As early as 1892, Menelik II was discussing the issuing of postage stamps and silver coins. A postal system was introduced in 1894 and on 27 January 1895 the first set of stamps was issued. The two designs for the new stamps were taken from the first modern Ethiopian coins engraved in France by Legrange and minted in Paris. A famous artist by the name of Eugene Mouchon, well known for having created the designs of many French and foreign stamps, engraved the first stamps of Ethiopia. The first four stamps of the 1895 set depict Menelik II (the Neguse Negest, or Negus Negesti: the King of Kings); the three top denominations feature the heraldic Lion of Judah holding a banner on a pole which is topped by a golden cross. The head of the lion is crowned — this design representing the arms of the country, the pennant being in green, yellow and red, the national colours of Ethiopia. All the inscriptions are in Amharic, and Mouchon’s name is featured on the bottom margin of each stamp at right. Historical and symbolic designs such as these, the Star of David and the Throne of Solomon are to be found on the early stamps of Ethiopia. Additionally both designs of the first stamps feature the war sword of the emperor at the bottom of the vignette, with a cotton tree at the right end and a coffee tree at the left.
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