Postage Stamps of Bulgaria

Early History (Before 1879)

  • Pre-Philatelic Era: Before Bulgaria began issuing its own stamps, postal services in the region were managed by the Ottoman Empire. These services used a combination of handstamps, wax seals, and other pre-adhesive methods,
  • Independence and First Issue: After gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, Bulgaria issued its first postage stamps in 1879. These stamps featured the lion of Bulgaria, symbolizing the nation’s strength and independence.
  • Lion Definitives: The initial series included denominations from 5 santims to 25 santims, each featuring a detailed engraving of a lion.

Kingdom of Bulgaria (1908-1946)

  • Formation of the Kingdom: Bulgaria declared itself a kingdom in 1908. Stamps from this era often depicted the reigning monarchs, including Ferdinand I and later Boris III.

Notable Issues:

  • Ferdinand I Definitive Series: Featuring various portraits of King Ferdinand I in different frames and settings.
  • Commemorative Issues: Celebrating national events such as the 25th anniversary of King Ferdinand’s reign in 1912.
  • Themes: Historical events, royal anniversaries, national achievements, and cultural landmarks were common themes.

Interwar Period and World War II (1918-1945)

  • Post-World War I: Following World War I, Bulgaria issued stamps reflecting national pride and territorial changes.
  • World War II: During the war, Bulgarian stamps depicted military themes, alliances with Axis powers, and wartime propaganda.

Communist Era (1946-1990)

  • People’s Republic of Bulgaria: In 1946, Bulgaria became a communist state. Stamps from this era featured socialist realism, industrial achievements, and significant political events.
  • Themes: Stamps often depicted workers, factories, collective farming, and communist leaders. Notable series include those commemorating Soviet-Bulgarian friendship and the country’s industrial progress.

Modern Bulgaria (1990-Present)

  • Transition to Democracy: Following the fall of communism in 1990, Bulgaria transitioned to a democratic republic. Modern stamps reflect the nation’s cultural heritage, historical events, and natural beauty.
  • Characteristics: Modern Bulgarian stamps celebrate the country’s heritage, culture, natural beauty, and significant historical events.
  • Notable Series and Issues:- 1990 First Democratic Issues: Reflecting Bulgaria’s new political landscape.
  • Cultural Heritage: Stamps showcasing Bulgaria’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, traditional folk art, and historical architecture.
  • Nature and Wildlife: Featuring the country’s rich biodiversity and scenic landscapes.
  • Historical Figures and Events: Commemorating important personalities and milestones in Bulgarian history.

Key Highlights

  • First Bulgarian Stamps (1879): Marking the beginning of Bulgarian philately with the iconic Lion definitives.
  • Royal and Historical Themes: Stamps from the Kingdom of Bulgaria, celebrating royal figures and national milestones.
  • Communist Era Propaganda: Reflecting the political and social changes during the mid-20th century.
  • Modern Independence (1990): Stamps from the democratic era, showcasing a blend of traditional and contemporary themes.