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Malta’s philatelic history goes back to 1860 and, with access to such a rich source of material, Maltese stamps are renowned around the world for their unique depiction of a wide variety of popular themes: history, architecture, art, maritime, flora and fauna to name but a few. Many Maltese stamps are mini reproductions of artwork produced by local artists, and are much sought after by collectors and philatelists, both locally and internationally.

 

Maltese Postal History

 


Prior to
1530

 

 

  Business letters carried privately for a fee by masters of small sailing vessels such as the Speronara (featured on the 7c European 1979 issue) between Malta and Sicily.  
           

Circa
1532

      Earliest known letter from the period of the Knights from Grand Master L'Isle Adam to the Bishop of Auxerre dated June 14, 1532.  
           

Circa
1532

      Earliest known letter from the period of the Knights from Grand Master L'Isle Adam to the Bishop of Auxerre dated June 14, 1532.  
           

Circa
1708

      The high cost of running a postal service prompts the Order's Treasury to establish a fixed postal tariff based on the weight, the number of sheets in a folder and the destination of a letter.  
           

July 20,
1708

     
A commission proposes that the Grand Master appoints a Commissary of Post to be responsible for the running of the postal service. Such a postal service seems to have been carried out in Piazza Tesoreria from a building serving as La Casa del Comun Tesoro in Republic Street now housing the Casino Maltese.
 
 
           

Circa
1755-1791

      First postal marking hand stamps recorded on Maltese mail; the MARS mark thought to be an abbreviation for Marseilles.  
           

July 18,
1798

     
During his short stay during the French Occupation of Malta, Napoleon focused his attention on the financial sector of the postal services and a decree was issued in which article 13 contemplated the reorganisation of the post in a manner to cover expenses through a charge on postal matter.
 
 
           

October 7,
1799

     
Alexander Ball issues a notice from his headquarters in San Anton Palace, stating the setting up of a regular mail delivery service and reserving a few rooms in San Anton to be used as a post office. The notice also stated that mail would be conveyed by boat to Sicily every Thursday.
 
 
           

July 3,
1806

     

A Packet Service was established to carry mail from England to Gibraltar and Malta through privately-owned vessels on contract to the Post Office sailing from Falmouth on the first Wednesday of each month.

 
           

August 20,
1806

      The first Packet Boat arrived in Malta.  
           

Beyond February
1807

      The earliest hand stamps used by the British Packet Agent in Malta date from this time and consisted of the word MALTA in cursive script within a curved box.  
           

Circa
1841

      The Packet Office, which together with the Island Post Office had operated from rooms at the Casa del Comun Tesoro, was transferred to 197, Strada Mercanti, Valletta.  
           

April 1,
1849

      The Island Post Office is also relocated to 197 Strada Mercanti and the two offices commence operations under Richard James Bourchier as Postmaster.  
           

June 8,
1853

      A notice issued heralded the commencement of an experimental free daily postal service as from June 10, 1853 for letters and newspapers between Valletta, Cospicua, Vittoriosa, Senglea, the Casals and the island of Gozo by daily post.  
           

August
1857

      A supply of British stamps was sent to Malta and this was made available to the public later that month.  
           

September
1857

     

The first of three types of M hand stamps known to exist was sent to Malta from London.

 
           

Februaury/March
1858

      A Post Office Notice of February 1, 1858 by order of the Postmaster General, John S. Coxson, stated that the prepayment of postage on letters would be compulsory from March 1, 1858 onwards.  
           

November 16,
1860

      Malta Government Gazette No. 2061 dated November 16, 1860 announces the forthcoming daily delivery of inland mail in Valletta, Floriana and Sliema.  
           

December 1,
1860

      A red-letter day in the annals of the Malta Post Office signifying the birth of the first Maltese postage stamp, the Queen Victoria Half-Penny Yellow, which could be purchased from the Post Office, police stations and at principal stationers.  
           

July 1,
1875

      Malta joins the Universal Postal Union (UPU).  
           

November 1,
1880

      Roger Duke given the title of Imperial Postmaster and assumes Superintendence of the Island Post Office.  
           

Circa
1883

      The British Imperial government consents to the transfer to the Post Office to the control of the local government.  
           

January 1,
1885

      Roger Duke appointed Postmaster under the new law for a period of one year. UK postage stamps were no longer valid for payment of postage on correspondence posted in Malta and Gozo.  
           

July 1,
1886

      Ferdinando Vincenzo Inglott succeeds Roger Duke as Postmaster.  
           

May 17,
1886

      The General Post Office starts functioning from its new leased headquarters in Palazzo Parisio, in Strada Mercanti.  
           

Circa
1891

      Police stations in 27 mainland villages were permitted to sell postage stamps thus becoming postal agents.  
           

1894

     
As part of its re-organisation to improve postal services, the General Post Office creates postal districts and re-classifies letter carriers and auxiliaries into First Class and Second Class Postmen who were also given a personal hand stamp to mark all letters on the back before delivery.
 
 
           

Seaptember 13,
1897

      The first hand stamp bearing the name Valletta CO was introduced.  
           

August
1899

      Five values of the postage stamps of 1885 issued for fiscal use.  
           

July 10,
1900

      28 single circular date stamps are despatched to Malta from the GPO in London for use in the villages in Malta and Gozo.  
           

1903-04

     
Various stamp issues were released between these dates, notably; the King Edward VII head issues of 1903-04, 1904-06 and 1907-11 showing the profile of the king. King George V definitive stamps were not issued until 1914 when the King Edward VII stamps ran out.
 
 
           

March
1919

      The GPO released for sale the 10/- Black Stamp inscribed Postage And Revenue, depicting St Paul's Shipwreck, nowadays considered by philatelists as Malta's rarest and most expensive stamp in a Malta collection.  
           

1921

      The Post Office set-up was reorganised towards the latter part of 1921 where all the village hand stamps were withdrawn.  
           

1922

      The Melita Definitives set of postage stamps to commemorate self-government to Malta in 1921 was issued.  
           

1931

      Direct flights from Malta become possible.  
           

1935-1963

      The Malta Post Office issued various commemorative stamps, which were also emulated by a good many British colonies.  
           

April 24,
1942

      Palazzo Parisio, the headquarters of the General Post Office, is hit by enemy action and the GPO transfers its activities to Ħamrun primary school at Villambrosa Street.  
           

1954-1981

     
After World War II life started returning to normal and in less than a decade the Post Office had to start expanding its network to deal with the deluge of correspondence and the growing demand for its services. Branch post offices were opened permanently in various localities.
 
 
           

September
1957-1979

     
Over a 23-year period, artist Emvin Cremona designed some of the most noteworthy Maltese stamps covering historical events, renowned Maltese and foreign personalities, purely abstract forms and 16 Christmas sets comprising 62 sets of stamps.
 
 
           

November 12,
1963

      The Parcel Post Office is relocated to a new building in Victory Square, Valletta.  
           

Ju;y 4,
1973

     
After 87 years housed within Palazzo Parisio in Merchants Street, the General Post Office is relocated to the Auberge d'Italie and the Central Mail Room, the registered letter branch and the Poste Restante were relocated to the previous Garrison Chapel, Castille Place, which now houses the Malta Stock Exchange.
 
 
           

December
1989

      UPU Congress Washington recommends that Postal Administrations should adapt themselves to be more commercially oriented.  
           

1992

      Postmaster General Washington prepares a feasibility study of commercially operated Postal Services.  
           

1993

      The British Postal Consultancy Service recommends to the Malta Government that the postal services should be run commercially as a Limited Liability Company in lieu of Department of Posts.    
           

1994

      Posta Ltd is formed and registered as a Limited liability company.  
           

October 1,
1995

     

Posta Ltd officially runs the Postal Services with shareholding fully owned by Government.

 
           

April
1997

      Postal Administration and Philatelic Bureau are transferred from Auberge d’Italie,Valletta  to 305, Qormi Road Marsa. The Valletta counter services starts to operate from Dar Annnona in Castille Palace.  
           

September
1997

     

Central Mail Room and Parcel Post Office are transferred from Castille Place and Valletta respesctively to 305, Qormi Road Marsa.

 
           

July
1997

      Posta Ltd is liquidated.  
           

July
1997

      The Office of the PostMaster General takes over the responsibility to run the post office.  
           

May 1,
1998

      Maltapost p.l.c is officially nominated by Government to run the postal services with shareholding from Mid-Med Bank Group and Maltacom.  
           

1999

      Government takes over the shares of Mid-Med Bank and Maltacom.  Maltapost is again fully owned by the Government.   
           

February 1,
2002

     


Malta Government officially nominates Transend Worldwide Ltd a subsidiary of New Zealand Post to operate the Postal Services in Malta. Government also sells 35 per cent of his shareholding to Transend with a view to prepare Maltapost p.l.c to meet the EU postal directives and further liberalization of the postal market.
 

 
           

August
2006

      Red Box Ltd, a fully owned company of Lombard Bank Ltd purchases Transend Worldwide Ltd’s 35 per cent shareholding in Maltapost p.l.c  
           

September 6,
2007

     
The Government sells 25 per cent of its shareholding to Red Box Ltd a fully owned company of Lombard Bank plc where Lombard Bank effectively became the majority shareholder in MaltaPost plc with 60 per cent shareholding. The government undertakes to sell to the public the remaining 40 per cent of shares it owns by floating them on the Malta Stock Exchange.
 
 
           

January 8,
2008

      The government announces the sale of 40 per cent of its shareholding in MaltaPost in an initial public offering.  
           

 

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