When compared with other countries, the history of Belgium is fairly brief. It’s considered a modern country, and that’s reflected in its stamp history. The country didn’t have any stamps until the mid-1800’s.
However, there are lots of rare Belgian stamps out there that can be worth some serious coin. During the course of this article, I’ll take you through some of the rarest Belgian stamps on the market today. Where possible, I’ll include their value although quite a few are unknown. Here are the top ten rarest stamps from Belgium throughout history:
1920 Inverted Dendermonde
Dendermonde is a small city in East Flanders that suffered heavy damage from the war. In 1914, it was nearly destroyed thanks to Nazi bombing raids. This 65-cent stamp was issued in 1920 and features the Dendermonde town hall. In the majority of these stamps, the town hall was depicted as it should be. However, there are fifty rare versions in which it is inverted. This was a printing mistake, and the post office took these stamps before they could be sold to the general public. However, if you look in the right places, you’re able to pick up one of these rare edition stamps to add to your collection. Needless to say, the inverted stamps are no longer sitting at a measly 65-cents. Instead, they’re in the market for a whopping 75,000 Euros.
The epaulettes were the first stamps issued for public use in Belgium in 1849. On the face of the stamps is King Leopold I, the ruler of Belgium during that time. The stamp gets its name because the king is wearing his famous epaulettes in the picture. These stamps are rare because they were the first ones, and are extremely old. Luckily, there were lots of them produced, so they won’t be too difficult or cost too much to buy. The cost of these stamps back in the 1800’s was either 10 or 20 centimes. In truth, the ten centimes ones are often the rarer of the two.
1905 Bilingual Leopold II
This rare stamp is unique as it was the first to feature two languages on it in Belgium. You have the French writing above the German. On the face of the stamp is King Leopold II underneath the words ‘Belgique – Belgie’. The stamp is very rare and can be difficult to get your hands on. Most avid collectors will be looking for it as it holds a place in Belgian stamp history.
1914-18 German WW1 Occupation Stamp
The next stamp on this list is very rare as it was only produced for four years. The German WW1 occupation stamp represents the time when the German military occupied Belgium. All of the writing on the stamp is in German, and it appears to have the German currency on it too. However, there is writing over the stamp telling you its cost in Belgian currency. This is a very historical stamp and highly popular amongst many collectors. In general, any stamps during the war are popular, because they’re reminders of history. Plus, they weren’t in circulation for long which means not many were made and that adds to the rarity.
1916 East Africa Occupation Stamp
Sticking to the theme of occupation stamp, the next one is even rarer than the previous one mentioned. This one isn’t to do with occupied Belgium, but rather with Belgium occupying East Africa. It’s a popular stamp because of the image on the front of it. You have a glorious picture of an elephant being hunted by men. This picture is somewhat ruined by the official writing covering it that states East Africa are occupied by Belgium. Worth getting your hands on purely because it has one of the best stamp pictures I’ve ever seen.
1866 Small Lion
In 1866, there was a Belgian stamp created that depicted a small lion. This differed from a lot of previous stamps that had people on the face. Because of this, the small lion stamp has become much loved by collectors all over the world. And, that’s not the only reason it’s rare. This stamp also came in at a tiny one centimes back in the day, making it a hugely popular stamp for Belgian residents. The cost of this stamp today is unknown, but I can guarantee you won’t pick one up for that small of a price.
Up until King Leopold, I died in 1865, Belgium didn’t include the country name on any of its stamps. This was a tradition they copied from the Brits, but things changed when Leopold II came into power. From 1869 onwards, Belgium stamps included the word ‘Belgique’ on them. And, the first of these stamps is very rare. It was sold for two centimes at the time and is a very important stamp in the history of Belgium. It signifies the change in regime and the change in the ruler.
1985 Battle Of Bulge
Up until now, all of the stamps on this list have been from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. But, this next stamp dates back to as little as thirty years ago. The Battle Of Bulge stamp was a special edition stamp issues to commemorate a great battle. Those of you that know your history will note that the Battle of Bulge occurred way back during the second world war. So, this rare stamp was created and issued forty years after it. The colourful design is unique and wouldn’t look out of place in a comic book. In fact, there’s even a small shield with ‘40’ underneath it to signify the anniversary of the battle. As far as rare stamps in Belgium go, this is up there because it’s an anniversary stamp. These stamps a worth more as they tend to be limited edition.
1919 Perron Of Liege
After the first world war, Belgian stamps weren’t in production for a number of years. Then, in 1919, they finally started to be produced again. The first post-war stamp was the Perron Of Liege and holds great value to this day. The Perron Of Liege was a big stone column found in the city of Liege. They were constructed to symbolise autonomy and local freedom. Liege was also the place where most of the heavy fighting took place during the war. This stamp is symbolic because it represents a new life for Belgium while paying homage to a city that helped protect Belgian citizens. There are two issues of this stamp, but the 1919 version is the most rare.
1919 King Albert I at Furnes
The final stamp on this list is one of great patriotic significance. The town of Furnes was the home of Belgian resistance during the Great War. On this stamp, you see King Albert I outside the Furnes town hall. It’s significant because that town hall became a base for Belgian troops during the war. And, it was also a military hospital for those injured during battle. The king would spend lots of time there with the Belgian army, working on ways to resist Nazi attacks. As such, it’s very rare and special because of its significance. This stamp continued the new trend of printing stamps that reflected on the war and what it meant to the country.
All of these stamps are fairly new when compared to some of the rare stamps from other countries. However, they’re still very rare and can be worth quite a lot. If you’re interested in buying any of these stamps, then your best bet is to hunt around online auction sites when you can.