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1856, 100 kopecks = 1 rouble

1865, 100 penpi = 1 Finnish markka.

1963, 100 (old) marks = 1 (new) marks.

Before 1850

Republic in northern Europe between Sweden and Russia, which had been under the control of one or other of its more powerful neighbours until the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. Stamps of the country are inscribed 'Suomi' meaning 'The land of fens and lakes'.

Sweden conquered Finland in the 13th century. Under Swedish overlordship, Finland retained an autonomous government but was used as a buffer against the Russians, who, increasingly, harassed the Eastern frontier. In 1721 Peter the Great gained territory in the area of Vyborg. At the end of the Swedish-Russian War of 1808-9, Sweden ceded the rest of Finland to Russia and it became a grand duchy under the Tsar. The country retained its autonomous constitution.

A public postal service in Finland was introduced two years after the Swedish service, in 1638. The main route ran from Stockholm to Helsinki, and from there to the River Neva in Russia and south to the Baltic provinces. Eventually, the Finnish postal service was extended to all the ports round the Gulf of Bothnia.

After the formation of the grand duchy under Russia, foreign mail to and from Finland was routed through St Petersburg. In 1812 Finland's postal service was reorganized on Russian lines and the first handstruck postal markings were introduced. These were straight-line name stamps without a date and included the district name in Russian (Cyrillic) letters. Similar types but using the Roman alphabet were introduced in 1847. Stamped stationery was issued by Finland in 1845 and showed the coat-of-arms of the duchy on the back flap.



First stamps were typographed in the Finnish Treasury and pre-dated the issue of Russian stamps by two years. The currency was Russian, but this was changed to Finnish currency in 1866. Printing of stamps continued in Finland until one issue of 1875, which for one value of a new design was printed in Copenhagen.


Increasing Russian influence in Finland was reflected by the new designs in 1889. These were similar to previous designs, but had the name in Russian instead of Finnish. In 1891 stamps were printed in Russia at St Petersburg and Russian currency was reintroduced. This move was short-lived and in 1895 Finnish currency was finally adopted.


During World War I Finland supported Russia until the Bolshevik Revolution threatened. On 20 July 1917 Finland declared its independence from Russia, and this was confirmed by parliament on 6 December. First stamps for the independent country appeared on 1 October 1917. Finnish Communists or 'Red Guards' seized Helsinki on 23 January 1918 and a civil war broke out. The Communists were defeated following German intervention in April. Finnish independence was finally gained on 14 October 1920.

Finland remained uncommitted during the inter-war years and, with the rise of Hitler's power, tried to maintain a balance between Germany and Russia.

Finnish occupation of Aunus

The Russian town of Olonetz, close to the Finnish border, was briefly occupied by Finland in 1919. Overprinted stamps of Finland were issued on 27 June 1919 but the area was soon recaptured by the Bolsheviks.


Following the partition of Poland in September 1939, the Russians began to consolidate their position. Defence pacts and bases were negotiated with the Baltic states and in November the Russians demanded the occupation of the southern portion of the Karelian isthmus and other islands as a main base area. Finland refused and war broke out. After a successful defence for several months, Finland capitulated on 12 March 1940. Russia made peace on the acceptance of its original demands.

Following the invasion of Russia by Germany in June 1941, Finland allied itself with Germany and advanced down the Karelian isthmus to the original frontier. The Finnish army refused to advance further. However, when the Russians began their offensive to drive the Germans from their territory, they also attacked Finland. In September 1944 Finland made a truce with Russia and peace followed. As a result of its action on the side of Germany, at the end of the war Finland lost territory to Russia, in particular the Karelian isthmus and parts on the northern border.

Overprinted stamps were issued in 1943 for the military field post and these replaced an earlier imperforate issue of 1941.

Finnish occupation of eastern Karella

From 1941 to 1944 Finland occupied an area which had been lost during the war with Russia in 1939-40. Finnish stamps were overprinted and issued on 1 October 1941. Regained by Russia in 1945.

1945 to date

Finland has remained an independent republic since World War II. Its proximity to Russia has meant that it has been unable to be fully pro-western, but the Communist Party of Finland was banned in 1930 and it has not been allowed to take a major part in government.

However, Finland has not joined either of the main power organizations and still maintains its independence. It joined the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) in 1967.

North Ingermanland

A Russian territory adjoining Finland between Lake Ludoga and the Gulf of Finland, which refused to accept the revolutionary government of Russia. It declared its independence and issued stamps. The revolt was quickly suppressed by Russian troops and has been part of Russia ever since.

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  • AUSTRALIA - MINT / NEVER HINGED MINT BALANCE. Several stock pages with a chiefly very fine array of stamps including a group Kangaroos cat £500+, 1913 6d Kookaburra, 1930 1½d Centenary stamp with re-entry, 1932 1s Lyrebird (2, both shades) plus much else from to the 1970s. Good fun (120+ items)

    AUSTRALIA - MINT / NEVER HINGED MINT BALANCE. Several stock pages with a chiefly very fine array of stamps including a group Kangaroos cat £500+, 1913 6d Kookaburra, 1930 1½d Centenary stamp with re-entry, 1932 1s Lyrebird (2, both shades) plus much else from to the 1970s. Good fun (120+ items)

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  • RUSSIA - 1937 40k indigo blue, Lenin, variety

    RUSSIA - 1937 40k indigo blue, Lenin, variety "imperf", Mi 579U, very fine marginal mint pair.

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