The Alexander Museum of Postal History & Philately


Red CarThe history of human communications is as long as the history of humankind. Before the invention of writing people communicated by consensual signs. Nevertheless, the writing revolution made it possible to send complex and personal messages to faraway places. Thus, the post and its assorted elements were created: the writer, the letter, the messenger and the addressee.

In biblical sources there is evidence of letters and epistles, and 'doar,' the Hebrew word for post, in the sense of sending letters, can be found in the Talmud. The word 'post' was used as early as Ancient Rome.


Postal history is interrelated with the development of human society and serves as a mirror for the various stages, revolutions, and changes that took place in global history. An important watershed was reached in 1840 when the first postal stamp - the Penny Black - was issued in England. Thus postal services became useful and available to all. These services were further developed with the Industrial Revolution and the progress in land and sea transportation. Following England other countries began printing their own stamps, and to date close to a million stamps have been issued throughout the world.


In their design stamps manifest the spirit and values of the times and its cultural and artistic styles. Stamps as a visual text that transfers a succinct graphical message have become collectibles throughout the world.


The Alexander Museum of Postal History and Philately tells the postal history of the Land of Israel against the backdrop of the historical, social and political changes in the region. The exhibit comprises postal history in general, and local postal history in particular, employing interactive multimedia. 


The Lobby


Communications and postal services

There are three identical stamps, in different shades, exhibited in the pavilion lobby, depicting the development of communications - from ancient times when pottery and papyrus served for writing letters, through today's electronic mail. The "Red Ford" in the center of the exhibit, bearing the Israel Post's emblem of the running stag, is a Ford F1 dating from 1949, the kind of vehicle that served the Israel Post in its early days.


A special corner is devoted to special temporary exhibits related to the history of philately and postal services in Israel.


The Historical Gallery


The history of the postal services in our country

The exhibit unfolds as a historical gallery, beginning with the Ottoman Period and ending withDoar Ivri[Hebrew Post], and is divided into windows that describe the post offices that operated in the country.


Post-BoxesIn Eretz Israel, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, the first stamps were used in the1860s. From this time on, in addition to the Turkish postal services, independent post offices of European countries such as Austria, France and Germany also provided service. They operated under concessions granted by the Empire to manage and organize the civil life of citizens of these countries in matters concerning economy, law, and religion. Thus, enhanced transportation and postal services were provided, among them the distribution of mail by postmen and the installation of street mailboxes. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914 these post offices closed down.


At the beginning of the 20th century themoshavot mail also operated; it served the new Jewishyishuv [the Jewish settlement], and the first Hebrew stamp was issued - the stamp of the "Mother of the Moshavot", Petach Tikva. Postal services improved during the British Mandate: impressive and innovative post offices opened in Jaffa and Jerusalem, and a stamp series that showed the landscapes and sites of the country was introduced into service. Towards the end of the Mandate all postal services were terminated.Minhelet Ha'am [the provisional government], that led theyishuv, re-operated them in most parts of the country, thus laying the foundations for the Israel Post.


The first stamps of the State of Israel were printed clandestinely, before the name of the nascent state was known. They were issued on May 16, 1948, two days after the declaration of independence, and bore the wordsDoar Ivri.These stamps showed motifs taken from Hebrew coins from the days of the Second Temple and Bar Kochkva. The choice of ancient motifs manifested the link between the history of the Jewish People and its rebirth in the country in modern times.




Current postal services

A computerized system situated in the center of the halls demonstrates the postal services today. Visitors can use different information menus related to the activities of the Postal Company and up-to-date postal services, and learn about their immediacy and complexity.

Morse code machines, teleprinters, and field telephones, which can be viewed on this level, demonstrate the use made of technological innovations for transmitting messages. Electrical signals transmitted via cables were transformed into signs by the Morse code machine, into print by teleprinters, and sounds by the field telephone.

Two interactive computerized stations offer the visitor a comprehensive collection of Israel's stamps. Shifting the "magnifying glass" over the screen makes it possible to choose a series of screens that deal with the stamp itself and other stamps on the same topic.


Upper level


The Stamp Album and the Printing Machine010

"The Stamp Album" in the eastern part of the pavilion exhibits a selection of stamps in chronological order, through which visitors can learn about the design style and the different topics in Israeli stamps that changed over the years.

TheDoar Ivristamps were printed clandestinely on the adjacent printing machine, which was used to print theHaaretznewspaper in Sarona, Tel Aviv. On the adjacent screen visitors can watch a film describing the process of stamp production today.

In this space there are also temporary exhibitions devoted to diverse historical topics.


The Lower Floor


The Alexander Collection

Stamp collector Zvi Alexander assembled this important collection over 50 years, which is devoted to the Holy Land postal history. The collection is composed of unique philatelic items and covers 600 years of the history of Eretz Israel. It represents important chapters dealing with geo-political and socio-economic aspects: the pre-philatelist era, the Turkish post, foreign post offices, World War I, the development of Zionism and themoshavotin Eretz Israel, the British Mandate, the War of Independence,  and the establishment of the State of Israel. Special emphasis is placed on the connection between world Jewry and Eretz Israel and the Zionist enterprise.


The significant and outstanding items in the Alexander Collection are exhibited in the Philately Wing, which comprises historical collections and all the stamps of Israel. In this section visitors have access to a library, a lecture hall, a room for creative activities. In the Jaglom Library a collection of philatelic items devoted to towns and sites in Eretz Israel is on show; it covers some 150 years, from the Ottoman Empire until the present day.


The museum was inaugurated in 1998 by the Israel Postal Authority, the Tel Aviv Foundation and the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv