The country name on Albanian stamps has changed many times over the years – in 1937 it was written SHQIPNI and in 1939 it was called SHQIPTARE. The Albanian language, called ‘shqip‘ or ‘shqipe‘ by Albanians, is of interest to linguists because, as a descendant of the extinct Illyrian tongue, it is the only surviving member of its branch of the Indo-European language family. Influenced by centuries of rule by foreigners, the Albanian vocabulary has adopted many words from the Latin, Greek, Turkish, Italian, and Slavic tongues.
In 1947 the name changed to SHQIPERIJA. The stamp sheet above was issued that year to commemorate Qemal Stafa (20 March 1920-5 May 1942), a founding member of the Albanian Communist Party who was killed on the outskirts of Tirana by Italian fascist forces, who had occupied Albania in the Second World War.
From 1957 R.P. e (Republika Popullore e) SHQIPERISE (above) was used, then from 1962 onwards most stamps bore the national inscription SHQIPERIA.
In 1977 the form that is still used today appeared again, namely ‘R.P.S. e SHQIPERISE ‘.
Finally we get to the error, hope you’re still with me! On May 9, 1985, a series of 11,000 sets was issued to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The 80Q. stamp – the hand with rifle butt, globe in the background – bears the national inscription R.P.S. e SHQIEPRISE – and that’s clearly wrong. The letters E and P were transposed. This created the unique case that the country’s name was misspelled on a postage stamp. The 25Q. stamp – Rifle with Red Flag – shows how to correctly spell the country name, namely ‘R.P.S. e SHQIPERISE ‘.
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