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Sweden 2002

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Artifacts from "Birka", Sweden
A trio of ancient artifacts are pictured on three stamps issued by Sweden on March 21, 2002.  In the middle of the 8th century the Swedish King founded a trading center, Birka, just west of the present city of Stockholm.  His royal estate, Hovgården, was on the island of Adelsö in Lake Mälaren.  Stockholm grew up surrounding the strait connecting the Lake to the Baltic Sea.  From here the King kept the town in order and protected from plundering.  At its peak Birka had about 700 inhabitants and trades with merchants from near and far.  Birka is one of the best preserved examples of Viking trading sites, and has been included in the list of World Heritage sites since 1993. 

Scott # 2435

FDC showing all three stamps in the set.    
The cachet is Czeslaw Slania's pencil line plan of the runic stone. 
The cross pendant to the lower right (see also immediately below) 
was engraved by the Swedish engraver Lars Sjööblom.

Scott # 2436

The three stamps picture a runic stone and two pendants, one a stylized man's head and the other a rounded cross (looking a bit like a marine sand dollar).  The stamp (to the right) depicting the cross pendant was engraved by Lars Sjööblom;  the other two, pictured above, are engraved by Czeslaw Slania.  The stamps are undenominated, but designated for three different service rates: "Inrikes Brev" (regular domestic latter rate = 5 SEK), "Ekonomi Brev" (economy letter rate = 4,50 SEK) and "Förenings Brev" (non-profit organisation, letter rate = 3.80 SEK).  

A very nice commercially used cover with perfect cancellations in Malmö on 11th June 2002 - and received in Denmark the next morning, on 12th June.  

One of the stamps used is the "Man's Face" from Birka, originally intended for domestic letters at the rate of 5 SEK.  

The additional stamps used to make up for international mail are not engraved by Slania.  The total postage is 8,00 SEK.

All three stamps are printed in single-colour intaglio in muted dark tones of blue-black or purple-black and issued in coils only.  The man's face is printed on a colour that resembles aged yellow paper.  The other two are on white paper. 

The cachet on the FDC is based on Mr. Slania's pencil line plan of the runic stone.  Such a preliminary sketch is standard practice, made of a subject prior to starting the engraving.  It provides a roadmap of how he plans to proceed wit the engraving.  A rune is an ancient Nordic alphabet used by Scandinavian and Germanic peoples.  This stone may have served as a reference or translation tool. 

Technical information:

Sources:


Summer in Bohuslän, Sweden

 

Sweden 2002.  
"Summer in Bohuslän".

Coil pair showing a traditional Swedish summer scenery.  The stamp has no surface value, but is intended for "Inrikes Brev" (domestic letter), first rate of 5,00 SEK.  See also this site's engravings-section

Scott # 2441.

It may also be used for international mail with additional postage on the cover.  A good example of this is the below cover, sent to the webmaster (in Denmark) from Malmö (Sweden).  The total postage is 28,00 SEK.

The other three stamps on the cover are not by Slania. 


Joint Issue with Thailand

On 5th October 2002 Sweden released a joint issue with the Kingdom of Thailand, thus making Thailand the 39th country to issue stamps engraved by Czeslaw Slania. 

Upper Row:  Royal Palace Stockholm:  Scott # 2445 
Bottom Row:  Royal Palace Bangkok:  Scott # 2446

The corresponding Thai issues are shown on this site's Thai section.

Many thanks to Mr. Lars Nyberg (Sweden) for the provisional scans.  


Motocross 

Also on 5th October Sweden has released a booklet of 2x4 stamps dedicated to the motocross sport.  Czeslaw Slania has only engraved one of the eight stamps which is shown here, featuring the Swedish sportsman Ove Fundin. 

The stamp is located in the upper left corner of "sheet No. 2" of the mentioned booklet.  Maximum cards are also available corresponding to each of the stamps.  

Scott # 2447A 

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