Welcome to Dante on Stamps, an authoritative resource and comprehensive catalog of postage stamps, first day covers, cancellations, and other philatelic items depicting the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri.
Dante (1265–1321) was born and raised in Florence, Italy, and is chiefly known for his Commedia (later Divina commedia, or Divine Comedy). The Commedia is considered to be a masterpiece of Western literature owing to its encyclopedic nature and graphic literary description of hell, purgatory, and heaven. In the nineteenth century, Dante became a symbol of the newly unified Kingdom of Italy and Italian culture and his popularity has risen ever since. Dante's influence on Western literature and culture is undisputed.
As a canonical figure in literature, Dante and his Commedia are popular themes on postage stamps. The first appearance of Dante on a postage stamp occurred in 1921, the 600th anniversary of his death, when Italy issued a set of three stamps featuring iconography from the Commedia and a portrait of the poet. Dante-themed postage stamps proliferated in 1965 and 1966 when more than a dozen countries celebrated the 700th anniversary of his birth. Other occasional issues have appeared since 1965, most recently in November 2011.
This website includes philatelic items that either depict Dante himself or that depict themes directly associated with the poet (for example, publication anniversaries or scenes from the Commedia). It does not include every instance of philatelic items which include the word "Dante" because many of these are merely related to various "Dante associations" and do not directly relate to the website's Dante-themed focus.
I would like to acknowledge the help I received from Paul K. McCutcheon of the National Postal Museum Library and Andy Harris of the Italy and Colonies Study Circle. I am also grateful to Jeff Dugdale for permission to post his article from JAPOS Bulletin, "Dante's Divine Comedy". The staff of the American Philatelic Research Library has been invaluable in providing me with books and articles. Jan Ziolkowski graciously provided a translation from the Latin. Luciano Calenda, Ilona Klein, and Charles Leonard graciously provided me with information about items I had missed.
I hope you enjoy your journey through the world of "Dantophilately"! I would be interested in receiving further information about items that are featured on this website and especially about items that are not featured. You may contact me using this form.