Berlin, 1968, Animal Semi-Postal Stamps
Alright guys. These stamps, issued in Berlin in 1968, are some of my favorite animal stamps of all time. They are part of a semi-postal series intended to raise funds for child welfare causes (“Für Die Jugend”). See the additional denomination shown under the postal rate (+5 on the Wild Cat stamp, for instance)? That means that, when a customer purchased these stamps, he or she paid...
Bulgaria, Airmail Etiquette, 1989
This morning we have a nice bit of postal ephemera in the stamp drawer: an airmail stamp from Bulgaria issued in 1989. I removed this from an envelope that also had an interesting Bulgarian stamp affixed to it and kept it because I thought it was charming in an of itself. This is not technically a stamp, though; it is what philatelists call a cinderella—a label, sticker or stamp that...
Japan, Year of the Rabbit, 1951
I came across this charming stamp a few years ago at a stamp show and just adore it. Though it celebrates the Year of the Rabbit, it reminds me of spring and Easter as well, so I thought it might be a nice time to share it with you. I found one reference crediting this stamp’s design to Saburo Watanabe. I’m wondering if this is the same illustrator of the 1967 Japanese...
Guest Stamp Designer Riley Cran
This morning I am really excited to introduce guest designers to Stamp Drawer! As an illustrator, I keep up (quite obsessively) with the work of other artists and designers, and I’m always extra excited when I see stamp-inspired pieces popping up. Today we have three wonderful designs by Riley Cran, a graphic designer from Vancouver, British Columbia. Riley created these stamps as a...
Liechtenstein, Fairy Tale Stamps, 1969
Today in the stamp drawer is a wonderful set of stamps from Liechtenstein. Issued in 1969, these stamps depict three classic fairy tales and were designed by Louis Jaeger. I really love the dynamic gestures of the characters in these designs. Jaeger is responsible for a slew of handsome stamp designs issued over the decades, the most recent being this issue from 2012.
Czech Matchbox Label for Valentine's Day
Happy Valentine’s Day mi amours! This morning in the stamp drawer we have a sweet bit of vintage ephemera—a Czech matchbox label from the 1960s. I have a small collection of these labels and find them so charming, it’s hard not to share them here alongside my beloved stamps. Once in a while, then, a piece of non-postal ephemera like this may surface in the stamp drawer. I hope you don’t...
Japan, Year of the Snake Stamp, 1989
Happy Year of the Snake guys! Today in the stamp drawer we have a stamp issued by Japan in 1989 to honor the Year of the Earth Snake. (We have just entered the Year of the Water Snake.) Best wishes to all of you! In related astrological philatelic news, don’t miss the stamp I designed last month to commemorate the Chinese New Year :)
Spaceboy Stamp by Erica Sirotich
Today in the stamp drawer is a design I whipped up from elements created for a freelance project I have underway. And it’s a little reminder that, here in the US, our stamp prices have gone up to 46¢ for a standard First Class stamp. Unfortunately, this stamp won’t get your letter anywhere, let alone to the moon :) The USPS does have some fun new designs for 2013 though. Check out...
US, Humane Treatment of Animals Stamps, 1966
Today I am sharing a stamp that I like both for its design and its message. I love animals and I appreciate that countries sometimes issue stamps that validate this simple but sometimes neglected value—that of kindness to animals. Several months ago, while walking my own dog Russell, I saw a man dragging a little poodle, who was clearly injured, across the street. The man was exasperated...
Bulgaria, Historic Sailing Ships Stamps, 1986
I am in love with these stamps. They are some of the first stamps I collected and in pretty crummy condition (I’m now a bit pickier about the condition of stamps I collect). They’re also part of a six stamp set which I have yet to complete. Though these were issued in 1986 they share some stylistic similarities with these Bulgarian stamps issued two decades earlier—a folky...
Czechoslovakia, Prague Music Festival Stamp, 1967
This afternoon I’d like to share a stamp that I love for its quirky lettering treatment. Issued by Czechoslovakia in 1967 to commemorate the Prague Music Festival, this stamp, appropriately, has a really melodic feel. I love the design’s flourishes and uneven letter heights and baselines. The decorative floral treatment dividing “Československo” and “Pražské”...
Bulgaria, Folk Stamps, 1966
This afternoon in the stamp drawer we have a charming set of six Bulgarian stamps issued in 1966. I’ve had difficulty finding information about these stamps; their designer, unfortunately, seems to be unknown. The series commemorates the season of spring in a distinctly Eastern European mid-century folk style. Definitely some of my collection favorites. I welcome any additional...
Copenhagen's Little Mermaid Stamp by Erica...
I thought it would be nice to create a series of stamps that feature places I’ve been and loved. Copenhagen, Denmark was one of the first places to pop to mind when I began to sketch out ideas. Even though I only spent a couple days there during a Scandinavia tour last summer, the city made such an impression on me. It’s a visually-rich place: the architecture, the bicycles, the...
Farm Animal Stamps by Christopher Wormell
I am really excited to share these stamps because they JUST arrived in the mail yesterday and I’ve been wishing for them for quite some time! This morning we have a lovely batch of stamps issued in Great Britain in 2005. They were illustrated by British artist Christopher Wormell and printed using a four color gravure process by Joh Enschede Security Printers, a specialty printer that...
Year of the Snake Stamp by Erica Sirotich
Howdy my philatelic friends! This morning in the stamp drawer is my very first stamp design, commemorating the upcoming Chinese New Year! I’m looking forward to entering the Year of the Snake—mainly because I’ll get to go enjoy San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade (which is always awesome) and, well, because I really like drawing snakes! I have a mighty good excuse to...
Germany, Folk Tale Stamps, 1973
This Friday morning in the Stamp Drawer we have a set of six stamps issued by the German Democratic Republic in 1973. This is one of several sets Germany commissioned during this period depicting fairy & folk tale narratives—in this case a Russian tale called “At the Pike’s Behest.” I really love the movement in these illustrations—each stamp is really quite dynamic in spite of its...
In Defense of Stamps
Stamps are the best. They’re tiny, inexpensive, collectible bits of art. They’re historical documents, cultural artifacts, remnants of communications long (and not so long) past between real people. I began collecting stamps as a kid and have collected them on and off for the couple decades since. I’m an illustrator and have filled my studio and house with all kinds of...