Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Some Olympic Games Stamps

With the 31st Olympic Games just about to commence, I thought I'd delve into my old stamp collection to check out some examples of the Olympic commemorative issues that went on sale around the world during the 20th Century. 

There must have been thousands of Olympics stamps printed by the host nations and the participating countries since 1896, when a set of 12 stamps based on ancient Greek art and architecture connected with the games was issued in Greece to mark the first modern Olympiad. Since then, there have been many superb designs, as well as the dull and the forgettable. 

So here are a few rather nice examples that I've found:

A finely illustrated swimmer bathed in pink swirly lines: from a classy set of six issued by Yugoslavia for the 1952 Games held in Helsinki, Finland.

The cracking Op Art stamp by the New Jersey-born graphic designer Lance Wyman - this was part of a stylish brand image for the 1968 Mexico games

A cool green pitch for this Dutch footballer. One of the eight Dutch stamps marking the 'IX Olympiade' - held in Amsterdam. It was the very first where the Olympic Flame was lit , and Netherlands 1928 marked a rather less romantic first too - the arrival of Coca-Cola as a sponsor...

The ghostly fencer. The City of Montreal hosted the 21st Olympics, which was in fact boycotted by 33 African countries. The reason? The  International Olympic Committee had refused to ban New Zealand from participating because its rugby team had been touring South Africa. 

South Africa itself was already banned from taking part in the Olympics - ever since the 1964 Tokyo Games - for its refusal to condemn apartheid.

Ghana commemorated the 1964 Olympics held in Japan with 7 stamps, including another one showing a footballer. This stamp must have been mailed sometime around Christmas 1964 - check the holly leaves on the post office cancel. The Ghanaian football team were beaten by Egypt in the Quarter Finals of a tournament that was eventually won by Hungary.

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