Postage Stamps and Postal History of Tuscany - Tuscany's Adhesive Stamps - Il Marzocco

Il Marzocco

On April 1, 1851, Tuscany issued its first adhesive postage stamps. The stamps depict a crowned lion resting a paw on a shield with the fleur-de-lis. The image is based on the Renaissance sculpture by Donatello of a lion called the Marzocco which was originally commissioned for Pope Martin V and moved in 1812 to the Piazza della Signoria in Florence where it became a symbol of Florentine liberties. The stamps shared a common design, differing only in color and denomination. The stamps were initially issued in denominations of 1 and 2 soldi, and 2, 4 and 6 crazie. In July 1851, 1 and 9 crazie stamps were issued and in 1852, Tuscany introduced a 1 quattrino for mailing newspapers and a 60 crazie stamp for international use. The Tuscan lira was divided into 12 crazie, or 20 soldi or 60 quattrini.

These stamps were printed by typography by F. Cambiagi at the Grand Ducal Printing Office in Florence. The stamps were engraved by Giuseppe Niderost from which electrotypes were prepared by M. Alessandri of Florence. The stamps were imperforate and were printed in sheets of 240 subjects divided into three panes of 80 stamps each. The paper was lightly toned blue or gray and was watermarked with rows of the Crown of Tuscany between parallel lines.

Between 1857 and 1859, the stamps, other than the 2 soldi and 60 crazie values, were reissued in the same or similar colors, but printed on white paper with a watermark with intersecting curved lozenges and the words "II E RR POSTE TOSCANE". These, like the prior issue, were typographed, imperforate and printed in sheets of 240 subjects divided into three panes of 80 stamps each.

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