What makes stamp collecting interesting for most people is the enormous, and sometimes strange, choice of topics chosen by countries/organisations when issuing stamps.
Each year, the organisation PostEurop’s Stamps & Philately Working Group selects the EUROPA stamp theme. It is always very interesting to see what stamp designs for each year’s topic are printed by the participating countries’ postal authorities.
Randomly, we chose the year 2002 for this article and were not disappointed by the variety of wonderfully bright and colourful artwork that was produced, a selection of which we show below – beginning with France and a mixture of circus acts:
Next, Albania with acrobats:
Ireland featured crowds flocking to the ‘Big Top’ and the circus Ringmaster on this stamp sheet from Ireland:
This was Guernsey’s offering, with jugglers, trapeze artists, clowns and knife-throwers:
Azerbaijan added musicians and a strongman to the mix:
And quirky cartoons from Great Britain:
Last, but not least, arguably four of the greatest clowns ever to enter the circus ring. Gibraltar produced stamps depicting Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) the most celebrated of English clowns, born in London, son of an Italian father and English mother; Swiss clown ‘Grock’ Karl Adrien Wettach (1880-1959); ‘Coco the clown’ Nicholai Polakovs OBE (1900-1974) probably most famous clown in British history, originally a Jewish Latvian and Jean Hubert Charles Cairoli (1910-1980) born in Milan of French parents.