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Clowning Around


The 43rd International Circus Festival, held annually in Monaco, was celebrated in 2019 with acts from all over the world taking part. The Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo (International Circus Festival de Monte-Carlo) was created in 1974 by H.S.H. Prince Rainier III of Monaco (1923-2005) to promote circus arts – for which he had a lifelong passion.

The first Circus Festival stamps (see above) were issued by Monaco in 1974 to commemorate the first event. Nowadays there are concerns about animal training methods for circus acts. All stamps featured in this article are from Monaco.

Stamp from 1983.

During the festival, circus acts from around the world perform for paying audiences and are presented to a jury of circus professionals, specialists and journalists. The jury gives awards for the best circus acts, including the Golden Clown (Clown d’or), Silver Clown (Clown d’argent) and Bronze Clown (Clown de bronze), in the form of statuettes.

Stamps from 1977 and 1986.

Stamps issued to celebrate the 15th and 20th anniversaries.

Seen on the above stamp with an acrobat and tiger is the winner of the 1981 Golden Clown statuette – the great Russian clown Oleg Popov (b.1930-d.2016).

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