Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fiction and Legends on Postage Stamps

One of my first collectable stamps was the Headless Horseman stamp blazing across my album page in bright orange against deep blue. I thought it strange until I realize they are actually promoting the writer Washington Irving----or were they?

At times, legends and monsters can make such a dramatic impact on the public imagination that it compels the postal authorities to include them on postage stamps. The Maldives include a picture representation of the legendary Scottish sea monster: The Loch Ness Monster.

The mountainous country of Bhutan is famous for mountain trekkers, dedicated hikers and a population so steeped in the Yeti (i.e. Abominable Snowman) tradition that nearly to a person they believe it is out there. Bhutan literature actually mentions the Yeti (i.e. missing link) nearly 1500 years old in ancient religious texts and histories.

The emerging Southeastern nation of Laos cling to the enduring legend of the Thunderbird which modern hunters are still seeking in the strong belief it is a genetic leftover from the dinosaur age.

The cynical among us often say these legendary depictions are merely the result of commercializing stamps for collectors in order to make profits for said producing countries. Yeah, so what. Many of these same countries snap photos of their beautiful shells, flowers and exotic animals and also reap financial rewards. Remember stamps can be art, news, politics, history, geography,--so why not plain fun.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Halloween, have you seen the charming stamp (48 cents Canadian) issued in 1992 for Christmas? It depicts La Befana, a little old witch flying on a broom delivering presents. I can’t help being reminded of Halloween every time I see it.


Anonymous said...

No, I haven't probably because the search parameters aren't always very exact. But that is something to check out. Thanks for the gracious tip.