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Czeslaw Slania's "Joking Stamps" (Microprints)

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Excerpted from Poland, page 2 (1954).

  • Poland 1954.  160th anniversary of the Kosciuszko Uprising.  "Tadeusz Kosciuszko on Horseback in the Battle of Raclawice", after a painting by Jan Matejko.   SG 898,  Scott # 658. 

On this stamp, in the upper left corner, is engraved 

Excerpted from the page "About Slania" (1954-1956). 

The engraving Slania submitted for graduation from the Academy in Krakow showing the bloody battle at Tannenberg (Grünwald) after a painting by the Polish painter Jan Matejko (1838-1893) is shown below left in small scale.  It took Slania two years to engrave this work, and nearly cost him his eyesight.  

The diploma work is personalized as shown on the enlarged fragment to the right.

The red arrow top right shows the spot where Slania engraved the dates 11.54 -- 11.56, indicating that he worked for two years on his diploma work.  

To the right an enlarged fragment showing clearly the dates. 

Excerpted from Denmark, page 1 (1965). 

After Slania started engraving stamps for the Danish Post Office in 1962 he often visited the printing house in Copenhagen. Here he became friends with the leader of the Printing Office, the Post Master General, Ricardo Sundgaard, and a postal clerk, Mr. A. Rasmussen.  These two persons received a very special greeting from Slania in 1965, when he engraved the stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first Danish mercantile college in Aarhus, Denmark.

The stamp shows an open account-book, and Slania has engraved the names of his friends in this book !   On the left page in the middle is found the name A. Rasmussen, and on the right page on the last line the name R. Sundgaard, as shown on the close-up.  Slania told later about this joke: 

"I thought I would be forced to redo the whole engraving, but no.  Also Danish postal clerks have a sense of humour, so a new engraving never came into question".  

Scott # 415

  • Denmark 1965.  Danish Mercantile College, Aarhus, Denmark.  On the enlargement you will see on the left page: A.E. Rasmussen, and on the right page R. Sundgaard.  

Immediately below is a private label by Slania, depicting Mr. Sundgaard.  Both Mr. Rasmussen and Mr. Sundgaard felt honoured by this, and stated much later that if Slania could make fun of them this pleasant way, he most certainly felt at ease in the Danish postal environment. 

Excerpted from Denmark, page 13 "Specials".
An important member of the so-called steel-engraving group in Denmark (who introduced the new printing machines with regard to printing steel engraved stamps,  was Mr. Ricardo Sundgaard, Post Master General, whose portrait was also engraved by Czeslaw Slania on a non-postal label.    

  • Ricardo Sundgaard, 26th December 1918 - 12th March 1989.
    Director of the Danish GPO, and a member of the Danish "Steel Engraving Group".

The label was auctioned away on Hafnia01 in Copenhagen in October 2001 for the amount of around 12.000, corresponding roughly to 1.800 US-dollars.  Not catalogued.

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