Tintin on Stamps

The wealth of stamps depicting the character Tintin, drawn by Belgian cartoonist Hergé is very appealing to the stamp collector. However, not all items are readily available. The popularity of Tintin caused also the issue of numerous Cinderella issues.

Herge_with_bust_of_Tintin.pngHergé (the pen name of Georges Prosper Remi, 1907-1983), is the author among others of the very successful Tintin comics. They were published as installments between 1929 and 1986 (the last one posthumously, and unfinished). They chronicle the travels and adventures of a young reporter called Tintin, accompanied everywhere by his dog Snowy (Milou in the original French). Alongside Tintin, various recurrent and memorable characters appear, such as Captain Haddock (French: Capitaine Archibald Haddock),  Professor Calculus (French: Professeur Tryphon Tournesol); detectives Thompson and Thompson (French: Dupont et Dupont), or Bianca Castafiore. All of them have been immortalized on the ensuing Tintin-themed stamps.

Below you will find most of the Tintin stamps, including some Cinderella issues.


Abkhazia

Abkhazia is a disputed Georgian territory, recognized as independent by South Ossetia, Transnistria, or Republic of Artsakh – themselves disputed territories. Russia and Nicaragua, as well as Vanuatu and Tuvalu range among the real countries that recognize the independence of Abkhazia. While it is a matter of debate why Tintin on Abkhazia stamps, the collector can be happy to add as many as 40 designs of Tintin stamps to their collection, issued in 4×2 sheet format. The year of issue is unknown. Abkhaz Post does not exist.

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Belgium

As the homeland of Tintin, Belgium i quite profilic with Tintin-themed stamps. Due to bilingualism, sometimes Tintin is referred to by his Dutch name, the kind of difficult to pronounce Kuifje.

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Pictured above the 1979 Tintin-themed Belgian stamp issued for the popularization of philately among the young (French: Philatelie de la Jeunesse, Dutch: Jeugdfilatelie). It was originally not to be sold outside of Belgium, but it made its way in the world.

1999 was a good year for Tintin stamp collectors. First of all, in preparation of the change to Euro currency, the Belgian Post issued a sheet featuring cartoon characters with cartoon bubbles in which Belgian franc prices were converted in Euro.

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While Tintin is not present per se, his space shuttle is presented in the central piece of the sheet.

Again in 1999, for their millennium collection, Belgian Post issued series of stamps celebrating local and international personalities who markedly changed the way we look at the 20th century. Hergé could not be missing. Pictured below as a marionette worked by his character Tintin. Pretty awesome!

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In 2001, for the 70th anniversary of the standalone book “Tintin in the Congo“, the Belgian Post and the Congolese one issued a joint issue for the occasion. Below you can see the stamp and sheet issued by Belgium.

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Tintin’s adventures in space were honored in 2004 with this beautiful sheet.

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2007 again proved a fecund year for Tintin stamps. A large-sized sheet was issued for the 100th anniversary of birth of Hergé.

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The novel way to look at the success of Tintin comics in the above sheet relies greatly on the fact that the covers of the Tintin standalone books were given in their various translations.

Top row: French, Danish, English, Luxembourgish, Chinese. Second row: Portuguese, Bengali, Slovak, Russian, Icelandic. Middle row: Polish, Afrikaans, Arabic, Spanish. Fourth row: German, Finnish, Swedish, Japanese, Turkish. Bottom row: Tibetan, Italian, Indonesian, Greek, Dutch.

And in 2009, for the 20th anniversary of the Belgian Comic Strip Center, again a sheet was issued.

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It does not feature Tintin, but again his ubiquitous spaceship is used on the body of the sheet. The stamp also features his recognizable hairstyle.

In 2011, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Tintin movie “The Blue Lotus”, the Belgian Post released this interesting sheet with shots from previous Tintin movies.

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First row: the movie “The Crab with the Golden Claws” (1947), the second row: “The Black Island” (1961); middle row: “Tintin and the Golden Fleece” (1961); fourth row: “Tintin and the Temple of the Sun” (1969), last row: “The Blue Lotus” (1991).

An year later, in 2012, Tintin was featured again on a Belgian Post sheet under the title “This is Belgium”, honoring Belgium as the homeland of comic strips.

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Tintin and associated characters were then again remembered on this booklet of self-adhesive stamps in 2014.

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And last but not least, when we talk of the official Belgiam stamps from the topic of Tintin, we end our journey with their 2016 issue, celebrating 70 years of Tintin magazine.

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Pictured above the sheet of stamps and the First Day Sheet.

But the history of Belgian stamps devoted to Tintin does not end here. In 2009, a special issue was designed for the joint actions of the Belgian Post and the Belgian Railroads. It features, of course, Tintin in a train.

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And between 2001 and present-day, Belgium Post issued an innovative way to look at stamps, called Duostamps. As their name says, they are made of two parts: an image one, usually not inscribed, which can be considered as a tab or vignette, and a real stamp usually presenting the Belgian Post logo. They come in strips of 5. It is funny, because what you would actually call a stamp nowadays, which is the image part, is not the stamp. It lacks all the insignia of a stamp: country of issue, year of issue, face value. It is the repetitive Belgian Post logo that is the actual stamp.

Many movies, comics, and personalities are present on Duostamps. But none more than Tintin. Below you can see as many as 45 designs of Tintin Duostamps. It’s going to be a long scroll.

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The Democratic Republic of Congo

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Pictured above, the 2001 joint issue with Belgium (see above) for the 70th anniversary of “Tintin in the Congo“.


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France

It is not only Belgium, but the entire francophone world that lives the Tintin craze. Below you can see the two issues of Tintin-themed French stamps.

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Pictured above: the 2000 French stamp under the title of “Fête du timbre”. It comes in two face values (3.00F/0.46 € and 3.00F+0.6F/0.55€). The stamp features also a vignette. Available as single, sheet, and booklet.

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Hergé’s centenary of birth was celebrated by the French Post in 2007 with this series of 6 stamps and the accompanying sheet.


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Guinea Bissau

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In 2008, the country of Guinea Bissau issued a minisheet celebrating the 50th anniversary of signing by Belgium of the Treaty of Rome. The first bottom left position features Hergé in the company of Tintin universe characters. The legend goes that since the postal authorities had not ensured the copyright-compliant use of the image of Tintin characters, the minisheet travels the world as mauled, lacking the bottom left stamp, and apparently full sheets are harder to find.


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Monaco

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Monaco issued this stamp in 2012 according to the Michel catalogue (though the bottom notation signals the year 2013 as year of issue). It features Tintin and Captain Haddock. It was issued in a very small printrun of barely 80k items – making the item already hard to find.


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The Netherlands

We finish our Tintin-themed journey with The Netherlands.

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A series of 2 stamps were issued in 1999 as booklet and minisheet (pictured above in presentation pack). The first stamp was featured together with vignettes on the booklet, while the second one can be found on the sheet only. Singles are also known, but more scarce.


Stamps featured in post: 182; Period: modern and contemporary (1979-2016); Pricing: low to moderate*; Availability: rather scarce.

* with the exception of the Belgian Railroad issue, Duostamp issues, and the Monaco stmp. The Duostamp issues are now and then available at 10 times their face value.

 

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