As long ago as 1966, Belgium issued a stamp with a dinosaur on it. Very revolutionary for the time. On May 28 of that year, a stamp was released with a picture of the skeleton of an Iguanodon.
This dinosaur was a herbivore and was given the generic name bernissartensis, after the town Bernissart, a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, where in 1877, in a coal mine, around 30 skeletons – most of which were adult examples – were discovered.
It was the first complete fossil example of the species to be discovered. It belongs to the species of herbivores also known as the ‘Cows of the Cretaceous’.
In England they had already found some remains of the Iguanodon but the findings were insufficient to make a complete skeleton.
Much to the delight of many ‘paleofilatelists’, in September 2015 many new stamps with dinosaurs are due to appear in Belgium. This is again the result of a successful marriage between comic strip designers and the Belgian postal organisation Bpost.
Bpost previously used a computer graphic of a drawing by the great Belgian artist/designer François Schuiten on a stamp. This was the first stamp issued with a computer-generated image. And, recently, Belgian cartoonist/designer Conz – the pseudonym of Constantijn Van Cauwenberghe – exhibited his designs for a stamp series that will appear in 2015.
He announced: “Bpost came to me to make this stamp series, probably because I had previously illustrated dinosaurs in comics. After creating a plan I made a selection of ten animals, which were a diverse mix of different types: dinos with a Belgian link, with an impressive appearance.
“I deliberately chose not to use the more commonly-known species, such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, or Stegosaurus, but rather their lesser-known cousins such as the Torvosaurus, the Einiosaurus and Kentrosaurus. As a base I used skeletal reconstructions. Then I did some research and also used my imagination to create ‘realistic’muscle and fat mass to fit each animal – adding skin, feathers and hair where appropriate. Due to lack of evidence, the colours are of course entirely speculative. I’ve chosen striking colours so that the stamps would stand out a bit. For colour patterns I have gained inspiration from savannah animals and many birds.” The stamps shown below are due to be published in September 2015 in the form of a book of self-adhesive stamps.