great technological progress made by digital photography, scanners and digital microscopes. All aspects that can contribute to the plating of the various stamps are examined and the wealth of illustrations makes you look at your Tuscany stamps from an entirely new perspective. Some positional flaws are positively eye-catching such as the “backpack”; the malformed “T” that looks like a cross; the flawed “B” that turns “FRANCOBOLLO” into “FRANCOROLLO”; the little cloud that makes one think that the lion is smoking; and (coincidence?) the uncoloured flaw that looks like a cigar the lion is holding with his right paw; just to mention a few. This book leaves no stones un-turned, and is a labour of love that fills a large void in the study of these interesting stamps. We are confident it will generate a greater interest in these classic issues. It is produced and printed at state-of-the-art level; the illustrations are of the highest quality; and for the many challenges a production like this may pose, the lay-out is brilliantly devised. The language barrier is not an issue here because all the pictures and blow-ups are worth a trillion words. Additionally the Authors use straight-to-the-point, simple language. This book is both highly recommended and a wise, long-lasting investment. Reviewed by Giorgio Migliavacca
Price: $73.00
Item Id #013105    See Details...
Description: SIMPLY THE BEST *** IN ITALIAN *** BEST INVESTMENT YOU CAN MAKE!!! 128 pages, illustrated throughout, high quality pictures in COLOR GIVES CHARACHTERISTICS OF GENUINE AND FORGED STAMPS OF LOMBARDY VENETIA SARDINIA TUSCANY PAPAL STATES - ROMAN STATES ROMAGNE MODENA PARMA NAPLES SICILY provides concise and clear background to All States and their issues highlights clues and details of genuine (in bold font) and forgeries (in script, italic) even if you do not know Italian in a few minutes, and with the help of a dictionary (Babel & others on the Internet) you will be able to use this book proficiently It is a bit expensive but the production is truly lavish, and if it saves you from buying the wrong stamp, as it will, then it's cheap, very cheap -- ALSO nowadays expertisers and expert committees charge up to $40-$50 per stamp even if forged...once you expertise a couple stamps by yourself with the help of this book you paid for it A BEAUTIFUL & MOST USEFUL BOOK LIMITED, BIBLIOPHILE EDITION: once sold out this will be a very difficult book to buy THIS IS A MUST HAVE bibliophile publication. WE HAVE SEVERAL OTHER BOOKS ON FORGERIES -- USE OUR SEARCH ENGINE FOR "FORGERIES"
Price: $109.00
Item Id #010546    See Details...
Country: ITALY
Description: ITALIAN STATES FORGERIES FALSI DEGLI ANTICHI STATI ITALIANI -- Étude sur les Faux Timbres de Deux Siciles * Etats de l’Eglise * Lombardo-Venetie * Modene * Parme * Romagne Sardaigne * Toscane ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Seminal work by A. De Haene , in French, plenty of good useful information throughout. Easy reading even for those with rather limited knowledge of French. It includes forgeries of the Italian States stamps: contemporary forgeries to defraud the post office, later forgeries, bogus and altered items, forged cancellations, Reprints. TWO SICILIES * NAPLES * SICILY * PAPAL STATES * LOMBARDY VENETIA * MODENA * PARMA * ROMAGNE * SARDINIA * TUSCANY Studio pionieristico di DE HAENE sui falsi degli Antichi Stati Italiani compresi falsi per posta, falsi per filatelisti, alterazioni e trucchi, annulli falsi, ristampe. In Francese, facile da usare. Reprint of the rare 1926 edition, fine quality, printed on high quality, white paper from short fibre pulp from eucalyptus trees, chlorine free. 40 pages with black & white illustrations. MANY ILLUSTRATIONS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION and where possible the original edition has been digitally improved. LIMITED EDITION. THIS IS A MUST HAVE bibliophile publication.
Price: $21.00
Item Id #001932    See Details...
Country: TUSCANY
Catalog #: Sassone #21
Description: Fresh deep color, margins vertically shaven in places, horizontal margins are from good to very fine at top * POSTAL TARIFF PAID BY USING A SINGLE STAMP!!! Sassone 2,500 Euros for a 4 margined example
Price: $250.00     Sale Price! $140.00
Item Id #014283    See Details...