Croatia‘s postage stamp history dates to 1918, but the modern republic has only issued its own stamps since the 1992 dissolution of Yugoslavia.
Early Croatia stamps, 1918
The first postage stamps used in Croatia were stamps of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that circulated in what was then known as the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. Towards the end of World War I, in 1918, surcharged Hungarian stamps with overprints reading ‘HRVATSKA’ and ‘S H S’ were issued, and can be considered the first actual Croatian postage stamps. ‘S H S’ stood for Država Slovencev, Hrvatov in Srbov, the Slovene name of the new entity called, in English, the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. There were several varieties of stamps, denominations, and overprints. New stamps actually inscribed HRVATSKA were issued soon afterwards. In 1919, however, this area joined with several other areas to form Yugoslavia (at first known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes).
Croatia stamps in World War II
From 1941 until 1945, Croatia was independent from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and issued new stamps. At first, Yugoslavia stamps with overprints were used; the overprints read ‘NEZAVISNA DRŽAVA HRVATSKA’, meaning Independent State of Croatia. (Some of these overprinted stamps also feature rather artful designs for the surcharges, too). Soon, new stamps with this inscription were issued. Some inscriptions were shortened to ND HRVATSKA.
In 1945 Croatia became part of Yugoslavia again, which was now named the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Croatia-only stamps were not issued in these years, though collectible covers sent within or from Croatia appeal to some collectors.
Modern Croatia stamps, 1991
In 1992, this version of Yugoslavia ended, eventually creating (or re-creating) the independent areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Since 1991, the Republic of Croatia has again issued its very own stamps, inscribed REPUBLIKA HRVATSKA. Collectors’ souvenir sheets and other special stamp items from modern Croatia are easily found for sale. Check our subcategories for various types of Croatian postal collectibles from all eras.
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