Monaco officially the Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city state, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. Bordered by France on three sides, with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Monegasque mail service has been provided by the French postal Administration since the XVII- century.
From July 1st, 1885, the Monegasque stamps in the effigy of the Prince Charles III asserted the sovereign power of the Principality. The French stamps used before could still be used, beside the Monegasque stamps, until April 1st 1886 ; some mixed envelopes exist and are appreciated by collectors.
In 1937, the collector’s demand by correspondence concerning the stamps of Monaco led to the creation of a Stamp Issuing Office, Monegasque administrative department next to the French postal service on the territory.
This Office is also in charge to conceive the Monegasque stamp issuing policy and to propose the drawings to a Commission located in the Palace. Since 1949 and the accession to the throne of the Prince Rainier III, the Sovereign decides, personally and at the suggestion of the Director of the O.E.T.P., subjects, drawings and proofs of colours, which He signs and which are integrated into the Princely Collection, one of the most prestigious in the world, because it concentrates all the documents connected to the stamps issues, which are often spread between several services in the other countries.
The Stamp Issuing Office established a system of subscription - precursor at that time - and has nowadays 28.000 customers by correspondence. The customers, initially Monegasque or French, extend in Europe and a bigger diversification is permitted with the Internet site.
In the International Postal Institutions, the Principality is represented by the permanent Delegate to the International Organizations and by the Director of the O.E.T.P. (admission in Universal Postal Union in 1955 and PostEurop in 1993).
The Agreement of May 18 1963 governs postal, telegraphic and phone relations between France and Monaco. However, abolition of the telegraph and privatization of the telephone (1996) partially emptied that Agreement of its purpose. A contract for postal concession is being studied.
Beside the stamps of Monaco or the prêt à poster (only 2 envelopes during the administration of H.S. H. Prince Rainier III, in 1997 and in 1999), issued by the O.E.T.P., the Post Office of Monaco uses self-adhesive labels and different specific postal products and boxes, similar to those used by the French postal system but with colours or illustrations of Monaco, whereas numerous companies use mechanical postal means.
This evolution certainly is inevitable because of time and staff saving. Nevertheless, envelopes franked with stamps raise a particular interest of the addressee and contribute to the prestige of Monaco.