First Postmark in Serbia
The first step towards establishment of the postal service was the ukaz (decree) of Prince Miloš issued in 1835, by which Jakov Jakšić became the supervisor of all the post offices in Serbia, entrusted with the task to organise and establish post offices and to manage them. The postal operations fell within the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The public postal communications were established in practice without a relevant legal regulation, by using the existing network of menzulanas (relay stations) and couriers.
The regular public postal traffic in Serbia officially commenced when the first post office in Belgrade was opened on 25 May 1840 (by Julian calendar). On that day, the very first postmark in the function of the postal traffic in Serbia was applied on a letter – a flat postmark ”Belgrade” in a rectangular frame, in black, so-called ”framed Belgrade”. This mark was used only on that day, and another postmark, without the rectangular frame, came into use already on 29 May 1840.
On the same day, the Ministry of Internal Affairs notified the Russian, Austrian and French consulates that the postal service was established in Belgrade. The similar news was published in Novine Serbske on 1 June 1840, stating that the letters dispatches to Serbia’s interior were scheduled twice a week: on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It was highlighted that the Post would admit all letters – both official and private. The Post was located at the Kalemegdan fortress, in a building of the governmental menzulana – at a place where the building of the Faculty of Fine Arts is located now, on the opposite side of the today’s Library of the City of Belgrade.
The post offices in Kragujevac, Valjevo, Loznica, Šabac, Požarevac, were opened soon thereafter. Considering that the postmark ”framed Belgrade” was the first postmark used in the postal system of the Principality of Serbia and that it was used only on 25 May 1840, its significance goes beyond the scope of the Serbian philately.
Expert collaboration: Vladimir Milić, MPhil, Graduate Electrical Engineer.
Artistic realisation of the issue: MA Marija Vlahović, academic graphic artist.