Again an incredible release from Schwaneberger Verlag GmbH – the first ever to my knowledge stamp catalog covering worldwide circus on stamps releases! The authoritative team that brings you the authoritative Michel Catalog for 110 years now leans in an attentive ear in the conversations in philatelic milieus and recognizes that thematic collections are the new black – so alongside regional catalogs, more and more thematic ones are being released.
About: Michel Catalog – Circus – Worldwide. Order directly from here. | 1st issue, available since 11.09.2020 | 156 pages | paperback | 12k price notices| 1600 color illustrations| stamps until the second quarter of 2020 cataloged | German language | Check out also the awesome Michel Online Catalog here.
I have written before about EUROPA stamps, having showcased on the site the 1976 issue of handicrafts on stamps. Now it’s the time to take a look at another EUROPA release that I count among my favorites, namely the 2002 issue, devoted to the world of the circus.
As much as I like the colorful stamps of the series, I feel the need to start right off with a disclaimer: for me, the circus belongs to the old world. I condone neither the abuse of people, nor of animals, and taking in today’s moral climate, I would say I’d rather settle for a circus-free world. But the safe space of stamp collecting still allows me to take a closer look at the magical world of the circus. By the way, as an old-time collector of circus on stamps, I salute the initiative of Michel Catalog to issue to my knowledge the first thematic catalog devoted to circus on stamps – my review here.
No less than 61 countries and territorial postal authorities issued stamps on the occasion, and you can see them all pictured below, in alphabetical order.
This article refers to the series of stamps issued by the Spanish Post in 2009, as single or double releases, totaling 12 stamps and picturing Spanish traditional dances from different regions. The stamps are issued as single stamps, stamps with vignettes, or minisheets, and have different sizes and orientation in order to capture the dynamics of the dances. The images combine skillfully photography with computer design, but the ultimate result is quite truthful. Several types of dances from several Spanish regions and dependencies are illustrated in this very nice series.
I recommend this series for beginner stamp collectors as it is quite cheap and not so difficult to collect. The fact the stamps were not issued in one release, but separately, adds to the thrill of collecting, and assembling such a collection of stamps would cement the wish to collect stamps for a beginner collector, in my humble opinion.
Pictured above the traditional dance la mateixa from Mallorca.
[This post is renewed with new entries of Eurovision on stamps – last update 2020]
There have been 64 contests to date under the name of Eurovision Song Contest since its innaugural year 1956. While Eurovision changed format, distribution, aim, number of countries, voting system – Europe did not stand passive either: it grew, it united, new countries declared their independence and subsequently entered the contest, and last but not least, since 2000 it moved from being a mere TV event to being a multimedia and online event. This year in 2020 it was for the first time the event did not take place as it was planned to go live while Europe was almost entirely in lockdown during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eurovision did not go unnoticed in the realm of philately. Although only a small number of countries ever issued Eurovision-related stamps, here is the story of the Eurovision on stamps. Most of the countries – as it will become obvious later, issued the stamps following a win.
Wins: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977
Is the stamp related to a win? No.
The first Eurovision-themed stamp can be attributed to France, in 1980. It features the back-then Eurovision logo and the satellite transmission of the event. Given the technical power of the day, it was all that could be done on a stamp.
Dimitrie Cantemir (also known under his Russian name: Дми́трий Константи́нович Кантеми́р,or his Greek name: Δημήτριος Καντιμήρης, or his Turkish name: Dimitri Kantemiroğlu) was a Moldavian ruler and scholar, living between 1673-1723. His merits show him as a true Renaissance man, having had pioneering contributions in philisophy, history, music composition, linguistics, geography, and ethnography – to name just a few of the fields he was influential in his time for.
He was a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin, and published influential works such as a first history of Islam for Europeans, but also a referential history of the Ottoman Empire (in Latin: Historia incrementorum atque decrementorum Aulae Othomanicae; in English: History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire). With his most known work, published in 1714, (in Latin: Descriptio Moldaviae; in English: Description of Moldova) he also made a first map of Moldova which stayed as a reference for the country’s geography up to the 19th century. If this were not enough, he also penned the first novel written in Romanian, A Hieroglyphic History (full title in Romanian: Istoriia ieroglifică în doasprădzece părți împărțită, așijderea cu 760 de sentenții frumos împodobită, la începătură cu scară a numerelor streine tâlcuitoare – in English: A Hieroglyphical History Divided in Twelve Parts, also Containing 760 Skillfully Embellished Sentences, from the Very BeginningProvided with Explanatory Foreign Numerals).
Given Dimitrie Cantemir’s enormous contribution to the world of politics and the sciences, he was a constant presence on the stamps of both Romania and Moldova, where he is still considered an epitome of his times, and a cool-headed, patriotic ruler. An addition to this collection comes from the former USSR. In what follows, we are going to take a look at Dimitrie Cantemir’s presence on stamps.
An early example is this set from 1938. Issued to honor the 6th anniversary of King Charles II’s enrhronement, it features 11 stamps.
Undertitled in Romanian Straja Țării (in English: Sentinnel of the Motherland) and therefore making a direct connection with the youth organization instated by King Charles II to combat legionnaire influences by an equally right-wing and nationalistic movement, the set depicts Dimitrie Cantemir, Maria de Mangop, Mircea the Elder, Constantin Brâncoveanu, Ștefan the Great, A. I. Cuza, Mihai the Valiant, Queen Elisabeth, King Charles II, King Ferdinand, and King Charles I.
Czech Post issued 4 series of stamps between 2016-2019, one each year, devoted to local zoological gardens (in Czech: Zoologické zahrady). The sheets are similar in design, and have been researched and designed by the same team of people – Libuše Knotková, Jaromír Knotek and Martin Srb. Each series contains 4 stamps, each depicting one or more animals from a local zoos. So far 21 animals from 16 different Czech zoos have been introduced. The stamps are issued in beautifully designed minisheets, including vignettes ands several other animal species depicted on the borders of the minisheets. A fifth series was not announced for 2020, and it is possible the series will be discontinued.
Issue I – 2016
The first issue of 2016 presents four zoological gardens, from Prague, Jilhava, Dvůr Králové nad Labem, and Olomouc. We can see on the stamps the following animal species: Przewalski’s wild horse (Equus ferus przewalskii); the snow leopard (Panthera uncia); the black rhinocerus (Diceros bicornis); the African wilddog (Lycaon pictus); the gemsbok (Oryx Gazella); and the African lion (Panthera leo leo).
This post refers to sets of stamps issued worldwide showing the signs of the solar zodiac, also known as the Western, or European zodiac. To make the choice of stamps easier, I deliberately chose to represent only sets of stamps in which each of the 12 signs is devoted at least one stamp, and in which all 12 signs are represented.
Browsing stamp catalogs, I was surprised to see that actually the number of 12+ stamp sets picturing the zodiac is not as big as I supposed it would be. There are for sure many sets devoted to the zodiac, but ‘full’ sets seem to be the exeption, rather than the norm. Also, such sets took some time to surface: it is only from the beginning of the 1960’s that zodiac stamps appeared and picked up in popularity. However, one thing is for sure – from the very beginning such stamps vied in terms of how singular their design is and tried to fit into stamps quite impressive wealth of detail.
Below you will see the 20+ full sets of at least 12 zodiac stamps I was able to identify in catalogs, and luckily, in my collection! Zodiac stamps make for a quite ambitious topical interest, as you have to collect full sets totaling large number of stamps, and also because they are not, despite my initial assumption, so easy to find.
Starting in A-Z order, here is a set from 1971 from Ajman, depicting the stained glass horoscope from Notre Dame in Paris. In addition to this embedded set of signs of the zodiac in stained glass, Notre Dame also features a second set of signs of the zodiac in sculptural panels on its western facade, associated each to seasonal agricultural labors.
Many countries take pride in the heritage of their traditional folk costumes, detailing at various degrees of individuality the differnet local flavors and epochs of the making of the traditional costume. Romania is no exception to this rule, its vividly colored and intricately woven traditional clothes being given voice on stamps on various occasions. Some regional varieties find themselves also on stamps of other countries as well – Moldova is one such example, due to the common heritage, but also Poland and Thailand rendered homage to Romanian traditional folk costumes in joint issues with Romania.
I excluded from the article examples of stamps in which the focus falls on something different than attire – the stamps featuring traditional folk costume but dedicated to traditions, dances, historical scenes, etc. – these deserving their own articles. I concentrated on the ones which showcase the varieties of local folk costume from traditional Romanian regions.
Let’s start with this early example of Romanian folk costume on stamps, issued in 1936.
Issued to celebrate the 6th anniversary of King Charles II’s accession to throne, it features stamps showing traditional attire from Oltenia, Banat, Săliște, Hațeg, Gorj, Neamț, and Bucovina. The majority concentrates on women’s traditional clothes, but there are two examples of men’s traditional clothing.