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Stamps Never Issued

This is the first stamp engraved by Czeslaw Slania for the Polish Printing Works, and features the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.  It was engraved at the beginning of the 1950s.  The exact time is unknown.  It is a splendid example of Slania's great talent for portraying that was later developed to perfection.  

The stamp was never issued, please note the white empty field in the top left corner, that was reserved for inserting face value.

The stamp is scanned from the book by Count Lennart Bernadotte:  "Czeslaw Slania and his Works".

The below images are all designs for stamps never issued.  Please note the white square on each label, where the face value should have been printed.  

The following article by Mr. Jerzy Krysiak (Sweden) appeared in the Polish philatelic magazine "FILATELISTYKA", October 1998.  It was originally printed in Polish, and is translated into English by Mr. Richard Wegrzyn, Australia. 

On a commission from the San Marino Post Office Slania engraved three stamps based on paintings by the Italian painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) of the XVIIc.  The engravings are of  St. Marinus, St. Francis of Assisi and 'Susan at her bath'.  The stamps are 33.8x43.5 mm., perforated 12 1/4, as well as imperforate. The stamps were printed by hand, less than 20 sets, in one colour but the the engraver painted several of them by hand in various colours.  These are the ones illustrated in the book 'Czeslaw Slania, his lifework' published by Count Leonard Bernadotte in 1989, Mainau, Germany.  It is difficult to say why the stamps were not accepted, maybe according to Catholic tastes 'Susan at her bath' was a bit too naked? Instead, the San Marino Post Office issued three stamps using offset printing.  Two of them were on similar themes as before, St. Marinus (Mi 887), St. Francis of Assisi (Mi 888), but the third stamp, 'Susan at her bath', was replaced by a portrait from the same painter, 'Return of the Prodigal Son'(Mi 889).  Slania had no hand in the design of these issued stamps.  

Slania also took part in a competition organised by the San Marino Post Office to design a stamp based on the theme of the birth of Christ.  Slania based his engraving on the painting 'Visitation of the Magi' by Rubens, in the Goteborg Museum of Art, Sweden.  Perforation is 12 1/4, printed by hand, in several single colours.  Only a handful were produced.  Unfortunately the competition committee decreed that the stamp did not conform to the theme specified and did not award a first prize to anyone.  

Slania won second prize and 100,000 lire (1967).  The stamp was never officially issued and is the only one of his un-issued San Marino stamps to bear a face value -- 200 lire.  

Gothenburg Art Museum has kindly provided me with a full colour photograph of the original painting on which the engraving is based, with explicit written permission to show it on this site.  
Copyright for this photograph is strictly reserved by the Art Museum.  

Click here to see a large image of the original painting.  Attention: it is approximately 87000 kb large.  The link will open in a new window. 


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