The Kingdom of Norway‘s first postage stamps were issued in 1855; the lone stamp, in light blue and with a value of 4 skilling (1 speciedaler = 120 skilling) and without the name of the country, included the Norwegian coat-of-arms and the legend FRIMÆRKE (“stamp”; today rendered as frimerke in Norwegian). The next year, in 1856, King Oscar appeared on the first stamp that included the inscription NORGE.
Several stamp issued ensued, and in 1877 Norway adopted a new currency system, 1 krone = 100 øre, which it uses to this day. For the rest of the nineteenth century, and the first few decades of the twentieth, Norway maintained a steady but light approach to the issuing of new postage stamps. Subjects tended to be notable Norwegian people and events, or the coat-of-arms.
In 1940, Germany invaded the neutral Norway, and soon defeated the Norwegian forces. The occupying Germans overprinted Norwegian stamps with a ‘V‘ for victory. For the rest of the war years, Norwegian stamps continued to be issued. New designs were issued with increasing frequency after World War II ended.
Until the 1970s, Norway retained a distinct fondness for choosing notable Norwegian individuals to honor on its stamps; due partly to a busier stamp issuing schedule, these heroes of Norway were joined eventually by other subjects — art, Norway’s natural settings, wildlife, technology, and history. The word NORGE (the Bokmål term for “Norway”) is usually inscribed on Norway’s stamps, but this has occasionally been changed to NOREG (the Nynorsk term).
As for collectibles, Norway has issued many for buyers the world over. Semi-postal stamps have been a particular feature of Norway; there have been several, including semi-postal souvenir sheets. Also, air mail items, joint issue stamps, revenue stamps, maxicards, and other collectibles abound. Check the for sale listings often; selection is updated daily.
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