BackwardVirtual Stamp CollectionForward

Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Sovrano Militare Ordine di Malta Poste Magistrali

Christmas Issue of 1972

Christmas Issue of 1972
The 1972 Christmas issue of 1972 features an icon of "Our Lady of Damascus" from the
Greek Catholic Church of Valletta brought to Malta by the Knights of Malta in 1530.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is an unusual entity in the sense that it is sovereign but without territory except offices in the Vatican City that enjoy the same status as embassies. Although the stamps it has been issuing since 1966 are largely intended to generate revenue, the SMOM is not a member of the U.P.U. and the stamps are intended for internal postal use, international mail to countries with which the order has a postal agreement has processed by the Italian Post Office since November 4, 2004. One Canadian visitor to Rome reported that mail posted in the Poste Magistrali mail box arrived at his home address faster than mail posted at Italian or Vatican City post offices.

The Knights Hospitaller were founded in Jerusalem in 1050 to provide assistance to crusaders and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta was established as a lay religious order of the Catholic Church in 1113. Following the loss of Christian territories in the Holy Land, the Order was based in Rhodes (13101523) later in Malta (15301798), where it was sovereign. In the modern world the Sovereign Military Order of Malta has diplomatic relations with over 100 states and the European Union, and permanent observer status at the United Nations. The order engages in medical, social and humanitarian works focusing on forgotten or excluded members of society and people living in the midst of armed conflicts and natural disasters. It provides medical assistance, cares for refugees, and distributes medicines and basic equipment for survival.

The Order established a postal service in Malta for which a letter survives dated June 14, 1532. The first proper post office was established at the Casa del Commun Tesoro in Valletta in 1708. The first Maltese postal markings appeared between 1755 and 1791. The island fell to Napoleon's armies in 1798 and to the British in 1800. The modern postal service of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta was re-established in Rome on May 20, 1966. The stamps were denominated in scudi (the archaic currency of the Papal States until 1866) until the Euro was adopted in 2005. There were appoximately four scudi to the euro.

Souvenir Sheet
Souvenir Sheet


Klug, Janet. "Collecting Malta and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta." Linn's Stamp News. Oct. 2010. Web.
     9 Oct. 2017.

"Newsdesk." Gibbon's Stamp Monthly. Feb. 2005: 9. Print.

"Postage stamps and postal history of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 26 Jun. 2017. Web. 9 Oct. 2017.

"Postally used covers from obscure stamp issuing authorities." Stamp Boards. 6 Nov. 2011.
     Web. 9 Oct. 2017.

"Stamps and Coins." Order of Malta. Rome: Sovereign Order of Malta, 2017.
     Web. 9 Oct. 2017.

Direct comments, questions and corrections to:


Virtual Stamp Collection Index


© Grose Educational Media, 2017