Azores - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile


Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands located 930 miles West of Lisbon and 2400 miles East of the coast of North America in the North Atlantic Ocean. The islands have a total land area of just over 900 square miles and a population of close to 250,000. The islands were discovered in the early 15th century and settled around 1436 on Santa Maria and then later on Sao Miguel. The main islands are Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, Sao Jorge, Sao Miguel, Santa Maria, and Terceira. Terceira became the main headquarters of the Portuguese regime in 1829 during the Portuguese Civil War – a government was set up to oppose King Miguel here in 1826 and in 1828, Maria de Gloria was proclaimed queen of Portugal.  Azores became the Portuguese Autonomous Region of the Azores in 1976.

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Azores were overprints on stamps of Portugal issued in 1868. The original issue of Portugal (Scott #17, 1866) shows an embossed head portrait of King Luiz. The set (Scott #1 to #5) has denominations from 5 Reis to 100 Reis in different colors. The most valuable is the 10r yellow (Scott #2) which catalogs at around $13.75K Mint and around $10K for Used. Scott #1 (5r black) is also very rare and catalogs in the $3.5K range for Mint and $2.25K for Used. Other issues from the set catalog in the $250 range for Mint and a little less for Used. Overprints on a few other King Luiz issues of Portugal formed the stamp issues of Azores during the period till 1894. Some of the stamps from the period go into the 100s while certain others go for a few dollars.

Azores overprints on Portuguese stamp issues continued during the period till 1910. One significant set from the period was a set of fifteen stamps issued on June 13, 1895 that were overprints on the commemorative 7th centenary of the birth of Saint Anthony of Padua set of 1895. These stamps have eulogy in Latin printed in the back. The original set of Portugal and the overprints of Azores are both sought after and very valuable. The Portuguese set (Scott #132 to #146) catalogs in the $1.8K for Mint and $1.2K range for Used. The Azores set (Scott #78 to #92) is a little more affordable cataloging in the $1.25K range for Mint and $850 range for Used. Republica overprints were used in Azores for a short period between 1911 and 1912. Azores overprints continued through the period till 1930 when Azores issues were replaced with stamps of Portugal.


Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Azores were provincial copper coins stuck in 1750 for use in the Azores and Madeira Islands. A second set of provincial copper coins was introduced in 1795 and they had the weights reduced by 50%. Terceira Island Copper Reis debut in 1829 and continued through 1833 for the period when Queen of Portugal, Maria II was in exile. The issues catalog upwards of $25 in VF with the higher denominations cataloging progressively higher. Portuguese Administration Provincial Coinage debut in 1843 with the introduction of Copper Reis. The first issue (KM #10) is remarkably inexpensive cataloging in the $20 range for VF. A crown countermark on existing Azores coins and other coins circulating in the islands was introduced in 1871. The countermarked versions generally catalog at a slight premium over regular issues.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

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