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Postage stamps and postal history of Mozambique

5c Ceres stamp of Tete, issued in 1914 when Mozambique was a Portuguese colony

The postal history of Mozambique begins with the Portuguese trading posts established from the beginning of the 16th century.


  • First stamps 1
  • Twentieth century 2
  • Since independence 3
  • Private postal systems 4
  • Further reading 5
  • Sources 6
  • External links 7

First stamps

Stamps date from 1876, with the same key type design of the Portuguese crown as used elsewhere in the Portuguese territories. The original nine values were followed up by color changes in 1881 (10r and 40r) and 1885 (20r, 25r). These were followed by the King Luiz issue in 1886.

In the 1890s, stamps were issued for Lourenço Marques, Inhambane, and Zambezia, for use in each area. In 1898, King Carlos I was the subject of a lengthy series, which by 1903 numbered 23 colors and denominations.

Twentieth century

The 1910 revolution resulted in a variety of overprints reading "REPUBLICA" on both the existing stamps, and on previously-unissued stamps depicting Manuel II of Portugal.

In 1913, separate stamps were issued for Quelimane and Tete areas, all areas sharing the same Ceres design. Issues for the areas ended in 1920, in favor of stamps valid through Mozambique.

Various expediencies required a variety of surcharged stamps throughout the 1920s. In 1933, the Lusiad issue became standard, followed by the Empire issue in 1938.

1998 Mozambique stamp featuring an image of a coelacanth

Postwar issues followed the general pattern for the Portuguese colonies. A definitive series of 1948 featured a variety of local scenery, while a 1951 series of 24 stamps depicted fish in full color. A 1953 series showed butterflies and moths, while the 1961 series included the coat of arms of various Mozambique cities. The 1963 series showed historic ships, while in 1967 the theme was soldiers.

Since independence

The Lusaka Agreement of 1974 was marked in January 1975 with a philatelic design consisting of a stylized bird formed from Portugal's and Mozambique's flags. On June 25, 1975, many existing stamps, some going back as far as 1953, were issued with an overprint marking independence.

Issues of independent Mozambique have been relatively restrained and focus on local subjects. Philatelic issues are frequently released in sets of four-to-six stamps. For instance, in 1985 there were 10 issues, of which three were single commemoratives, five were sets of four, and the remaining two were sets of six.

Private postal systems

In 1891 the Mozambique Company was chartered to administer the Manica and Sofala areas, for which they issued their own stamps until 1942.

They were followed by the Nyassa Company in 1898, whose stamps continued until 1929.

Further reading

  • George, Carlos. Die Briefmarken von Lourenzo Marques. Frankfurt: Neues Handbuch d. Briefmarkenkunde, 1962 24p.
  • George, Carlos. Die Briefmarken von Mozambique-Gesellschaft. Frankfurt: Bund Deutscher Philatelisten, 1967 27p.
  • Melville, Fred J. The Postage Stamps of the Mozambique Company. London: The Philatelic Institute, 1918 9p.
  • Pernes, Rufino R. Mozambique Company Postal Stationery. Philadelphia: International Society for Portuguese Philately, 1983 20p.


External links

  • Linns Refresher Course: The other empire: collect Portuguese colonies by Rick Miller. Archived at WebCite here.
  • "Nationalism and the colonial imprint: the stamps of Portugal and Lusophone Africa and Asia" by Igor Cusack, University of Bristol, Department of Politics and Department of Hispanic Studies. Archived at WebCite here.
  • The Mozambique Company: An introduction for philatelists.
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