A.O.I. ITALIAN EAST AFRICA

On 1 June 1936, Italy promulgated a new constitution bringing Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland together into a single administrative unit. The newly formed Viceroyalty of Italian East Africa (AFRICA ORIENTALE ITALIANA, or A.O.I.) was divided into six provinces ruled by Marshal Rodolfo Graziani. During the winter months Germany, Austria, Hungary, Japan and Switzerland gave official recognition to the Italian conquest of the Horn of Africa. Understandably enough the Ethiopians became restless and after a failed assassination attempt against Graziani some 30,000 persons were executed. This harsh policy made things worse and on 10 November 1937, the Duke of Aosta, a playboy of the Italian nobility, replaced Graziani as Viceroy with instructions to implement an appeasement policy. In 1938 Great Britain and France gave recognition to the Italian colonial expansion. On 7 February 1938, Italian East Africa issued its definitive and airmail stamps; the pictorial series included twenty definitive stamps, eleven air mail values and two air speed/special delivery stamps. Among the great variety of subjects depicted on this series, most collectors will recognize the head of Mussolini carved (a-la-Mount Rushmore) on Mount Amba Aradam on the 50c, Lire 1,50 and Lire 10 denominations of the airmail set. With the exception of the unissued 1941 Rome-Berlin Axis stamps, this is the only colonial stamp design depicting Mussolini. It is quite ironic that this monumental disfiguration of the natural landscape was perpetrated in the vicinity of Aduwa where the Italians had suffered a devastating defeat in 1896. On 10 June 1940, as Italy entered World War II on the side of Germany, Britain and Selassie sought to cooperate with Ethiopian forces in an effort to dislodge the Italians from the Horn of Africa. The use of stamps for political propaganda was one of the items at the top of the agenda of the Berlin-Rome Axis. One of the biggest blunders in philatelic history occurred in 1940 when Rome decided to issue eight stamps for Italian East Africa depicting the conjoined profiles of Mussolini and Hitler. For the air mail 1 Lira denomination the designer found it difficult to fit all the inscriptions in Italian, Arab and Amharic and placed the value tablet in such a way that the stamp became a colossal joke: “Two Peoples – One War – One Lira – Two Dictators”. The pun was immediately spotted by the authorities and a new design placing the value tablet in Italian currency at the bottom left was approved. Due to the Italian debacle in East Africa these stamps were never issued, but eventually found their way to the market. British strategy aimed at preventing Italian forces from spreading to neighbouring areas was largely successful and further pressure resulted in the collapse of Italian Somaliland in March 1941. On 5 May 1941, Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa; and on 18 May the Duke of Aosta surrendered to General Platt at Amba Alagi. By November, most of the remaining Italian troops cut off near Gonder, surrendered to Anglo-Ethiopian forces. [By Giorgio Migliavacca – copyright]

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1938 AIR MAIL 25 CENT FINE USED
$1.85

SASSONE 6 Euros *********** VERY IMPORTANT: The stamp pictured here is an example of the …

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1938 AIR MAIL 3 LIRE FINE USED
$2.80

SASSONE 8 Euros *********** VERY IMPORTANT: The stamp pictured here is an example of the …

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1938 AIR MAIL SET 11 VALUES MINT HINGED MOSTLY VERY FINE
$115.00

CENTERING MOSTLY VERY FINE, ONLY TWO VALUES CENTERING FINE BUT THIS IS ABOVE AVERAGE ON …

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1938 DEFINITIVE 20 values MINT HINGED NICE SET
$118.00

SCOTT 1-20 *** SASSONE 220 euros

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1938, Air Mail Definitive Series, 11 values set, mint hinged
$115.00

FROM DR. MIGLIAVACCA’S CERTIFICATE — ITALIAN EAST AFRICA — AFRICA ORIENTALE ITALIANA — February-April 1938, …

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A.O.I. ITALIAN EAST AFRICA AIR MAIL 25 LIRE FINE USED SASSONE A 11 30 EUROS
$11.00

A.O.I. ITALIAN EAST AFRICA AIR MAIL 25 LIRE FINE USED SASSONE A 11 30 EUROS

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ITALIAN EAST AFRICA AIR MAIL 5 LIRE FINE USED
$16.00

A.O.I. ITALIAN EAST AFRICA AIR MAIL 5 LIRE FINE USED SASSONE A 9 45 EUROS

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