Chimney sweeping! Who would have thought it could be the subject on a postage stamp? Part of the attraction for many collectors is the incredibly varied amount of topics to be found on stamps. The Chimney Sweeper Switzerland association celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2022. The special stamp issued by Switzerland to mark that fact has a woman and a man in traditional chimney sweep costume with the typical tools of the trade. The chimneys that can be seen on the rooftops are grey but can be scratched clean. The clover leaf brings luck on the roofs. The sheet also contains self-adhesive lucky charms. In addition to the chimney sweepers’ top hats, the charms also include a ladybird, a 1-centime coin and a four-leaf clover. As long ago as the Middle Ages, chimney sweepers were seen as bringers of good fortune, because they protected people from poisoning and fire by unblocking their chimneys. They also evidently had no fear of dark chimneys, where spirits were believed to live. Touching a chimney sweeper was believed to bring good luck in the New Year.
Good luck wishes are also conveyed through the two stamps shown above. The “Horseshoe” (CHF 0.90) and “Cloverleaf” (CHF 1.10) special stamps come with gold foil embossing. In addition to the phrase “Good luck” in five different languages, a horseshoe and cloverleaf adorn the stamps as symbols of good luck. However, portraits of a female chimney sweep and a male chimney sweep, which also frequently appear as lucky charms, take centre stage.
Donald Duck even gets in on the act as a chimney sweep on the Le 100 stamp in this set of Disney definitives from Sierra Leone in 1990.
And the bottom left stamp of the Sweden stamps above features a chimney sweep.
And finally, the Royal Society of Arts’ 250th anniversary was celebrated by Great Britain with the above stamp set. Bottom left lies the chimney sweep connection – the RSA Gold medal 1805 was awarded to George Smart for his apparatus for sweeping Chimnies without employing boys.