Philatelic trade in nineteenth century Italy
by Emilio Simonazzi
In Italy philatelic collecting began to develop soon after the national unity (1861), thanks also to the large number of postage stamps issued before
the unification by the Italian States.
These – with the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy – were merged in Turin under the General Directorate of Public Works which was in charge of the Post. This was made possible by the availability of suitable labour wich supported those who had started this new type of collection.
At the same time, as the first collectors started to appear, the first dealers started to be active, often just as adevelopment from collecting, where the distinction between collecting and dealing was often very subtle.
The parallel between collecting and dealing in the subject of collecting itself, however, has been a long debated concept if one considers what “Jean Clavel” wrote on the “L’Echò de la Timbrologiè” in 1928: “… .. It is not a paradox to say that those who live in philately are those who in turn make it live.” The bibliography of philately, however, has very little to offer on the origins of the philatelic trade in Italy; but it must be remembered that the American John K. Tiffany reported in “The Philatelical Library: a catalog of Stamp publication” published in St. Louis in 1874, in a list of bulletins published by philatelic dealers from various countries, four Italians: “F. Caldelli” in Florence in 1866, “G. Leoni” in Bologna in 1874, “Paolo Norberto” in Turin in 1864 and “Tartarini & C.” in Bologna in 1872 in “The Philatelical Library: a catalogue of Stamp publication”published in St. Louis in 1874, in his list of price lists or circulars published by philatelic dealers from various countries.
And it is precisely the same “Paolo Norberto” who was mentioned in an article published in 1940 in the magazine ‘Il Corriere Filatelico’ titled: “Two pioneers of the Italian philatelic trade: Giuseppe Arduin and Carlo Cocorda”. The article mentions that Giuseppe Arduin had started to trade in stamps in the 1860s using the pseudonym of “Paolo Norberto” since as a
bank employee he did not consider it appropriate to use his real name. Carlo Cocorda, instead, whose real name was Charles Coucourde as his origins were the valleys of Valtellina, moved to Turin around 1859, where he transformed his initial interest in stamp collecting into a commercial activity.