World Stamps

By Wayne Chen

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang on worldwide stamps

October 24, 2015 09:00 PM

  • Japan issued a pane of 10 self-adhesive 80-yen stamps March 3, 2010, showing Snoopy and other Peanuts characters with letters (Scott 3206). The post office flyer promoting the stamps also pictures Snoopy.
  • In 2014, Japan produced a second Snoopy and Friends set (Scott 3726-3727) promoting letter writing.
  • A suitcase-shaped souvenir sheet of six stamps from the Cayman Islands (Scott 854a) uses Peanuts characters to promote tourism.
  • The United States 34¢ Snoopy stamp (Scott 3507) issued in 2001.
  • First-day cover of the U.S. 34¢ Snoopy stamp (Scott 3507) issued in 2001.
  • In 2001, Gibraltar issued a set of five Peanuts Christmas stamps and a souvenir sheet with the five stamps se-tenant (Scott 890-894 and 894a).
  • A 2003 Gibraltar Peanuts souvenir sheet (Scott 959) includes a £1 stamp showing the gang singing around a Christmas tree.
  • Australia Post issued a personalized souvenir stamp sheet showing Peanut characters on the labels printed next to the stamps.
  • The generic design of the Netherlands 2010 December personalized stamp (Scott 1377) features Snoopy ice skating.
  • A personalized stamp sheet issued by China in 2006 includes labels showing Snoopy and some picturing Woodstock as well. The four labels in the bottom row include various background scenes.
  • The Hong Kong Post gift box includes one cacheted cover and four figurines of Snoopy and Woodstock.
  • Cacheted first-day cover for the 2015 U.S. Gift of Friendship issue with Snoopy and Woodstock hand-illustrated by the author.

By Wayne Chen

It was wonderful to hear of the United States Postal Service’s announcement of A Charlie Brown Christmas stamps. These stamps were issued Oct. 1.

Many stamp collectors who collect new issues, pop culture, and cartoon and comics topics will be pleased to see this issue.

I believe that such issues also promote stamp collecting to a younger audience.

As a Christmas-themed issue, it should be a hit with the public during the holiday season.

Some postal patrons who buy the stamps might keep a booklet or two as souvenirs.

This year celebrates the 65th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz.

It also is the 50th anniversary of the award-winning animated television feature A Charlie Brown Christmas. This stamp issue celebrates American popular culture and marks a significant historic event.

In the years since its inception, the Peanuts strip has appeared in daily and Sunday comic strips in newspapers all over the world as well as in animated features. Scheduled to open on Nov. 6 is the full-length 3D The Peanuts Movie.

There is no doubt that Peanuts characters catch the hearts of many people across generational and national boundaries.

I cherish a small topical stamp collection I have formed featuring characters from Peanuts issued by many countries from around the world.

While Charlie’s dog Snoopy is the most frequently commemorated character, many others have also appeared on postage stamps, including Charlie Brown himself, Woodstock, Patty, Linus, Lucy, Sally, Schroeder, Marcie and Franklin.

The promotion of letter writing is a common theme of the stamps featuring the Peanuts characters.

Portugal issued six stamps and souvenir sheet Oct. 6, 2000 (Scott 2388-2393) with designs following Snoopy through the process of writing a letter through to its delivery, including driving the mail truck himself.

In 2010, Japan issued a pane of 10 Peanuts Comic Strip stamps (Scott 3206) to promote letter writing. And, in 2014, Japan issued two panes of 10 showing the characters (Scott 3726-3727). The stamps in both issues depict Snoopy and friends writing letters and receiving mail.

To promote tourism, the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean issued six Peanuts Characters stamps and a souvenir sheet of six stamps (Scott 849-854 and 854a) in the shape of a suitcase. The stamps were issued in 2002.

The stamps highlight what the Cayman’s postal service calls “A Fantastic Cayman Vacation.”

The stamps show Peanuts characters engaged in fun activities during their vacation in the islands: painting, playing at the beach, touring local sites, and playing golf.

In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 34¢ Snoopy stamp (Scott 3507) showing the famous beagle in his guise as a World War I fighter pilot soaring in his dog house over the Western Front.

Three more Peanuts characters — Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus — appeared on the header of the pane of 20, and the title honored Peanuts author and artist Schulz.

This stamp was popular at the time it was issued, and I still enjoy using it on mail to my close friends and family members.

The Postal Service’s new Charlie Brown Christmas stamps are not the first Peanuts Christmas stamps.

In 2001, Gibraltar issued a set of five Peanuts Christmas stamps and a souvenir sheet (Scott 890-894 and 894a).

In 2003, Gibraltar followed this up with another Peanuts Christmas souvenir sheet (Scott 959). The characters are shown caroling around a Christmas tree on the £1 stamp in the sheet, and the selvage includes snowflakes and “Joy to the World.”

The cast of characters around Charlie Brown and Snoopy are known as the Peanuts Gang. New members join the gang from time to time. Franklin, the first African-American character in the strip, made his debut in 1968.

To the best of my knowledge, Franklin’s first appearance on a stamp was on the Gibraltar £1 souvenir sheet (Scott 959) issued in 2003. In 2005, Franklin appeared on the personalized stamp of the souvenir stamp sheet issued by Australia Post.

In 2010, the Netherlands issued a nondenominated (€0.34) personalized stamp (Scott 1377) with a generic design showing Snoopy ice skating amid snow flurries, while dressed in a red stocking cap. The stamp could be personalized with a design of the customer’s choice for an additional fee. As a December stamp, it could be used for payment in full on holiday mail in the month of December and early January.

After the 12th day of Christmas (Jan. 6, 2011), an additional €0.10 fee would be required to meet the first-class letter rate.

Three of the panes in my Snoopy stamp collections are personalized stamps. They include a 2005 Australian pane of 20, a 2006 Hong Kong stamp, and a 2006 pane of Chinese self-adhesive stamps.

On this issues, Snoopy and the Peanuts characters did not appear on the actual stamps, but they are shown on labels and in the selvage. The pane from China includes 10 labels showing Snoopy. Lucy and Woodstock also are pictured.

Hong Kong issued a special collector’s box that contains a sheet of personalized Snoopy stamps, and four souvenirs consisting of small figurines and key chains depicting Snoopy and a Hong Kong Post mailbox and mail truck.

In addition to regular postage stamps and personalized stamps portraying Snoopy and other Peanuts characters, there are many philatelic collectibles, such as cachets and postal stationery picturing members of the Peanuts Gang.

While the stamp subjects may not be related to Peanuts, the cachet images tie the subject of the stamps with the comic strips.

For example, for the United States Gifts of Friendship Dogwood and Cherry Blossom stamps issued April 10 of this year, I drew a scene showing Snoopy and Woodstock viewing cherry blossoms. The illustration is an original drawing done by hand, with the color scheme and theme compatible with the stamp issue, producing a self–serviced first-day cover to satisfy my own collecting interest.