Austrian and Turkish stamps were used on Cyprus until 1878 and are identifiable by their postmarks, the administration for the island was then taken over by Great Britain who treated the Post Offices at Larnica, Famagusta, Kyrenia, Limassol, Nicosia and Paphos as extensions of the GPO system and issued them with numeral postmarks which are highly collectible when found on British stamps. The first stamps made for use solely on Cyprus were British stamps overprinted “CYPRUS” issued on 1 April 1880.
The first purely Cypriot designs were issued on 1 July 1881. In 1886 rural and parcel services were introduced and by 1917 mule transports, which had been the traditional link between villages, were replaced by motor transport.
In 1924 Cyprus became a Crown Colony and the First flight to carry mail from the island took place on 25 September 1930. Clashes between the Greeks and Turks began in 1963 and a separated postal service was established in the Turkish Cypriot areas. On 29 October 1973 stamps to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Turkish republic were issued by Turkish Cyprus, but these were not used for mail outside this area until after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974.
Cyprus makes the most of its long history and beautiful surroundings to produce many wonderful stamps alongside its fascinating postal history. We recommend the stamp listing in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue and also the excellent “Cyprus Stamp Catalogue” published by A. Karamitsos which includes much helpful information on the early stamps and postmarks.