Finnish Spitz Collectables
PROFESSIONAL ABOUT US TOVERI FINNISH SPITZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Keevil unearths some fascinating and unlikely stories from the world of Finnish Spitz Collectables.

Article reproduced with kind permission of the Kennel Gazette (April 99)

finnish spitz stamps

finnish spitz stamps

Finland, was one of the first countries to issue a set of postage stamps featuring 'National Breeds. The trend has become quite popular in recent years, with European countries such as Spain (1983), Ireland (1983), Belgium (1986), Italy (1994) and Germany (1995), all honouring their own indigenous breeds with a set of postage stamps. Back in 1965, the idea was quite revolutionary, but then the Finnish Philatelic Bureau has a history of innovation. The 1965 set of stamps refer to shows, three of Finland's own breeds, the Karelian Bear Dog, the Hamiltonstovare and this month's featured breed, the Finnish Spitz. The stamps are quite small, no bigger than our own normal definitive stamps and are printed from line engraved plates. That is to say, via the intaglio process.

Intaglio is the printing from plates which have been engraved (by hand) or etched (by acid) so that the printing ink is held in the 'scratches' on the smooth surface of a steel or copper printing plate. This method of stamp printing was used on the Penny Black and almost every other early postage stamp. With the advent of modern mechanised printing methods, such as offset litho, this method of printing fell into disuse, as stamps could be printed easily and cheaply by other methods.

Nineteen sixty-five was quite late for Finland to be producing stamps by this method, but it does give the stamps a glowing quality, unique to this process. This set of stamps was also innovative for another reason, it was one of the first sets of stamps to carry a surcharge, which was then donated to charity. lf you look, for example, at the Finnish Spitz stamp, you will see that it carries two values. The first (O.15 penniä) is the actual cost of the stamp, whilst the second value shown (+ 0.03p) is the amount which will be donated to charity. In this case the chosen charity was the Anti TB Fund, whose symbol, the double red cross, appears on the bottom left corner of the stamps. The donation increases in accordance with the denomination of the stamp. This type of charity stamp is now universally accepted and indeed, New Zealand produce a health donation issue every year and even the good old Post Office also tried it a few years ago on a set of Christmas stamps.

finnish spitz stamps
finnish spitz stamps

Finland's innovation with its postage stamps continued with its second set of dog stamps which came ten years ago in 1989. This time, in addition to the three previously mentioned breeds, it also included a fourth national breed, the Finnish Lapphund. You will see that the design is in mini sheet format, where not only the stamps themselves form part of the design, but the artwork spills over on to the illustrated border, making a very effective and striking design. This mini sheet was issued to commemorate the anniversary of the Finnish Kennel Club. As recently as last year, Finland issued its third set of dog stamps, this time to coincide with the hosting of the World Show, and it will come as no surprise to find that the Finns were innovative once again. The set of eight stamps were issued in booklet form, showing eight different breeds of puppies, but only one Finnish breed, the Lapphund was included. The other seven showed breeds from other European countries, no doubt in deference of the international nature of the World Show. It was no doubt a disappointment that the Finnish Spitz, which after all is Finland's official 'National Breed', was not included.

finnish spitz stamps

finnish spitz stamps

A Finnish Spitz stamp from Outer Mongolia? Why of course, don't seem so surprised! It came in 1978, from a set that also included a Hungarian Puli and three Papillons as Circus dogs. If you think that is strange, last year a great set of 'Arctic Breeds' stamps was issued, by an even more unlikely country. Chad borders Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Sudan and Libya. They have an equatorial climate and it is unlikely that any of the population have ever seen snow, let alone a Finnish Spitz! Yet last year, they issued a set of four stamps, showing not only this month's breed, but also the Esquimaux, Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute. Issued as both stamps, and 'deluxe' sheets, the illustrated borders of which show, amongst other things, a walrus and an ice breaker! In all my years of collecting, this has to be one of the most bizarre combinations of issuing country and breeds I can think of!



Copyright David and Angela Cavill 2015 All rights reserved