Montenegro’s post office does an excellent job in presenting their stamps and covers. Not only is the site easy to wander around, they also supply high quality images, (including cancels). It’s nice being able to super size a stamp and examine it in detail. Many thanks to Montenegro’s post office staff.
I’m pleased with this article, mostly because I was able to source some decent links about topics and designers. There are familiar themes among the stamp below, including the Tokyo Olympics, the EUROMED competition, EURO Endangered national wildlife and stamp day. As well, you’ll find some rich pickings of Montenegrin history and culture. I hope you enjoy exploring the various stories each stamp tells as much as I do. I spend quite a bit of time with each country, learning a bit about their history and picking the most accessible links.
I have to admit, I also enjoyed poking around Montenegro post’s news releases. They present a strong mix of modern/new info with an appreciation for past mail history. If you have a translate extension on your browser, head over to this bulletin – October 1st – the day the first correspondent was sent – postacg.me. It offers up a bit of early Montenegro postal history.
Image courtesy Pošta Crne Gore
The idea of creating a correspondence comes from Professor Emmanuel Herrmann, an economics professor from Vienna, who in January 1869 was the first to visit Vienna. Since 2010, it is publishing an article that will result in the first corresponding card appearing. In his article, Professor Herman says the time and effort required for the letter does not always correspond to the importance and scope of the message being transmitted. At the same time, he recommends a simpler and cheaper model for delivering short messages.
The Post Office enthusiastically embraced this idea. In the same year, the first correspondence card (Correspondenz – cards) was sent in October. Pošta Crne Gore
Anyway, I’ve put Montenegro on my “watch” list now. Both the topics and the designs are appealing, as well as the images they supply. I look forward to lurking around Pošta Crne Gore.
Živko Nikolić 1941-2001 Series: Art in Montenegro through the ages
1 stamp, sheet of 20, FDC, cancel
Živko Nikolić was a film and television director and screenwriter This 2021 article, Dusan Kovacevic: Zivko Nikolic won the bet with eternity – CDM, has an interesting perspective on Nikolić. Google Translate offers an okay translation, a bit clumsy, but still very readable. It’s a decent introduction to the man for those unfamiliar with his work.
Designers: Adela Zejnilović & Romana Pehar Award winning Graphic artist Zejnilović art often focuses on typography and lettering. This interest includes preserving Montenegro’s history and culture through it’s written documents and posters. Her 2012 Master’s thesis was titled Montenegro in Letter – Personal to Official, which developed 3 typefaces Octoih, Serdari and Njegosh, based on old manuscript writing.
Pehar maintains a Tumbler account that showcases some of her artwork Romana Pehar (tumblr.com). You don’t need an account to view it.
Umjetnica svoj postupak gradi u vremenu svakodnevnog nastanka novih fontova, a polazište za njihovo kreiranje nalazi u kulturnoj istoriji – originalnom rukopisu “Gorskog vijenca” koji se čuva u Njegoševom muzeju – Biljardi na Cetinju, dajući tako, svojim autorskim radom, dizajnerski omaž Petru II Petroviću Njegošu.
The artist builds her work in the time of daily creation of new fonts, and finds the starting point for their creation in cultural history – the original manuscript of the “Mountain Wreath” which is kept in njegoševo museum – Biljardi on Cetinje, thus giving, with his author’s work, a design omeuvre to Petar II Petrović Njegoš. “Font Njegoš” on the ministry building (vijesti.me)
Release date: Feb. 28, 2021
Svetlana Kana Radević, architect Series: Art in Montenegro through the ages
Europe – Endangered wildlife in the land of Tivat solila
1 stamp, souvenir sheet, FDC, cancel
The Area of Solila is located in the wetlands section of the coastal belt of tivat bay and captures an unused flood area in the area of Grbalje polje.
In the flora and vegetation of the Montenegrin littoral, the Area of Solila is recognized by the vegetation inhabited by salty wet habitats. Since these complex types of natural vegetation on a muddy-clay surface have already disappeared on most habitats on the eastern Adriatic coast, this preservation of the compactness of the Tivat salt salt area as a safe habitat for halophyte vegetation stands out as a special ecological challenge. In the territory of Tivat salts, 14 representatives of amphibians and reptiles were registered.
So far, 111 bird species have been registered on the Solili, representing more than 20% of the total number of species of European ornithophaune. Salts are the habitat of numerous endangered species and are protected as a special flora-faunist reserve. Montenegro post office
I thought, since Halloween will be here soon, I’d take a look at ghosts & monsters on stamps. I learned something in the process. Don’t read ghost stories from Greenland if you are alone, it’s dark and the wind is rattling the balcony. Just … don’t. Holy Hanna they aren’t for the faint of heart, and this is coming from someone who misspent their youth watching every B monster movie available. Giant, mutant tarantulas have nothing on Greenland’s monsters.
Greenlandic Folklore & Ghosts 2020
In 2020, Greenland started a series titled Ghost Stories in Greenland which taped deeply into traditional folklore. The series started November 6, 2020, with Aajumaaqthe sleeved one and Eqqilllit, a dog-man hunter.
The first stamp, AAJUMAAQ, from Nukk artist Maria Bach Kreutzmann (who also edited the Bestiarium Groenlandica compendium), features a spirit that is both a helper to Angaangaqs (shamen) and a creature of revenge.
“It has a body almost like a human, but the long, slender arms are black from the elbows down. On each hand there are only three fingers and on each foot only three toes. The head is described as a furless dog head and sometimes as a skeletal dog head with large, prickly eyes….everything it touches goes into strong decay, including humans” Greenland Collector #4 November 2020.
The second stamp, EQQILLIT, from artist Christian Fleischer Rex, are ferocious half human, half dog hunters who occasionally prey on humans. They are curious creatures, equally at home in human dwellings and rocky outcroppings. Eqqillit are skilled in using weapons, but especially the ulut, a knife used by women in Greenlandic society. This opened up a host of curious questions about the nature of Eqquillit. But I was a bit stymied in researching more on this particular tale because I ended up with hundreds of pages of people dressing their dogs in human clothes and well, research went downhill after that. Bit of a shame really. The entire topic of Eqqillit is fascinating.
Folklore & Ghosts 2021
September 17, 2021 saw the series return with Qivittoqand Anngiaq, the scariest of the quartet.
QIVITTLOG (stamp by Maja-Lisa Kehlet) was a human who’s crimes led to their banishment. These Mountain Men or Mountaineers (depending on the translations), were booted from their communities for either a heinous crime or extreme behaviour that was damaging to a community’s survival and welfare. Doomed to a life of exile, these mountain wanderers eventually surrender all traces of their humanity and become feared creatures lurking on the outskirts of civilization. It’s one of those “behave or lose your community’s support” cautionary horror stories. Given how difficult survival is in remote areas like Greenland, the loss of any community would be devastating and potentially de-humanizing.
“Their eyes are red and their hair and beard are ugly and often completely light or white. The skin on their faces has become very dark. It can be dangerous to be touched by a mountaineer, as its touch can leave large marks that cause inflammation. If you as a mountaineer are to have magical powers, you must go through some trials to achieve the full transformation and thereby lose all your humanity.” Greenland Collector #3 Sept. 2021
Copenhagen artist Jonatan Brüsch’s first stamp ANNGIAG – the Secret is the stuff of nightmares. An Anngiagwas an infant who was murdered soon after birth by it’s mother. The child’s spirit eventually seeks both love and revenge from it’s family. I’ve left out the more horrifying elements, just in case some of my readers find this type of story too disturbing. But here’s an excerpt from Greenland Collector’s English (ipapercms.dk) bulletin. Use caution before reading this. Although it’s milder than some of the tales I managed to get my hands on, it might be disturbing to some. So, seriously, potential trigger warning.
An ’Anngiaq’ is a scary spirit. It is a baby or foetus born in secret and then killed. The spirit lives on searching for the affection it has been deprived. It finds a dog’s skull or head which it uses as a kayak. It pursues its relatives when they are out sailing, trying to pull them down under the water and drown them, or shoots at them with a bow and arrow as punishment for their misdeed. An ’Anngiaq’ can also crawl into siblings who have been born later, to kill them by causing internal bleeding.
An Anngiaq can only be defeated by the woman who has given birth in secret, standing by what she has done, thereby revealing the secret. The defeated Anngiaq can then reportedly be used as an amulet among other things to increase the speed of a kayak.
Of all the tales I found, this one was the most visceral and disturbing.
FDCs & more creatures
Oddly, Greenland Post doesn’t supply info about the interesting characters on the FDCs. I think the first one is IMMAP NANUA – the great bear of the sea. It’s not NAPPAASILAT, the spirit bear because that bear has a bluish tinge fur. But, I’m taking a wild stab at identifying it.
The second FDC has me baffled. They are fascinating, and beautifully rendered in this cover. If you have knowledge about either covers, please, contribute via the comments. I’m sure others would appreciate learning more about Greenlandic folklore.
5 Mythical Creatures from Greenland
For those interested in learning more about Greenlandic ghosts and myths, I’ve included an English language video below from Visit Greenland – 5 Mythical Creatures. If you are easily disturbed by monsters and nightmarish stories, give the video a skip. It’s well done and fascinating, but not for everyone. The video covers a few of the monsters laid out in this article, and offers correct pronunciation of each name.
If you are looking for resources on Greenlandic folklore, start with A kayak full of ghosts : Eskimo folk tales by Lawrence Millman, ISBN: 1566565251. I found it via my local library’s reference collection. This is NOT a book for children. It gets a bit graphic at times. Again, NOT A BOOK FOR CHILDREN or anyone who frightens easily.
Did you enjoy these Greenlandic tales? Why not take a look their 2021 stamps?
Canada Post released this year’s Remembrance Day stamp, Valour Road, October 21, 2021. It honours 3 Victoria Cross winners – Lionel (Leo) Clarke, VC (1892-1916), Robert Shankland, VC, DCM (1887-1968) and Frederick William Hall, VC (1885-1915).
The Soldiers of Valour Road
64 Canadians won the VC in World War One, with three from Pine Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1925, Winnipeg renamed Pine Street to Valour Road, with sole survivor Robert Shankland in attendance. The street still carries this name.
Canada at War
If you are unfamiliar with Canada’s role in WW1, this site might help you out – Canada and the First World War. It offers an approachable, broad view of both World War One and Canada’s participation. The Canadian Encyclopedia’s First World War Timeline also offers an excellent section on the war. Doubtful there was any community in Canada untouched by the war. The population of Canada in 1914 was 3.5 million people. Out of that population, 650,000 men and women served. 66,000 were killed and 172,000 wounded.
A few fast stamp facts:
The 2nd Battle of Ypres, April 22 to May 25, 2015, was the first major battle Canadians participated in. It was during this fight that Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote his famous poem In Flanders Fields after a friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer, was killed. McCrae appeared on a Canadian stamp October 15, 1968. Imre von Mosdossy was the designer.
The 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge is considered a turning point in how Canadians saw themselves and Canada. The Vimy Memorial, in France, has appeared twice on Canadian stamps. The first was Oct. 15,1968, the same year the McCrae was released. Harvey Thomas Prosser designed the stamp, and Yves Baril and Gordon Mash shared engraving duties.
The second time, was a joint 2 stamp set released April 8, 2017 on the 100th anniversary of the battle. Canadian artist Susan Scott designed the Canadian stamp, and French illustrator/engraver Sarah Bougault designed the French stamp.
However, the Vimy Memorial first appeared on stamps in 1936. France issued 2 to celebrate the memorial’s unveiling. Henry Cheffer designed and engraved the pair. They were in circulation for a short period of time starting the day of the unveiling July 26 and withdrawn September 23,1936. To accompany the stamps, France also issued 20 postal stationery postcards based on the photographs of the monument by French modernist Andrè Vigneau and engraved (photogravure ) by E Desfossés-Néogravure.
The Memorial Chamber, where the First and Second World War Books of Remembrance are kept, was featured on a 1938 stamp. Herman Herbert Schwartz designed the stamp, with Joseph Keller the engraving.
The National War Memorial, dedicated in 1939 to WW1 dead, was featured on a May 15,1939 stamp. Schwarz and Keller teamed up again to create this stamp. The Memorial appeared again, on a souvenir sheet, Oct. 19, 2009, to commemorate the end of WW1. Lionel Gadoury, Michael Wandelmaier of Context Creative designed the stamp with Lowe-Martin responsible for the engraving work.
There are other war memorial or military stamps from Canada Post (and it predecessors), but that would be a lengthy essay in itself best left for another day.
Lionel (Leo) Clarke, VC (1892-1916), 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion
Corporal Leo Clark, image courtesy Archives Canada
Leo Clarke was born in Waterdown, Ontario, 1892 and moved to Pine Street, Winnipeg in 1903. After leaving school, Clarke began working with the Canadian National Railway as a surveyor.
Clarke enlisted February 25, 1915 at the age of 22. Originally with the 27th Battalion he transferred to the 2nd (Eastern Ontario Regiment) Battalion, soon after arriving in England. He wanted to serve along side his brother Charles who was with 2nd Battalion. Leo was fatally wounded when an artillery shell exploded near his position in the Regina Trench and buried alive. His brother Charles managed to dig him out of the mud and debris, but Leo died in hospital October 19, 2016.
He won the VC September 9, 1916, during the Battle of Flers-Courcette.
“No. 73132 Private (Acting Corporal) Leo. Clarke, Can. Inf.: For most conspicuous bravery. He was detailed with his section of bombers to clear the continuation of a newly captured trench and cover the construction of a “block.” After most of his party had become casualties, he was building a “block” when about twenty of the enemy with two officers counter-attacked. He boldly advanced against them, emptied his revolver and afterwards two enemy rifles which he picked up in the trench. One of the officers then attacked him with the bayonet wounding him in the leg, but he shot him dead. The enemy then ran away, pursued by Acting Corporal Clarke, who shot four more and captured a fifth. Later he was ordered to the dressing station, but returned next day to duty.” The London Gazette – October 26, 1916, Supplement 29802
Excerpt from Leo Clarke’s service record detailing his death & awarding of Victoria Cross
FDC for Leo Clarke
His Victoria Cross was donated, by his family to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa in 2010.
Robert Shankland, VC, DCM (1887-1968), 43rd Canadian Infantry Battalion
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Shanklank
Born in Ayrshire, Scotland, Shankland moved to Pine Street, Winnipeg in 1910 where he worked as a clerk for a local creamery. He enlisted December 21, 1914, aged 27, and joined the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders). He shipped to England in June, 1915 and became an officer in 1917, when he received a battlefield commission.
His VC was won for actions at Passchendaele, Belgium, October 26, 1917.
Shankland was the only survivor of the “Pine Street Boys”. In 1925, he attended the ceremony that changed Pine St’s name to Valour Road.
After returning home, Shankland remained in the Cameron’s militia unit until he moved to Victoria, BC. While living there, he joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment. With the start of WW2, Shankland returned to Winnipeg and rejoined the Cameron’s for active duty. He serve in England as commandant of the Canadian Army Detention Barracks. He served until the end of the war and returned to British Columbia, and settled in Vancouver.
Shankland’s Victoria Cross was purchased at auction by the Canadian War Museum in 2009.
Frederick William Hall, VC (1885-1915), 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Sgt.-Major Frederick William Hall, image courtesy Archives Canada
Born in Kilkenny, Ireland, Hall emigrated to Canada in 1913 and settled in Winnipeg where he found work as a shipping clerk. Before coming to Canada, he served 12 years with the Scottish Rifles. He joined the 79th Cameron Highlanders militia shortly after moving to Pine Street.
With the outbreak of WW1, Hall joined the 8th Battalion of Winnipeg, at the age of 29 on September 26, 1914. He sailed for England less than a month later, October 3, 1914 and was killed during the 2nd Battle of Ypres on April 24, 1915, while trying to save wounded soldiers. His body was never recovered.
Hall received his Victoria Cross for his actions at Ypres the day he was killed.
“No. 1539 Colour-Sergeant Frederick William Hall, 8th Canadian Battalion. On 24th April, 1915, in the neighbourhood of Ypres, when a wounded man who was lying some 15 yards from the trench called for help, Company Sergeant-Major Hall endeavoured to reach him in the face of a very heavy enfilade fire which was being poured in by the enemy. The first attempt failed, and a Non-commissioned Officer and private soldier who were attempting to give assistance were both wounded. Company Sergeant-Major Hall then made a second most gallant attempt, and was in the act of lifting up the wounded man to bring him in when he fell mortally wounded in the head.” The London Gazette—June 22, 1915, Supplement 29202, Page 6115
FDC for Frederick William Hall
Hall’s Victoria Cross was acquired by the Canadian War Museum in 2012.
Booklets by Canada Post
As well as the single stamp and a FDCs for each soldier, Canada Post also issued a booklet of 10, a souvenir sheet and a framed edition of the sheet.
The set was designed by Soapbox Design, using Richard Nalli-Petta supplying the artwork. The backside of the FDCs includes a brief description of the actions that led to each medal. The covers will expand to a large size so you can easily read the details.
Although there is a cancel for the FDCs, I couldn’t source a decent scan of one. If you happen to have a good one, and would like to share it, drop a note in the comments below.
If you are looking for a challenging theme to chase down, look no further than glass blowing. You can find hundreds of stamps about glassware, stained glass, glass art, but very few featuring glass blowing. I suspect a person could have an entire collection just on glassware stamps alone but the art of glass blowing isn’t as readily available.
The earliest set I could find came via Syria. Their 1970 airmail stamp for the 17th International Fair of Damascus features a traditional glass blowing scene. I’m not sure who the designer was, so if you have details, please share them in the comments below.
The great Czesław Słania’s hand is evident in this 1972 5 stamp set from Sweden. He used Lennart Olson’s photographs of glass blowers at work. Olsen’s photographs have a page over at the Museum of Modern Art Lennart Olson | MoMA so if you are interested in seeing his some of work, check it out.
A second glass blowing stamp was issued by Sweden in 1988. Designed by K Netzler and J. Zakus.
The USA’s 1972 Colonial American Craftsman stamps included a glass blower at work. It was one of 4 se-tenant stamps issued to celebrate the American Bicentennial. Designer Leonard Everett Fisher was responsible for all 4 stamps. He was a prolific book illustrator of children’s books and wrote and illustrated a number of his own as well as designing 6 other stamps for the US postal services.
Słania returned with another glass blowing series in 1976, this time for Denmark. Helle Jessen’s social realism artwork gives the design a gritty focus.
It’s an interesting set, and I haven’t made up my mind about it. In some ways, it’s a great, expressive series, but feels so grim at the same time.
Finland rolls in with Victor Torsten Ekström’s 1981 300th anniversary stamp celebrating the Uusikaupunki Glass Factory. Ekström designed 44 stamps over his career. This one wasn’t one of his best works, in my opinion. It’s ok, but pretty static.
Portugal’s 1998 set 250th Anniversary of Glass Industry in Marinha Grande was a great one. Artist João Machado often offers up imaginative designs. Machado is one of my favourite Portuguese designers because he’s not afraid of exploring new ideas and materials like his 2007 cork issue.
José Lito Maia did the engraving for Machado’s artwork.
Canada’s 1999 stamp was simply titled Glass-Blowing . It was part of the Traditional Trades series that ran from 1999 to 2002. Designers Monique Dufour and Sophie Lafortune produced 8 stamps for the series, all featuring photographs from Jean-Pierre Beaudin. Beaudin’s photography appeared on 37 stamps from 1973 to 2000. It’s a wonderfully understated series that is eye catching.
Dufour and Lafortune have proven to be a bit elusive. When I finally track down decent links on them, I’ll post here.
Malta’s 2006 Maltese Craft series was similar to Canada’s Traditional Trades. It featured 5 trades such as metal work, jewelry making and of course glass blowing. Designer Richard Caruana created the set.
Caruana was an interesting choice for these stamps. He’s better known for his technical drawings for Osprey aviation books and aviation artwork.
France featured glass blowing twice, 2012 and again 2015. The first stamp is a little shy of details. I’m not even sure who the designer was.
The second stamp was created by Grenade & Sparks as part of a l2 stamp booklet set titled L’art et la matière . Like Canada and Malta, this 2015 booklet included one glass making stamp.
And finally, Switzerland’s 2017 200th Anniversary of Hergiswil Glass Craftsmanship stamp rounds out the collection. Simon Hauser and David Schwarz, of Hauser, Schwarz, created a clean, simple image focusing on the creation of an Anna goblet.
That’s all the stamps I found. If you know of one I missed, drop a note in the comments and share your find.
This article started as special content for my weekly newsletter. The original article was published back in May 2021. If you’d like to see new articles before they hit the website, why not sign up for my newsletter. Use the pop up form to the right or go back to the home page and use the sign up box.
As always, I look forward to hearing from readers. You are welcome to leave a comment and tell us which is your favourite stamp.