10c--First Books Printed in a Country
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Issued to commemorate
International Book Year in 1972,
the 20-cent value in this
4-value set depicts the first
book printed in Costa Rica
(Costa Rica, Scott #C547).
In 1488 Konrad Bitz, Bishop of Turku (Åbo) in Finland commissioned the printing of a prayer book
for the Mass based on the Dominican liturgy. The book was written in Latin. It was printed by
Bartholomeus Ghotan in Lübeck on both paper and parchment. The text is printed in black with
red rubrics and there are illuminated initials in blue or red. After the Reformation entered
Finland in the first half of the 16th century most copies of the
Missale Aboense were destroyed. A
single original copy on parchment is preserved in Det Kongelige Bibliotek (The National Library) of
Denmark. The stamp at left was issued by Finland on 17 August 1988 to mark the 500th
anniversary of the first book printed for use in Finland, the
Missale Aboense (Finland, Scott #775).
Constantin Lascaris wrote the first
Greek grammar, which was printed
in Milan in 1476 by Diogini da
Paravicino (Dionysius Paravisinus);
this stamp commemorates the
500th anniversary of that
publication. The font used is
thought to have been designed by
the Cretan, Demetrius Damilas
(Greece, Scott #1193).
Under instructions from Antonio de Mendoza (1495–1552), in 1539, the first viceroy of New Spain,
Juan de Zumarraga (1468–1548), the Mexico City archbishop depicted on this stamp, introduced
printing into the then Spanish colony of Mexico by having a printing press brought from Europe.
After receiving permission from the Spanish king, Carlos V, the press was set up a house, then
called the “Casa de las Campanas” (House of the Bells) by the Seville-based publisher Juan
Cromberger. An Italian printer, Juan Pablos (Giovanni Paoli), worked for ten years in the shop for
living expenses. He began printing viceregal- and Church-related documents, including the first
book in the Western Hemisphere,
Doctrina Christiana en la Lengua Mexicana e Castellana (The Brief
and Most Concise Christian Doctrine in the Mexican Language
), a catechism written by the archbishop
himself, a fitting epitome of the Spanish combination of missionary zeal and imperialist expansion
(Issued on 1 September 1939, Mexico, Scott #748).
Casa de la Primera Imprenta de América (House of the First Print Shop in the Americas) is the
second stamp in the set. The house was originally constructed by Gerǿnimo de Aguilar in 1524
and is located on the outer edge of what was the sacred precinct of the Templo Mayor prior to the
Conquest. It’s still located at the corner of Moneda and Licenciado Primo Verdad streets in Mexico
City and serves as the Continuing Education Center for Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
(UAM) with various exhibition rooms, a bookstore, and facilities for conferences and classrooms.
In 2008, a Book Museum opened in the building, with some of the oldest books printed in Mexico
on display (Mexico, Scott #749).
Antonio de Mendoza (1495–1552), who is depicted on this stamp, was the first viceroy of New
Spain, serving from 1535 to 1550, and the third viceroy of Peru, from 1551 to 1552. Under his
instructions, the first printing press in the New World was brought to Mexico in 1539, for use by
the printer Juan Pablos (Giovanni Paoli) (Mexico, Scott #750).
The first
(1544) made in
(Mexico, Scott
The first work of
(1563) printed in
America (Mexico,
Scott #C98).
The oldest
printing in
Mexico (Mexico,
Scott #C99).
Bishop Thomas Wilson (1663-1755) and his book, The Principles and Duties of
, the first book printed in Manx (1707), are pictured on this
commemorative (Isle of Man, Scott #212).
Safed is a city in the Northern District of Israel. At an elevation of 800 meters (2,660 feet)
above sea level, it’s the highest city in the Galilee. Safed rose to fame in the 16th century as
a center of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. A Hebrew printing press was established in Safed
in 1577 by Eliezer Ashkenazi and his son, Isaac of Prague. It was the first press in Palestine
and the whole of the Ottoman Empire. The stamp commemorates the press and depicts a
page from the first book from the press (Israel, Scott #645).  
Printing was introduced into Spain, at Valencia, in 1474. Lambert Palmart was the first Spanish
printer and Matthaeus of Flanders the second. In Spain, as elsewhere, the spread of printing
was carried on by itinerant Germans, that is, German by training if not by birth. To
commemorate the 500th anniversary of printing in Spain, Spain issued a set of three stamps,
one of which is illustrated here: the 7-peseta value depicts a teacher, pupils, and a woodcut
Libros de los Suenos, printed in Valencia in 1474 (Spain, Scott #1792).
Last modified on 27 August 2009