1894 - Modern Games Founded
1896 - I Olympiad - Athens
1900 - II Olympiad - Paris
      - Vignettes of the 1900 Paris Expo
1904 - III Olympiad - St. Louis
1906 - Intercalated Games - Athens
1908 - IV Olympiad - London
1912 - V Olympiad - Stockholm
1913 - Berlin prepares for 1916 games
1914 - 20th Anniversary of Rebirth of Games
1916 - VI Olympiad - Berlin
1920 - VII Olympiad - Antwerp
1924 - VIII Olympiad - Paris
      - Post Cards
1928 - IX Olympiad - Amsterdam
1932 - X Olympiad - Los Angeles
1936 - XI Olympiad - Berlin
1940 - XII Olympiad - Tokyo
      - XII Olympiad - Helsinki
      - New Zealand Centennial Games
1944 - XIII Olympiad - London
      - German POW Games
1948 - XIV Olympiad - London
1952 - XV Olympiad - Helsinki
1956 - XVI Olympiad - Melbourne
      - XVI Olympiad - Stockholm
1960 - XVII Olympiad - Rome

1906 - Intercalated* Games - Athens

Apr. 22-May 2

Modern poster for the 1906 Olympic Games in Athens

The 1906 Games were a compromise. Coubertin had promised Greece the Games would be held there every four years, but soon had to break that promise. Instead he told Greece they could hold intermediate games in the interval between the regular ones. 1906 was the only time these "Intercalated Games" were held. Nonetheless, they were a great success, and helped establish the procedures and standards that guaranteed the perpetuation and reputation of the Games.

Again in 1906, there was no official poster. The one shown above was created many years later, when collectors demanded one. It was based on a program for the Games.

There was one set of official poster stamps created for the 1906 Games. Its design was similar to the 5 drachma Greek postage stamp issued in 1896, picturing the then recently excavated and restored winged victory by Paeonius

5 drachma stamp of 1896





1964 - XVIII Olympiad - Tokyo
1968 - XIX Olympiad - Mexico City
1972 - XX Olympiad - Munich

1924 - I Winter Games - Chamonix
1928 - II Winter Games - St Moritz
1932 - III Winter Games - Lake Placid
1936 - IV Winter Games - Garmisch-Partenkirchen
1940 - V Winter Games - Sapporo
      - V Winter Games - St Moritz
      - V Winter Games - Garmisch-Partenkirchen
1944 - V Winter Games - Cortina d'Ampezzo
1948 - V Winter Games - St Moritz
1952 - VI Winter Games - Oslo
1956 - VII Winter Games - Cortina d'Ampezzo
1960 - VIII Winter Games - Squaw Valley
1964 - IX Winter Games - Innsbruck
1968 - X Winter Games - Grenoble
1972 - XI Winter Games - Sapporo

      - Workers' Olympics

Poster stamps 1906 Olympic Games

Click on image below to open an enlarged version in a separate window/tab
Click on the DuBois number beneath the image to display technical data about that label.

Text from DuBois Catalog:

1906 - ATHENS

The following information is freely quoted from Ernest Trory's "A Philatelic History of the Olympic Games."

"After the 1896 Games in Athens, a suggestion had been made that all future Games should be held in the Stadium that had been built on the site of the Ancient Games. It was felt, however, that under these circumstances the Games would not achieve the wide international aspect that had been envisioned by their founder.

"A happy compromise was arrived at after Baron de Coubertin had met the Crown Prince of Greece on the subject. It was agreed that starting from 1906, there should be a fresh series of Athenian Games taking place at regular intervals between the official series. Although the series did not materialize, the Games of Athens in 1906 were a great success.

"A set of postage stamps was issued in commemoration of the event. A set of labels, which we now consider below, was also issued to advertise the Games. Three special labels of official status were printed in red, blue & green. The design was similar to that of the 5 drachmae postage stamp in the 1896 Olympic set which depicted the ancient statue of Nike, Goddess of Victory, by Paeonius. The inscription was in French and was obviously intended to advertise the Games abroad."

1906-1 to 14

"JEUX OLYMPIQUES INTERNATIONAUX ATHENES 1906 / 22 Avril - 2 Mai" in panel at bottom; horizontal lined background.

Vignette depicts Winged Goddess of Victory with Acropolis and Parthenon in background. Some examples exist with thin frame lines at or along perforations.


Edition I. perf 13.5
1. Red ..... $5.00
2. Green ... $7.50
3. Blue .... $7.50
4. Brown ... Rare
5. Violet .. Rare
6. Gray .... Rare
7. Gold .... Rare
Edition II. perf 11.5
8.  Red ....... $4.00
9.  Green ..... $6.00
10. Blue ...... $6.00
11. Brown ..... Rare
12. Violet .... Rare
13. Gray ...... Rare
14. Gold ...... Rare

Note: The above brown, violet, gray & gold varieties were the work of private enterprise.

DuBos does not specify the printing format. The largest multiples I have seen are of thirty stamps, six wide by five high, with perforations on all sides, so a likely size for a full sheet would be 50 stamps, with selvage around all four sides, 10 by 5, but that's just a guess.


Poster stamps for the 1906 Olympic Games in Athens - 1st edition
#1906-1 to 7
Perf 13-1/2, 20 teeth across the top

The DuBois catalog lists 14 varieties of this design, in two printings of seven colors.. The image above shows stamps from the first printing, perf 13- 1/2. The first three - red, green, and blue - were an official issue prior to the Games, used for publicity. Four more colors - brown, violet, gray, and gold - were issued privately. The private issues are rare.

As you can see in the image above, the perf 13-1/2 stamps separated poorly, so a second edition, perf 11-1/2 was issued at some time, in the same seven colors. These are all scarcer.

Poster stamps for the 1906 Olympic Games in Athens - 2nd edition
#1906-8 to 14
Perf 11-1/2, 17 teeth across the top

Can anyone provide the story of the "private printings?" It looks to me like all the above stamps were produced from the same plates, so did the printer just take liberties for the fun of it?

12/02//2017 - I just found this image on delcampe - these are the first imperforates of this issue that I have seen. The lot sold for $110.

12/03//2017 - Philippe Pavard wrote to tell me the following:

I own a set of these 3 imperforate labels - they were not printed in 1906. I don't remember the year (Perhaps 2006) but by the IOC, the Olympic Museum in Athens or the Hellenic Olympic Committee for a particular event. The paper is lightly creamy with no gum, like others printed in 1966 for the commemoration of the 1896 Olympic games by the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

I asked whether these reprints were marked in any way to distinguish them from the originals - he said "No."
Thanks, Phil - so caveat emptor!

9/9/19 - I found the item below on delcampe - description:
So that dates these reprints to 1962.

Preliminary design

Below is what was described in a recent eBay auction as a preliminary design for the 1906 poster stamps. Note how much more it resembles the 1896 stamp shown near the top of this page.

Essay for earlier design


Tsolacos labels

I collected the images above from various auction sites around the www, primarily David Feldman. The text, in Greek and English, says "Dim. [probably Dimetrios] Tsolacos Stationery, 14 Sophocles (Street), Athens." I asked the sellers what more they could tell me, and none could add to what it says on the stamps. Feldman had the item shown below as well, a postcard bearing one of the vignettes, with a cancel "ATHENS(STADION)/9.APR.06" so that connects them to these Games. The Hermes stamp is based on the 1896 2 drachma Greek Olympics stamp. A Google search for "D. TSOLACOS" found the reference below, in a 1902 issue of The London Philatelist, showing that a D. Tsolacos had been admitted to membership in the Birmingham (England) Philatelic Society. This could be the same individual, or not.

Tsolacos label on postcard, 1906
D. Tsolacos mentioned in philatelic magazine

CAN ANYONE ADD TO THIS STORY? Are there other designs?

Greece issued the only postage stamps created to commemorate the event.

There were no winter games in 1906.

* Webster's Dictionary defines "Intercalate" as "to insert between or among existing elements or layers."


I am indebted to Robert J DuBois for allowing me to use images and information from his Catalog of Olympic Labels on these web pages.

All text and images are the property of the author. Any errors are his.
REWARD! If you have better or additional information about anything shown or discussed here, please email the author.
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All text Copyright © 2013, William M. Senkus

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Created -- 07/27/2013
Revised -- 09/09/2019