World Stamps

By Denise McCarty

Austria's paint-by-number stamp; Sochi Winter Olympics

January 24, 2014 08:14 AM

  • Figure 1. Five symbolic images are hidden in this paint-by-number stamp from Austria Post.

  • Figure 2. A red heart and blue peace sign are two of the images hidden in the Austrian stamp shown in Figure 1.

  • Figure 3. Baccarat designed France’s 2014 heart-shaped love stamp. The €1.02 stamp features a piece of Harcourt stemware, which Baccarat has been producing since 1841.

  • Figure 4. The three animal mascots of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are pictured on self-adhesive stamps in a 2012 Russian souvenir sheet.

  • Figure 5. Liechtenstein’s Sochi Winter Olympics stamp includes ground-up pieces of a rock from the host city in Russia.

  • Figure 6. Norwegian biathlon champion Tora Berger is expected to compete in her third Winter Olympics this year.

Austria Post offers a paint-by-number option on a €0.62 stamp issued Jan. 22.

Figure 1 shows the stamp. The dots of color on the design provide a guide to creating different symbolic images, including the red heart and blue peace sign pictured in Figure 2. The illustration is from an Austria Post photograph.

According to Austria Post, other images found in the stamp’s design include a green leaf representing environmental protection, two purple lines for equality, and two yellow arrows for mutual exchange.

The design firm Undemi (French for one-half) created the stamp design for a competition with the theme “Austria Redraw.”

More than 70 designs were entered in the competition.

“Austrians themselves should draw the future,” Chloe Thomas, one of the four women who comprise the Undemi firm, said of the stamp in a report in Vienna’s Die Presse newspaper.

Joh. Enschede of The Netherlands printed the Austrian Redraw stamp by offset in panes of six.

France

Baccarat, the producer of crystal and glassware located in the French town of the same name, designed France’s 2014 Love stamps.

The two heart-shaped stamps were issued Jan. 8 in conjunction with celebrations for Baccarat’s 250th anniversary.

The €0.61 denomination depicts a zenith chandelier.

The €1.02 stamp, shown in Figure 3, features stemware from the company’s Harcourt collection.

Baccarat has been manufacturing lighting products since 1824, although the chandelier shown on the stamp was designed in the 21st century by Philippe Starck.

Harcourt glass was introduced in 1841. Baccarat says of Harcourt, “The classic, timeless shape has made it the brand’s emblem and an international bestseller.”

La Poste’s security printer, Philaposte, printed the stamps using a combined process of digital intaglio, or engraving, and serigraphy, or screen printing.

The stamps were produced in sheets of 50, and the €0.61 denomination also was printed in panes of five.

La Poste has been issuing heart-shaped stamps for Valentine’s Day since 1999, and most have been designed by famous people or houses in the fashion or design industry, including Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Givenchy.

Sochi Olympics

Russia has issued numerous stamps leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, scheduled to begin Feb. 7 and run through Feb. 23.

For example, a souvenir sheet issued March 15, 2011, honors Sochi as the host city (Scott 7256), and two stamp series introduced later that year focus on tourism (7303-7306) and competitive sports (7308-7310).

Also, Russia’s first stamp with a QR code links, through the use of a smart phone, to the official website of the Sochi Games. This 25-ruble self-adhesive stamp was issued Sept. 18, 2012 (Scott 7398).

In addition, the mascots were pictured on souvenir sheets issued Feb. 27, 2012 (Scott 7335-7336) and, more recently, on New Year’s stamps released Nov. 29, 2013.

Figure 4 pictures the 2012 souvenir sheet with three self-adhesive 15rub stamps showing the snow leopard, hare and polar bear mascots. The stamps are die cut in a free-form shaped around the animals.

Sports legends and Sochi Olympic venues also were featured on Russian stamps issued in 2013.

Russia’s 2014 program includes a set of Olympic Sports stamps on Jan. 24, a souvenir sheet on the Feb. 7 opening day, and personalized stamps to be available from Sochi during the Games.

New stamps from Estonia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway and Slovakia also promote the Sochi Olympics, and more countries likely soon will follow suit.

Figure 5 shows the stamp from Liechtenstein.

Issued Nov. 11, 2013, this 2.60-franc stamp includes pieces of rock from Sochi.

A new-issue announcement from Liechtenstein’s philatelic department explains: “A stone originating from Sochi was ground up, mixed with paint and applied to the stamp by thermography. If one passes a finger over the stamp, the milled stone can be clearly felt.”

Cartor, a security printer in Meauce, France, printed the stamp by offset, silver hot-foil embossing and thermography.

Russian artists Alexander Doll and Nathalia Brovko created the symbolic design representing the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea for the Liechtenstein stamp.

Two €0.90 stamps from Slovakia honor the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics. The latter pictures two biathlon athletes, and the former features downhill skiing.

Sochi will host the Winter Paralympic Games March 7-16.

Slovakia issued these two stamps Jan. 15.

The next day, Estonia released its €1.10 stamp. In addition to the Olympic rings, the stamp shows a ski jumper, freestyle skier and figure skater.

Two days later, on Jan. 18, Lithuania issued 2.15-litas and 2.90-litas stamps showing the two-man bobsled and ice hockey players, respectively.

Four Norwegian stamps to debut on the first-day of the Games honor athletes who are expected to compete: cross-country skiers Marit Bjoergen and Petter Northug; alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal; and biathlete Tora Berger.

Each stamp reproduces a photograph of the athlete in action.

For example, Berger is pictured on the stamp in Figure 6.

The Norwegian stamps are nondenominated with the “A innland” inscription, indicating that they pay the basic domestic rate.