It is dangerous to rule the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

Governing in the Balkans can be dangerous, hence today is our first black outlined memorial stamp. So slip on tour smoking, jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelists.

The stamp today is a common Yugoslavia stamp from the early 30s of King Alexander I of the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The King was assassinated in 1934 and a new printing of the stamp was made with a black outline around the stamp. This was a common way to mourn a deceased leader at the time.

Todays stamp is issue A7, a 50 paras stamp issued by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on October 17th, 1934. The stamp added the black outline to the earlier King Alexander stamp issue. The issue contained 14 stamps of various denominations. According to the Scott catalog the stamp is worth 25 cents whether it is mint or used.

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed in the aftermath of World War I. The royal house of Serbia was given the wider mandate. King Alexander was not originally in line. However his older brother George had been forced to renounce any claim to the throne. George was known to be unstable and there was a public incident where he kicked a servant in the stomach so hard that he eventually died. Alexander took the throne officially in 1921 but was already serving as regent for his elderly father. He married a Romanian princess in 1921. He had early hoped to marry a Russian Princess but she had been executed in the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The area that took the name Yugoslavia in 1929 was a wild place. In 1928, a Serb Deputy of the National Assembly assassinated 5 Croat Deputies including the leader of  the Croat Peasants Party. In response King Alexander banned political parties and assumed executive power. He hoped to clamp down on separatists  attitudes.

It was not to be. In 1934, while on a trip to Marseilles, France, King Alexander was killed by a Bulgarian assassin who was working for Montenegro autonomy. The assassination happened while on parade in an open limousine while surrounded by cavalrymen and sitting next to the French Foreign minister. The assassin jumped on the running board of the limousine shouting vive le King with a submachine gun hidden in a bouquet of flowers. The French Foreign minister was killed by return fire from French police and the assassin was slowed by a sabre blow from a French cavalryman and then beaten to death by the crowd of onlookers. The assassination was captured by newsreel cameras and shown around the world. Preparing for the state funeral it was discovered that King Alexander had a large heraldic eagle tattooed on his chest.

Well my drink is empty and so it is time to open the discussion in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

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