The 1861 Large Hermes Heads printing plates

Exhibitor: The Philatelic and Postal Museum, Athens

Exhibit: The 1861 Large Hermes Heads printing plates

The masterpieces of Désiré-Albert Barre, the French chief engraver of the Paris Mint (1855-1878), will be exhibited to the public together for the first time during NOTOS 2021.

These seven bronze printing plates were constructed in Paris in 1861, comprising 150 individual clichés each, for the purpose of printing the first Greek stamps. They were never replaced. They were used continuously for more than 20 years (1861-1882) to produce all the Large Hermes Heads values of 1 lepton and 2, 5, 10, 20, 40 and 80 lepta.

Today, the plates are kept in the Philatelic and Postal Museum in Athens. Six of the seven plates are intact. The 20 lepta plate had been dismantled at some time in the past and in 2019-20 its reconstruction was worked upon and carried out successfully.

1 lepton stamp 1 lepton plate cliché
The 1 lepton 150-cliché plate

2 lepta stamp 2 lepta plate cliché
The 2 lepta 150-cliché plate

5 lepta stamp 5 lepta plate cliché
The 5 lepta 150-cliché plate

10 lepta stamp 10 lepta plate cliché
The 10 lepta 150-cliché plate

40 lepta stamp 40 lepta plate cliché
The 40 lepta 150-cliché plate

80 lepta stamp 80 lepta plate cliché
The 80 lepta 150-cliché plate

Plate photos: Ioannis Assimakopoulos, Athens

Stamp images: A. Karamitsos’ Hellas stamp catalogue