By Wayne Chen
Postal administrations in Scandinavian countries and territories have a long tradition of issuing common cultural thematic stamps, dating back to 1956.
In more recent decades, postal administrations that belong to the Nordic Postal Cooperation have issued joint stamp folders that include a complete set of the common-theme stamps for that year.
The folders for the years 1986 and 1993 are shown nearby.
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Five postal administrations, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway, participated in the 1986 Nordic Cooperation issue with the theme of “twin towns.” Each issued two stamps.
As noted inside the stamp folder, this was the seventh Nordic Cooperation issue.
In addition to the five aforementioned postal administrations, Aland, Faroe Islands and Greenland took part in the 1993 common issue with the theme of “Travel in the Nordic Countries.” This theme also is evident in the design of the stamp pack.
Beginning in 2004, all eight postal administrations issued stamps based on a common Nordic theme every two years and also issued a joint folder for those stamps.
The joint folder is titled “Top of the World of Stamps.” All participating postal administrations have the same folder available for sale.
During the first three years, the common theme was Nordic mythology, and a souvenir sheet was issued by all eight postal administrations.
Another common feature of these 2004, 2006 and 2008 issues is the postal administration’s emblem located on the upper right side of the sheet.
A new trilogy for the years 2010, 2012 and 2014 featured the theme “North by the Sea.”
The souvenir sheets issued each year also focused on a different aspect of this theme: life at the coast, 2010; life at sea, 2012; and ships, 2014.
The 2014 issue was the last one to include a joint Top of the World stamp folder.
The Top of the World stamps series, including recent Nordic cooperation issues, can be found on the Nordic postal administration’s joint website.
In 2016, the postal administrations issued stamps on a joint theme that displayed the diversity of Nordic cuisine, and at least one postal administration continued the tradition of issuing a folder with all of the stamps.
Aland Post intended to service collectors with this special product, and conveniently collected all eight Nordic countries’ stamps in one folder.
Five of the postal administrations issued single stamps: Aland features Michael Bjorklund’s creation of buckthorn in three guises with chocolate and vanilla; Finland shows off its Karelian pastry; Iceland displays a colorful array of local ingredients; Sweden depicts classic local ingredients; and Faroe Islands pictures traditional wind-dried fish and other meats being cured.
The other three postal administrations issued souvenir sheets with two stamps: Denmark features the lunch dishes stjerneskud and the fish specialty sol over Gudhjem; Norway highlights restaurant food from Maaemo in Oslo and the floating hotel Hurtigruten; and Greenland introduces two delicacies, ammassat (small fish) and mattak (raw whale skin).
Priced at €21.95 (equivalent to $24.70), just a nominal cost on top of the stamps’ face values, the Aland folder is attractive and provides a safe way to store and display this year’s common theme stamps in one place.