The first stamps were issued in 1913 with overprints on Turkish stamps, a number of interesting and rather temporary stamps were created until December 1913 when Albania’s first full stamp designs were issued. Many beautiful and interesting stamp issues reflect the turbulent history of this beautiful country.
During WWI Albania was a battleground and was occupied by different powers but the central government continued to issue stamps throughout the period. At the end Italy occupied most of the country but in 1920 the Albanians forced the Italians to recognize Albanian sovereignty. On 7 April 1939 Italy invaded and occupied Albania. Specially overprinted stamps were issued almost immediately and the crown of Albania was offered to the King of Italy. During WW2 Italy used Albania as its base for the invasion of Greece in 1940. The Greeks counterattacked and soon overran almost half of Albania and overprinted stamps for southern Albania on 10 December 1940. When Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece in April 1941, it returned the control of Albania to Italy. When Italy surrendered in September 1943, Germany immediately assumed occupation. Many unusual and interesting stamps were issued during this period.
In January 1945 stamps from the Italian occupation were further overprinted for the new republic and until 1991 Albania was a one-party Communist State, when the first multi-party elections took place.To this day Albania continues to issue interesting stamps which beautifully illustrate its unique culture and history and we would recommend the extensive stamp listing in Stanley Gibbons Part 3 Balkans catalogue, also those published in the Michel Volume 3 Sud-Europa catalogue.