It is with great joy that I am writing the following article, made possible by the amability of Slovenská Pošta (Slovak Post). From the very beginning, I have to come out as a big fan of Slovak philately. Whether we are talking about the careful and artful engraving of the stamps, continuing with pride the Czechoslovak Post tradition, or about the tasteful choice of topics, I am always pleasantly surprised by Slovak stamps.
This article refers to the series entitled “Ludzie kina i teatru” (“Personalities of Cinema and Theater“), issued by the Polish Post yearly since 2012. To date, seven such series were issued. New issued are already announced in the release plans for 2019 and 2020.
The series of stamps are brought together by structure: each series contains three individual stamps, as well as a minisheet featuring the respective three stamps, but also by imagery: all stamps have a glam/vintage look that makes them really appealing. The actors and actresses chosen to illustrate the series are all pioneers of music, dance, theater, cinema, radio and TV and most of them have been active in the interwar period. Each series contains both actors and actresses (two actors and one actress in a series in five year sets, two actresses and one actor in two year sets).
What I find interesting, except for the educational potential of the many names selected for the series, is the fact that many of these personalities are not only sacred monsters of the stage, but also they have intriguing life stories: of romantic relationships, of career succes, but also of heroic merits and of mysterious life events. I tried to select some of the biographic information about each of the featured actors and actresses below.
The 2012 issue
The three personalities chosen for the first issue of 2012 were: Aleksander Żabczyński, Jadwiga Smosarska, and Eugeniusz Bodo.
On Mar-21, 2017, the Israeli Post issued a series of 12 stamps commemorating popular Israeli love songs. The songs included were composed as early as the 1920’s and as late as the early 1990’s and are Israeli evergreens, being sung oftentimes in song contests and at weddings. Many of them have been covered by more than one artist, contributing therefore to their already ‘classical’ status.
The 12 stamps were issued in a sheet format that was not novel for the Israeli post. Three other similar sheets were issued in the past, commemorating Israeli singers, songs for children, and music albums. The structure of the sheet contains a central vignette and 12 stamps set out clockwise on all four sides of the sheet. Each stamp features an illustration and a text in print or handwriting Hebrew. The text represents either the first stanza of the song, or the chorus.
This article refers to the definitive series of stamps issued by the Polish Post between 2009 and 2018, containing 14 issues (16 stamps in total), depicting flowers and fruit. As of 2018, the series is complete, no more stamps were announced for the series in the release plan of the Polish Post for 2019 or 2020. However, they can still be released, as the Polish Post reserves 10 to 15 stamps a year which are not announced in the release plan, but issued for operational needs. You can win all the stamps in the article if you participate in the contest from this article. For details, read on!
The stamps in the series are all in the same format and orientation, with 11 1/2 perforation. They were issued irregularly and have face values ranging from 0.05zł to 10zł (approx. 0.01EUR to 2.3EUR). The Polish popular name of the flower is given, as well as the Latin name. All stamps have been designed by Marzena Dąbrowska.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Македонска Пошта (Macedonian Post), the postal services of the Republic of North Macedonia. On posta.com.mk you can find more about their stamp releases in English, Macedonian, and Albanian. Thank you for the awesome gift of the stamps and first day covers issued in 2018!
Jan-10: The 550th Anniversary of the Death of Skanderbeg
Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy (in short, WOSP, in English: Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity) is the best-known Polish charity organization, aiming at the improvement of medical treatment of infants. Active since 1993, the organization rejoices the highest ranking of credibility in Poland among all non-governmental, non-profit organization, with as many as 87% interviewed Poles ascertaining its positive role in society. Organized yearly, usually on the first or second Sunday in January, the organization has raised until now USD297mil which they used for medical supplies and equipment for neonatology, oncology and palleative care. In 2019, WOSP made the news in unfortunate circumstances, as during the festivities, one of the supporters of WOSP, the mayor of the city of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, was stabbed and subsequently died.
WOSP was frequently present on stamps in the last two decades, as Polish Post used to join the charity efforts by issuing stamps, parts of the proceeds thereof going to the charity. Polish Post ceased to officially back the organization in 2017, however the story of WOSP stamps is not ready yet.
The first WOSP stamp was issued in 2004, and features the well-known logo of the foundation, a red heart with the text “Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy), for the 12th anniversary of the charity.
While the USPS issued numerous stamps dwelling on the topic of space exploration, in this article we are going to look at the beautiful stamps issued in 2000 with the occasion of the World Stamp Expo in Anaheim, CA.
A number of five sheets and blocks were issued on this occasion. A new one was issued daily, between Jul-07 and Jul-11, and each addressing a different topic of space exploration.
Space Achievement and Exploration
The first issue, of Jul-07, 2000 is a circular block featuring a concentric circular stamp with holographic foil showing the Earth from space. The stamp is a high nominal of $11.75.
The craft of painting Easter Eggs is well-known in Eastern & Central Europe. Some feature very intricate and minute design, and for a stunning effect, many natural dyes are still being used. The tradition is well-known not only in Poland, where such a painted egg is known as pisanka (pl. pisanki), but also elsewhere: Belarus (пісанка, pisanka), Bulgaria (писано яйце, pisano yaytse), Russia (крашанки, krasanki, or писанки, pysanki), Croatia (pisanica), Czech Republic (kraslice), Hungary (hímestojás), Lithuania (margutis), Romania (ouă vopsite, încondeiate or împistrite), Serbia (pisanica), Slovakia (kraslica), Slovenia (pirhi, pisanice, or remenke) and with minorities such as the Sorbs (jejka pisać) or with the Carpatho-Russyns (крашанкы, krašankŷ, or писанкы, pysankŷ).
The term pisanka is but an umbrella term, as many other words are used to describe the several other techniques of painting and decorating Easter eggs in Poland. Kraszanki (or, malowanki, or, byczki) are just painted in natural dyes, but in some regions the word is used for all pisanki. Drapanki (or skrobanki) are kraszanki on which additional craftwork is being used, such as with a sharp tool to reveal the white of the shell in intricate patterns. Pacenki are similar in looks to drapanki, but instead they are painted additional decorations. Naklejanki are being decorated instead with leaves and papier mâché. Last but not least, oklejanki (or wyklejanki) are decorated with yarn, that allows them to reveal imperfect patterns created by diverse degrees of dye impregnation.
In this article, we are going to look at the definitive stamps issued by Polish Post between 2014-2019 before Easter. The design of the stamps is provided by the artist Agnieszka Sancewicz. Most of the stamps are pisanki, but in recent issues other types of pisanki are being shown as well.
The 2014 issue
The first stamps of the definitive series were issued in 2014, with two stamps featuring Easter Eggs from Opoczno and Puszcza Kozienicka.
Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉 actually called Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa – 松尾 忠右衛門 宗房, lived between 1644–1694) is one of the most known names of the Edo period of Japan. His writings, including numerous haiku (俳句) is even today considered a standard form of poetry writing, and his style inspired many of the writers of the next generations. His collection of writings Oku no hosomichi (奥の細道, often translated as “The Narrow Road to the Deep North“, or “The Narrow Road to the Interior“) is one of the gems of the literature of Edo Period. The text describes Matsuo Bashō ‘s travels in 44 fragments, called “stations”. Each of the short texts includes a description of the travel and the people encountered on the way, and concludes with some haiku verse.
Between 1987 and 1989, the Japanese Post devoted as many as 40 stamps and 20 minisheets to the writing of Oku no hosomichi. The 40 stamps come in pairs of 2, the resulting 2-panel stamp being a haiku poem and an illustration of the respective haiku poem. 20 such panels result. Each panel is also accompanied by an imperforated sheet. The stamps and sheets are separated into 10 series, numbered from 1 to 10.
Amnesty International, with its easily recognizable logo of a burning candle encircled by barbed wire, is one of the most known non-profits aiming at the observance of human rights. Since 1961 it has helped hundreds of prisoners of conscience across the world to be freed from prison, to escape torture, and to get justice for their cause.
The logo of Amnesty International is inspired by a Chinese proverb: “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” The barbed wire represents “the darkness” (hopelessness) of people put in jail where they think nobody remembers they are there.
With its logo or without, Amnesty International is also one of the non-profit organizations which got almost instant recognition on stamps. As early as 1974, and up to today, the work of the organization has been celebrated on the stamps of tens of countries. Below you will find this interesting history on stamps.