Archive for the '-stamp, postal service' Category

tilted globe / 傾いた地球

April 13, 2020

25 August 1921, Argentina
Pan-American Postal Congress

The centre is “an allegorical figure of Pan-America, wearing a mail bag and holding letter envelopes“.  She is celebrating the first gathering of the Pan-American Postal Congress.

What most caught my eye is the tilted globe.  Well, the designer wanted to show the connection of the two continents and to place their country in view – but this tilted globe looks symbolic for the pandemic we are experiencing right now.  It’s not going to be turned upside down and the globe will recover…





reflection of time / 時代を写す写真

February 28, 2018

9 September 2011, United Kingdom
Centenary of Aerial Post
Designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies

The history of photography started earlier than I thought – although it took some time for the technology of how to fix a captured image to arrive.

This photo was taken on 26 September 1911, when the first airmail was delivered.  People celebrated the big day and lots of photos were taken throughout the event.


写真が発明されてまもなく2世紀経つのですね。レンズを通して画像が結ばれることはもっと早くに発見されたけれど、それを定着させる技術に時間がかかった。21_21 design siteでは、時代を写してきた写真の展示「写真都市展」が始まっているようです。

two-way arrows / 双方向矢印

September 20, 2017

1969 + 1971, USA
Special Delivery Arrows
design: Norman Ives

Swift and reliable – a very clean and strong design for a special delivery stamp.  The normal postal stamp was 6 cents in 1969 and this is more than 7 times expensive.


engraving hands / 彫る手

December 20, 2016


30 November 1962, Austria
Stamp Day
design: A. Pilch / engraver: Rudolf Toth

Hands are engraving an intaglio plate for stamps.  Without well trained pair of hands, you don’t have these beautifully engraved stamps.  It seems tools and techniques have not been changed much since the first stamp was engrave in England in 1840.


single-minded kawaii / ひたむきかわいい

August 20, 2015


30 July 1940, Estonia
Century of First Postage Stamps
design: K. Doll

The pigeon post was important method for distant communication before the airplanes were introduced.  And this stamp from Estonia is celebrating the history of postal stamps, with a pigeon with a letter in its bill, as if competing to an airplane.

I think the figure of ‘pigeon with letter’ is always kawaii, as its earnest and single-minded attitude to complete their mission.  One question I still have – how did they deliver letters to the correct address?

Ah, I have just read the wiki and learned – they were flying back home!

航空便が広く使われる前は、伝書鳩が遠隔地を結ぶ通信に使われた – 切手の100年を祝うエストニアからの1枚は、そんなミッションを帯びて飛ぶハトが飛行機と競争しているかのような図案で、、とてもかわいいと思うのです。


あ、ウィキペディア読んで分かりました – 家まで戻る能力を使ったのですね〜。


bugle horn and horse 4 / 馬と角笛 その4

February 10, 2014

24 February 1958, Poland
400th Anniversary of Polish Postal Service
design: S. Malecki

Second feature of a day – I have too many horse stamps but I don’t want to continue for a year.

This is celebrating 400 years of postal history.  This horse looks gentle.  The White silhouette should be the airplane for the modern air mail.



bugle horn and horse 3 / 馬と角笛 その3

February 10, 2014

20 February 1986, Sweden
350th Anniversary of Post Office
designer: G. Österlund
engraver: Z. Jakus

The delivery man is blowing the bugle horn with all his might, and – very rare to see a horse with scary eye.


bugle horn and horse 2 / 馬と角笛 その2

February 9, 2014

15 November 1958, Romania
Centenary of First Romanian Postage Stamps
design & engrave: Serban Zainea

Celebrating 100 years of postage stamps – and the bugle horn and horse were the main delivery method still at that time.


bugle horn and horse / 馬と角笛

February 4, 2014


1 April 1958, Germany

The Chinese calendar had just turned the year of the Horse – so, I am still featuring more stamps with horse.

This German stamp is depicting the early postal service man on horse, who is blowing a bugle horn to ask if anyone has a letter to be delivered to a remote place.  The horn became an icon of the postal services.



horsepower mail coach / 三馬力の郵便荷車

January 23, 2014

28 September 1971, Sweden
engraver: Czesław Słania

Speed was one of the reasons why horses had been used for transportation, obviously.  So, they were the main motive power for the postal services, too.

This great piece of work by the engraver Czesław Słania shows, the express-speed of a three horsepower wagon with postal horn mark on.  You may hear the creak noise together with the clatter of hoofs.




telephone in place of airmail / 電話の登場

April 4, 2012

1965 South Korea

It is clear that the airmail service lost some of its importance in overseas communications to the telephone at some point.  By the mid 60’s international telephone links had expanded worldwide.  But at least on this stamp in 1965, the airmail envelope is depicted in front of a telephone handset – a little wistfully.


revolving around the sun / 衛星軌道の封筒

April 3, 2012

26 February 1996, United Kingdom
‘The cheque in the post’
cartoon by Jack Ziegler

I know this feeling that an envelope with an expected cheque takes extra long days to arrive to me.  I like the magnanimous attitude of the Post Office issuing this cartoon stamp!  I once used this stamp to send my invoice to a client – I forgot to check if the client had got this joke or even had noticed this stamp…


orbit airmail / 旋回エアメール

April 1, 2012

20 September 1964, Soviet Union
design: I. A. Kominarets

High speed airmail, orbiting around the earth.  Swoosh!


floating envelopes / 宙に浮く封筒

March 28, 2012

1958 Turkey
Letter Writing Week

I finally realised myself that I have an envelope fetish – I cannot throw away used but not damaged envelopes, especially one that has a nice coloured lining or printed patterns.  I made a set of artworks, using those insides of used envelopes for a charity exhibition, and it was very satisfactory when someone bought them.

So, I am naturally attracted by this charming 1950s stamp from Turkey.  They are on their way to be delivered, as they have cancellation marks.



rainbow envelopes / カラフルな封筒

March 26, 2012

1985 USA
Definitive, coiled

Envelopes, colourful.  Strong and nice!  But why the odd figured denomination… 21.1 cents??


bird & postal code / 鳥と郵便番号(封筒も)

March 25, 2012

1978 Portugal
Postal Code

A bird carrying an envelope – and two stamps together promoting postal codes.  It seems that machine sorting was introduced in many countries during the 1970s.

ポルトガルから – 鳥が封書をくわえて飛ぶおなじみの構図で、しかも郵便番号の普及を呼びかけている切手です。1970年代に、世界の各国で手紙の機械分類が始まったのですね。

opened envelope / 封筒からナンバー君

March 22, 2012

1 July 1972, Japan
Postal Code campaign
design: Katsutoshi Hioki

I like to see envelopes on a stamp – especially when it is opened and shows its coloured lining!

1 July 1973, Japan
5th Anniversary of the Postal Code
design: Takao Yamanouchi

These stamps were promoting the newly introduced postal code for machine sorting.  ‘Mr. Number’ was a known character at that time – I remember the paper cut-out of this figure was floating in my local post office.





courier bird 2 / 運ぶ鳥 2

March 19, 2012

20 June 1977, Japan
Centenary of Admission to Universal Postal Union
design: Katsutoshi Hioki

I found another stamp with birds, carrying messages.  The rectangular shape in the middle is a post box – I noticed that Red post boxes are not universal.  This map shows the different colours of post boxes around the world – but for me, having lived in Japan and now living in the UK, post boxes have always been red!

The design of this stamp looks nicely dated and the shape of this post box is evocative of that time, in a similar way that I remember ‘Mr. Number’ of these stamps at the edge of my memory.




courier bird / 運ぶ鳥

March 18, 2012

1974 Australia
Centenary of Universal Postal Union
design: John Copeland

When I posted the last stamp I thought about this one, as a bird is used as a symbol of delivering messages or good will.  Bright colours and simple composition – very pleasant to receive an envelope or card with these stamps, I think.

From my previous post, this is another bird carrying a letter, from Germany.  I never knew how a carrier pigeon takes a message while flying – no doubt, not by beak, I guess…   OK, according to wikipedia it was a little tube on their feet, but some of those pigeons carried up to 75 grams of messages!



Penny Black celebrated / 最初の切手の切手

December 11, 2011

15 September 2011, United Kingdom
‘Penny Black – 184o’
Kings & Queens, The Age of Hanoverians
design: Atelier Works

Collect GB Stamps‘ by Royal Mail covers almost all stamps issued in the United Kingdom since the world’s first adhesive postage stamp – the Penny Black. I don’t have the real one, so here is a stamp that features it.

The archive site has huge image records, scanned presentation pack covers, and articles on each stamp.  This is a great archive, but could be improved a lot by featuring the people and stories behind the stamps – designers, creators of original art works, engravers and printers.

As far as I can see, this is the 6th time the first stamp design has been depicted, firstly in 1940 ‘Centerary of First Adhesive Postage Stamps’, in 1970 ‘Philympia 70 – the stamps exhibition’, in 1990 ‘150th Anniverersary of the Penny Black’, in 1992 ‘Greeting Stamps – Memories’, in 1995 ‘Pioneers of Communications’ and finally the one featured above.

イギリスの切手ももちろんアーカイブになっています。世界初の切手と最初の切手蒐集家を生んだ国ですから。そしてその世界最初の切手は「Penny Black」と呼ばれるヴィクトリア女王の横顔です。本物を持っていないので、今年発行されたその切手の切手をここに。


わたしが見つけた限りでは、「最初の切手」をモチーフにしたイギリスの切手発行は6度目です。1940年に「切手の100周年」が祝われて以来、1970年に「スタンプ・フェア70の記念」1990年に「Penny Blackの150年記念」1992年のグリーティング切手にPenny Redが載り、1995年にはスラニアが彫った「通信のパイオニアたち」、そして今年発行の「ハノーバー家の時代」に、ヴィクトリア女王の切手が登場します。