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Hold Your Horses


For thematic stamp collectors the horse has always been a very popular subject. If you are interested in horse sports or a particular breed there is bound to be a stamp to satisfy your interest.
The stamps shown below were issued by the German state of Saarland which, following the Second World War, from 1947 to 1956 was a French-occupied territory (the “Saar Protectorate”) separate from the rest of Germany. You may notice two values shown on each stamp.
The reason being the postal tariffs were adapted to French postage rates – mail to France was to be franked at the domestic postage, mail to Allied-occupied Germany at the foreign tariff.

From 1947 to 1959, the inhabitants of the Saarland used money (the Saar Franc) and postage stamps issued specially for the territory.

There is not room in this article to feature every known horse breed or equine sport, I hope the stamps displayed here will be of interest to some of our readers.

Above, from the Horses in Art series issued by Grenada in 2015. The sheet shows a painting entitled “The Horse Fair” by the French artist Rosa Bonheur. The painting is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It shows the horse market held in Paris on the tree-lined Boulevard de l’Hôpital, near the asylum of Salpêtrière, which is visible in the left background. For a year and a half Bonheur sketched there twice a week, dressing as a man to discourage attention.

This fine series also includes the stamp with a painting entitled The Three Horses, created by Xu Beihong in 1930. He was primarily known for his Chinese ink paintings of horses and birds and was one of the first Chinese artists to articulate the need for artistic expressions that reflected a modern China at the beginning of the 20th Century.

The first pictorial commemorative Romanian stamps appeared in 1903. During the ten year period from 1903 to 1913, only five different sets of commemorative stamps were issued, and three of them were issued during 1906.

Above stamp commemoratives from Romania (1903) show mail coach and horses leaving the then newly-opened Bucharest Post Office building.

The five surtaxed Austria stamps shown below were issued on October 20, 1946 to publicise the Austria-Prize Horse Race in Vienna.

Below, Germany 1952, Thurn and Taxis stamp centenary.

Above, Vatican State Stamp Centenary, 1952.

Below is a fine set of Portugal definitives from 1952. The character shown on horseback is King Denis of Portugal and the Algarve. He reigned from 1279 to 1325.

Issued in 2018 is this from Liberia, the subject being Wild Horses:

And from Kyrgyzstan, the stamp sheet below celebrates the 2016 World Nomad Games.

Below also from the same series:

Issued by Uruguay in 1929 and known as the Pegasus Issue, each stamp in the set above bears the same design but in different colour shades. The set has become a favourite among topical collectors.

This stamp booklet was issued by Sweden in 1987 to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Gripsholm Castle.

The horse on the second left stamp was the favourite of King Charles XI of Sweden (b.1655 – d.1697). Taken from a 1673 painting by David Ehrenstrahl, it depicts the horse Charles XI named ‘Blue Tiger’.

Fine set from Poland, 1963, displaying various breeds.

Set from DDR (East Germany) 1967, featuring thoroughbreds.

Also from 1967, this set of Arabian horses from Yemen.

Very fine mini sheet from Panama, 1968, with paintings of past champion English racehorses. In the margin you see horseshoes, jockey’s caps and crossed whips.

In 1996 Afghanistan issued this set, depicting various horse breeds and their prehistoric counterparts.

And Great Britain released the set below in 2017.

The set shows famous British champion racehorses, beautifully illustrated by artist Michael Heslop.


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