Tuesday, September 27

Best Europa stamp 2011 - Jury prize


This Saturday was awarded the 1st Best Europa stamp - Jury prize ! This prize won't replace the Best Europa stamp awarded after an online voting but will be a more neutral and artistic prize.

A jury of seven members of the postal, philatelic, stamp design world elected the best 2011 Europa stamp (here some pictures of the jury in action !)

The first stamp to win this new award is the 0.68 € stamp issued by Cyprus and designed by Stelios Karamallakis

From a graphic point of view, this stamp can be read on different levels. The first impression is it's "greenness", the brightness of it's colours and the fact that it directly refers to this year's them and give a great positive impact on a letter. The second level is the forest depicted on the stamp, the deepness the graphic effect gives. Trees are coming out of the edge of the design giving a growing effect. You can also consider the name of the country in three languages being roots. The third level are the details you get by having a closer look to the stamp. You can see many different animals living in this forest and especially the Cyprus mouflon which is a typical animal from that country. The animals and the trees are designed as a shadow play and remains on pop-up effects of children books which give an extra 3D design to this stamp.

Official statement on Cyprus post website (in greek)

Cyprus receiving the Jury prize during PostEurop's plenary assembly in Istanbul

Tuesday, September 20

France 1973 - focus


16th April 1973 - common design "Post, telegraph & telephone"
Hôtel de ville de Bruxelles
design & engraving: Pierre Forget
printer: Imprimerie des timbres-poste et des valeurs fiduciaires (ITVF)

1973 was the last year Europa stamps were issued using a common design. The main reason of this change was the monotony of common designs issues among philatelists. Before the introduction of a common theme in 1974, the CEPT introduced a new rule in 1971, the right to issue a second stamp with a free subject as design. One country who used that new rule from the start was France. Between 1971 and 1973, France issued a second stamp depicting a famous building of a European city (Venice in 1971, Aachen in 1972, Brussels in 1973).

I decided to focus on the 1973 stamp representing the town hall of Brussels. This stamp is part of a 2 stamps set, the other stamp depicting the common design made by the Norwegian artist Leif Frimann Anisdahl. This French stamp has been designed and engraved by the French artist Pierre Forget. He designed many stamps during his live for France, Monaco and Andorra. Besides this issue he is also the author of the 1975 french Europa issue. In 1979 he received the prize for the World's best stamp (!) for for the International year of the child french stamp. You can have a look at all Pierre Forget's stamps on this French stamp database: Phil-Ouest

The town hall of Brussels is a beautiful Gothic building from the Middle Ages. It is located on the Grand Place (market square) in the heart of Brussels' old town. This Saturday this building will be the showcase of the ceremony of the first "Best Europa stamp - Jury prize" ! PostEurop decided to give two Best Europa stamps prizes each year from now on: The Best Europa stamp will be selected as usual through the internet voting (held earlier this year on PostEurop's website) and the winner will be announced in October this year.

Besides this elder prize, a jury of 8 members composed by stamp designers, former philatelic managers and myself will select the stamp which will receive the first "Best Europa stamp - Jury prize" ! Next week you'll know who is the winner !

Monday, September 12

Great-Britain 1991 - focus

Great Britain

23rd April 1991 - "European aerospace"
design: Jean-Michel Folon
printer: Harrison & Sons Ltd

Many stamp collectors collects stamps related to space. They call it astrophilately or space philately. 1991 must have been an interesting Europa stamps year for all those collectors (as later 2009 with the Astronomy theme) but for my part space on stamps is not really my cup of tea. Rockets, satellites is a bit boring to me.

But two countries that year issued stamps with a more poetic touch, the Netherlands and Great-Britain. I will focus in this post on the British issue as I love the designer of those stamps : Jean-Michel Folon.

Folon was a Belgian painter and sculptor who produced many posters but also many stamps during his life. The set he produced for Great-Britain in 1991 is composed of 2 pairs of stamps. The first pair is called "Man looking at Space" and the second one "Space looking at Man". It is a very poetic point of view showing space through the eyes of man, how small we are in front of this immensity lost on our little blue planet. In the first pair of stamps the cosmos is our head as a dream and in the second one in our eyes more like a kind of reality.

If you are visiting Belgium one day, the Folon foundation in La Hulpe (near Brussels) is really worth a visit !

Thursday, September 8

Austria 1987 - focus


6th April 1987 - "Modern architecture"
design: Auguste Böcskör
engraving: Wolfgang Seidel
printer: Osterreichische Staatsdruckerei GmbH [OeSD]

I love architecture, that's why I love the 1987 Europa stamps year ! It is hard to take one stamp out of this year but I decided to focus on the Austrian stamp.

The stamp represent the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna built between 1983 and 1986 by the City of Vienna. I was lucky enough to visit it when I visited the Austrian capital. This house is amazing, totally different of the usual standards we know in architecture. Lot's of colours, twisted walls, mosaics, mirors, trees on the roof, etc. It makes me think of a house coming out of a children drawing.

This house came out of the mind of Friedensreich Hundertwasser an Austrian architect who decided to build houses made of windows instead of walls. All his buildings are from the same type but the one depicted on the stamp is his most famous one, that's why it's simply called Hundertwasser-house !

Friedensreich Hundertwasser is not only an architect, he is also an artist who produced many stamps (mainly for Austria but also for Liechtenstein, the UN or more surprisingly for Cape Verde !), a website is even dedicated to them: http://www.hundertwasser-stamps.com

On the top left of the stamp you can see a little E logo. This is the logo of Europalia, an arts festival held every two years in Brussels celebrating one specific country and in 1987 it was Austria's turn. It's the first time that a Europa stamp is bearing this logo. This year's Europalia's invitee is Brazil.

Sunday, September 4

San Marino 1974 - focus

San Marino

9th May 1974 - "Sculptures"
design: V. Nicastro & R. Di Giuseppe
printer: I.P.S. Roma

I decided to start a new type of messages to put a bit life in this blog when the Europa stamps season is a bit down.

I will focus on a stamp or set of the Europa stamps collection. This idea is inspired by the blog of Tomoko - well centred - I hope she won't mind !

The first set I chosed, is the 1974 issue of San Marino.

It's my favourite issue of that year. The beauty of the sculpture is very well given back by the quality of the engraving (two engravers for this set, one for each stamp !). It's also interesting to see that both stamps from this set are representing the same sculpture - a close up of the head and a full size image of the whole sculpture. One more thing I really like about this issue is the use of colored paper. It so much nicer than having a border around the stamp in my opinion. It emphasis the stamp on a cover especially a white one.

About the sculpture: it's a work of Emilio Greco, Italian sculptor born in Sicily almost hundred years ago. I think the work shown on both stamps is "Grande Pattinatrice n.2" (= great skater) of 1971. Surprisingly this sculpture can't be seen in San Marino but in Orvieto in Italy in the Emilio Greco Museum.

Thursday, September 1



Issue n° 45 - 2000

"New millennium"

Number of countries : 55
Debuting countries : none
Returning countries : none
Withdrawing countries : none
Common design : tower of six stars build up by children on a green field with the letter E of Europe on it
Countries using their own design : Bulgaria (two stamps depicting Madonna's paintings), Croatia (one stamp (out of 2) representing a princess on a horse), Cyprus (Turkish post) (one stamp (out of 2) depicts a map of Europe and a flower made of the European stars and a map of Cyprus in the center, Gibraltar (4 stamps representing stars and children on  a green field), Guernsey (3 stamps (out of 4) depicts a rainbow, sails and a kite), Hungary (one stamp (out of 2) representing a woman with rainbowhair as a puzzle), Jersey (one stamp (out of 2) depicts a map of Europe and map of Jersey) , Monaco (one stamp (out of 2) representing a map of Europa, the PostEurop logo and the flags of the PostEurop members), Yugoslavia (two stamps depicting the number 2000 one with cosmonauts)
Designer : Jean-Paul Cousin (France)

Note : most stamps were issued on the 9th of May = Europe Day ! 

In order to celebrate the year 2000, it has been decided to use a common design again as it was the case before 1974.

more here in the Europa stamps History - Part V

Eurovision Song Contest 2000
Stockholm (Sweden)
Winner: Olsen Brothers "Fly on the Wings of Love" (Denmark)

my personal favorite that year: Brainstorm "My Star" (Latvia)

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