This article is about one of my all-time favorite definitive series of stamps, issued by Togo between 1964-1965 and totaling 22 stamps. The stamps show the exotic flora and fauna in very nice miniatures, some of the varieties of plants, animals or birds being pictured for the first time on stamps, or the only time! The stamps have by now a vintage look and are a true delight for the avid collector.
Pictured above: tiger orchid (Odontoglossum grande); mallow (Hibiscus); the African swallowtail (Papilio dardanus); morpho aega (Morpho aega); the emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator).
If I were to describe Estonia based on their output of fauna stamps, I would use one word: magic. Since 2001, each year, Estonian Post issues one bird stamp called ‘aasta lind’ (English: bird of the year). Since 2002, they issue animal stamps on a yearly basis, too. These stamps describe very well the Estonian ecosystem with beautiful and clear imagery – more on that below. But they also tell the history of Estonian stamps over the course of the last 20 years: they have seen the height of the Estonian kroon and the transition to Euro. They have seen generous printruns of 500,000 copies in their first issues, but go down to 20,000 in the newest ones. Sadly, they become more difficult to find and collect – but there’s joy in each yearly apparition, that I expect eagerly.
Estonian Birds on stamp, 2001-2020
Estonian bird stamps have been issued since 2001 and continue being issued at the date of writing this article in 2020. The latest issue has just been released in April.
In the mid-1970’s and late on to the mid-1980’s, Duvalierist Haiti was not only a realm of terror and imprisonment, but also of high-level corruption. Whereas corruption is not intrinsically connected to stamp trade, one of the ‘schemes’ pulled off by the close relations and circle of acolytes of Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier really involved stamps. Not just any stamps – but beautiful, colorful stamps depicting in 15 designs reproductions of Haitian-born ornithologist Jean-Jacques Audubon.
The stamps attracted worldwide philatelic attention in their year of issue, 1975. Not only were they so appealing, but since bird stamp collections were increasingly popular, they became a must-have for most collectors. How did it all start?