By Denise McCarty
A stamp featuring a pair of swans was voted as the most beautiful stamp issued by Aland Post in 2017.
An autonomous region of Finland, Aland has been issuing its own stamps since 1984.
The 2017 stamp popularity poll was conducted in November and December 2017 through Aland Post’s website.
The €5 stamp that topped the poll was issued May 24 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. The stamp design by Juha Pykalainen represents the anniversary year theme of “together.”
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In Aland Post Stamps, the post office’s newsletter for collector, Pykalainen said of his design: “The theme was difficult simply because of its importance. I included nature because nature is such a significant part of Finland.
“The whooper swan is the national bird of Finland; but, using my right to artistic freedom, I featured the mute swan because it’s so common in Aland. The shape of its neck allowed me to place the heart in the illustration, symbolising affinity. I’ve also included a small tear of silver to serve as a symbol of the difficult times of Finland’s history.”
Cartor Security Printer printed the stamp by offset, plus silver foil and embossing.
Second place in the poll went to the Europa stamp showing Kastelholm Castle. The only medieval castle in Aland, it was built in the 12th century, and rebuilt and extended many times in the centuries since then.
The stamp design depicts Niclas Nordlund’s photograph of the castle in winter.
The word “Europa” is included twice in the design, in the upper left as part of the emblem to designate it as part of the multination Europa series, and in the lower right to indicate that the stamp pays the rate for letter mail to destinations in Europe.
The Kastelholm Castle stamp was issued May 9.
A joint-issue with Finland with a sauna theme placed third in the poll.
Aland issued two nondenominated stamps May 24 as its part of the Sauna joint issue.
The stamp for mail to European countries reproduces Joel Ebersson’s photograph of the sauna his father-in-law built in the 1990s.
Ebersson won Aland Post’s photography contest for the Sauna stamp design.
One of the winners in the photography contest arranged by Finland’s post office, Posti, is reproduced on Aland’s stamp inscribed “inrikes” (domestic). This photo by Juha Kainulainen shows three sauna accessories: a scoop, bucket and whisk.
A souvenir sheet of two includes both stamps with the designs se-tenant (side-by-side).