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First printing press on the Balkans commemorative cover

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Nov 2nd, 2018. Artwork published in
November 1940
First printing press on the Balkans commemorative cover
Source: Uploaded to Flickr by Norman McKnight and tagged with “fatima” and “bravour”. License: All Rights Reserved.

Special cover issued to commemorate the first printing press on the Balkans.

Прослава прве штампарије на Балкану Обод – 1493 године

The 5.50 D. denomination stamp on the right (Scott #159) “was issued on September 29, 1940 to publicize the Zagreb Philatelic Exhibition and to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Johann Gutenberg’s invention of printing, using movable type. The design features a view of the bridge at Obod in Montenegro. The first printing press in the Yugoslav area was located at Obod in 1493.” — Stamp Collecting World

The orange definitive stamp (0.50 D., Scott #143) is from a series issued between 1939 and 1940 which features the portrait of sixteen-year-old King Peter II. The reproduction at the top left shows a Montenegrin stamp with a bust of Prince Nicholas, overprinted in 1893 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Obod press.

The letter was sent on 7 November, 1940 from Belgrade (today the capital of Serbia) to Zagreb (now the capital of Croatia). Back then, both cities belonged to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

The two typefaces used at the top have German roots. The multiline capitals are from Fatima Versalien, designed by K.H. Schaefer and first cast by Schriftguss AG in Dresden in 1933. The typeface was also sold by Polish foundry Idźkowski (under the name Gopło), among others. It’s not known which foundry added the Cyrillic characters.

The wide roman is Bravour halbfett. Based on the lettering of Martin Jacoby-Boy, the Bravour series was issued by the D. Stempel AG in Frankfurt from 1912. Seemann’s Handbuch der Schriftarten from 1926 shows that at least six of its ten styles were also available with “Russian” characters.

Note that the typewritten address is in Latin letters. The postmark shows Cyrillic and Latin forms. So does the “R” stamp (for Lettre Recommandé, or Registered mail), in some variant of Romana. The stamps themselves don’t feature any type, but are lettered. The country name and the currency is given in both scripts. However, “Gutenberg” is in Latin characters only, and “Ободска штампарија” exclusively in Cyrillics.


  • Fatima
  • Bravour
  • Romana




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