Portugal on stamps

These charity labels were issued during the Lisbon Festival of June 1913, which included the commemoration of the death anniversaries of Camões on the 10th (which is now Portugal’s national day) and of St. Anthony on the 13th (which is still the traditional popular city festivity). The young Republic, founded in 1910, was going through turbulent and violent years, with unions, monarchists and even many disillusioned republicans opposing the government.

In the morning of the 10th of June, a procession of schools, bands, and military marched through a crowded Lisbon downtown, from the Town Hall to Camões Square. As the rear of the procession turned from the Rossio Square into Rua do Carmo, next to Hotel do Universo, some people tried to join the procession, one of them holding a black flag with “Bread or Work” in white letters, alluding to the country’s poverty and unemployment. Amidst the ensuing confusion and fight with the police, a bomb was thrown.

My grandfather, at the time 13 years old and living nearby, was caught in the thick of it, because the protesters tried to infiltrate the procession behind the marching band from Castelo de Vide, his native town. He took refuge in the hotel. He realised his coat felt heavy on one side and found a piece of shrapnel that had pierced the coat and was lodged inside the lining. Another piece had gone through the lapel without touching him! The police questioned him and took the shrapnel. The close shave was reported in a major daily newspaper (see below). Others were not so lucky that day: one died, two musicians from Castelo de Vide had a leg amputated, and several people were injured.

The stamps were designed by Augusto Pina, lithographed by A Editora Lda on chalk-surfaced paper sheets of 10×12 stamps, gummed and perforated in 12×11½ by the Mint, and circulated from 8 to 15 June 1913.

Value Print run Afinsa Gibbons Michel Scott Yvert
0.01 1,222,800 IPT 5 C 485 Z 5 RA 3 224
0.02 312,000 IPT 6 Z 6 RA 3A 225


  • A explosão de uma bomba lançada à passagem do cortejo camoneano, A Capital, 10 June 1913
  • José Leite, Antigos Hotéis de Lisboa (3), Restos de Colecção, accessed 29 November 2014, and personal communication
  • O sensacional acontecimento de ontem, Diário de Notícias, 11 June 1913

    It’s interesting to see the personal details given in both newspapers, including home addresses.

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