States and Peoples of the Balkans Through Philately

Who is In, Who is out, Who is about?

Looking at the Balkan area geographically, with a peninsula being a “piece of land almost entirely surrounded by water but connected to the mainland on one side”, let’s see what happens if we apply this definition to the Balkan States. Lands bordering the Balkan States in the North, Northwest and Northeast are Hungary, Italy and Moldova. Seas surrounding the Balkan States are the Adriatic in the West, Aegean in the South, Ionian in the Southwest and the Black Sea in the East. If we agree on the definition of the peninsula, then let’s look at who the current countries are on that peninsula and then their unique philatelic issuances. The former part appears to have an audience with varying opinions.

Our premise here at HSE is to include the following countries into the Balkans: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, Kosovo, (Republic of North) Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and Turkey.  

While some people may choose to exclude Greece and Turkey from the Balkans because only part of these countries actually sit on the peninsula, with only half of these two countries residing on the peninsula, both have played major roles in the development of the Balkan States. Besides, who could possibly deny Turkey being a Balkan country when the name Balkan is Turkish for mountain?

The Balkan States or The Balkans have been described by some people historically, culturally or along ethnic lines. The rugged terrain of the mountains, the containment of the four seas combined with the ethnic and cultural diversity of the people of the Balkan peninsula create an eclectic presentation in the amazing stamps of Eastern Europe.

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Eastern European Stamps of Women

Dear Friends and Philatelists,
Summertime is a traditional time for taking a family holiday or perhaps visiting another country or city. The summer of 2020 finds many of us not currently able to do this given these challenging times.  It is, however, an opportune time to reconnect with our stamp collections and continue our philatelic travels, perhaps to new countries or with new topics or themes. And of course, we can continue to connect with family and friends, if even at a distance. Now is certainly time to pay tribute to our many brave front-line workers.

Monarchs, Saints, Performers, & Scientists and Social Activists

Eastern European Stamps of Women span a wide range of topics, from monarchs to saints and scientists, artists and performers, to social activists and heroines. The Hungaria Stamp Exchange hopes you enjoy reading our blog post and viewing some of the stamps in our on-line store.

Monarchs

Two of the most influential female Eastern European monarchs whose combined reigns lasted almost 75 years were Catherine the Great of Russia and Maria Teresa, ruling the Hapsburg Empire. Both of these extraordinary rulers are depicted on Eastern European stamps.   

Catherine the Great   (born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst;  May 1729 –November 1796) was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796 and the country’s longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d’état that she organized, resulting in her husband, Peter III, being overthrown. During her reign Russia was revitalized; it grew larger and stronger and was recognized as one of the great powers of Europe and Asia.

In her accession to power and her rule of the empire, Catherine often relied on her noble favorites, most notably count Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by highly successful generals such as Alexander Suvorov  and admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was expanding rapidly by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish wars. Russia colonized the territories of Novorossiya along the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas. In the west, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by Catherine’s former lover, King Stanisław August Poniatowski, was eventually partitioned with the Russian Empire gaining the largest share. In the east, Russia started to colonize Alaska, establishing Russian America.

An admirer of Peter the Great, Catherine continued to modernize Russia along Western European lines. The economy and military conscription continued to depend on serfdom; increasing demands of the state and of private landowners intensified the exploitation of serf labor. This was one of the chief reasons inciting several rebellions including the large scale Pugachev Rebellion of Cossacks and peasants. Cossacks were a group of Russian military warriors who established free self-governing communities in exchange for their military service. When their privileges were threatened they revolted, with the most famous being Pugachev.

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Postal Heroes – HSE Spring 2020 Newsletter

Dear Philatelic Friends and Collectors,

Here at the Hungaria Stamp Exchange we hope you are staying safely at home able to enjoy family and friends (even if only remotely) and spend time enjoying your stamp collection which may offer interesting views of far off cultures and geographies.

During these extremely challenging times when many of us may be homebound or not engaging in many journeys, we hope you will enjoy reading about the many connections near and far made by the post in various locations, countries, and geographies around the world. Also please join us in honoring and celebrating the many front line heroes helping us everyday: the medical providers and first responders, food producers and the postal workers.

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Greetings for the New Year 2018

Dear Friends and Philatelic Collectors,

2017 was such a special year for us at the Hungaria Stamp Exchange. We thank all of our existing customers who have supported us for so many years, colleagues and friends for making 2017 an amazing year for us at the Hungaria Stamp Exchange. And we welcome all our new customers and colleagues joining us at the start of 2018!

On a personal note, Alan and Diane had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Hungary in the late spring to visit with family, friends and colleagues in Budapest and Szeged. Culminating the trip was Alan’s presentation to MAFITT. If you happened to miss that blogpost highlighting the trip here are a few photos to enjoy.

Scenes from Budapest

In November our family celebrated the happy occasion of Andrew and Stacie’s wedding at the New England Aquarium in Boston. It was such a beautiful event that we were able to celebrate together.

All good wishes from our family to yours for a Healthy and Peaceful 2018!

The Bauer Family,

Alan, Diane, Andrew, Stacie and Diana

Moving on to the Philatelic portion of our newsletter, Hungaria Stamp Exchange is pleased to offer 2017 New Issues from Hungary, Kosovo, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. We have highlighted the themes and images of these New Issues here for you and are sure they will be enjoyed by country and topical collectors alike.

Finally, for those of you that enjoy browsing in our online store we hope you will check out our expanded Topical Philatelic Collections which now includes a delightful Holiday Philatelic Collection from many Eastern European countries and a fantastic Landmarks Collection. In honor of the 20th memorial anniversary of Princess Diana we are pleased to launch the HSE Princess Diana Collection.

The 2017 Europa Stamp Theme is Castles

Each year the members of the Association of European Postal Operators issue stamps from their respective countries  based on a common theme which emphasizes their common roots of European history and culture.
The castles depicted on the Hungarian release are the Andrassy castle in Tiszadob and the Nadasdy Castle in Nadasdiadany. Kosovo Europa depicts the Castle of Prizren, located above the old city of Prizren that has special scientific, environmental and tourist value. It was inhabited from Prehistoric time until the time of the Ottoman Empire.

Europa Collection includes  Castles of Hungary, Croatia, Kosovo, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine, and more.

Joint Issue Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the Birth Of Maria Teresa

This philatelic issue has been released in cooperation with Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Ukrainian Posts. Maria Teresa Queen of the Hungarians, the Czechs and the Croatians, and Archduchess of Austria reigned from 1740 to 1780. As the wife of Francis l, Holy Roman Emperor she also had the title Empress and was the only female who reigned the Habsburg Monarch. She was considered regarded as an enlightened ruler, a great stateswoman and a reformer who also extended the kingdoms she ruled. She also sought modernization and formulated reforms in the judiciary, economy, education and military.  Maria Teresa abolished torture and witch hunting and improved the position of the peasants.  In her legacy, Maria Teresa’s lineage impacted many rulers of Europe. Of her 11 daughters and 5 sons three became the famous rulers, including Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and kings Joseph ll and Leopold ll.

 

New Issues of Kosovo

The 2017 Issues are truly eclectic and exciting with philatelic offerings ranging from Cities of Kosovo, Folk Costumes of Medvegja, Famous People and Heroes, Domestic Animals and native plants, Supporting Breastfeeding

 

to the fourth Century Baptismal pools of early Christianity in ancient Ulpiana and the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation.

 

For the more adventuresome the year set includes a stamp celebrating “High Diving from the Fshejte Bridge”. This very popular water sport in Kosovo is returning after a three year hiatus. The sport is held on the bridge which is 20 meters (65 feet) above the River Drini.

 

New Issues of Croatia

These continue to be truly wide ranging and artistically distinctive. The stamps range from the commemoration of traditional holidays of Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day to the War of Independence: Puma Brigade to the 25th Anniversary of the Accession of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations. The social awareness stamp Autism-Living in Their Own World is a truly unique issuance.

Other issues include famous Croats: Zinka Kunc Milanov soprano and renown  opera
performer, Frank Supilo politician and journalist and Faust Vrancic mathematician, inventor, linguist; as well as Flora and Fauna,  Children’s stamps and Bridge Across the Lika River and the 100th Anniversary of the Premiere of the first Croatian Motion Picture.

 

New Issues of Hungary

Hungaria Stamp Exchange is delighted to offer the fabulous 2017 new issues of Hungary as complete year sets both mint and pre-cancelled, with supplements or as individual stamps and specialty commemorative booklets. We are sure Country collectors as well as Topical collectors will appreciate the depth of topics ranging from celebrations of flora and fauna, traditional holidays of Easter and Christmas to celebrations of the birth of fine artist, cinematic artist and director, writer, composer and mathematician.  There is memorial stamp in memory of the Gulag Gupti Victims, Hungarians imprisoned by the Soviets at the end of World War II and sent to forced labor. Postal commemoratives are well represented in this year’s issuances. In addition to the 90th Stamp Day, there are stamps celebrating Magyar Posta being 150 years old, a Definitive Stamps series and a joint issue with Austria celebrating the first Hungarian postage stamp.

The religious theme is represented by the 500 Year Anniversary of the Reformation, Saint Ladislaus 940th ascension to the throne of Hungary, and the series of stamps presenting the synagogues of Hungary. The 2017 set of two stamps shows the altar and details of the interior of the synagogues in Győr and Pécs.

 

Also there is a continuation of the Saints and Blesseds magnificent issuances. This year the Saints and Blesseds commemorative honors Saint Margaret, Saint Kinga and the Blessed Yolanda. All three are the daughters of King Bela IV second founder of the state who rebuilt it after it was devastated by the Mongols 1241-42. Each of their lives were influenced by the ideal of poverty prevalent at the time.


Sports issuances include a celebration of the efforts of Florian Albert when he won the Ballon D’Or 50 years ago as well as the stamp celebrating the honor of hosting the World Aquatics Championship (FINA) held in Budapest-Baltonfured 2017.  We were so excited to have had the opportunity to visit this amazing aquatics center during our May trip to Budapest!

And to those collectors that enjoy art stamps, the stamp features the painting Nagybanya Landscape with the Gutin Mountains by Béla Iványi Grünwald. Grünwald who was a leading Hungarian artist of the late 19th and early 20th century and was influential in the Plein-Aire movement at Nagybanya artist colony and later as a leader in Kecskemet.

 

New Issues of Slovakia

Hungaria Stamp Exchange is delighted to offer the complete Year Set of Slovakia in a lovely presentation booklet or as exquisite individual stamps that are of interest to country as well as topical collectors.

Topicals for Slovakia New Issues of 2017 include: 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima Apparitions, Holidays Easter and Christmas 2017, Tribute to Victims of the Holocaust, Famous People: 19th Century Writer Jozef Miloslav Hurban and Andrej Radlinský, Tribute to Technical Monument Orava Dam and the 25th Anniversary of Art Film Festival.

Princess Diana Topical Collection from Hungaria Stamp Exchange

We are delighted to share some of our enchanting images of one of the most beloved princesses in European history. We hope you will enjoy viewing them as much as we do. See more of the Diana, Princess of Wales Collection in our online store.

Each of us at the Hungaria Stamp Exchange hope you enjoy viewing this sample of some of the most fascinating and exciting Eastern European new issues of 2017. As always we continue to enjoy making these and many other offerings available to you and look forward to hearing from you during the new year!

Budapest Travels 2017

Heading off to Budapest

The sun is sliding down the horizon at Logan airport, Boston USA, as we, Alan and Diane, wait for the Lufthansa plane which we will board to start our journey. We will travel  to Frankfurt, Germany and then on to Budapest, Hungary.

We look forward to an invigorating ten days spending time catching up with friends, colleagues, and family members. Alan will present his research paper in person at the MAFITT (Hungarian Society for Philatelic Research) meeting in Budapest on Saturday and then he plans to spend time browsing local stamp shops. We are very pleased to be meeting with representatives of Magyar Posta regarding our expanding business relationship and the artist stamp proposal. We also plan to meet with both an internationally recognized art historian and an art curator. Between all that, we look forward to enjoying tasty meals at local bistros and cafes, doing some sightseeing, and visiting with family and friends.

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