World Stamps

Iceland stamps are back to commemorate 150th anniversary

Aug 22, 2023, 11 AM
Iceland Post, which had announced in 2020 that it was no longer issuing stamps, is releasing a new souvenir sheet of four stamps Aug. 23 to mark the 150th anniversary of Iceland’s first stamps.

By Denise McCarty

Almost three years after it stopped issuing stamps, Iceland Post (Pósturinn) has announced a new set of stamps to be released Aug. 23. However, whether this will be a one-off occasion or Iceland will issue further new stamps is not known.

When Linn’s Stamp News asked Iceland Post if further new stamps were planned, Freyja Auðunsdóttir, manager of Iceland Post’s marketing department, replied that “nothing has been decided yet but who knows.”

The new stamps, which are se-tenant (side-by-side) in a souvenir sheet of four, celebrate the 150th anniversary of Iceland’s first stamps issued in 1873 (Scott 1-7).

Iceland Post revealed the design of the souvenir sheet on the cover of the catalog for Nordia 2023, the Nordic Philatelic Stamp Exhibition, held June 2-4 in Iceland, and also announced the sheet at the show.

The four stamps in the sheet feature drone photographs by Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson that capture the drama of Iceland’s varied landscapes: rivers (upper left), the northern lights (upper right), volcanoes (lower left) and glaciers (lower right).

In a press release, Þórhildur Ólöf Helgadóttir, Iceland Post’s CEO, said, “Diversity in the Icelandic nature plays a central role, the interplay of fire and ice on the one hand, unparalleled contrasts in the landscape and the aerospace on the other, the flashing northern lights.”

Örn Smári Gíslason designed the stamps and the souvenir sheet. The inscription near the bottom of the sheet mentions the 150th anniversary of Iceland’s stamps.

As part of cost-cutting measures, Iceland Post stopped issuing stamps Oct. 29, 2020. The announcement was made in May of that year (Linn’s, June 1, 2020).

At that time, Iceland Post indicated that it had plenty of stamps in stock for customers, and, if more were needed in the future, it would probably reprint older stamps for customers to use.

However, the chance to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Iceland’s first stamps changed that, according to an article by Armagan Ozdinc in the 2/2023 issue of the Scandinavian Collectors Club’s journal, the Posthorn.

When asked why Iceland decided to issue stamps again after stopping its stamp program in 2020, Helgadóttir told Ozdinc that the president of the Icelandic Philatelic Federation had asked her if Iceland Post would “consider issuing a set of stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first Icelandic stamp, which is an important milestone for Icelandic philately. Although the Post had already decided not to issue new stamps, I felt that we had to honor this request for the celebration of such an important anniversary in the postal history of Iceland. …”

In the press release about the new souvenir sheet, Helgadóttir said, “We believe they will be popular in tourist destinations as a reminder of a trip to Iceland, and stamp collectors are ecstatic that Pósturinn is celebrating this anniversary with the issue of these stamps.”

The stamps in the new souvenir sheet are self-adhesive and nondenominated. Each stamp pays a different rate: 50 grams for mail sent within Europe (currently 320 kronur), 100 grams for mail within Europe (480k), 50 grams for mail sent outside Europe (400k) and 100 grams for mail sent outside Europe (750k).

The souvenir sheet sells for 1,950k (approximately $14.75), the face value of the stamps.

Iceland Post has an online shop for stamps and a Facebook page.

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