Although it’s been a while since LGBT rights advocacy made it into mainstream culture, it took a little longer until awareness about these rights made it into stamps. But once the precedent was set, it seems that there’s a fair portion of stamps devoted to the topic in recent years. Basically, we are talking about the period between 2010 and 2020 – but more, more LGBT-themed stamps are sure to come, making this topic a new topical interest for collectors worldwide! Below you can find in chronological order the stamps of this history-in-the-making. I chose to exclude the stamps devoted to allegedly LGBT or openly LGBT personalities on stamps, but focus on the stamps related to human rights, events, and commemorations related to the LGBT communities worldwide.
The first LGBT-themed stamp I know of was issued in 2010 by the Austrian Post.
It was issued to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Rainbow Parade in Vienna.
Welcome to this short illustrated history of cryptostamps. It’s short because so far not many cryptostamps were issued, but also because it does not seem to me the craze of cryptostamps really caught on. Future will have to convince the eager non-believer in me, but for the time being it’s fair to assume postal administrations will not bulk up on this geeky topical interest too much in the future.
What are crpytostamps?
First off, is it cryptostamp, or crpyto-stamp? Its novelty effect for me is showcased perfectly by the fact it’s often written with a hyphen. Remember the time we were writing e-mail instead of email? All newly coined words come out as hybrids and it’s only speaker community acceptance that gives the verdict, whether the coinage will stay with us as a linguistic stampe, or will replace completely the trite stamp, or will vanish forever and not be remembered by anyone.
What is a cryptostamp after all? A crpyotstamp is a stamp with a fancy design, loads of security elements, virtual currency trading options, and to top it all, with a twin virtual stamp associated to it through a secure connection.
Fancy design: for sure, as you will see below, crpytostamp design is inclusive of all high-tech offset printing findings. There are film printings, inlays, engravings, biodegradable latex scratchcards, credit-card shaped plastic bases, cutoffs, you name it. Packaging comes as an extra – some come in sleek holders and presentation packs.
I am truly honored to host on my blog a post that was made possible through the kindness of United Nations Postal Administrations, featuring the latest releases from the three offices of the Postal Administration, from New York, Geneva, and Vienna.
Order the latest UN Stamps directly from the official website here. Stay updated on new releases by browsing the Fascination magazine – issued quarterly in English, German, French and Italian. *.pdf versions thereof can be browsed online or downloaded from here.
We are all in this together
2020 brought in our lives disruption and uncertainty, but also stricter reconsideration of the way we interact and togetherness, implicitly or explicitly, in ways we thought already impossible. In an effort to restore our hope in humanity, many postal administrations issued stamps to COVID-19 awareness, opening a new topical interest for collectors worldwide. Under the heading We are all in this together (dubbed in French as: Réagissons ensemble; and in German: Gemeinsam sind wir stark), UN Postal Administration issued on Aug-11, 2020 6 stamps (2 per issuing office in New York, Geneva and Vienna) to raise awareness about the new normal.
The stamps are available as stamp sheets, singles, and a minisheet combining the 6 issues of the three postal administrations. First day covers featuring additional graphics and first day of issue stamps are also available. Rorie Katz designed the minisheet, while Chiara Fiori provided the additional illustration.
Pictured above, the minisheet combining the 6 stamp issued, each representing a different facet of the COVID-19 response: pesonal hygiene, myth-busting, social distancing, goodwill, symptom recognition, and solidarity.
World Heritage – Russian Federation
World heritage sites recognized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) are not a first presence on United Nations stamps. Russian Federation sites recognized by UNESCO as world heritage are pictured in the 6-stamp issue from United Nations from Sep-11, 2020.
Pictured above: Kremlin and Red Square; Moscow; Novodevichy Convent, Historic Complex of the Kazan Kremlin; Lake Baikal; Kizhi Pogost; Saint Petersburg.
Seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations
On United Nations Day (Nov-24), United Nations Postal Administration issued three stamp minisheets to celebrate this very notable landmark in the life of United Nations: its seventy-fifth anniversary. Also a website was launched un.org/un75, where, under the title Shaping our Future Together, you can read more about initiatives, but also find meaningful ways to participate in them.
The three minisheets feature an excellent design, rendered very prominent by the text block quote from AntónioGuterres, UN Secretary-General: The vision and values of the Charter of the United Nations, which was adopted 75 years ago, stand the test of time. The United Nations works as one for the benefit of all – for peace, sustainable development, justice, and human rights.
Pictured above, the three minisheets issued by the three offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna.
United Nations Crypto-Stamps
Since 2018, UN takes pride in its Strategy on New Technologies, aimed at defining how UN will support the use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain and robotics in a way prone to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In an effort to embody this agenda, the UN Postal Administration issues for the first time in its existence crypto-stamps on 24-Nov, 2020, running on an Ethernet blockchain. Knowing this is still a novelty item, and its use needs to be handled with care, the UN Stamps are complemented by a new website, unstamps.org/crypto, where users can buy, activate, and/or trade their crypto-stamps. Of course, as crypto-stamps have made it clear since they entered our lives, there’s a redeemable virtual copy of each stamp, which you can obtain via the activation process described on the dedicated website.
The crypto-stamps are in a novel, credit-sized format and are self-adhesive. To ensure security, codes are hidden under scratchcard bands made from biodegradable latex. A total of 90,000 stamps was issued (30,000 per issuing authority); however the variations which are possible amount to 51 – as each stamp apears in as much as 17 varieties each, each variety being associated to one of the Sustainable Development Goals. According to the press release from 24-Nov, 2020 equal quantities have been provided from each sustainable goal variety.
Pictured above, the three issues of the first-ever crypto-stamps (dubbed in French as timbre-crypto; and in German: Krypto-Briefmarke) from the UN Postal Administration.
tamps featured in post: 21; Period: contemporary (2020); Michel Catalog numbers and prices: not available at the time of publishing Availability: available for purchase from the official website unstamps.org.
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).