Albania is a republic in southeast Europe, bordering on the Adriatic Sea. It’s location — adjacent to Greece, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo as well as across the Adriatic from the heel of the boot of Italy — has made it a prime spot for invasion. As a part of the Ottoman Empire, Albania used Turkish stamps from 1870 to 1913 with the first stamps bearing its name released in October and November 1913 with overprints on various Turkish stamps. The overprints featured a double-headed eagle and the legend SHQIPËNIA. Shqipënia, meaning “Land of the Eagles”, would be the first of a large number of variations of the country’s name on Albanian stamps over the years. The first permanent series was released in December 1913, inscribed SHQIPËNIE E LIRË.
A few of the many different inscriptions for the name of Albania include SHQIPËNIË, POSTA SHQYPTARE, REPUBLIKA SHQIPTARE, POSTAT SHQIPNI, QEVERIA DEMOKRATIKE E SHQIPNIS, REPUBLIKA POPULLORE E SHQIPERISE. and RP E SHQIPERIA. Since the 1960s most Albanian stamps have tended to use SHQIPËRIA, with and without the umlaut over the “E”. Some Albanian stamps have no inscription at all, and may be identified by the prominent double-headed eagle.
I currently have but two Albanian stamps in my collection. Scott #1057 was released on 25 August 1967, the 80q value in a set of eight portraying regional costumes. Perforated 12, the stamp shows a man and woman from Dropulli, an area in southern Albania along the Drinos River which is part of the Greek “minority zone” recognized by the Albanian government. The Greek name for the area is Dropolis (Δρόπολις). This region is also known as Northern Epirus which issued its own postage stamps between 1912 and 1916 and again from 1940-41.