Notes from the Past

Orient Express

Collectors with a sense of the romantic and taste for the exotic will be intrigued to know that during the 1880s, Hungary, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, issued revenue stamps to indicate the prepayment of transit charges by the Orient Express.  The famous train, beloved of mystery and spy story writers, ran from Paris to Constantinople (Istanbul) and has been immortalized as the setting for many a violent tale of murder and espionage.

In his catalog of Hungarian revenue stamps, British author and dealer J. Barefoot describes three issues dated 1880, 1884, and 1892.  The first issue consisted of two stamps inscribed "Dazio."  the second and third issues, comprising six and two stamps, respectively, bore the inscription "Transportsteurer in Ungarn."

Cabeen notes the existence of a label from Turkey with the inscription "Express d'Orient," which was used on mail posted at foreign post offices in that country that was to go by train rather than ship. 

- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Two G-P
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted October 4, 2000

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