Castles in the air(mail)

Czech Republic 2017 Europa 32Kč Frýdlant Castle and Chateau stamp

Hello internet! Long time no see. Every now and then, in my day job, I get caught up on a project that requires way too much commitment, and steals all of the little moments I normally use to jot down my philatelic fancies. And then, I took a holiday. Back now. Hi!

Particular apologies to the wonderful Suzanne at ArtStamped, who was kind enough to write a lovely thing about me on her blog back in June, just in time for me to disappear for a few months. She deserves, and will get, a whole Punk entry of her own in good time, but in the meantime, help me make this up to her by going and following her gorgeous work on Instagram or the normal internet.

Even when I go quiet on this blog, I still pop up causing occasional mischief on Twitter, so if you’re a Twittererer, I hope we’re hooked up.

As per usual after any absence, I return with a page full of drafts that will be fleshed out and placed before your eyes over coming months. In the meantime, let’s feast our eyes on this year’s Europa issues, some of which I have scattered throughout this page.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 2017 Europa 3KM Počitelj stamp

Europa is philatelic Eurovision. Lots of European countries issue stamps on a shared theme, and then people vote for their favourite. This year’s theme, tapping into the international obsession with Game of Thrones, is ‘castles’.

Hungary 2017 Europa 335Ft Andrássy Castle stamp
Liechtenstein 2017 Europa 1.50f Gutenberg Castle stamp

I know: castles, right? Should be easy. You can’t go anywhere in Europe without someone slapping you in the face with a castle. And yet, it proved a challenge for more than one country.

Finland’s Posti, for example, only just released a whole set of stamps with old castles on. What to do? Well, showing typical Finnish inventiveness and a healthy appreciation for Nordic cliché, designer Anssi Kähärä opted for a snow castle. And, credit where it’s due, he couldn’t find a photo he liked, so he built his own.

Finland 2017 Europa no-value Snowcastle stamp

Belgium could, at first glance, be accused of taking the mickey with this effort. But the Belgians aren’t stupid. Instead of featuring one castle and making all the other castles’ princes and princesses angry, they featured a sand castle incorporating elements of several Belgian castles. Presto! That’s how you avert a war. Break open the chocolate.

Belgium 2017 Europa 1 Sand Castle stamp

But spare a thought for poor Greenland, whose post office website achingly laments, “The nature of our country is magnificent, but we have no castles.” Luckily, they have ice that looks like castles. They don’t even have to build it – it just comes that way! Stick that in your sauna and sweat it up, Finland.

Greenland 2017 Europa 15kr Castle stamp

Next year’s Europa issues will feature bridges. I can’t wait. Greenland probably doesn’t have bridges either, but it won’t even have to paint a new painting. That ice castle could double as a bridge.

For more on Europa stamps past and present, blogger Euroswiss does a top job of keeping track of Europa issues here.

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© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities

3 thoughts on “Castles in the air(mail)

Add yours

  1. Ah I hate Europa issues. And the Irish Post Office is obsessed with Europe. And will cheerily issue a stamp to commemorate the “European Year of Something” and next year the “European Year of Something Else”. I kinda liked it when the Europa stamps were based on a single design and issued in all of the CEPT countries but the single theme (Castles etc) and the interpretation is just annoying.
    THere should probably be a “European Year of European Years”.
    Initially “Europa” must have seemed like a good idea but now it is 30 years past its sell by date. And certainly the Eurovision Song Contest was watchable in the 1960s and 1970s. The similarity is that nobody has the heart to say that Europa and Eurovision has run its course.
    Who can forget the Father Ted episode (based on a long standing joke in Ireland that we only won because nobody else wanted to pay for it). Even sending in an entry….Dustin (literally a Turkey…well a puppet Turkey) to sabotage Eurovision and the Europeans still couldnt take the hint.
    For the record, I voted for BREXIT. I suspect most “Leavers” voted on the basis that there would be no more Eurovision.

    And yes BREXIT will cause chaos. But I like Chaos. And I am enjoying the fall-out.
    What would Philately do without Europa?
    Or Royalty? I am not a fan.
    Or the Commonwealth? Not a fan either.
    Do omnibus issues enhance Philately…or limit it?


  2. I love your passion, John! If nothing else, chaos can make for some interesting stamp collecting a century or so later. Personally I think Eurovision clearly jumped the shark when they decided Australia was part of Europe (although many of our own political leaders seem to think that, so they’re not the only ones so confused.)


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