In 1854, and possibly earlier, British stamps were placed on sale in Malta and numeral 'A25' was allocated for the cancellation of adhesives as well as the letter 'M' in an oval of bars. Malta’s first stamp, a ½d buff design was issued on 1 December 1860. This design remained the only uniquely Maltese stamp until Malta took control of its own postal affairs on 1 January 1885 and a new set 6 different values was issued whilst all British adhesives were withdrawn. The internal postal service within Malta increased and by 1914 there were 36 sub-Post Offices.
Malta was an important base for the Royal Navy during World War I. It continued to use its own stamps, but the size of the garrison led to a large increase in Forces' mail.
During World War II Malta was under constant attack from mid-1940 to 1943. As the tide of war turned in 1943 troops were no longer allowed to use Maltese stamps, instead British stamps were used at the Field Post Offices. The first stamps for Malta as an independent country were issued on 21 September 1964 and they have been producing beautiful stamps ever since. The postal history of this island with its close historic links to Great Britain are of great interest and the different postmarks are sought after.
We would recommend “Malta. The Postal History & Postage Stamps 1576 – 1960” edited by R.E. Martin and published by Robson Lowe. We also recommend Stanley Gibbons catalogue for comprehensive stamp listings.