Home Culture Art Stamp Errors, Part 7 – Mistaken Identity

Stamp Errors, Part 7 – Mistaken Identity


Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers is the title of a painting by Edgar Degas shown on a stamp in a series featuring famous composers with artwork by Degas, issued by Paraguay in 1980.

But some things were not quite right with the stamp! In the top right hand corner is an image of a bewigged gentleman. The caption declares him to be Juan Sebastian Bach. So one mistake is the translation of the name of the famous composer ‘Johann’ to the Spanish-language version ‘Juan’.

But sometimes sons can be mistaken for their fathers and there lies the biggest mistake!

The portrait in the top right corner of the brand undoubtedly shows Johann Sebastian Bach, the world famous composer. Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685 in Eisenach and died on June 28, 1750 in Leipzig. The dates in the caption read ‘1714-1788’.

And these are the dates of Johann Sebastian Bach’s second son – Carl Philipp Emanuel who was born in Weimar on March 8, 1714 and died in Hamburg on December 14, 1788. He also achieved world fame as a composer and music director. His influence on Viennese classical music – Haydn and Beethoven – is undisputed. So the the Paraguayan postal administration got their facts confused.

Paraguay 1985

Paraguay made no such mistake five years later when it produced the above stamp in 1985 to commemorate 300 years since the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. The stamp was part of a “Year of Music” series.


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