In an ongoing batch of posts, I'll be rooting through our philatelic past to remember classic postage stamps of the world. A time when post offices once sold these small perforated gum-backed slips of paper in their millions.
Today, more and more letters and packets are arriving through the door with just generic postage labels affixed to them. And for years now, most specially commissioned commemorative stamps have never got to see much genuine postal use. They're just decorative collectors items, often furnished with garish colour photographs, and aimed at a dwindling fan base. I expect that they still bring in something of a profit for their nation's post offices - but for how much longer?
Time to roll the clock back. Let's begin in Eastern Europe, and a country that is no more:
Here's a marvellous (and rather haunting) set of two from 1957 commemorating the development of television in Czechoslovakia. Regular four-days-a-week broadcasting had begun in 1954,
Designed by painter, graphic designer and illustrator František Hudecek (1909-1990) who had studied at the Institute of Applied Arts in Prague.
The engraver is Bedřich Housa who was born in Prague in 1926. He engraved his first stamp in 1949, and he is now a veteran of some 300 issues.
|Issued on 19th October 1957. Face Value: 40 Haleru. Printing: Photogravure and Recess. Print Run: 3,745,000|
|A family watch a costume drama. Slightly bigger print run on this higher value stamp: 3,940,000|