First Philatelic Issue of Afghanistan

08 Oct 2018  Mon

Known as the “Lion Head Stamps”, the first philatelic issue of Afghanistan was released in the year 1871.

Afghanistan – the landlocked mountainous country - did not have an organized postal system until 1871. Before that date, mail was carried either by– State Couriers (on behalf of the Amir); Government Couriers (on behalf of high government officials); or Private Messengers.

The lion head stamps became the first stamps of the country. The first stamps of Afghanistan are known as the Lion Stamps, after the lion’s head which appears in the centre of the stamps. The lion itself represents the ruler at that time Sher Ali, which translates from Dari as “Ali the Lion”.

They were round in shape, imperforate, and printed in black. A crude lion's head is in the centre with “ABBASI” written on its head. It is surrounded by Arabic script specifying “Kabul Dar-ul-Saltanah” (probably the issuing region). Cancellation was accomplished by cutting or tearing off a piece of the stamp.

The defeat of Sher Ali by the British brought Abdur Rahman Khan to the throne in 1880, and the following year brought new stamps.

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