The first stamps of Greece were issued on 1 October 1861. They depicted the head of Hermes (Mercury for the Romans), facing right. The design was by the French engraver Albert Désiré Barre, and the first supply was printed in Paris. Shortly after, the printing plates were sent to Athens where new printings were produced. The same plates continued to be used for well over 20 years, resulting in many varieties and subtypes. In 1886 the design for definitive stamps was modified, the Hermes head was redisegned and more emphasis was given to the inscriptions and the face value. Originally printed in Belgium, the plates were subsequently sent to Athens. Perforated versions were first issued in 1891. The country’s first commemorative stamps appeared in 1896, to celebrate the first edition of modern Olympic Games in Athens. New definitive stamps depicting a flying Mercury were issued in 1901 and 1902.

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