1st July 1885
perf 14x13½, no wmk, typographed
Printed at the French Government Printing Works, Paris
|1 centime olive green||1||1||1||1||1|
|1c bronze green||1a|
|2c dull lilac||2||2||2||2||2|
|2c slate lilac||2a||2a|
|10c brown, straw||4||4||4||4||4|
|15c rose||5||5, 5a||5||5||5||SG5a pale rose|
|40c slate, rose||7||7||7||7||7|
|75c black, rose||8||8||8||8||8|
|1 franc black, yellow||9||9||9||9||9|
|5f rose, green||10||10||10||10||10|
A very orderly first set (in contrast with, say, San Marino), it is a shame that the shades break up the clean, regimented lines.
Monaco is described by Wikipedia as, " a sovereign city-state and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe", bordered by France on three sides and the Mediterranean on the fourth. It also states that Monaco is "the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world": Vatican City is smaller.
The Grimaldi family spent more than 200 years trying to achieve power in Monaco before they put the matter beyond dispute by buying it from the Crown of Aragon in 1419. The Principality became a French protectorate in the 1630s when threatened by Spain and this continued until 1793 when it was captured by French Revolutionary forces. The Grimaldi family regained power in 1814. Postal services were provided by Sardinia from 1855 to 1860 (Sardinian stamps cancelled with a Monaco datestamp) and from 1860 by France (French stamps, and Monaco datestamps).