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Olympic Games: Athens 1896

Olympic Games: Athens 1896

The Athens 1896 Summer Olympic Games were the first modern Olympic Games. Although small, compared to today’s standard, they paved the way for upcoming Olympic Games competitions.

 

Athens 1896 Stamps

In this article, we’ll present stamps issued by Hellenic post on 1896/03/25. This set of 12 stamps is also the first set of Olympic stamps and therefore their issue date is also the birth date of the Olympic philately. The designs were based on ancient Greek art and architecture. Professor C. Svoronos selected them and the Swiss Professor A. Guilleron created them. Their denomination varies from 1 lepton to 10 drachmae (1 drachma = 100 lepta).

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 1 lepton

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 2 lepta

 

 

Ancient Olympic Games

Ancient Olympic games started in Olympia, Greece. As you could expect they were closely related to religion and Greek gods. The games were actually used as a form of competition between city-states. Besides that, it’s well-known that during Olympic Games there was a truce, called “ekecheiria”, between city-states.

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 5 lepta

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 10 lepta

 

Ancient competitions included: running, jumping, discus throw, pentathlon, boxing, wrestling and equestrian events. And yes, Olympic winners were superstars.

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 20 lepta

 

Athens 1896 Summer Olympics

First modern Olympic Games were held in Athens from 6 to 15 April 1896 and the games were organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had been created by Pierre de Coubertin.

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 25 lepta

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 40 lepta

 

14 nations took place in this first competition: Australia, Austria (Austro-Hungary), Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary (Austro-Hungary), Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

 

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 60 lepta

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 1 drachma

 

There were 43 events in 9 sports (athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, sailing/rowing, shooting, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling) and 241 athletes out of whom 169 were from Greece. It’s no wonder that Greece won the most medal (46), while the USA won the most gold medals (11).

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 2 drachmae

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 5 drachmae

 

James Connolly, from the USA, became the first modern Olympic champion when he won the triple jump on the opening day of the Games. For the Greeks, the most important was the victory in the marathon, achieved by Spyridon Louis. German wrestler and gymnast Carl Schuhmann was the single most successful competitor with four events won.

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1896 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Denomination: 10 drachmae

 

1996 Stamps

Exactly 100 years later, on 1996/03/25, Hellenic Post issued a set of stamps and sheet commemorating 1896 issues. Without any further comments, take a look at them below.

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1996 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Image source: colnect.com

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1996 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Image source: colnect.com

 

Olympic Games Athens 1896

Copyright© 1996 Hellenic Post. All Rights Reserved.

Image source: colnect.com

 

Olympic philately started in 1896. Since then, there were many interesting issues, but first will always stay first. And expensive 😊

 

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2 Comments

  1. loris fogli · April 15, 2018 Reply

    thanks
    pls send this article pdf for study
    thanks
    best regards
    loris journalist

  2. Dave Francis Rodrigues · April 17, 2018 Reply

    A very nice read. Keep up the good work.

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