The Principality of Monaco, located between Ligurie and Antibes, has had an important mail traffic from the middle of XVIIth century. The first postal cancellation known dates back to 1704.
Monegasque postal service has been provided by France, further to the Péronne's French - Monegasque Treaty of friendship in 1640, signed by King Louis XIII and Prince Honoré II.
Two short periods will interrupt this privileged relation:
- the French Revolution which, by the Decree of the National agreement of October 27, 1793, had integrated the Principality into the French territory, before the Treaty of Paris (in May 30, 1814) replaced Monaco "in the position where it was before January 1st, 1792",
- the Sardinian Protectorate which was imposed by the 2nd Treaty of Paris (in November 20, 1815) and which drove Monegasque mail system to become Sardinian following Stupinigi's treaty (in November 8 and 10, 1817) from January 1st, 1818 to the Treaty of Turin (in March 24, 1860).
The Principality – whose territory extended until Roquebrune and Menton, two cities which seceded in 1848 -, was reduced to its current borders by the French - Monegasque treaty of February 2, 1861 between the Emperor Napoleon III and the Prince Charles III; the Agreement of neighborhood of November 9, 1865, clarified postal service matters.
Monegasque Marcophily and philately
Mr Maurice Boule, in his book "Postal History of the Principality of Monaco - previous history in 1885" presents mail and post genesis in Monaco, notably the handwritten marks, the various “85” and “78” French cancellations, the first Sardinian date cancellation (1849), the Sardinian stamps issued in January 1851 but used later on in Monaco, the non perforated French stamps (1860), the "4222" and "2387" stamp cancellation for the Principality.
The stamp’s birth and the first monegasque stamps
The perception of the mail transportation tax was for a long time paid by the addressee. Mails could therefore be refused and not paid. Sir Rowland Hill, responsible for the British Post office, had the idea to perceive this tax from the sender and to affix a "logo" ; the first stamp was the "Black Penny", with the effigy of the Queen Victoria and was issued on May 6, 1840. This system will became widespread little by little for all the countries of the globe.
The first Monegasque stamps - in the effigy of the Prince Charles III - appeared in July, 1885. They replaced the French stamps used in the Principality, on mails still forwarded and distributed by the French postal Administration in Monaco.
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