Iceland stamps

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Iceland's long history of stamps – From Linn's

Its stamps are respected throughout the collecting world for their beautiful line-engraved designs. But the global economic downturn has ushered in one of the most crucial periods in Iceland's long history.

In October 2008, the Icelandic financial system collapsed. Inflation and interest rates went through the ceiling and the Icelandic krona became virtually worthless in international currency exchanges.

Icelanders lined up at the country's three main banks to withdraw from their accounts, while Polish and Lithuanian workers boarded flights for home, as their earnings in Icelandic krona had little value outside the country.

The crash left the approximately 320,000 residents of the North Atlantic volcanic island in shock, as it was preceded by more than a decade of unprecedented economic growth that allowed Icelanders to boast the highest standard of living in the world. Iceland's fortunes were built on the international credit boom of the late 1990s and the first eight years of the 2000s.

Icelanders borrowed and invested billions of dollars, especially in companies and businesses in the United Kingdom and Denmark, and lived the high life until the housing and credit collapses in the United States set off a chain reaction in credit markets around the world. Those riding highest on the credit bubble had the farthest to fall once it went bust.

In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the Icelandic coalition government resigned on Jan. 26.

Iceland issued it first stamps in 1873, when it was ruled by the king of Denmark. A 4-skilling Numeral and Crown stamp (Scott 2) from the first issue and a 35k stamp (865) commemorating the 125th anniversary of the first Icelandic postage stamp are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. An Iceland 4-skilling Numeral and Crown stamp (left) and a 35-kronur stamp (right).

Figure 2. A 60-aurar Geyser stamp (left) and a 15a Plane Over Snaefellsjokull Volcano airmail stamp (right).

Figure 3. A 1-eyrir Codfish stamp (left) and a 3a Herring stamp (right).

Figure 4. A 40k Statue of Throfinn Karlsefni and Globe stamp.

Figure 5. The 10a Gyrfalcon stamp is a triangular airmail issue.

Figure 6. A 35k Killer Whale stamp.

During World War II, Great Britain occupied Iceland on May 10, 1940, after Denmark had been conquered by the Germans. In July 1941, the British passed the occupation of Iceland off to the United States. Following a referendum, the country became a republic on June 17, 1944.

Iceland has been known for geothermal activity and fishing. Icelanders have been able to supply much of their own energy needs by tapping the geothermal forces under their feet, while the fishing industry dominated the country's economy for many years.

Geysers, volcanoes, cod and herring have all found a place on the country's stamps. A 60-aurar Geyser stamp (Scott 208A) and a 15a plane over Snaefellsjokull Volcano airmail stamp (C4) are shown in Figure 2.

A 1-eyrir Codfish stamp and a 3a Herring stamp (Scott 217-18) are shown in Figure 3.

Thorfinn Karlsefni is an Icelandic national hero commemorated on a number of the nation's stamps. In 1010, he led a colonial expedition of 160 settlers in three ships to settle Vinland, present-day Newfoundland. Karlsefni's wife gave birth to a son in Vinland, Snorri Guariasson, the first child of European ancestry known to have been born in North America. Eventually the colony failed and the survivors returned to Iceland. A 40k Statue of Throfinn Karlsefni and Globe stamp (Scott 902) commemorating the 1,000th anniversary of the discovery of Vinland is shown in Figure 4.

Iceland is also known for its wide range of bird and animal life, many of which have been depicted on its stamps. A 10a Gyrfalcon airmail stamp (Scott C1) is shown in Figure 5. The gyrfalcon, which lives only in the Arctic, is the largest living falcon species.

The waters around Iceland teem with aquatic life. A 35k Killer Whale stamp (Scott 873) is shown in Figure 6.

In late October, as the Icelandic krona lay prostrate on the floor of international currency exchange markets, the government nationalized one leading bank, and the International Monetary Fund stepped in to prop up the currency. But as the world economy continues to reel, nobody is out of the woods yet. Things could still get worse before they start to get better.

— Rick Miller, Linn's senior editor and World Classics columnist


Scott: #335-7O

Issued: 17.6.1961

150th Anniversary, Birth of Jon Sigurdsson

#89 Inside #335-7: Iceland Type A6 (Pic of #89)O (B)


Scott: #449-53P

Issued: 23.5.1973

Centenary, Iceland Stamps

#1 Inside #449: Iceland #1O

#5 Inside #450: Iceland #5O

#2 Inside #451: Iceland #2O

#3 Inside #452: Iceland #3O

#4 Inside #453: Iceland #4O

Stamps of 1873: Oval stamps with value in skilling. Designed and engraved by Phillip C. Batz. Printed in letterpress by H. H. Thiele, Copenhagen. Sheet size 100 copies. Watermark small crown. Comb perforation 14 x 13½ or line perforation 12½.


Scott: #458O, #459P

Issued: 31.8.1973

Islandia '73

Inside #458-9: Pseudo Stamp


Scott: #474-5O

Issued: 9.10.1974

Centenary, UPU

Inside #474: Pseudo Stamp

Inside #475: Stamp on Envelope


Scott: #492P

Issued: 22.9.1976

Centenary of Aurar Currency Stamps

#9 Inside #492: Iceland #9O


Scott: #564P, #581P

Issued: 7.10.1982, 6.10.1983


Inside #564, #581: Pseudo Stamp in Margin


Scott: #590O

Issued: 6.6.1984


Inside #590: Pseudo Stamp in Margin




Scott: #681O, #715O, #740O

Issued: 9.10.1989, 9.10.1991, 23.5.1991


Inside #681, #715, #740: Emblem in Margin


Scott: #772P

Issued: 9.10.1993

60th Anniversary, Italian Group Flight

#C12 Inside #772a: Iceland #C12O

#C13 Inside #772b: Iceland #C13O

#C14 Inside #772c: Iceland #C14O

In 1933 the Italian Flying Armada visited Iceland enroute from Rome to Chicago. The three stamps on the sheet picture Christian X of Denmark, who governed Iceland until 1944. The stamps are surcharged for the postage on items mailed from Iceland to the United States via the Italian seaplanes. The sheet commemorates the 60th anniversary of the visit.

The map of Europe in the background of the souvenir sheet is presented on a mercator projection. There is no indication of the year of publication of the map, or of anything significant about it, other than that it shows both Iceland and Italy.


Scott: #789O

Issued: 7.10.1994

Stamp Day

#672 Inside #789: Iceland #672P

#713 Inside #789: Iceland #713O

Hvítserkur stands just off shore in Húnafjörður, and resembles a fantasy animal that is having a drink. A strange sight but a very beautiful one, Hvítserkur reaches a height of 15 meters (50 feet). The name is probably derived from the white colour of the bird droppings that cover Hvítserkur, White Cowl.

Hvítserkur is just off the settlement of Haraldur hringur, Harald the Ring, who settled the whole of the Vatnsnes. Hvítserkur has always been covered with birds, mainly Shags and Cormorants. Hvítserkur is in constant danger from the sea, and concrete has been used to strengthen the foundations against the pounding of the Atlantic Ocean.

#677 Inside #789 (in margin): Iceland #677O

See: The Guardian Spirits of Iceland - An old story embodied in The Seal of Iceland -

#756 Inside #789 (in margin): Iceland #756O

This car, with the Licence Plate of RE-231, was used for years to carry passengers and mail between Reykjavík and Akureyri in the north of Iceland. An added bonus for us is that the driver for many years was a personal friend. Car has been restored and is part of the Postal History Museum.

Designed by Þröstur Magnússon, the stamp was issued in 1992 with a face value of 30 krónur.

#749 Inside #789 (in margin): Iceland #749O

#680 Inside #789 (in margin): Iceland #680O

Inside #789 (in margin): Parts of Others TBI


Scott: #865O

Issued: 9.10.1998

125th Anniversary, Iceland Stamps

#1 Inside #865: Reminiscent of 1873 Type (A1:Pic of #1O) (B)


Scott: #1066a-bO

Issued: 2.2.2006

50 Years of Europa Stamps

#407 Inside #1066a: Iceland #407O

#395 Inside #1066b: Iceland #395O


Scott: #1066O


Inside #1066 (In margin): Iceland #327-8O


Inside #1066 (In margin): Iceland #340-1O


Inside #1066 (In margin): Iceland #348-9O


Inside #1066 (In margin): Iceland #358O


Inside #1066 (In margin): Iceland #367-8O


Inside #1066 (In margin): Iceland #375-6O

Best website related:

Iceland Post

Top of the world stams

Paul Herber's Icelandic stamps pages

Specialised Stamp Catalogue of Iceland

Virtual Iceland


Last update: 26.09.2016

Scott 2007