Three new stamps featuring Antarctic landscapes have been issued by the Republic of San Marino on November 18th to celebrate the fourth International Polar Year. San Marino is one of the oldest republics in the world (it was created in 301 AD) as well as one of the smallest (61 Km2, with a population of 30,000). It is landlocked between the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Marche, in Italy. The Philatelic Bureau of the Republic of San Marino was created in 1981, but the republic issued the the first stamp back in 1877.
The three IPY stamps were designed by Marco Mussoni, with photos taken by Lucia Simion, professional photograher and science writer specialized on Antarctica and the subantarctic.
The three new stamps' dimensions are 30 x 40 mm; they feature Mount Melbourne, emperor penguins and the polar plateau.
Mt. Melbourne (2,732 m) is an active stratovolcano, located in Northern Victoria Land. It was discovered by James Clark Ross in 1841. Mt. Melbourne — which from far away looks like an elegant Mt. Fuji of the antipodes — shown fumarolic activity on the rim of the summit crater, where an Antarctic specially protected area of 6 Km2 was designated years ago. It is one of the rare active volcanoes in Antarctica, with Mt. Erebus (3,794 m), Deception island and the Pleiades. In West Antarctica, Marie Byrd Land hosts several huge volcanoes, most of which are dormant: one of these — Mt. Sidley — is the tallest volcano in Antarctica (4,181 m). It was discovered and named by Richard Byrd in 1934.
The second stamp issued by the philatelic bureau of San Marino features a long line of Emperors penguins walking on sea ice, heading towards the sea. The Ross sea is home of four of the largest Emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica: Cape Washington colony (20,000 birds), Coulman island colony (22,000 birds), Cape Roget and Cape Royds on Ross island. During the winter night of 1911, three members of the Terra Nova Expedition, Dr. Edward Wilson, Henry Birdie Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard, made a sledge-journey to this remote colony to collect eggs in an early stage of incubation. This remarkable journey was told by Cherry-Garrard in “The worst journey in the World”.
The third IPY San Marino stamp features the harsh an inspiring solitude of the polar plateau: large sastrugis carved by titanic winds dwarfs an helicopter in the far background. The polar plateau is one of the most spiritual places on Earth: the snow has a faint grey, blue or ivory color and the sky is of a pale blue, without any clouds. It’s a just pure color, like clear, transparent water. Amid the snow and the sky, we feel alone on the heart of the planet.
The IPY Republic of San Marino stamps (values: Melbourne: 0,60 €, emperor penguins: 1,00 €, sastrugi on the polar plateau: 1,20 €) have been printed in offset and are issued on sheets of 12.
In 2006, Lucia Simion was hired by the Terres australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF) to shoot aerial photographs of the remote subantarctic islands of Crozet, Kerguelen, Saint Paul and Amsterdam: her photographs became 16 stamps in a philatelic booklet containing stamps and photographs, issued by the TAAF Philatelic bureau in November 2007. When she applied to participate to the ANDRILL SMS project in 2007, Lucia Simion made a proposal to produce ANDRILL stamps.
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Tuesday, 25 November 2008 22:46
Polar Philately: San Marino issues IPY stampsWritten by Lucia Simion
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