World Stamps

Finland issues Christmas stamps, announces first half of 2021 stamp program

Dec 2, 2020, 10 AM

By Denise McCarty

Finland recently ended its 2020 stamp program and announced the first part of its program for 2021.

On Nov. 4 Finland’s post office, Posti, issued three Christmas stamps, plus a stamp featuring a winter scene.

Two of the Christmas stamps feature the winning designs in a competition arranged by Posti and the University of Lapland’s faculty of art and design.

In the press release announcing the stamps, Posti said: “The aim of the competition was to find stamps full of traditional Christmas atmosphere, and this is exactly what the winning entries Village Elf and Christmas Cottage have.”

The Village Elf stamp shows Ida Sarisalmi’s illustration of an elf peeking in the window of a cottage. A lantern, candle and the elf’s footprints in the snow also are included in this design. Sarisalmi studies interior and textile design at the university.

Like almost all of the recent stamps from Finland, this stamp is nondenominated. The symbolic snowflake in the upper left represents the special domestic rate for Christmas mail, €1.20. The stamp is sold in booklets of 20.

Jutta Luukkonen, a graphic design student, created the illustration for the Christmas Cottage stamp. Posti said of this design: “The cottage has been cleaned, the Christmas tree has been decorated and the candles are glowing warmly. Even the dog knows that a great celebration is coming.”

The stamp pays the basic domestic rate, currently €1.75, as indicated by the map of Finland in the lower left corner. Posti reports that this stamp is available in booklets of 10 and five.

The international-rate Christmas stamp, currently €1.85, shows Matti Pikkujamsa’s design of a village with colorful houses. This irregularly shaped stamp is sold in booklets of 10.

The fourth stamp issued Nov. 4 reproduces Suvi Roiko’s photograph of a girl on a red kick-sled holding a rooster in her lap. A red barn can be seen in the background through the falling snow.

Posti describes this nondenominated domestic-rate stamp as suitable for all winter greetings. It is available in booklets of 10.

Finland’s 2021 program will begin with stamps for another winter holiday, Valentine’s Day.

Called Let’s Take Care, these six domestic-rate stamps will be issued Jan. 21 in a single booklet. Posti describes Riku Ounaslehto’s illustrations for the stamps as picturing “fairytale-like animals and colorful patterns formed by flowers.”

The animals featured in the designs are a squirrel, butterfly, bird, rabbit, deer and bees.

Also on Jan. 21, Posti plans to issue a single stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Union of Journalists in Finland and four stamps featuring flowers.

The Union of Journalists commemorative depicts Ilkka Karkkainen’s design showing a large letter J and two speech bubbles. The speech bubbles represent different opinions, according to Posti.

The floral stamps are in two sets of two.

One set, called Congratulate with Flowers, shows Oona Himanen’s illustrations of two traditional Finnish perennial ornamental plants: violet columbines and orange lilies.

The other set, called Flower Garden, was designed by Paula Salviander. The flowers shown include daffodils, tulips, carnations, lilies, hydrangeas, Chinese hibiscuses, sunflowers, peonies and gerberas. Posti suggests that these stamps could be used on Easter and other spring greetings.

Stamps to be issued April 28 will highlight endangered animals, commemorate two anniversaries and convey an atmosphere of celebration.

The three Endangered Animals stamps bring attention to the following flying or gliding species found in Finland: the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), Apollo butterfly (Parnassius apollo) and flying squirrel (Pteromys volans).

Petteri Mattila designed these stamps, which also include the World Wildlife Fund and Europa emblems. The common theme for Europa stamps in 2021 is endangered national wildlife.

Two stamps will mark the 100th anniversary of Lotta Svard, a voluntary Finnish women’s national defense organization established in 1921. The stamp designs by Klaus Welp are based on vintage photographs.

A set of six stamps commemorates the 150th anniversary of the postcard in Finland and shows postcards from different eras. Designed by Susanna Rumpu and Ari Lakaniemi, the stamps summarize the history of postcards, according to Posti.

The stamp called Day of Celebration will be “suitable for many kinds of congratulatory messages,” according to Posti. The design depicts two glasses of bubbly champagne. This is the 100th stamp design by Welp, a graphic designer and photographer. Among his other designs are the aforementioned Lotta Svard stamps.

Posti reports that its 2021 program is tentative and subject to change.

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