Finland : Classic Stamps up to 1900 - Northwind Stamps
Finland’s philatelic history is typically divided into two eras – pre- and post-independence. From 1809 to 1917, the country was known as an Autonomous Grand Principality of the Russian Empire. As such, it experienced some degree of autonomy over its postage and other affairs, though tensions persisted throughout this time. This is evident in the adoption of the Finnish coat of arms, instead of the Russian, on all postage issued in the region between 1856 and 1892.
In response to increasing Finnish nationalism, Russian authorities began to push back. One way this manifested itself was in postage. From 1892 onward, more Russian motifs, including the imperial coat of arms, began appearing on Finnish stamps. By 1896, the lion and crown – a heraldic symbol of Finland – was removed entirely.
Many of these early issues – both before and after Russification – are highly sought-after Finland collectors’ stamps. Color and perforation variants abound, and the conflict between Russian and Finnish influences makes them a fascinating study from a historical perspective, too.